St. George was born about 280 A.D. of a Christian family that was wealthy and of noble origin, in the city of Cappadocia, a city of the Eastern Empire, in Asia Minor. His father’s name was Anastasius, and his mother’s name was Theobaste. When he was twenty years old, his father died, and he went to Emperor Diocletian to take over his father’s position. He found that the Emperor had apostatized the faith and ordered the worship of idols. George was sorrowful, and he gave all his wealth to the poor and needy and set free his slaves.
He followed the usual career of young nobleman and joined the Roman army, where his ability and charm brought him quick promotion. The Emperor heard about him and as a result made him an officer in the Imperial Guard.
Diocletian gave orders for the issue of a formal edict against the Christians on February 23, in the year 303 A.D. The provisions of this edict, which was published on the next day in the market place, were as follows: “All churches should be leveled to the ground and all sacred books to be burned. All Christians who hold any honorable rank are not only to be degraded, but also to be deprived of civil rights. Also, All Christians who are not officials are to be reduced to slavery”.
In great courage, our young St. George, became raged and tore it. They took him before the Emperor, and he cried in their midst saying: “For how long you shall pour your anger against the innocent Christians, and force those who know the true faith to adopt the faith that you are in doubt of because it is fraudulent? So, either you believe on this true faith, or at least do not disturb with foolishness those who are steadfast in it.”
When the Emperor was weary of torturing him, he brought a magician, whose name was Athanasius, who gave the Saint a cup full of poison to drink. St. George made the sign of the cross over the cup then drank it. When no harm came upon him, the magician believed in the Lord Christ, and received the crown of martyrdom. The Emperor became raged and ordered to squeeze him until he delivered up his soul, and they cast his body out side the city.
The Lord Christ raised him up, and the Saint returned to the city. When the people saw him, three thousand and seven hundred souls believed. The Emperor ordered to cut off their heads and they received the crown of martyrdom.
When St. George stood before Emperor Diocletian, along with seventy kings that were sitting around him, they asked the Saint: “We wish you to make these chairs that we are sitting on to put forth leaves, and bear fruit.” The Saint prayed to the Lord Christ, the Lord accepted his supplication and the chairs put forth leaves and bore fruit.
They took him once to a cemetery and asked him to raise the dead therein. He prayed to the Lord Christ. The Lord raised them and after they talked to them, they returned to their graves and died.
A poor woman, brought her son, who was blind, deaf and dumb, he prayed to the Lord Christ then made the sign of the cross over him, and he was healed right away.
Diocletain, during all that, went on torturing St. George, until he was weary and bored of that. He started to be pleasant to the Saint and promised to give him his daughter in marriage if he would offer the incense to his gods. The Saint pretended that he accepted his offer, and the Emperor rejoiced and brought him into the royal palace. While St. George was praying the Psalms, the Empress heard him and asked him to explain to her what he had said. He began to interpret to her all the events from the creation of the world to the Incarnation of the Lord Christ, and his words entered her heart and she believed in the Lord Christ, to whom is the Glory.
The Emperor ordered to call upon all the men of the city to gather, in order to see Saint George offering the incense to the Emperor’s gods. When multitude gathered by the idols, Gawargios (George) stood and cried at the idols in the Name of the Lord Christ the Savior of the world. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed all the idols. The Emperor and all those who were with him were ashamed and he returned to his palace full of fury and wrath. The Empress told him: “Didn’t I tell you not to oppose the Galileans, for their God is strong and mighty?” The Emperor was exceedingly wrath with her, for he knew that St. George had brought her also to his faith. The Emperor with rage ordered to comb her body with a steel comb, then cut off her head, and she received the crown of martyrdom. Finally, Diocletian decided to put an end to the humiliation that befell him, so he ordered to cut off the head of St. George, and he received the crown of martyrdom. A Christian took the body, wrapped it in expensive shrouds, and took it to the city of Lydda, his home town, and they built a great church on his name there.
His intercession be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.