Today the Georgian church comemmorates the life and work of Saint Joseph, Bishop of Alaverdi. Saint Joseph was one of the Thirteen Holy Syrian Fathers, the founders of Georgian Monasticism. It is unknown as to whether they were Georgians from the Diaspora, Assyrians or Greeks, but they developed renown in Georgia for their dedicated evangelism in an early stage of Georgia’s Christian development.
Saint Joseph chose the monastic vocation at a young age. Having arrived in Georgia with his teacher Saint John Zedazni , Saint Joseph settled in Kakheti in the relatively undeveloped and wild Alaverdi region. Here he began his ascetic exploits.
A Kakheti noblemen during an hunt found himself on the Alaverdi plain and was so astonished, seeing Saint Joseph standing at prayer, that he remained with him. Reports about this nobleman becoming a monk and about the holy life of the Monk Joseph spread throughout Kakheti. People seeking holiness and the ascetic life began to throng to Alaverdi to Saint Joseph. A monastery thus arose, and a church in honour of the Great Martyr Saint George was built.
Chosen to lead the monastery, Saint Joseph with fatherly love concerned himself about the brethren of the monastery, and about the spiritual enlightenment of Kakheti. Pagan superstitions were still not eradicated, and Saint Joseph, with cross in hand, often left the monastic solitude to preach the Word of God.
Beholding the saintly and immaculate life of the monk Joseph and his sincere desire to serve them, the Kakheti people willingly and joyfully accepted the Gospel teaching, and abandoned their pagan customs.
Saint Joseph composed a catechism (lost in the th Century) by which he taught the flock entrusted to him. Nearing the end of his life of dedicated service, Saint Joseph secluded himself in a tight cell for complete silence. In the year occurred his peaceful and blessed end. Sainted Joseph was buried in the church of the holy Great Martyr Saint George in Alaverdi.
In the th Century in place of the former church was erected the great Alaverdi cathedral within which, on the left side of the Altar at the north wall, rests the body of Saint Joseph.