Hierodeacon Rafael Misiaoulis, Theologian
A prominent officer in the Roman army, Saint George enjoyed the favor of the Emperor Diocletian because of his bravery and abilities. Publicly, and in front of the emperor himself, he opposed the latter’s decision to launch a persecution against Christians, boldly confessing that he himself believed in Christ, whilst knowing full well what the consequences of his confession would be.
He believed in Christ so firmly that he preferred to be known as a friend of his, even though this would make him an enemy of the emperor. He believed in Christ and preferred his love, even if this meant that the world would hate him. He believed that people come, and go, together with their desires and orders, but that the will of God lasts forever and that those people abide with him who observe this will and apply it in their life, even if this requires sacrifices, large or small; even if this requires martyrdom, as in the case of Saint George, whom we honor today.
We have to know and believe that the most important thing of all is Christ’s love. He’s the one we have to please, not other people; he’s the one we have to delight with our life, as did the Great Martyr Saint George, because this choice of ours, this desire to please Christ- no matter how many difficulties it involves in the short term- is, in the end, the safest choice.
George drew his strength from the risen Savior, Christ, and the immortality radiating from his cross and the grave, with which he clothed our human nature. This event of the resurrection of Christ was the leaven which raised a host of martyrs for the Church.
Saint George the Trophy-Bearer preferred martyrdom to life as a pagan. He chose real freedom over slavery. We, too, must also choose the true God over the idols which are all around us and promise us ephemeral and fleeting pleasures. Being steadfast in the Orthodox faith and tradition is an important component in this.
May we have his intercessions and, in these wretched times in which we live, times of atheism and doubt regarding Orthodoxy, may he give us the strength to confess Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.