The Feast of the Holy Great-Martyr and Victory-Bearer George

April 23rd

Icon of Saint George, from the Republic of Georgia (2001); Georgian inscription
Icon of Saint George, from the Republic of Georgia (2001); Georgian inscription

This glorious and victorious saint was born in Cappadocia the son of wealthy and virtuous parents. His father suffered for Christ and his mother then moved to Palestine. When George grew up, he entered the military, where in his twentieth year, attained the rank of a Tribune and as such was in the service of the Emperor Diocletian. When Diocletian began the terrible persecution against Christians, George came before him and courageously confessed that he is a Christian. The emperor had him thrown into prison and ordered that his feet be placed in a stockade of wooden hobbles and that a heavy stone be placed on his chest. After that, the emperor commanded that George be tied to a wheel under which was a board with large nails and he was to be rotated until his entire body became as one bloody wound. After that, they buried him in a pit with only his head showing above the ground and there they left him for three days and three nights. Then George was given a deadly poison to drink by some magician. But, through all of these sufferings, George continuously prayed to God and God healed him instantly and saved him from death to the great astonishment of the people. When he resurrected a dead man through his prayer, many then accepted the Faith of Christ. Among these also was Alexandra, the wife of the Emperor Athanasius, the chief pagan priest and the farmers: Glycerius, Valerius, Donatus and Therinus. Finally the emperor ordered George and his wife Alexandra beheaded. Blessed Alexandra died on the scaffold before being beheaded. St. George was beheaded in the year 303 A.D. The miracles which have occurred over the grave of St. George are without number. Numerous are his appearances, either in dreams or openly, to those who have invoked him and implored his help from that time until today. Enflamed with love for Christ the Lord, it was not difficult for this saintly George to leave all for the sake of this love: rank, wealth, imperial honor, his friends and the entire world. For this love, the Lord rewarded him with the wealth of unfading glory in heaven and on earth and eternal life in His kingdom. In addition, the Lord bestowed upon him the power and authority to assist all those in miseries and difficulties who honor him and call upon his name.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT GEORGE THE GREAT MARTYR 

Saint George on a tall horse

Saved the maiden from the dragon,

On his lance, the sign of the Cross,

Holy weapon, invincible,

With that weapon, the dragon he slayed,

The spared maiden, to the father he returned,

With his goodness, he indebted God Himself

With a wreath of glory, God repaid him.

Saint George with a hero’s heart,

All wealth, he distributed to the poor,

Rejected the honor and glory of the world

For the sake of the Name of Christ, the Victor,

Sufferings he embraced; sufferings willingly,

His body crushed for the salvation of the soul,

With his goodness, he indebted God Himself,

With a wreath of glory, God repaid him.

George, the Saint and Victor-bearer

Even now walks with the cross on his lance,

Justice he defends, injustice he punishes,

Whoever invokes him with faith and tears,

Whoever prays to him with a repenting soul,

George, the Saint flies to his aid.

With his goodness, he indebted God Himself,

With a wreath of glory, God repaid him.

(Text from the The Prologue from Ohrid, by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, courtesy of The Serbian Orthodox Church, Diocese of Western America).

 An Akathist to Saint George is available here.

(From the web site of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Red Bank, NJ & St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Howell, NJ)

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