Sunday, April 18, 2010

Epithets of St. George the Great Martyr

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

St. George the Trophy-bearer, the Great Martyr - Commemorated on April 23rd (
Epithets of St. George the Great Martyr (amateur translation)
We have the practice of giving various epithets to our Saints, from reverence or from some miracle, or from some other reason. The Most-Holy Theotokos surpasses all the Saints in the epithetics which the faithful give Her. Here we compile and describe some of the epithets of St. George from various places.

In Ofi of Pontos, in olden times they called the Saint “St. Aeris”. Also, in Pontos, the Turks called him “Aerts O Zanton”, in other words, St. George “O Trellos” [the crazy person], because he would torture them by afflicting their minds.

In Thrace they call him “Arape” or “Arakleiano” (“Herakleiano”), because his miraculous icon is in Herakleia of Propontidos. “Arape” because the Saint appears black in this icon, which is carved from black rock or hard wood.

In Theseio, they called him St. George “Akamate”, because the Turks did not allow them to serve Divine Liturgy in the church except for on his feast, April 23rd.

The older generations would refer to him as “Afente” [Master or Boss] St. George.

In Kastoria especially, but also in other places, he is known as St. George “O Gorgos” [The Speedy]. This is because he is a very fast Saint to help those who call upon him, as he is called in his hymns: the most-speedy help, the speedy visitation, O speedy protector.

In Crete he is very well known as St. George “O Diasoritis” and he is associated with the former worship of Dia (“Dios-ierou”, or priest of Dia)

["As in the case of the above mentioned Cypriot icon, this epithet is probably of toponymic character and derives from the antique name of Ortaköy, or, according to another version, from the name of the monastery on Amorgos Island within the Cyclades. The expression Diasoritis is usually linked to the composition modelled on the image from the monastery, where the saint is presented frontally, from the waist up, with a lance in his right hand and a round shield in his left." (]

Another eponym of his is “Dysouritis”, because he heals dysuria. A fresco from the Monastery of Xenophontos bears the inscription St. George the “Dysourite”.

On Imbros we have St. George “ton Zouro”, because he heals zoura, tuberculosis, and marasmus, to those who leave their rags in his chapel.

St. George is often called “Wonderworker”, “Trophy-bearer”, or “The Great”. He is called thus from his unspeakable miracles which he works for those who call upon him in faith. Furthermore, because he won many trophies, in other words victories and triumphs in the Roman Emperor as an officer. But chiefly in the Church of Christ he triumphs against every evil and conquered the devil. And he is called “The Great” because he is perceived as the greatest and chief of the champions and Martyrs.

In Kaso he is named “St. Kallares”, and elsewhere “St. Kavalares”, because he is a Saint that rides a horse.Others call him St. George “Kappadoke”, because Cappadocia was the home of his father. He is also called “Palaistinos”, from his mother's homeland of Palestine. In Chios and Limne there is a church of St. George “Katadote”. There the Christians gathered to plan for the revolution againt the Genoans. Someone, however, betrayed them and they were all slaughtered.

In Pringkipo he is called “Koudounas”, because on his icon people hang bells, symbols of insanity, which all believe he will heal them of. And there if one wants to say that someone is not well, he says: “he is for the Bell.”

On his feast on November 3rd [The dedication on the church of the Saint in Lydda] he is named “tou Krasa”, or “tou Methyste”, because on that day they open the new bottles of wine.

On Cyprus he is called St. George “tou Sporou”, or elsewhere “tou Sporare”, because from that day begins the sowing of seeds or weed by the farmers.

In Psomathia of the City [of Constantinople] there is a church on the Saint, and in the outer courtyard there is a great cypress which burned in 1782. From this they called the Saint “Kyparissa”. In 1882 because of this story, Patriarch Constantine planted a new cypress.

In many areas the Saint is perceived as the protector of fishermen and they continually call on him to help them in fishing. And it doesn't go well, they call him “Paximadoklefte” [Bread-stealer].

In an area of Messenias called Giannitsa, near the Saint's church it appears that there are traces of horse footprints which people believe are from his horse, and because of this they call him “Petalote”.

In various places he is called St. “Stratego” [Soldier] for the position which it appears he had. In Crete when at one point they built a church to him, some went to fish to pay the workers. And they caught so many fish that they named his church St. George “tou Psaropiaste” [The Fish-catcher].

On the Holy Mountain there is a kelli named St. George “tou Phaneromenou” [The Revealed-one]. It is a kelli far from Karyes. 200 years ago, one night, pirates went to rob the two old monks who were staying there. A young man opened to them in kindness and brought them to the archontariki, and said that he would call the Elder. The robbers waited for a while, and because they didn't see anyone they began to steal. However, they then felt that they were invisibly bound. From they shouts, they awoke the Elders who saw them. When they learned what had occurred, they brought the icon of St. George from the church and the thieves recognized the young man. And immediately they fell down and venerated the Saint in repentance. One of them went and lived in asceticism in Karoulia, where he built a chapel of St. George. After this miracle the kelli took the name: St. George “Phaneromenos”.

Many times they give the Saint the name of the founders of the church, e.g. St. George “O Machairas”, or St. George “O Trachys”, and both of these churches are in Naxos. The one was opened by the Machairadon family, the other by a family named Trachy. In Constantinople there is a church of St. George “O Agridianos”, while on Chios they call him “Pezostrato” or “Ketoktono”.

And places have given him many other eponymns. These are just a few examples.
(amateur translation of Greek text from:

"In the medieval romances, the lance with which St George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, named after the city of Ashkelon in Israel...

It is singular that the Moslem Arabs share this veneration for St. George, and send their mad people to be cured by him, as well as the Christians. But they commonly call him El Khudder —The Green—according to their favorite manner of using epithets instead of names. Why he should be called green, however, I cannot tell—unless it is from the colour of his horse. Gray horses are called green in Arabic." [St. George is typically depicted on a light colored horse, while St. Demetrios is depicted on a red horse.] A possible explanation for this colour reference is Al Khidr, the erstwhile tutor of Moses, gained his name from having sat in a barren desert, turning it into a lush green paradise."

It is clear that St. George is one of the most beloved Saints of the Church, and as mentioned above, he hastens to help whoever calls upon him in faith. In closing this post about some of the epithets which the faithful have applied to this great Saint out of devotion and thanks to God, I would add that the Apolytikion of the Saint could be viewed as a series of praises or epithets of the Saint:

As the liberator of captives,
and the defender of the poor,
physician of the sick
and champion of kings,
O Trophy-bearer, Great Martyr George,
intercede with Christ God to save our souls.

For the life of St. George with many icons from the Saint's life, see the previous post here:

For more on St. George as the protector of the Monasteries of Zographou and Xenophontos of the Holy Mountain, see:

Icon St. George the Great Martyr holding his sacred head; the inscription by St. George roughly reads: "Behold what the lawless have done, behold my head cut-off for You", while Christ's scroll reads: "I see it, O Martyr, and bestow on you a crown". (

Kontakion of St. George the Trophy-bearer
When you were tilled by God, you proved yourself clearly to be a very worthy tiller of piety, for you had gathered in the sheaves of virtues for yourself. Having sowed the seeds of tears, you now reap the rejoicing; contending to the point of blood, you won Christ as your trophy. And by your intercessions you, O Saint, provide forgiveness of trespasses unto all.
Longing to be with Christ the King who had laid down His life for the life of the world, George the soldier, the Great, hastens to die for Him. With divine zeal in his heart, he presents himself voluntarily. Let us with faith therefore extol him, as our fervent protector, as a glorious servant of Christ, as one who clearly imitates his Master and entreats Him to provide forgiveness of trespasses unto all.
St. George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer (
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!


Anonymous said...
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Thomas said...

St. George is also the official patron saint of Moscow (as well as St. Daniel the Stylite and now St. Matrona) and his icon depicting him slaying the dragon forms part of the official city emblem. It appears on many signs and even on the official uniforms of some civil servants.

Your blog is terrific. I just found it looking for an image of the Prophet Zacharias and St. Elizabeth to help answer a question my daughter had about St. John the Baptist. Thank you very much for your effort.

May God bless you and preserve you in this labor.


Agioi_Anargyroi said...

Thank you for this information.

This specific post obviously contains mostly Greek information, as it was primarily translated from a Greek post. However, St. George is beloved throughout the world, so I'm sure there is plenty of information about the local veneration of the Saint throughout the world. If anyone has more of such information, please share.

May God bless you too, and Christ is risen!

Katerina said...

Christ Is Risen!
Blessed Feast of the Holy Martyr George to you.