Beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God and Only Savior Jesus Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
Let us who have beheld, the Resurrection of Christ, worship our Holy Lord Jesus, Who is alone without sin. We worship Thy Cross, O Christ, and praise and glorify Thy Holy Resurrection. For Thou art our God, and we know none other beside Thee, and we call upon Thy Name. Come, all ye faithful, let us worship Christ's Holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross, joy has come to the whole world. We praise His Resurrection, and forever glorify the Lord. He endured the Cross for us, and by death destroyed Death.
Jesus, having risen from the grave, as he foretold, has given to us eternal life and the great mercy.
THE HOLY AND GLORIOUS GREAT MARTYR GEORGE THE TROPHY-BEARER
Saint George, this truly great and glorious Martyr of Christ, was born in Cappadocia, the son of rich and God-fearing parents. His father was also from Cappadocia and suffered for Christ. His mother was from Palestine. When St. George grew up, he went into the army, in which he rose, by the age of twenty, to the rank of tribune. Being a military tribune, or chiliarch (that is, a Commander of a thousand troops), he was illustrious in battle and highly honored for his courage. When he learned that the pagan Roman emperor Diocletian was preparing a persecution of the Christians, Saint George presented himself publicly before the emperor and denounced him. He confessed the following: "I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting in Him, I have come among you voluntarily, to bear witness concerning the Truth." "What is Truth?" one of the dignitaries asked, echoing the question of Pontius Pilate. The Saint replied, "Christ Himself, Whom you persecuted, is Truth. When threats and promises could not move him from his steadfast confession, he was put to unheard-of tortures i.e., his feet were placed in the stocks and a heavy weight placed on his chest. After that, the emperor ordered that he be bound on a wheel, under which was a board with great nails protruding, and thus be turned. He then had him buried in a pit with only his head above the ground, and left there for three days and nights. Then, through some magician, he gave him deadly poison, but in the face of all these tortures Saint George prayed unceasingly to God, and God healed him instantly and saved him from death, to the great amazement of the people. He endured these sufferings with great bravery, overcoming them by his faith and love towards Christ. When he also raised a dead man to life by his prayers, many embraced the Christian faith.
When the emperor asked what sort of power was helping him, Saint George said, "Do not imagine that it is any human power which keeps me from being harmed by these torments. I am saved only by calling upon Christ and His Power. Whoever believes in him has no regard for tortures and is able to do the things that Christ did" (St. John 14:12). Diocletian asked what sort of things that Christ had done. The Martyr replied, "He gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the lame, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, and raised the dead."
Two illustrious officials, Sts Anatolius and Protoleon, who were secretly Christians, openly confessed Christ. Immediately, without trial, they were beheaded with the sword by order of the emperor.
By the wondrous signs that took place in his contest, he guided many to the knowledge of the Truth, including Queen Alexandra, wife of Diocletian, and was finally beheaded in 296 A.D. other sources say, 303 A.D. in Nicomedia.
His sacred relics were taken by his servant from Nicomedia to Palestine, to a town called Lydda, the homeland of his mother, and then were finally transferred to the church which was raised up in his name. (The translation of the Saint's holy relics to the church in Lydda is commemorated on November 3rd.
Through the centuries Saint George the Great Martyr has shown himself to be a swift and present helper to all who call on him with faith, whether on land or sea, to the uttermost ends of the earth; yet so many wonders (miracles) have been worked at his tomb in Lydda (the present-day Lord), that when Palestine was in the hands of the Muslims, they took half of his church and turned it into a mosque, which may still be seen to this day, dedicated in his honor and testifying to the abundant power of his intercession. Also are his appearances in dreams to those who, thinking of him, have sought his help, from that time up to the present day. Consumed by love for Christ, it was not difficult for Saint George to leave all for this love--his status, wealth and imperial favor, his friends and the whole world. For this love, the Lord Christ rewarded him with a wreath of unfading glory in heaven and on earth, and with eternal life in His Kingdom. The Lord further endowed him with the power to help in need and distress all who honor him and call on his holy name.
Saint George is often called Wonderworker, Trophy-bearer, or the Great. He is called the first from his numerous miracles which he works for those who call upon him in faith. The second because he won many trophies, in other words victories and triumphs in the Roman Empire as an officer. But chiefly in the Church of Christ he triumphs against every evil and conquers 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 Saint Kavalaris (the Horseman), because he is a Saint that rides a horse.
On Mount Athos there is a monastic cell named Saint George tou phaneromenou (the Revealed One). It is a cell far from Karyes, 200 year ago, one night, pirates went to rob the two old monks who were staying there. A young man opened to them in kindness and was brought to the leader, and he 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, then they felt that they were invisibly bound. They shouted, and they awoke the fathers who saw them bound. When they learned what had occurred, they brought the holy icon of Saint George from the church and the thieves recognized the young man. 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 dedicated to Saint George. After the miracle the cell took the name: St. George Phaneromenou.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Great Martyr. Fourth Tone
Liberator of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and champion of kings, O trophy-bearer Great Martyr George, interceded with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion Hymn. Fourth Tone
Having been cultivated well by the Lord God, as the most honored cultivator of piety thou has now gathered sheaves of virtues for thyself; for, as thou sow with tears, thou dost reap with rejoicing; with thy blood didst thou contest and thou now hast received Christ. And by thine intercessions, O Saint George, thou grantest all the forgiveness of trespasses.
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God