Who was Saint George?

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

While walking through Old Tbilisi, we found St. George Church, and we met Father Michael.

Georgians probably are called Georgians for two reasons. In Greek, the word Georgia means “people of the land,” and Georgians indeed feel a special attachment to the land between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The second reason is that theyy revere St. George.

From Wikipedia

This 15th Century plaque shows the myth of St George slaying a dragon. The plaque is in the National Art Museum of Georgia. Of course, the dragon slaying story is a myth. The true story of George, however, is not a myth.

From Wikipedia, I learned that George was probably born to a noble Christian family in Syria. Like his father, he became a soldier. By his late 20s, George was stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia (in today’s Turkey). Nicomedia was the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire until 330, when the capital was moved to Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). In 302, a Roman emperor issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested. George, however, objected.  George argued with the emperor, who was upset because he didn’t want to lose a key soldier. But George forced his hand by loudly renouncing the emperor’s edit. In front of many soldiers, George claimed to be a Christian who worshipped Jesus Christ. The emperor tried to convert George and even offered him gifts of land, money, and slaves if he would make a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George refused, knowing he would be executed. George gave away his wealth to the poor. Then Romans tortured George, including using a wheel of swords to cut him. He was beheaded in 303.

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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