Featuring the Lives of the Saints of our Church
Saint George the Great Martyr and Triumphant: April 23
(If April 23 falls on or before Holy Pascha, the Feast of Saint George is moved to Bright Monday)
Saint George, called a “great martyr” and “triumphant” in the Church, was born of a father from Cappadocia and a mother from Palestine. He was a military tribune, or chiliarch (that is, a commander of a thousand troops), and he was famous for his battle exploits and highly honored for his courage. When he learned that the Emperor Diocletian was preparing a persecution of the Christians, Saint George, already a Christian, presented himself publicly before the Emperor and denounced him. When threats and promises could not move Saint George from his steadfast faith, he was tortured repeatedly and horribly, which he endured with great bravery, overcoming these trials by his faith and love for Christ. In fact, during his gauntlet of tortures, many wondrous and inspiring signs were witnessed—these events guided many to knowledge of Christ, including Queen Alexandra, wife of Diocletian. After enduring so much for His Lord, he was finally beheaded in 296 in Nicomedia. He is often pictured in armor or upon a white horse destroying a serpent or dragon (symbols of evil), and his life story continues to direct and inspire us today.
Getting Practical: Children seem naturally drawn to the life of Saint George—perhaps it’s the armor, horse and triumph over the serpent or dragon shown in his icons. Take advantage of their interest: repeat the story of St. George with your children; then encourage them to draw their own “icon” of Saint George, highlighting his faith and bravery!