St George the Prince of Martyrs
St. George was born around 280 A.D. to a wealthy Christian family of noble origin in the city of Cappadocia. St. George’s father, Anastasios, was martyred for being a Christian by the Roman Governor when our saint was a young child. His mother Theopista raised him in a holy Christian manner.
As a young nobleman, at the age of 17, St. George joined the Roman army where he fought many battles in Egypt and Palestine. He was quickly promoted by the governor to an officer in the Emperial Guard where he was commander of over 1000 soldiers. St. George lost his mother when he was 20. From that time on, he abandoned the pleasures of this world, distributed his possessions among the poor, and set his slaves and maidservants free.
On February 23rd, 303 A.D., when it was the feast day of the Roman god Apollo, Diocletian, ruler of the Roman empire, attacked the church of Necomedea, and burned it to the ground. He also issued an official edict against the Christians. The provisions of the edict were as follows: “All churches should be level led to the ground. All sacred books to be burned. All Christians who hold any honorable rank are not only to be degraded, but to be deprived of civil rights. Also, All Christians who are not officials are to be reduced to slavery”. St. George was at Alexandria at the time and when he saw the edict he read it and tore it up. Consequently the roman soldiers then took him to Cappadocia in the presence of Diocletian. St. George was put to prison.
Diocletian arranged for a very beautiful woman to spend the night with him in prison and try to debauch him. St. George started praying for the poor woman as well as himself. The saint started talking to her about Jesus who died for us because we were sinners, in order to save us from the slavery of sin. In the morning, the soldiers came to escort her to the palace and to find out what she had accomplished. But to their amazement, they found the half-naked woman all covered up, and sitting in humility confessing that she believed in Jesus Christ the God of George to be her King and Savior. Everyone was astonished, especially the emperor who, in his rage, ordered her to be killed immediately.
The emperor then proceeded to torture St. George while he was in jail without mercy. On the first day of May (23rd of Baramouda), 303 A.D., St. George was martyred by the sword. St. George was buried in his mother’s home that was situated on the seashore at Lod, southeast of Tel-Aviv, Palestine. Personal objects which belonged to St. George are still preserved in St. George’s Convent in Cairo, Egypt.