St. George Icon (3)
Orthodox Icon of Saint George Great-martyr and Trophy-bearer (3). Copy of 13 cent. icon from the Monastery of Vatopaidi, Mount Athos Greece.
Commemorated April 23.
St. George is most commonly depicted in early icons wearing the armour of a Roman soldier. After the fall of Constantinople and the association of St. George with the crusades, he is more often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. About the same time Saint George began to be associated with St. Demetrius. The two saints are often portrayed together mounted upon horses. St. George is always depicted upon a white horse and St. Demetrius on a red horse (or a black horse where the pigment used has decayed).
His Life: Great Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer was a Christian Roman soldier became a commander in the imperial guard. He was a native of Cappadocia in Asia Minor imperial guard with the rank of commits, or military commander. When Diocletian started his persecutions against the Christians in 4th century, St. George declared himself to be a Christian and thus denied the false idols. He suffered many tortures because of his belief, but never considered renouncing it. Diocletian asked all his soldiers to pledge their allegiance to carry out the persecutions of Christians by making pagan sacrifices as proof of their loyalty. St. George refused to do so.
He stood face to face to Diocletain and confessed his belief in Christ as the only True God. The emperor ordered George taken to prison and the next morning had him brought before him for questioning. George never wavered and told Diocletain of his belief in the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven. The emperor then summoned the executioners to take the saint and have him cruelly tortured. He asked him to sacrifice to the gods to save himself. He refused and welcomed the chance to become a martyr for Christ.
After praying to God, he heard a voice from heaven say, "Do not fear, George, I am with you." With the help of Christ, the spiked wheel had no effect on St. George. Even though he had been severely tortured, the saint appeared before Diocletian unharmed with an angelic aura about him. Suddenly, two officers of the Roman army, Anatolios and Protoeon, appeared before Diocletian with two thousand soldiers. They admitted their belief in Christ. Dioceletain had them all executed.