May 1st, we commemorate the marytrdom of St. George, please enjoy the story of this blessed saint.

His upbringing

    He was born in the year 280 AD in Cappadocia in Palestine, of noble, Christian, God-loving parents.  His father Anastasious was a rich prince governing the province in God's fear.  He took care of those who were in need.  His mother's name was Theobesty.  God gave them that saint after his two sisters, Kasieh and Madrouta.  They raised him in a Christian upbringing, and he was nurtured on virtues and courage.  His father died when he was 14 years old.  Another prince took over all the cities of Palestine, and he was a righteous man.  So his mother moved with her kids from Cappadocia to Diospolis, where she was originally from and where her possessions were.

 


    St. George joined in the army.  His reputation was spread out that the prince wanted him to marry his only daughter.  And that's why he sent him first to the Emperor Diocletian accompanied by a hundred soldiers to show the Emperor his courage, and to have his name written in the annals of the kingdom.  The Emperor gave him the title "Prince", and arranged for him 500 soldiers, and he generously gave him a lot of presents.  Then St. George returned to his province; and the prince assigned to him his possessions after his departure.  He did that in a party that he had for his daughter and St. George.

    When St. George became 20 years old, his mother died.  The prince also died while he was designing the celebrations for his daughter's wedding.  And while St. George was thinking about that marriage matter, the Archangel Michael appeared to him and ordered him to go to the Emperor , who had issued his order of persecuting the Christians.  The angel told him about what he'll receive of bitter torturing and that the Lord will save him from all of it and that he'll become the prince of martyrs and he promised him that he would be with him through his hardships.

His defense of his faith and the beginning of his torture

    The saint arrived to Nicomedia in Asia Minor and he found an announcement of the Emperor Diocletian, which declares the persecution of Christians if they refuse to worship the idols.  So St. George tore it apart and he distributed all his fortune to the poor and let his servants go.

    When they brought him in front of the Emperor and 70 of his governors, he attacked the Emperor 's idol-worship, declaring his Christian faith without fear.  And he refused all the Emperor 's temptations with all courage not caring about his threats.

    The Emperor gave his orders to torture St. George. So they squeezed him with the Himbazeen, they pierced his body, broke his bones, and then they nailed him to a wood board where the people could see him. Then they rubbed his blood with rough fibers soaked in vinegar and salt, and finally they threw him in jail till morning.  At midnight, a great light appeared and lit the whole jail and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him surrounded by thousands of angels and He ordered him to rise healed saying:  "Arise, O George healed for I am with you in every time and every moment so that you may expose those lying non-believers. I swear by myself as there wasn't among the women's babies one who was greater than John the Baptist, also there hasn’t been among the martyrs someone who is like you."  And then the Saint arose healed standing happily and praising.

    That situation, and St. George's speech, got the Emperor and those who were with him angry to the extent that he ordered that they hang St. George among four stands and hit him four hundred floggings on his back and the same on his abdomen. St. George's skin tore and he bled.  Then, they sprayed on his torn body lime, and poured on it sulfur and tar. In the midst of his pains, St. George heard a voice from heaven saying, "Arise O George and get strong for I am with you."  So he arose and kneeled and praised with a loud voice so all who saw him healed and making the sign of the cross, believed in Christ.

    The Emperor tried in vain to get St. George to follow his faith.  Then he ordered that they bury him in a tub of lime for three days till his body burns. But for their surprise, they found him after the three days completely healed and in good conditions, wearing a glorious garment praying, and there wasn't in his body any trace to the burns.  So everybody glorified the God of St. George.

Then, the Emperor ordered that they nail his feet with nails in iron shoes that were heated in fire.  And they were beating him to walk while making fun of him.  As for St. George, he was praying and reciting psalms to the extent that he was walking normally in the next day. When the Emperor asked for him, he was shocked by what he saw.

    After a lot of trials to torture him, the Emperor thought that St. George was saved from them by magic.  So he ordered the magician Athanasius, either to make St. George obedient with his magic, or to make him vanish using a poisonous drink. 

    When they brought the saint, he drank from the cup after making the sign of the cross on it, so it didn't affect him.  Thinking that the sign of the cross was his magic, they tied his hands and gave him a second cup. The second cup did not affect him also, as he made the sign of the cross with his head. When the magic failed to explain what happened, the Emperor asked the saint to raise a dead, the matter that magic wouldn't be able to accomplish.  At the grave site, the saint prayed loudly, while he was kneeling, entreating God with tears.  When he was done with his prayer, the crowd heard a great voice that filled them with fear, then the grave was open, and the dead arose. Thirty seven hundred souls believed by him, among which was Athanasius the magician.  So Diocletian ordered their heads to be cut, and they all received the crowns of martyrdom.