The feast of MOR GEEVARGHESE SAHDO
- Mor Gewargis Sahdo (St. George the Martyr) is indeed a universal Saint whose
feast is observed in the East and the West. Very little is known of his life
and martyrdom. His historical existence, though sometimes disputed, is now
generally accepted by scholarship.
He came from a Cappadocian family and served in the army of the King of the
Persians, Dadianus. He was persecuted by the King for confessing faith in
Christ and refusing to worship idols. He was subject to horrendous tortures
and attained martyrdom. Before his death, Mor Gewargis is believed to have
effected many miracles and converted Alexandria, the wife of Dadianus (who
was also put to death). Centuries of embellishments to the narrative of his
life and martyrdom have made the task of recovering the historical St.George
rather arduous. The earliest reference to him belongs to the fourth century
and by the sixth century there was an important pilgrimage shrine dedicated
to the saint at Lydda (in Palestine). A very large number of Syriac Orthodox
Churches in the Middle East, Malankara, and all over the world are dedicated
to the memory of this saint.
The Acts of St. George (i.e., the story of his life) was first written in
Greek in the early fifth century. This early text exists today only in
fragments. The text was translated into Syriac in the middle of the fifth
century, only a few decades after the original Greek was composed. The
oldest Syriac manuscript of the Acts, preserved at the British Library, was
written around 600 A.D. This makes the Syriac version the earliest complete
witness to the text.
Most people associate St. George with the dragon. The dragon, however, does
not appear in early versions of the Acts, including the Syriac mentioned
above. Originally, the word 'dragon' was just
an epithet used of King Dadianus who is mentioned in the text. Thus, the
Syriac version calls the king the "asp-serpent Dadianus." The text developed
in later centuries (a usual phenomenon in hagiographic texts) and the dragon
appeared in texts belonging to the twelfth century and later. In the old
Syriac icon shown in the SOR web site, St. George is slaying a large snake,
rather than a huge dragon that we are accustomed to.
Link: - http://sor.cua.edu/Personage/Qadishe/MGewargis.html .
The feast of St.George is celebrated in the Syrian Orthodox churches on 23rd
April and in the Syrian Orthodox Church in East (present iraq) it is on
24th. But in the Syrian Churches of Malankara, the celebrations are mostly
in the month of May.
The most famous of the St.George's churches in Kerala are the Churches at
Edappally and Edathua (both Roman Catholic), Karingachira Church, Puthupally
Church etc. Here is enclosed the links to some of the famous St.George
Syrian Orthodox churches in Malankara.
1. Karingachira Church :-
http://sor.cua.edu/ChMon/Cochin/KaringachiraSGeorge.html (est. 722 AD)
2. Kallumkathra Church:-
3. Arakunnam Church:- http://www.arakunnamstgeorgechurch.org/
4. Perumpally Church:-
5. Nedumbasserry Church:-
6. Cheppaud Church :- http://www.stgeorgecheppaud.org/
7. Malecuriz Dayro:-
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