Saint George, sometimes called “the Trophy-bearer,” was born in the province of Cappadocia, Asia Minor (Turkey), in the third century and raised as a Christian. About age 20, he joined the Roman army under the emperor Diocletian, and soon showed himself to be a skilled and talented soldier. He rose in the ranks of the military, and the pagan government became uneasy that a Christian held such a position of power.
In the year 303, the Emperor Diocletian commanded that all soldiers offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. George publicly refused, declaring he was a Christian and would worship Jesus Christ alone. George's father was a high-ranking officer, and Diocletian privately tried to persuade George to change his mind. When he refused, the emperor handed him over to unimaginable tortures, and George held fast until the end. His body was returned to his home town, and the Christians there immediately began to venerate him as a martyr.
Still counted among the greatest martyrs, Saint George is venerated by nearly the entire Christian world. His feast is celebrated on April 23. This icon was painted by Athanasius Clark.
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