Iveron Monastery

Ioann Tornike (around 920 – December 15, 984) was a Georgian military commander and the founder of the Iveron Monastery on Athos mount. Saint Tornike came from a noble family; his father was in the retinue of the Georgian king Ashot II (937-954). Tornike served under King David III, attaining the rank of eristavi (commander). Three of his nephews also became successful military leaders, however they served in Byzantine army. However, despite his outstanding success in his military career, Ioann resigned in 960 upon learning that his close relative, Ioann of Iveron, had become a monk. Ten years later, he arrived at Athos mount, where he established the Georgian Church of Ioann the Baptist near the Great Lavra. In 976, a rebellion broke out against Emperor Basil II in Byzantium. Empress Theophano of Byzantium decided to seek help from the Georgian king, appealing to the Athonite monks. Arriving in Constantinople in 978, Ioann Tornike journeyed to Georgia. He persuaded King David to send his army to aid Byzantium. The Georgian king appointed the venerable Tornike as commander. The monk proved himself on the battlefield, suppressing the rebellion on May 24, 979. Upon returning to Constantinople, Tornike was received with great honor; the emperor bestowed upon him liturgical books, church vessels, gold, and a particle of the True Cross. With these offerings, Tornike returned to Athos mount, where he erected the Iveron Monastery around 980.

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