Saint George the Great Martyr, whom the Church celebrates April 23rd
So great are the achievements of this valiant warrior in Christ! What words can we, who are encumbered by earthly cares, offer in praise of this brilliant jewel of the sacred treasury of Christ!
The trials and struggles of Saint George are well documented and captured in numerous icons and hymns, folk-tales and pious stories. So beloved is Saint George that nearly every Orthodox family has a child bearing his name. Numerous organizations and even nations have adopted him as their patron.
One may ask why our Lord allowed Saint George to suffer so many forms of torture. How could a merciful God behold a faithful servant broken, bloodied, and beaten. One spiritual recognizes that each form of torture, each type of torment was accomplished in a public place, which showed forth the glory of God and His martyr. How many souls were saved, how many pagans were converted on beholding these wonders! It is beyond our imaging to see a prisoner beaten and scarred, to only appear bright and full of vigor the next day. As each new torture grew in ferocity, so did the perseverance and bravery of Saint George and thus did his fame grow. These wonders were not just seen by the commoner but by those of high-estate. We learn in the Saint’s vita that the wife of Diocletian, the most virulent of bloody of all Christian persecutors, was converted and surrendered her life in witness of the Truth of Christ and His victor Saint George.
Throughout the ages Saint George has shown himself to be a speedy help and protector to all who call on him in faith, whether on land, air, or sea, to the
very ends of the earth. So great and numberless are the many miracles that have been worked at his tomb in Lydda (the present day Lod), that when Palestine was in the hands of the Moslems, they took half of his church and turned it into a mosque in their reverence to him, which may still be seen to this day, dedicated in his honor and testifying to the abundant power of his intercession.
LIBERATOR of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and
champion of kings, O trophy-bearer Great Martyr George, intercede with
Christ God that our souls be saved.
HAVING been cultivated well by the Lord God, * as the most honored
cultivator of piety * thou hast now gathered sheaves of virtues for thyself; *for, as thou didst sow with tears, * thou dost reap with rejoicing; * with thy blood thou didst contest * and thou now hast received Christ. * And by thine intercessions, O Saint George, * thou grantest all the forgiveness of trespasses.
Dismissal Hymn and Kontakion: The Great Horologion © 1997 The Holy Transfiguration Monastery Brookline, Massachusetts 02445