St. George’s Day

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Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.21.46 PMYour servant George is a sign for us of the beauty of those who slay dragons, follow the quest for a world of justice and peace; who live nobly and are unafraid. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you: Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you.

We pray that we may find our quest in life, that young people may dream dreams and see visions, that none may be bound by unemployment or lack of opportunity. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you: Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you.

We pray that all humanity may live with nobility and dignity, that all will be freed from those things that diminish your image in us, the misuse of bodies or minds. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you: Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you.

We pray that we may always travel the journey in our souls that brings us closer to you; that we may grow in holiness and love, forsaking what is familiar and safe and waging the battle against selfishness. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you: Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you.

St. George is my patron saint. There are those who claim he was more of a mythical character, the son of a noble family form Cappadocia, in Turkey. Then there are other legends that say he was born of a Greek Christian noble family in Lydda, in Palestine in 285AD.  He was raised as a Christian.  When he was 14 his father, Gerontios, who was a military officer from Cappadocia, died.  His mother, Polychronia died a few years later.

With his background, he went to Nicomedia, an imperial city, and presented himself to Emperor Diocletian, who had known has father.  Because of his father’s reputation, he was immediately accepted into the imperial military, and an imperial guard, quickly rising to the rank of Tribunus. The rank alone tells us about his status in life.  He was literally on a fast track to the Roman Senate.

“...In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have George executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr…”

Enough is known of the historical St. George to prove the actual biographical facts of his life.  It’s when they get into the dragon slaying part of things that it gets a little interesting.  I like the hunky image I’ve used, not just because it puts a whole new spin on the term ‘patron saint’ but also is illustrative of what some think was the dragon – actually a crocodile, that he killed.  I like that one.  I also bet he was a barihunk!

For Saint George and all who battled for Christ:
For martyrs known and unknown.
We praise you, O God.
We acclaim you as the Lord.

For all whose task it is to battle for truth:
For journalists, scientists and philosophers.
We praise you, O God.
We acclaim you as the Lord.

For all who battle for justice for the poor, the oppressed and the victimised:
For all who work to free those condemned to death.
We praise you, O God.
We acclaim you as the Lord.

For all who battle for peace in places of conflict:
For all who restore relationships and bring reconciliation.
We praise you, O God.
We acclaim you as the Lord.

For those who battle addictions and dependencies:
For all who fight to live freely and unafraid.
We praise you, O God.
We acclaim you as the Lord.

 

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