St. George the Great Martyr, the Trophy-bearer - Commemorated on April 23rd (or on Bright Monday if his feast falls during Great Lent)
(The text below is taken and rearranged from: http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101184, and the text in brackets from: http://www.goarch.org/special/saintgeorge/index_html)
The Holy Great Martyr George the Victory-Bearer, was a native of Cappadocia (a district in Asia Minor), and he grew up in a deeply believing Christian family. His father was martyred for Christ when George was still a child. His mother, owning lands in Palestine, moved there with her son and raised him in strict piety. When he became a man, St George entered into the service of the Roman army. He was handsome, brave and valiant in battle, and he came to the notice of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and joined the imperial guard with the rank of comites, or military commander.
Of the many miracles worked by the holy Great Martyr George, the most famous are depicted in iconography. In the saint's native city of Beirut were many idol-worshippers. Outside the city, near Mount Lebanon, was a large lake, inhabited by an enormous dragon-like serpent. Coming out of the lake, it devoured people, and there was nothing anyone could do, since the breath from its nostrils poisoned the very air. On the advice of the demons inhabiting the idols, the local ruler came to a decision. Each day the people would draw lots to feed their own children to the serpent, and he promised to sacrifice his only daughter when his turn came. That time did come, and the ruler dressed her in her finest attire, then sent her off to the lake. The girl wept bitterly, awaiting her death. Unexpectedly for her, St George rode up on his horse with spear in hand. The girl implored him not to leave her, lest she perish. The saint signed himself with the Sign of the Cross. He rushed at the serpent saying, "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." St George pierced the throat of the serpent with his spear and trampled it with his horse. Then he told the girl to bind the serpent with her sash, and lead it into the city like a dog on a leash. The people fled in terror, but the saint halted them with the words: "Don't be afraid, but trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him, since it is He Who sent me to save you." Then the saint killed the serpent with a sword, and the people burned it outside the city. Twenty-five thousand men, not counting women and children, were then baptized. Later, a church was built and dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos and the Great Martyr George.
The confessor replied, "Nothing in this inconstant life can weaken my resolve to serve God." Then by order of the enraged emperor the armed guards began to push St George out of the assembly hall with their spears, and they then led him off to prison. But the deadly steel became soft and it bent, just as the spears touched the saint's body, and it caused him no harm. In prison they put the martyr's feet in stocks and placed a heavy stone on his chest. The next day at the interrogation, powerless but firm of spirit, St George again answered the emperor, "You will grow tired of tormenting me sooner than I will tire of being tormented by you." Then Diocletian gave orders to subject St George to some very intense tortures. They tied the Great Martyr to a wheel, beneath which were boards pierced with sharp pieces of iron. As the wheel turned, the sharp edges slashed the saint's naked body. At first the sufferer loudly cried out to the Lord, but soon he quieted down, and did not utter even a single groan.
St George went on to become a talented officer and to amaze the world by his military exploits. He died before he was thirty years old. He is known as Victory Bearer, not only for his military achievements, but for successfully enduring martyrdom. As we know, the martyrs are commemorated in the dismissal at the end of Church services as "the holy, right victorious martyr...."
For more information on St. George and the Monasteries of Zographou and Xenophontos on Mount Athos, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/04/st-george-protector-of-holy-monasteries.html.
For the role of St. George in the life of St. Theodore Sykeote, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/role-of-st-george-in-life-of-st.html.
For some of the many Epithets which the faithful have given to the Saint, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/epithets-of-st-george-great-martyr.html.
For a story of St. George's help (among other Saints) in healing a small boy, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-went-to-christouli-and-panagitsa-high.html.
For various miracles of St. George the Great Martyr for Muslims, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/04/selected-miracles-of-st-george-trophy.html.
Liberator of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and champion of kings, O trophy-bearer, Great Martyr George, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Truly the Lord is risen!