The Holy Great-Martyr George This glorious and victorious saint was born in Cappadocia, the son of wealthy and virtuous parents. His father suffered for Christ, and his mother then moved to Palestine. When George grew up he entered the military, where he attained, in his twentieth year, the rank of tribune, and as such he was in the service of the Emperor Diocletian. When Diocletian began his terrible persecution of Christians, George came before him and courageously confessed that he was a Christian. The emperor had him thrown into prison and ordered that his feet be placed in stocks and that a heavy stone be placed on his chest. After that, the emperor commanded that George be tied to a wheel, under which was a board with large nails, and he was to be rotated until his whole body became as one bloody wound. After that, they buried him in a pit with only his head showing above the ground, and there they left him for three days and three nights. Then George was given a deadly poison to drink by a magician. But through all of these sufferings, George continuously prayed to God, and God healed him instantly and saved him from death, to the great astonishment of the people. When he also resurrected a dead man through his prayers, many accepted the Christian Faith. Among these were Alexandra, the wife of the Emperor Diocletian; the chief pagan priest; the farmer Glycerius; and Valerius, Donatus and Therinus. Finally the emperor commanded that George and his own wife Alexandra be beheaded. Blessed Alexandra died on the scaffold before being beheaded, and St. George was beheaded in the year 303 A.D. The miracles which have occurred over the grave of St. George are countless. Numerous are his appearances, both in dreams and openly, to those who, from that time to today, have invoked him and implored his help. Inflamed with love for Christ the Lord, it was not difficult for this saintly George, for the sake of this love, to leave all: rank, wealth, imperial honor, his friends and the entire world. For this love, the Lord rewarded him with a wealth of unfading glory in heaven and on earth, and with eternal life in His kingdom. In addition, the Lord bestowed upon him the power and authority to assist all those in afflictions and difficulties who honor him and call upon his name.
The Holy New Martyr Lazarus This new martyr Lazarus was by birth a Bulgarian from Gabrovo. As a young man he left the place of his birth and went to Anatolia. Lazarus tended sheep in the village of Soma. As a Christian, Lazarus provoked the wrath of the Turks against himself and was cast into prison by a certain agha. After prolonged tortures from inhuman tormentors, which Lazarus heroically endured out of love for Christ, this young martyr was killed on April 23, 1802, in his twenty- eighth year. The Lord received him into His eternal courts and glorified him in heaven and on earth. Countless miracles have occurred over the relics of St. Lazarus.
Hymn Of Praise Saint George The Great Martyr Saint George, on a tall horse, Saved the maiden from the dragon. On his lance was the sign of the Cross: The holy weapon, invincible. With this weapon, he slew the dragon, And returned the maiden alive and well to her father. With his goodness he indebted God Himself; With a wreath of glory God repaid him. Saint George, with a hero’s heart, Distributed all his wealth to the poor, And rejected the honor and glory of the world For the sake of the name of Christ the Victor. Sufferings he embraced, and to sufferings consented. His body was crushed for the sake of his soul’s salvation. With his goodness he indebted God Himself; With a wreath of glory God repaid him. George the Saint and Victory-bearer Walks even now with a cruciform spear. Justice he defends, injustice he punishes. Whoever invokes him with faith and tears, Whoever prays to him with a repentant soul– To his aid flies George the Saint. With his goodness George indebted God Himself; With a wreath of glory God repaid him.
Reflection In the course of an uprising in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Constantine, some embittered men broke off the nose and ears of the statue of the emperor in the city. Many flatterers quickly came to the emperor and with great disgust told the emperor how rebels had broken the nose and ears from his statue, and they asked the emperor to punish the transgressors with the most severe punishment. The great emperor felt his nose and ears with his hands and said to the flatterers: “I feel that my nose and ears are whole and undamaged!” The flatterers were ashamed and withdrew. With such royal magnanimity we all need to endure insults from others. Yet let us listen with particular caution to the accusations against others that our flatterers bring to us. We should always confess before God and before ourselves that we, because of our sins, deserve even greater insults than those that are perpetrated against us.
Contemplation Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
- How His Resurrection is the beginning of a new and bright day in the history of mankind;
- How His Resurrection is my peace and my strength, and the resurrection of my soul while I am still in the body.
Homily on stirring up pure minds “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (2 Peter 3:1). Do you see, brethren, the aim with which the Apostle Peter writes his epistle? To stir up in people their pure minds! The apostle considers this to be the main thing. And truly, it is the main thing. For if in every man the dormant pure mind were awakened, there would not be a single human soul left on earth who would not believe in Christ the Lord, who would not confess Him as the crucified and resurrected Savior of the world, and who would not contritely turn to repentance for sins committed under the influence of an impure mind. Nothing distances us more from the Gospel than an impure mind. What makes the mind of man impure? Sin. As milk, when poison is poured in, becomes completely poisonous, so the human mind, when impure sin enters into it, becomes completely impure. Every sin is impure; every sin makes the mind of man impure, muddy and poisonous. All knowledge which an impure mind possesses is impure, like a muddied and soiled image of an object in a muddied and soiled mirror. Unto the pure all things are pure (Titus 1:15), said Paul, the other chief apostle. While Adam had a pure mind in Paradise, all of his knowledge about the Creator and created things was clear and true. Sin darkened his mind and the minds of his descendants. That paradisal, pure mind of the sinless man is not dead; rather it is dormant in men who are under sin. It is necessary only to awaken it, and then it will unerringly lead man back to Christ. That is why the apostle takes the responsibility to awaken in men that original, pure, clear, discerning, God-given mind. O my brethren, let us assist the holy apostle–who was crucified upside down for his preaching–in awakening men. Let us help him, at least in whatever way it concerns us, and let each of us awaken our own pure mind. If every one of us does this, we will see that all of us have one mind. For a pure mind is one, while impure minds are legion! O resurrected Lord, awaken in us a pure mind, through the prayers of Thy Holy Apostle Peter. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.