This holiday commemorates the torture of St. George on the wheel for refusing to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. The day may also be known as ‘The Breaking on the Wheel of Holy Greatmartyr George’.
St. George was a cavalryman in the Roman army at Lydda, now in modern-day Israel. He was a Christian at a time when Rome was ruled by the emperor Diocletian, who was anti-Christian. In February 303, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and all other soldiers should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George renounced his Emperor’s edict and publicly claimed himself to be a Christian.
Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts, if he would make a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George refused and Diocletian ordered George’s execution for failing to obey his edict.
Before his execution, George had to endure various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords during which he was resuscitated three times.
George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23rd 303.
Saint George is revered in Georgia as he is believed to be the special protector of the nation and is even said to have appeared and fought alongside Georgian soldiers in key battles in the country’s history.
The majority of Georgian churches were built in his honour and, as a result, every day there is a feast of the great-martyr George somewhere in Georgia.
His bravery in face of the torture on the wheel came to be honoured in Georgia on November 10th in the Julian calendar, which is November 23rd in the western Gregorian calendar.
According to tradition, this day was established by St. Nino, the Enlightener of Georgia. Nino was a relative of George and retold his story of bravery and martyrdom to the local population.
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