Memorial days: 23 April, 3 November, 10 November (spinning (Georgian celebration)), 26 November
Great-martyr George was the son of rich and pious parents who brought him up in the Christian faith. He was born in the city of Beirut (in ancient times - Belit), at the foot of the Lebanese mountains.
Entering the military service, the Great Martyr George stood out among other soldiers with his mind, courage, physical strength, military bearing and beauty. Having reached the rank of commander, George became the favorite of the Emperor Diocletian. Diocletian was a talented ruler, but a fanatical supporter of the Roman gods. Having set himself the goal of reviving dying paganism in the Roman Empire, he went down in history as one of the most cruel persecutors of Christians.
Hearing once in court a brutal verdict on the extermination of Christians, St. George was kindled by compassion for them. Anticipating that he was also expected to suffer, George distributed his property to the poor, released his slaves to the will, came to Diocletian and, declaring himself a Christian, denounced him in cruelty and injustice. The speech of St. George was full of strong and convincing objections to the imperial order to persecute Christians.
After ineffectual persuasion to renounce Christ, the emperor ordered the saint to be subjected to various tortures. St. George was imprisoned, where he was laid with his back to the ground, his feet were encased in pads, and a heavy stone was placed on his chest. But St. George courageously endured suffering and glorified the Lord. Then the torturers of George began to excel in cruelty. They beat the saint with oxen veins, wheeled, threw in quicklime, forced to run in boots with sharp nails inside. The holy martyr patiently endured it. In the end, the emperor ordered to cut off the head of the saint with a sword. So the holy sufferer went to Christ in Nicomedia in 303 year.
Great Martyr George for courage and for the spiritual victory over the torturers who could not force him to renounce Christianity, as well as for miraculous help to people in danger - they are also called the Victorious. The relics of St. George the Victory-bearer were laid in the Palestinian city of Lida, in the temple bearing his name, while his head was kept in Rome in the temple, also dedicated to him.
On the icons of St. George is depicted sitting on a white horse and snapping a spear. This image is based on tradition and refers to the posthumous miracles of the holy Great Martyr George. It is said that not far from the place where St. George in the city of Beirut, in the lake lived a snake, which often devoured the people of that area. What an animal it was - a boa constrictor, a crocodile or a large lizard - is unknown.
The superstitious people of that region began to give a young man or a girl to him for devouring them regularly to satisfy the rage of the serpent. One day the lot fell on the daughter of the ruler of that area. She was taken to the shore of the lake and tied, where she was horrified to wait for the appearance of the snake.
When the beast began to approach her, suddenly a white youth appeared on a white horse, who with a spear struck a snake and saved the girl. This young man was the holy GreatMartyr George. By such a marvelous phenomenon, he stopped the destruction of young men and women within Beirut and converted the inhabitants of that country, who were previously pagans, to Christ.
It can be assumed that the appearance of St. George on horseback to protect the inhabitants from the snake, as well as the miraculous revival of the only ox in the life of the farmer, served as an occasion for veneration of St. George as the patron of cattle breeding and a protector from predatory animals.
In pre-revolutionary times on the feast day of St. George the Victorious, residents of Russian villages for the first time after the cold winter drove cattle to the pasture, having performed a moleben to the holy martyr with sprinkling of houses and animals with holy water. Day of the Great Martyr George in the people still called - "Yuryev Day", on this day, until the reign of Boris Godunov, the peasants could move to another landowner.
St. George - patron of the army. The image of St. George on the horse symbolizes victory over the devil - "the ancient serpent" (Rev. 12, 3; 20, 2). This image was included in the ancient coat of arms of the city of Moscow.