Wednesday, April 23, 2014

St George (280 - 303)

George was probably born in Nicomedia, during the late third century.Both his parents were Christians from noble families of Anici. Thus George was raised with Christian beliefs. At the age of 14, George's father Geronzio a tribune in Emperor Diocleations Army passed away. A few years later, George's mother, Policronia, died.

George presented himself to the Emperor desiring a career in the military. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as his father had been one of his finest soldiers.
By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedeia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. George 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 Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George refused.

Recognizing George would not renounce his faith Diocletian condemned him to death. Before his execution George gave his wealth to the poor. George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where he was soon honored as a Christian martyr.

He became the patron of England in the late Middle Ages. In old plays and in art St. George is the slayer of the dragon; The Golden Legend did much for the extension of the tale. The Red Cross Knight of Edmund Spenser's Faƫrie Queene is St. George and stands for the Church of England. St. George's Cross appears in the Union Jack.

living water reprint from 2009

No comments: