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St George the Triumphant Martyr : One of the Emperor Galerius’s most trusted generals openly defied him.
St George the Triumphant Martyr

Based on ‘History of the Church’ by Eusebius of Caesarea, and traditions of the Church of St George in Lod, Israel.

At the end of the 3rd century, Christians of the pagan Roman Empire were comparatively free: they built churches, founded schools, and established networks of charity and goodwill that the authorities both envied and feared.

IT was on 24th February 303 that Galerius issued an edict that the Christians’ churches should be demolished and their Scriptures burned, and that they should sacrifice to the traditional gods of Rome or face execution.*

Many died courageously but unknown; others received the most bitter kind of publicity, when the authorities declared they had capitulated even though they had not.

But as Galerius sat in Nicomedia going through the army lists, weeding out every Christian so the rest could be trusted to enforce his law, one of his highest-ranking generals (the son of an old friend) ripped the edict from the place where it was posted in the city, and tore it to shreds in the street.

The brave officer was summarily executed for his defiance, along with Anthimus, the town’s bishop. His body was taken to Lod in Israel, his birthplace, and there he was laid to rest in a church built in his honour: the Church of St George.**

* At this time, there were four Emperors governing the Roman world: Diocletian, the most senior, together with Maximian, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus. The action in this story takes place in Nicomedia (now İzmit, Turkey) map and Lydda (now Lod, Israel) map.

** The Church commemorates the martyrdom of St George on 23rd April, and the translation of his relics to Lod on 3rd November.

Based on ‘History of the Church’ by Eusebius of Caesarea, and traditions of the Church of St George in Lod, Israel.

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Picture: © OneArmedMan, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain View original
The tomb of St George the Triumphant Martyr, in the church dedicated to him in Lod (Lydda), Israel. St George is, by a custom reaching back to the Middle Ages, also the Patron Saint of England.
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