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George the Trophy-bearer
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[[image:George.jpg|right|thumb|The holy [[martyr]] George slaying the dragon in a 15th-century [[icon]] from Novgorod, now in the Russian Museum.]]The holy, glorious and right-victorious Great-[[martyr]] and Trophy-bearer '''George''' was a Christian Roman soldier killed under [[Diocletian]] at the beginning of the fourth century. Though he was born in Cappadocia, his mother was from Palestine, and thus he is a particular favorite of many Palestinian Christians. He is also the [[patron saint]] of Moscow, Georgia, and England, amongst other places. The Church commemorates George on [[April 23]], and the [[Translation (relics)|translation]] of his [[relics]] on [[November 3]].
According to [[Holy Tradition|Tradition]], George was born to a Christian family during the late 3rd century. His father was from Cappadocia and served as an officer of the army. His mother was from Lydda, Palestine. She returned to her native city as a widow along with her young son after the martyrdom of George's father, where she provided him with a respectable education and raised him in piety.
The youth, it would seem, followed his father's example in joining the army soon after his coming of age. He proved to be a charismatic soldier and consequently rose quickly through the military ranks of the time. By his late twenties he had gained the titles of ''tribunus'' (tribune) and later ''comes'' (count). By that time George had been stationed in [[Nicomedia]] as a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor [[Diocletian]] (reign 284–305).
In 303, Diocletian issued an edict authorising the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. His caesar, Galerius, was supposedly responsible for this decision and would continue the persecution during his own reign (305–311). It is believed that George was ordered to take part in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticised the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian proceeded in ordering the torture of this apparent traitor and his execution.
Then, after innumerable forms of torture, George was executed by decapitation in front of Nicomedia's defensive wall on April 23, 303. The witness of his suffering convinced Empress [[Alexandra the Empress|Alexandra]] and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to also become Christians, and so they also joined George in martyrdom as consequence. George's body was then returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour George as a martyr.
==George and the dragon==
St. George is often depicted with a dragon or some other serpentine creature under his feet. This comes from a legend whose details may vary according to local tradition.
The tale begins with a dragon making its nest at the spring (or lake) that provided a town (either near Beirut or Silena, Libya, often) with water. Consequently, the citizens had to temporarily remove the dragon from its nest in order to collect water. To do so, they offered the dragon a daily human sacrifice. The victim of the day was chosen by drawing lots. Eventually, the "winner" of this lottery happened to be the local princess. The local monarch is occasionally depicted begging for her life with no result. She is offered to the dragon, but at this point a traveling George arrives. He faces the dragon, and, after invoking the name of the [[Holy Trinity]], slays it and saves the princess. The grateful citizens then abandon their ancestral paganism and [[convert]] to Christianity.
The story may or may not be taken entirely literally. For example, the battle between George and the dragon may represent the battle between Christianity and [[Satan]] or between St. [[Archangel Michael|Michael]], the archangel, and Lucifer. Dragon-slaying does appear to be a common religious theme; it may be the case that George has served as a Christianized version of older Indo-European deities and their folklore.
[[Image:Georgedemetrius.jpg|left|thumb|Sts. George and Demetrius]][[Image:George Symvoulas.jpg|thumb|right|Icon of St. George from the Monastery of Christ of Symvoulas, in Cyprus]]
St. George is most commonly depicted in early icons, mosaics and frescoes wearing the armour of a Roman soldier. After the fall of Constantinople and the association of St. George with the crusades, he is more often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. At the same time St. George began to be associated with St. Demetrius, another early martyred Roman soldier. The two saints are often portrayed together mounted upon horses; in this respect they are likened to earthly manifestations of the Archangels Michael and [[Archangel Gabriel|Gabriel]]. (Equating George with Michael is understandable, as many icons of Michael also portray him on a horse slaying a dragon.) St. George is always depicted upon a white horse and St. Demetrius on a red horse (or a black horse where the pigment used has decayed).
In Lydda in Palestine (his mother's birthplace), a [[church]] dedicated to St. George and containing his relics is associated with miraculous healings. The dedication of the church under the reign of St. [[Constantine the Great|Constantine]] (305-337) is commemorated, with the translation of St. George's relics, on November 3.
Another church, dedicated to St. George recently, is associated with the Monastery of Christ of Symvoulas (Simvulo, Cyprus). This church is in construction and is referred to as "St. [[George of Symvoulas]]" in honour of an ancient icon bearing the same name and is associated with miraculous healings.
[[Troparion]] (Tone 4)
:You were bound for good deeds, O martyr of Christ: George;
:by faith you conquered the torturer's godlessness.
:You were offered as a sacrifice pleasing to God;
:thus you received the [[crown]] of victory.
:Through your [[intercession]]s, forgiveness of [[sin]]s is granted to all.
[[Kontakion]] (Tone 4)
:God raised you as his own gardener, O George,
:for you have gathered for yourself the sheaves of virtue.
:Having sown in tears, you now reap with joy;
:you shed your blood in combat and won Christ as your crown.
:Through your intercessions, forgiveness of sins is granted to all.
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Saint_George&oldid=61244612 Wikipedia: Saint George]
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101184 Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George] ([[OCA]])
*[http://www.goarch.org/special/saintgeorge/index_html April 23: Feast of the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer] ([[GOARCH]])
*[http://www.pinetreeweb.com/nors-stgeorge.htm Saint George] as an emblem of the National Organization of Russian Scouts
*[http://catholicsaints.info/saint-george/ Saint George] [[Roman Catholic]] Patron Saints Index
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=103161 Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George in Lydia] (OCA)
*[http://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=29 George the Great Martyr & Triumphant] (GOARCH)
*[http://www.westsrbdio.org/en/prologue/407-april-23 Saint George, the Holy and Great Martyr] (''[[Prologue from Ohrid]]'')
*[http://www.westsrbdio.org/en/prologue/682-november-3 The Holy Great-martyr George] (''Prologue from Ohrid'')
*[https://web.archive.org/web/20130101175015/http://comeandseeicons.com/g/saintsg.htm ''Archive of'' "Come and See Icons"] (several icons of St. George)
*[http://www.asna.ca/alaska/aleut/life-st-george.pdf Life of St. George - Great Martyr and Victory Bearer (PDF)] (in the Aleut language, 1868)
*[https://www.prayer-bracelet.com/blog/saint-george-and-the-dragon/ Saint George and the Dragon] (Blog)
*[https://www.prayer-bracelet.com/blog/who-were-saint-george-and-john-chrysostom/ Saint George and John Chrysostom] (Blog)
*[http://archaeology.kiev.ua/byzantine/art/grotowski.htm ''"The Legend of St. George Saving A Youth from Captivity and Its Depiction in Art"''] by Piotr Grotowski, Crakow University.
*[http://archaeology.kiev.ua/byzantine/icon/chlenova1.htm Byzantine Relief "St. George with the Scenes of His Life"], by Larissa Chlenova, National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kiev
[[fr:Georges le Tropéophore]]
[[pt:Jorge, o Vitorioso]]
[[ro:Gheorghe purtătorul de biruinţă]]
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