'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' Published in Istanbul

The Turkish publishing house Otello has published a Turkish-language translation of 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' (also translated as 'The Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik') in Istanbul. The translator is Farna-Beka Chilashvili, a Georgian literary writer and researcher residing in Turkey. 

Composed between the years A.D. 476 and 483 by Jacob of Tsurtaveli, father-confessor to the princess, 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' is the oldest surviving jewel of Georgian literature and is salient for its direct, transparent style of writing.

Shushanik died as a result of her refusal to accept the Zoroastrian religion professed by Georgia’s Iranian overlords. Her denial to abjure the Christian faith enraged her husband, the Mihranid ruler (pitiakhshVarsken, who had embraced Mazdeism to flatter the Persian court. Shushanik’s perseverance ultimately urged him to murder her in particularly barbaric circumstances. After seven years of torture and imprisonment, she died a martyr. 

“Interest in Georgian literature has been on the rise in Turkey over the last five years”, says Chilashvili. "I have been translating Georgian literature for years. The interest of publishers is growing, and there has been a lot of feedback from the public too. Erlom Akhvledian's novel "The Mosque in the City" (also translated by Chilashvili) was most successful here in Turkey." 

Apart from Shushanik’s heartfelt story, Parna-Beka Chilashvili has translated into Turkish notable Georgian literary works by Otar Chiladze, Naira Gelashvili, Mikheil Javakhishvili, Erlom Akhvlediani, Nodar Dumbadze, Jemal Karchkhadze, Dato Turashvili, Irakli Kakveladze and others. 

The first printed version of 'The Passion of Saint Shushanik' was published in 1882. The work has been translated into French, Russian, English, German, Hungarian and Icelandic.  

By Elene Dzebisashvili

18 January 2020 18:15