George the Great Martyr and Triumphant
Reading from the Synaxarion:
George, this truly great and glorious Martyr of Christ, was born of a father from Cappadocia and a mother from Palestine. Being a military tribune, or chiliarch (that is, a commander of a thousand troops), he was illustrious in battle and highly honoured for his courage. When he learned that the Emperor Diocletian was preparing a persecution of the Christians, Saint George presented himself publicly before the Emperor and denounced him. When threats and promises could not move him from his steadfast confession, he was put to unheard-of tortures, which he endured with great bravery, overcoming them by his faith and love towards Christ. 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 in Nicomedia.
His sacred remains 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.
Regarding this Icon: (From Monastery Icon’s) Renowned for his defense of all in need, Saint George is called “the Quick to Hear” in the Middle East by both Christians and non-Christians. An archetype of the victory of good over evil, this classic St George and Dragon icon shows the saint rescuing a princess from a ferocious dragon.
Very insightful accounting on the Saint whose memory is so widely remembered and celebrated today:
Reading from the Synaxarion:
Saint Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, was seized from his native Britain by Irish marauders when he was sixteen years old. Though the son of a deacon and a grandson of a priest, it was not until his captivity that he sought out the Lord with his whole heart. In his Confession, the testament he wrote towards the end of his life, he says, “After I came to Ireland – every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed – the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was so moved that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many at night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountain; and I would rise for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm.” After six years of slavery in Ireland, he was guided by God to make his escape, and afterwards struggled in the monastic life at Auxerre in Gaul, under the guidance of the ho ly Bishop Germanus. Many years later he was ordained bishop and sent to Ireland once again, about the year 432, to convert the Irish to Christ. His arduous labours bore so much fruit that within seven years, three bishops were sent from Gaul to help him shepherd his flock, “my brethren and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord – so many thousands of people,” he says in his Confession. His apostolic work was not accomplished without much “weariness and painfulness,” long journeys through difficult country, and many perils; he says his very life was in danger twelve times. When he came to Ireland as its enlightener, it was a pagan country; when he ended his earthly life some thirty years later, about 461, the Faith of Christ was established in every corner.
Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”
You can’t add much to this sage wisdom. but it does seem evident that we as humans and in our cultures are wont to follow such simple advice.
This Apostle, one of the Twelve, was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and was a compatriot of Andrew and Peter. He was instructed in the teachings of the Law, and devoted himself to the study of the prophetic books. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus called him to the dignity of apostleship, he immediately sought out and found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1.45). Having preached Jesus the God-man throughout many parts of Asia Minor, and having suffered many things for His Name’s sake, he was finally crucified upside down in Hierapolis of Phrygia.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not in sist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
“St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 12:27-31; 13:1-8”
My priest, Father Chris, preached a homily this past Sunday, entitled, “Sheep or Goat”. You can watch it by clicking the link here.
I added a comment that I would like to share. It is more meaningful if you watch the homily first. Here is my comment,
“Yesterday, I felt a similar situation in reverse. I lost my baptismal cross in the gym while working out. I notified the folks at the front desk. No, sorry, nothing reported. A bit later, one of the attendants came to me and presented me back my lost cross. I was overjoyed, and told him so, and then asked where it was found. He replied that a lady had spotted it and turned it in. I am not able to say thank you to her, nor do I know if she knows how wonderful it was to have it returned. But, hopefully, her blessing of this act of kindness, and the attendants for bringing it to me are significant. What a joy to be able to perform little and meaningful acts.”
I have only recently discovered Walter Williams, but he is so frank and clear and brilliant in his analysis, that I hope you find time to discover him as well. He recently wrote an article, “We Don’t Need Bad Law” which I find very compelling. Here is the quote I offer from that article,
“There’s a question about reputation that never crosses even the sharpest legal minds. Does one’s reputation belong to him? In other words, if one’s reputation is what others think about him, whose property are other people’s thoughts? The thoughts I have in my mind about others, and hence their reputations, belong to me.”There is also a great essay about the concept of blackmail linked in the article. Check it out here.
I am fascinated by names, words, etc. They all come from something. The First Lady of the US, shares her name with this pious woman from the 4th century. The other very interesting thing is the misunderstanding from most westerners that the Middle East and North Africa has always been populated as it is today. However, it is clear that this area was rife with Christians and the Christian faith. Many of our earliest Church zealots came from this region. In this case, from present day Tunis.
Reading from the Synaxarion:
Saint Melania the Younger, who was born in 388, was the grand-daughter of Saint Melania the Elder (see June 8). Her father Publicola was an Eparch of Rome. She was joined in wedlock to a husband and became the mother of two children, both of which she lost shortly thereafter. Thus, having agreed with her husband to pass the rest of their lives in abstinence and chastity, and taking her mother Albina with her, she went off to Africa. They ransomed 8,000 captives; furthermore, they built two monasteries – one for men and one for women – in the city of Tagaste, which was in the district of Tunis. After seven years they moved to Jerusalem. Thereafter Melania shut herself up in a small and narrow hermitage by the Mount of Olives, and wearing away her body with fasting and vigil, she reposed in 434.