St. George Greek Orthodox Church

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The stories of St. George are greatly exagerated in many cultures over the earth. However, many historians believe the Greek representation is the closest to actual fact. From the writings of Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia of noble, Christian parents and on the death of his father, accompanied his mother to Palestine, her country of origin, where she had land and George was to run the estate. St. George lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Dioceletian in the third century and partially into the fourth and held an important post in the Roman army. St. George served in the legions of Rome, becoming a fearless officer and highly respected leader of men.

Dioclesian was a great persecutor of Christians (from about 302) and when the persecutions began George put aside his office and complained personally to the Emperor of the harshness of his decrees and the dreadful purges of Christians. St. George resigned his commission in the Roman army rather than participate in any of the pagan rituals expected of the soldiers. He also resented the merciless persecution of the Christians, whose ranks he joined in a total committment to Jesus Christ.

The origin of the legends of St. George, which is very well known, came originally from the way in which the Greek Church honoured George. They venerated him as a soldier saint and told many stories of his bravery and protection in battle. The one story that is most famous involves the famous dragon, with which he is invariably portrayed. According to legend, a pagan town was being terrorised by a dragon. The locals kept throwing sheep to it to placate it, and when it still remained unsatisfied, they started sacrificing some of the citizenry. Finally the local princess was to be thrown also to the beast, but St. George came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair princess. At this, the townsfolk converted to Christianity.

Because of his defiance to the Emperor, it is certain that St. George was imprisoned and put through unspeakable tortures, which he bravely endured. He would not recant his faith, however, and the following day he was dragged through the streets and beheaded in Nikomedia, a town in Asia Minor. His courage gave heart to the many converts for which he was responsible and his defiant spirit lingered on to inspire Christians to greater effort in behalf of the Savior, despite the great danger involved.

The Emperor Constantine, some years later, erected the Church of St. George in his memory, setting a precedent for many other churches which were to be erected in his memory in the years to come. St. George symbolizes the struggle against paganism and the never-ending combat between good and evil. In the roster of soldiers who have become Christian saints, the name of St. George leads all the rest.