Saint George the Great Martyr and Trophybearer
Saint George the Trophybearer, 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. (The translation of the Saint's holy relics to the church in Lydda is commemorated on November 3)
His title "Trophybearer" comes from the idea is being victorious, receiving a trophy for efforts and success. His icon depicts this great Saint of the Church riding a large, white horse. The horse symbolizes both strength and purity - the power and perfection of the Christian faith itself. In slaying the dragon, a symbol for the Devil, St. George is able to save the virgin princess, the Church, from the Devil's clutches.
If April 23 falls on or before Great and Holy Pascha, the Feast of St. George is translated to Bright Monday.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As the Liberator of captives, as the defender of the poor, as the healer of the suffering, champion patron of Christian kings, O trophy-bearer and Great Martyr Saint George, intercede with Christ God that He may grant salvation to our souls.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Cultivated by God, you became manifest as an honorable tiller gathering for yourself the sheaves of virtue. For you sowed with tears but reaped with gladness; in the contest you competed with your blood and came away with Christ. By your intercessions, O Holy One, all are granted forgiveness of sins.