April 23, 2023

Saint George and the Lord That He Longed For

 By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

There is a moving snapshot in the life and martyrdom of the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer, which I really say often but is so important and so telling.

It says in the life of Saint George that among the many tortures endured by this Martyr, this brave Martyr, this diamond of Christ and the Church, a young lad of 20-22 years, they led him to the stadium with a crowd of people who were shouting and saying different things. And what did they do?
They took iron shoes which had nails in them. Think about this, how sometimes a small stone gets into our shoe and we can't walk, it hurts us, we want to take it out, we can't, it's very painful and annoying. He had nails in his iron shoes and they put them in the fire and made them so fiery hot, says his biography, that they became one with the fire. Those shoes were completely red-hot.

And they brought horses, Arabian horses, that run fast, and they tied them together. Then they put on the red-hot shoes of the martyr George with these nails and tied him behind the horses. And the horses started to run and he had to either run or if he fell down he would be broken into a thousand pieces, they would tear him apart in the street with this pace and the speed of the horses.

And his biography says, "The crowd shouted against George and screamed and made noises." So think of that atmosphere!

"And the brave martyr of Christ, George," says the synaxarion, "with much eagerness ran saying to himself: "Run, George, to receive your longed-for Lord."

He had before him, not the crowd, not the horses, not the malice of men but the Lord that he longed for. He ran so fast that he overtook the horses. Not feeling the pain at all. Didn't it hurt? Of course it hurt. Wasn't he feeling it? Certainly! He wasn't unconscious, he wasn't a ghost, he was human. But what was it that annihilated the pain? The Crucified Christ. He annihilated his own pain. He gave him the power not to save his life but to get what he wanted, to shame those who despised the power of Christ. Thus, running to receive the longed-for Lord, having Christ before him everywhere, he was able to endure all the tortures and entered the kingdom of God.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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