During the reign of the Fatimid Caliph El Aziz Bi-ellah in Egypt, hatred spread among some mobs of Muslims when the Copts promoted to be ministers and gaining satisfaction and confidence of the Caliph. At Talkha district, at the end of the 10th century AD, This saint was born to a Christian widow named Mary and Muslim father named Jumaa Al Atawy, who married her by force against her will and her parents will. He was the third among six sons and one daughter. He spent the first twelve years of age in the religion of his father. At this age, he noticed that his mother used to go to church on Sunday. He felt a pressing desire to follow her and find out what she used to do in the church. Upon her return, he asked her to give him a piece of the blessed Eulogia bread (Qorban) she had, and it tasted in his mouth like that of honey. He decided to be a Christian.
He went to Anba Zacharias, Bishop of Damietta; and he had become a Christian at the age of 18 years; and he was named “George” (Girgis) because it was St. George’s feast. Then he married a girl named “Seyola,” a daughter of Fr. Abanoub, Priest of the Church at “Bosat EL Nasara,” district of Talkha.
His Testimony Before the Governor
The Lord wants to test his faith, and declare His love for him. So, he was allowed to testify before the Governor, who asked him, “Are you Mezahem? Why did you renounce the religion of your forefathers, to become a Christian?” The saint replied, “Yes, I’m Mezahem. I had been baptized publicly. I’m not a thief or a killer, but a worshiper of my Lord Jesus; and for that, they delivered me to you. Do whatever you like to me, I’m not afraid of your admonitions.” The governor was filled with anger, ordering to put him on the ground, to be scourged; and to loot his home, taking everything in it. The saint’s blood ran on the ground. Then he ordered 70 of his men to put him in prison without food or drink till his death, and to throw his dead body into the sea.
As the Lord promised that He will make the way of escape with temptation. He didn’t allow him to be tempted beyond what he was capable of, and He delivered him. While they dragged him on the road before reaching the bridge of the city of Aldrutin, a voice shouting in their ears saying, “Gentlemen, return that man to the Prince.” So they turned him to the governor who questioned their return, and they replied, “You requested us to come back.” Then he was marveled saying, “I didn’t send anybody to you!” In the meantime, the angel of the Lord, resembling a noble man, came and asked for the saint’s amnesty and saved him from their hands.
Torturing the Saint’s Wife
A wicked man, Hamdan from Nikioh, came to the governor to get rid of the saint, and said, “Why did you free this converted man who disrespects our religion, to follow another? Permit it to me, and I’ll torture him, in order to be returned or be killed.”
The governor liked the idea and supported him with some of his mighty men. At their arrival to his home, the saint and his wife were thinking what they should do.
Because the Lord wanted to keep him away from their hands, He fled from them. However, they caught his wife and beat her with palm branches. Her blood was shed on the ground, and they looted what was left in her home, then they tied her to a horse’s tail, riding it in the whole town. No one was able to release her.
The Saint’s Dislocation
Days later, he returned to the city and stayed in hiding at one of his friends’ house. Then he sent to bring his wife. He praised and encouraged her because of her torture for his sake. He suggested leaving her, so she’d be saved from torment. She refused saying, “Blessed is the name of the Lord. I will not leave you during my whole life, even if my blood is shed because of you. It should be known that I suffer for the name of Christ.”
When he heard these words, he was comforted and thanked God for her strong faith, and he said to her, “Strengthen my sister through the Lord, to receive rewards in abundance for your labor.” Then he left her, went to the surrounding area, and asked the Lord to guide him to an appropriate place to take her with him.
Torturing his Wife for the Second Time
The devil used an elder of that town to proclaim, “Mezahem arrived tonight ... His wife came to him to encourage him to be steadfast in Christianity. She advised him to go to the Monastery of St. Makarius to be a monk there.” The frustrated people of the town came again and violently took his wife, and beat her severely. Then they took her to the ruler of Demireh to be killed, but God gave her grace in his eyes, and no harm came to her; and He also sent a group of Christians to deliver her from those wicked people.
When St. George heard what happened to his wife, he came to her secretly and took her with him. They dwelt in a city called Saft Elkodor, where he stayed for sometime. He was engaged in oil presser. The Saint continued to worship, night and day, with holy zeal, that the devil envied him. A lad from Nikioh, who knew the saint very well, came to work in the same oil presser. He revealed St. George’s story to the workers there. Then a large group, carrying their own swords and weapons, came to the saint’s home and caught him without mercy, and then tied a rope to his neck and walked him through the streets of the city, shouting, “This man insulted our religion.” One of them came and hit him on the head and he fell on his face unconsciously.
As his story made known at the city of Mahalla, Abu Bashir, the oil presser’s owner, knew that his employee was killed, he took with him a group of his friends, and came to Saft Elkodor. He saved the saint after he saw the saint alert after his sufferings, asking him to stay at his dwelling. Then he said to the crowd, “I would give him a grace period till Friday, when I’ll go with him to pray at the mosque, otherwise I’ll burn him alive.” By saying this, he dismissed the crowd. At that time, the Lord allowed the presence of a Christian worker, called Makarius to learn their idea regarding the saint. So he revealed that to the saint, advising him to escape.
St. George stayed in the city of Tanta for three years, during which he suffered from severe illness. Seyola strengthened his faith and comforted him saying, “How many times has the devil tempted you and the Lord Jesus delivered you by His might.” He was not complaining, but rather praising the Lord day and night. They went to Bosat El Nasara, where the house of his father in law was. He heartedly served the Lord, increasing his fasting, prayers and doing 500 metanias every night. The Lord was pleased with him, and wanted him to be martyred. At one night, he saw a vision as if he was raised to the heaven, where he saw the glory of God. And there they let him sit at the right side of God; and he heard a voice saying, “Oh Girgis, Be strong during your testimony. Blessed are you for being worthy to be counted with the saintly martyrs, and to receive the heavenly crown with the righteous. Don’t be afraid, for the labor is light while the delight is plenty and continuous.”
His Torture and Martyrdom
Some men attacked his home, and when they did not find him, they took his blessed wife; and beat her greatly, because she told them that she did not know where her husband was. Having searched for him, they found and put him in prison. They brutally beat him using sharp tools, sticks and dry branches. Others even stoned him till his bones were broken. He was patience during this torture, not to mention the unwavering mentioning of the Lord Christ, while his hands were tied behind him.
The governor sent his aids to bring him, and said to him, “You foolish, why did you leave your forefathers’ religion, and followed the wrongful Christians?” A wicked Moroccan man, who was sitting by the governor, hit the saint on his mouth swearing by the name of the Caliph saying, “If you obeyed me, I’ll give you the entire Western sector, and you’ll be one of the Caliph’s friends.” St. George replied, “O wretched, and strayed one from the kingdom of God, if you give me everything the Caliph has, I’ll not renounce the name of my good Savior, lest I’ll be like Judas Iscariot, the traitor.” The Moroccan man began torturing the tied saint, and sent him to prison.
Some men carried the saint, and placed him in a place at the eastern side of the governor’s house. They tied his legs in a bulky piece of wood, and they entrusted him to a wicked man. At midnight, the Archangel Michael appeared to the saint, and he blessed him, comforted him, untied him, and touched him with his wings healing George’s wounds; then he disappeared. A Christian monk named Mina from St. Makrious Monastery witnessed this event, since he was in the jail at the same time with the saint. (He is also the writer of this biography).
His Wife Visited Him in the Third Day of His Imprisonment
Seyola visited him to find him healed from all his wounds. She was pleased and glorified God. The governor tried to exclude insurgents in the region, by showing them that he wrote to the Sultan, inquiring what it should be done with this man. Therefore they had already left him alone a week in prison.
The mobs used to torture him till they thought that he died; so, they put him in the prison; and when they saw him alive the next day, they continued to torture him. They continued on this case from the 11th to 18th of Paoni 695A.M. (June 18th to 25th, 979 A.D.).
Then the Sultan’s messenger came to the governor, carrying a decree to release St. George. He also said orally that two residents of Cairo had converted to Christianity, and the Sultan let them free. But the anger that had captured the hearts led them to ignore the Sultan’s decree. In the morning of Thursday 19th of Paoni (June 26th), they went to the prison, asking Girgis to choose between death and denial of Christ. But their effort was in vain, as he announced his readiness to accept torture, not only death. Then they pulled him outside the town, to the beach; and there they beaten him on the head that was crashed; and then they cut his body and threw the parts in the sea. It happened on the same day, that a deacon was walking on the beach, and heard a voice saying to him, “O believer walking on the coast, in the name of Christ wait until the waves throw to you a part of the body of the martyr Girgis Elmezahem. Take it to Seyola, his blessed wife.” The deacon took the body to his home, then he gave it to his mother and told her the message he had heard. She covered the remains with white cloth and gave it to the blessed lady Seyola; which in turn put it into her father’s home, for a period of time; then at the church. Many miracles and wonders happened from his body. May his blessings be with us all.