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06 May 2018
Orthodox world celebrates the day of memory of the holy Great Martyr George

On May 6 (April 23) the faithful of the Orthodox Church celebrate the feast day of the holy Great Martyr George the Victorious, on the day of his reappearance

The Holy Great Martyr George lived in 284-305. During the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. He was the son of wealthy and noble parents who professed the Christian faith. When George was still a child, his father was tortured for the confession of Christ. Having received a brilliant education and distinguished by his strong physique, beauty and courage, the young man became one of the closest people to the emperor at the age of 20. But, honoring George for his outstanding bravery with the title of governor, Diocletian did not know what faith he was.

Icon of St.  George the Victorious in the iconostasis of the Orthodox church in Lod (Holy Land)
Photo by V. V. Shelgunov from the archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS
 
But how did this brilliant youth behave when the emperor planned to exterminate all Christians and at the same time replaced the practiced types of torture with more cruel, more cruel torments.

Learning that this inhuman decision can not be abolished, Saint George realized that the time had come that would serve to save his soul. As a Christian, he could not feel happy with the emperor-pagan. After distributing all the property to the poor and releasing the slaves to freedom, George arrived at the last meeting of the emperor with like-minded people and boldly stepped forward:

- How long have you, the king, and you, princes and advisers, committed evil deeds and pursue the innocent? You are mistaken, worshiping idols. The true God is Jesus Christ.

Everyone was surprised at George's bold speech.
    
The Tsar ordered the nobleman Magnitsia to ask the young man what kind of truth, which prompted George to such impertinent words.

"This truth is Jesus Christ himself, persecuted by you," answered the saint, "I am a servant of Christ my God, and came here to bear witness to the truth."

The enraged king ordered his squires to imprison St. George in the dungeon, to hammer his feet into the decks, and put a heavy stone on his chest. Having suffered torture with God's help, George answered the king when he began to persuade him to repent: "Do you think, King, that suffering will distract me from faith?" Most likely you will tire of torturing me, rather than suffering torment. "

After these words Diocletian ordered to bring a newly invented instrument of torture - a wheel dug with iron points. After the wheel, when everyone recognized the righteous as dead, suddenly there was a thunderclap and the words were heard: "Do not be afraid, George! I am with you. "George, healed by the Angel, himself descended from the wheel, glorifying God.

Observing the sufferings of the great martyr, the royal dignitaries Anatoly and Proto-Lion, as well as the queen of Alexander, saw a miraculous salvation and wanted to accept Christianity. Both the nobility for the confession of Christ the king ordered to be executed, the tsarina Alexander - to lock in the palace, and St. George to fall asleep lime for three days. On the third day the emperor ordered to dig up the bones of the martyr, thinking that he was burned in the ditch. But the servants who raked the lime found St. George unscathed and brought to the king.

"Tell me, George," Diocletian began, "where does this power come from and how do you use magic." I think you pretend to be a Christian to surprise everyone with your magic and to make yourself great.

"Tsar," replied George, "you only blaspheme God." Seduced by the devil, you are so deeply mired in the misconceptions of paganism that you call the wonders and spells the miracles of my God, committed in your eyes.

Diocletian ordered to put on his feet St. George's boots with hot nails inside. In this footwear the martyr was driven to the very dungeon with beatings and abuse. A friend of the Emperor Magnetsius advised Diocletian to turn to the famous Magician Athanasius. When the Magi came to the palace, the emperor said to him: "Or defeat and destroy the sorceries of George and make him submissive to us, or immediately deprive him of his magic wonders, and let him thus perish from the same cunning that he learned."

Athanasius promised to fulfill the king's wish. In the morning in court he showed the two vessels and said: "Bring the condemned here, and he will see the strength of our gods and my charms." If the madman drinks from the first vessel, "the sorcerer said," he will be completely subjugated to the king's will. he will die."

But, having drunk from both vessels, George remained unscathed. The Magician Athanasius, seeing the grace of God guarding St. George, himself believed and before all confessed Christ as the all-powerful God. For this the emperor ordered him to be executed.

St. George was then imprisoned again. Here people began to come to see him, who saw his miracles and turned to Christianity. Gold opened the prison doors to them, and for those coming in, the gloomy dungeon became the light of Truth, the source of the Word of God. Many for the confession of Christ were martyred. Among them are the holy martyrs Valery, Donat, Ferin.

After this the advisers of the king asked to condemn St. George, saying that he attracted to his prison a lot of people and his witchcraft turns from the pagan gods to the Crucified.

Then Diocletian ordered to bring St. George to the temple of Apollo and the last time he began to persuade him to sacrifice idols. Saint once again proved the impotence of the pagan gods, and then a crowd of angry pagans attacked him, demanding from the emperor the death of the condemned. Hearing the noise and screams, the queen of Alexander, Diocletian's wife, hurried to the Temple and rushed to George's feet with the words: "God of George, have mercy on me, for You are the true and all-powerful God!" The emperor, seeing his wife at the feet of the convict, asked in amazement: "What happened to you, Alexandra, and why do you join the sorcerer and sorcerer, shamelessly renouncing our gods?" Alexandra did not answer the king and turned away from him. An angry Diocletian immediately pronounced the death sentence to both.

The soldiers seized St. George and Alexander and led them out of town. Saint Alexandra, on her way to the place of execution, betrayed her spirit to the Lord. George, coming to the place of execution, prayed and gladly bowed his head to the sword April 23 (May 6) 305

According to tradition, St. George performed many feats. Of these, as the most glorious, the following is noted.

In the homeland of the saint, near the city of Beirut, there was a lake in which lived a huge and terrible snake. Leaving the lake, he devoured people and devastated the neighborhood. In order to propitiate the terrible monster, the inhabitants, on the advice of the priests, began casting lots to give their children a sacrifice to the serpent.

Finally, the turn came to the Tsar's only daughter. The girl, who was notable for her beauty, was led to the lake and left in the usual place. While the people from afar looked at the princess, expecting her death, - suddenly Saint. George on a white horse and with a spear in his hand. Seeing the snake, he sang himself with the sign of the cross and with the words "In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" rushed to the monster and hit him with a spear in the larynx. Then he told the girl to tie the snake belt and lead to the city. People, seeing the monster, began to run away in horror. But St. George held them back:

"Do not be afraid, but believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ: He has sent me to save you from the serpent." After these words, the saint killed a serpent, and the inhabitants burned a monster.
Seeing this miracle, 25,000 idolaters adopted Christianity.

3a victory over the serpent and for courage in suffering, St. George became known as the Victorious. The Holy Great Martyr George is considered the patron and protector of the soldiers. On icons is usually depicted sitting on a white horse and hitting the snake with a spear in the mouth.

With the adoption of Christianity (at the end of the 10th century), the veneration of St. George comes to Rus, and already as the Victorious.
Russian princes image of St. George was perceived and revered more as an image of the Victorious, who gives victory over enemies, while the peasants St. George was revered as an assistant in rural labor. "George" in Greek means "farmer", here are two church holidays dedicated to St. George, began and ended the agricultural year: April 23 / May 6 (the day of the execution of the saint) and November 26 / December 9 (consecration of the church in Kiev) .

Gradually for the Russian people the image of St. George begins to act as a national symbol. At first as a defender and "keeper" of Moscow, and then as patron of the entire Russian state.

During the reign of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich (the 17th century), the Russian emblem - a two-headed eagle with three crowns over the heads and an image of the warrior defeating the dragon on the chest is officially approved. Under Peter I (1672-1725), the rider begins to be called George the Victorious.

For the years of Soviet power the symbolism of the arms was changed, and in 1993 the image of St. George the Victorious again returned to the coat of arms of Moscow and Russia. At the present time, newly opened churches are being opened and new churches are being built in honor of St. George the Victorious; in Moscow, on Poklonnaya Hill, a new St. George's temple was built, in memory of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, where a part of the holy relics of St. George are kept.


Order of the Holy Great Martyr and Victorious George

founded on November 26, 1769 by Empress Catherine II, was intended to be awarded solely for military merit, as stated in the statute: "Neither the high breed nor the wounds received by the enemy give the right to be granted this order, but it is given only to those who distinguished themselves courageous deed. " He was also supposed to be handed over for serviceable service at least 25 years in officer ranks.
 
 
 
 

Signs of the Order of St. George are worn on the ribbon of flowers of the Russian state emblem (black eagle on a gold background) - three black and two yellow (orange) stripes, called the St. George's ribbon.

The Order of St. George had four degrees.

1 tbsp. - white enamel cross with expanding ends, with a gold border around the edges. In the middle, on a medallion, in a red enamel field is the image of Saint George on a horse, striking with a serpent's spear. On the reverse side of the medallion is a monogram of a saint: SG. He was wearing a shaggy band around his hip.

The star is a golden, rectangular (rhomboid). It was worn on the left side of the chest. In the central medallion of the star, on a golden or yellow field, the monogram of the saint: SG. Around the medallion, along the rim, on a black enamel background - the medal slogan "For Service and Courage" in gold letters.

2 tbsp. - a cross of the same size as the highest degree. Was worn around the neck, on a ribbon of 5 cm in width. The star is the same as for 1 tbsp.

3 tbsp. - a cross of a smaller size than 1 and 2 degrees. It was worn around the neck, on a tape 3.2 cm wide.

4 tbsp. - Order 34 x 34 mm., was worn in the buttonhole of the uniform on a tape with a width of 2.2 cm.

From 1816 to 1855 on the cross of the 4th century, handed to officers (in the army - for long service of 25 years, and in the Navy for 18 navigational campaigns), inscriptions were placed: "25 years" or "18 Campaigns". From 1833 to 1855 added the inscription: "20 Campaign" - for sailors who did not participate in the battles. Since 1856, the awards for long service in officers' ranks were transferred to the Order of St. Vladimir 4th century. and the Order of St. George was awarded only for the differences on the battlefield.

The St. George's Council (founded in 1782) met in Cesme at the Order Church, and from 1801 - in the St. George Hall of the Winter Palace. The Duma defined the rights to receive the Order for military feats by public discussion and awarded to the award by a majority of at least two thirds of the vote. In wartime, the Duma met at the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army to consider ideas of awarding the Order for distinctions in past battles. In 1849, the names of all the Knights of the Order were brought to the marble plaques of the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, and later the names of the new gentlemen were regularly entered there.

In the Catherine the Statute, for the first time for Russian legislation, the rules for the issue of pensions to the Knights of the Order of St. George were prescribed: "Special merit ... not only with these awards for the honor, but also to this we add to the senior gentlemen of each class annual pensions."

From 1876 to 1917 there was a schedule of medals for pensions, which provided, in addition to pensioners, higher degrees, the issuance to the Cavaliers of 3 st. - 50 pensions for 200 rubles and 4 st art. - 325 cavaliers for 150 rubles.

The Order of the Feast - November 26, the day of St. George the Victorious.

1 degree was awarded 25 times (23 awards and 2 entrances - Catherine II and Alexander 2), cavaliers of 2 tbsp. there were 124 people, the Cavaliers of 3 tbsp. - 640 and about 15 thousand knights of 4 tbsp. . For combat differences, more than 6,700 awards were given, for "25 years" service - over 7,300, for "18 campaigns" - about 600, for "20 campaigns" - 4 awards.

Since 1812, the fourth degree awarded 16 regimental priests, in addition, about 500 priests were awarded pectoral crosses on the St. George ribbon from the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty.
 
 

The Order of St. George was in the expanded sense of the complex of differences between officers, lower ranks and military units, it also included: the Golden George weapons, the St. George Cross badge and the medal "For Bravery", collective awards: St. George's banners and standards, St. George's trumpets.
 
Honoring St. George in the Holy Land


The Church of St. wlm. George the Victorious in Lod
© Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)

 
According to the tradition of the Jerusalem church, his relics were transferred to his homeland, to Lod (Lidda), and here he was buried. The tomb, which was the relics of the Great Martyr, is now located in the crypt of the Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist. George.

In the church itself there is a particle of the relics of St. George, as well as the chain, which was fastened to the Great Martyr.

Church in the Mt. George the Victorious in Lod is in the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church (Greek Patriarchate).


The interior of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George the Victorious in Lidda
© Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)


History

The first church on this site was built in the V-VII centuries, possibly on the foundation of an earlier church.

Despite the veneration of vmch. George by Muslims, the church in Lidda was destroyed by order of the Caliph al-Hakim in 1010.

The temple was restored by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomakh.

Destructive earthquakes in this region occurred in 1033 and in 1067/68. In 1071, Lydda was captured by the Seljuk Turks. However, in the 90's. XI century. the temple was still standing, which follows from the mention in Sevira ibn al-Mukaffa that the relics of the Great Martyr were under the main altar of the church.

Before the crusaders occupied Lydda (June 3, 1099), the church was destroyed by Muslims who, according to Wilhelm Tirsky, feared that its huge beams would be used to build siege equipment during the storming of Jerusalem.

In the XII century. The Crusaders rebuilt the church, but the exact date of construction is unknown.

In 1187, Lydda was captured by Salah-ad-Din, who in 1191 ordered the destruction of the church, but, apparently, it was not destroyed entirely, but only seriously damaged.

The church was restored by the English King Richard I the Lionheart.

In 1442, with the Egyptian sultan Zahir Safi-ad-Din Chakmak, the persecution of Christians broke out and the church was destroyed.

In 1517 in the temple, from which the altar part and the crypt survived, the right was renewed. worship service.

During the earthquake of 1837, the temple arch and sowing fell. apse.

In 1870, after a dispute between the Greeks and the Franciscans, the shrine was recognized as the possession of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church.

In 1871, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cyril II, addressed the appeal to the Russian Knights of the Order of St. George with a request for donations for the restoration of the St. George Church. With funds provided by the government of the Russian Empire, a new church was built, consecrated on Nov. 3. 1872

It included in its composition the central and northern apses of the 12th century temple, at the base of the village. which are Byzantine masonry. On the site of the southern apse and nave, a Muslim-owned garden is broken.

Church

The main basilica (47 × 24 m) had 3 naves and 3 apses.

The remaining part of the northern wall and part of the northern apse are located in the building of the modern church (1871).

To the south of the St. George Church there is a complex of buildings adjoining the western part of the southern wall of the main basilica. Part of this complex occupied the building of another, smaller 3-nave basilica (17 × 11 m) converted into a mosque.

On the eastern side of the small basilica, a small square structure (4 × 4 m) was later erected with a dome on a cylindrical drum. It is believed that originally there was a baptistery.

Relics

Part of the relics of St. George the Victorious is in a silver ark in the central side-chapel to the left of the royal gates under the glass.

At the entrance to the temple on the glass are worshiped by believers "holy bonds" - iron chains and chains, in which, according to the legend, the saint was chained in prison.

The holy ties in which was chained St. George the Victorious
© Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)
 
On the materials of the sites: "Yuryev Day", "Awards of Imperial Russia 1702-1917", Guide to Israel
See gallery of the church of St. inc. George the Victorious in Lod on the official portal of the Jerusalem branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)
 
 

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