The Holy GreatMartyr George the Victory-Bearer

Great Martyr George the Dragon Slayer

Wednesday May 6, 2020 / April 23, 2020

Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Holy Glorious Great-martyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George (303). Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (Second finding of the copy 2012). New Hieromartyr John priest (1940). Martyr Alexandra the Empress, wife of Diocletian (303). Martyrs Anatolius and Protoleon, soldiers converted by witnessing the martyrdom of St. George. Venerable Sophia (1974).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 12:2-12 Matins, Gospel
Acts 8:18-25
John 6:35-39
Acts 12:1-11 St. George
John 15:17-16:2 St. George

The Holy GreatMartyr George the Victory-Bearer

Commemorated on April 23

      The Holy GreatMartyr George the Victory-Bearer, was a native of Cappadocia (a district in Asia Minor), and he grew up in a deeply believing Christian family. His father had accepted a martyr’s death for Christ, when George was yet a child. His mother, owning lands in Palestine, resettled there with her son and raised him in strict piety.
      Having grown up, Saint George entered into the service of the Roman army. He was handsome, brave and valiant in battle, and he came to the notice of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and was accepted into the imperial guards with the rank-title of “comites” – one of the higher military officer ranks.

Great Martyr George the Dragon Slayer

      The pagan emperor, while having done much for the restoration of Roman might, and who was quite clearly concerned, as to what sort of danger the triumphing of the Crucified Saviour might present for pagan civilisation, in especially the final years of his reign intensified his persecution against the Christians. Upon the advice of the Senate at Nicomedia, Diocletian afforded all his governors full freedom in their court proceedings over Christians and in this he promised them all possible help.
      Saint George, having learned about the decision of the emperor, distributed to the poor all his wealth, set free his servants, and then appeared in the Senate. The brave soldier of Christ spoke out openly against the emperor’s designs, he confessed himself a Christian and appealed to all to acknowledge the true faith in Christ: “I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting on Him, I have come amidst ye at mine own will, to witness concerning the Truth”. “What is Truth?” – one of the dignitaries said, in repeating the question of Pontius Pilate. “Truth is Christ Himself, persecuted by ye”, – answered the saint.
      Stunned by the bold speech of the valiant warrior, the emperor – who loved and had promoted George, attempted to persuade him not to throw away his youth and glory and honours, but rather in the Roman custom to offer sacrifice to the gods. To this followed the resolute reply of the confessor: “Nothing in this inconstant life can weaken my resolve to serve God”. Then by order of the enraged emperor the armed-guards began to jostle Saint George out of the assembly hall with their spears, and they then led him off to prison. But the deadly steel became soft and it bent, just as the spears would touch the body of the saint, and it caused him no hurt. In prison they put the feet of the martyr in stocks and placed an heavy stone on his chest. …Read More

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT GEORGE THE GREAT MARTYR

Saint George, on a tall horse,
Saved the maiden from the dragon.
On his lance was the sign of the Cross:
The holy weapon, invincible.
With this weapon, he slew the dragon,
And returned the maiden alive and well to her father.
With his goodness he indebted God Himself;
With a wreath of glory God repaid him.

Saint George, with a hero’s heart,
Distributed all his wealth to the poor,
And rejected the honor and glory of the world
For the sake of the name of Christ the Victor.
Sufferings he embraced, and to sufferings consented.
His body was crushed for the sake of his soul’s salvation.
With his goodness he indebted God Himself;
With a wreath of glory God repaid him.

George the Saint and Victory-bearer
Walks even now with a cruciform spear.
Justice he defends, injustice he punishes.
Whoever invokes him with faith and tears,
Whoever prays to him with a repentant soul–
To his aid flies George the Saint.
With his goodness George indebted God Himself;
With a wreath of glory God repaid him.


REFLECTION

In the course of an uprising in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Constantine, some embittered men broke off the nose and ears of the statue of the emperor in the city. Many flatterers quickly came to the emperor and with great disgust told the emperor how rebels had broken the nose and ears from his statue, and they asked the emperor to punish the transgressors with the most severe punishment. The great emperor felt his nose and ears with his hands and said to the flatterers: “I feel that my nose and ears are whole and undamaged!” The flatterers were ashamed and withdrew. With such royal magnanimity we all need to endure insults from others. Yet let us listen with particular caution to the accusations against others that our flatterers bring to us. We should always confess before God and before ourselves that we, because of our sins, deserve even greater insults than those that are perpetrated against us.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:

1. How His Resurrection is the beginning of a new and bright day in the history of mankind;

2. How His Resurrection is my peace and my strength, and the resurrection of my soul while I am still in the body.

HOMILY

on stirring up pure minds

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (2 Peter 3:1).

Do you see, brethren, the aim with which the Apostle Peter writes his epistle? To stir up in people their pure minds! The apostle considers this to be the main thing. And truly, it is the main thing. For if in every man the dormant pure mind were awakened, there would not be a single human soul left on earth who would not believe in Christ the Lord, who would not confess Him as the crucified and resurrected Savior of the world, and who would not contritely turn to repentance for sins committed under the influence of an impure mind.

Nothing distances us more from the Gospel than an impure mind. What makes the mind of man impure? Sin. As milk, when poison is poured in, becomes completely poisonous, so the human mind, when impure sin enters into it, becomes completely impure. Every sin is impure; every sin makes the mind of man impure, muddy and poisonous. All knowledge which an impure mind possesses is impure, like a muddied and soiled image of an object in a muddied and soiled mirror. Unto the pure all things are pure (Titus 1:15), said Paul, the other chief apostle. While Adam had a pure mind in Paradise, all of his knowledge about the Creator and created things was clear and true. Sin darkened his mind and the minds of his descendants. That paradisal, pure mind of the sinless man is not dead; rather it is dormant in men who are under sin. It is necessary only to awaken it, and then it will unerringly lead man back to Christ. That is why the apostle takes the responsibility to awaken in men that original, pure, clear, discerning, God-given mind.

O my brethren, let us assist the holy apostle–who was crucified upside down for his preaching–in awakening men. Let us help him, at least in whatever way it concerns us, and let each of us awaken our own pure mind. If every one of us does this, we will see that all of us have one mind. For a pure mind is one, while impure minds are legion!

O resurrected Lord, awaken in us a pure mind, through the prayers of Thy Holy Apostle Peter.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.