Saturday, June 25, 2016

Holy New Martyr George of Krini (+ 1823)

St. George of Krini (Feast Day - June 25)

Saint George was born to pious and wealthy parents in the province of Attaleia (Antalya) in Asia Minor. On their property, they even had a church built dedicated to Saint Katherine.

One day when George was an infant child and was playing near his home, he was observed by Aga Brusali, the governor of the area, who wanted to take young George as his own, for he lacked a male child. George was therefore renamed Mehmed, raised by the governor, and when he came of age given to his daughter in marriage, with whom he bore a son.

After this the true parents of George persuaded a fellow Orthodox Christian named Maria, who was a servant in the home of the Aga, to reveal to George his true origin and how he came to be brought up in the home of the Aga and become a Muslim.

When Maria told George, he was deeply moved by his true origins. He therefore decided that he and Maria would pretend to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, but instead they went to the Holy Land. After two years there, George decided to go to Krini (Cesme) in Asia Minor, where he married an Orthodox Christian named Helen Mavrogiannis.

Meanwhile the Greek Revolution had broken out, and the Ottomans had slaughtered nearly the entire population of Chios, which is across from Krini. Krini was used as a shipping area to send irregular Ottoman troops to Chios, and George took advantage of this situation. Because of his knowledge of Turkish he became a groom to Aga Suleiman the governor, and later he heard that his former father-in-law, Aga Brusali, was coming to Krini with troops to put down the revolutionaries.

Maria warned George of Aga Brusali's coming and urged him to flee, but George, who secretly wanted to die a martyr, told her that he was going to take advantage of the situation. He therefore accompanied Aga Suleiman to the government building, helped him dismount from his horse and held on to his mount until his return. Aga Brusali, who was in the government house, happened to look out and saw his son-in-law, becoming furious at Aga Suleiman, seeing his son-in-law in such a lowly position.

George then entered the building and stood before his father-in-law, who said to him: "Mehmed, what is the reason you used guile and deceit to leave your home? Didn't you feel sorry for your wife? Didn't you even feel sorry for your son?"

To this George responded: "You are mistaken. I am not Mehmed, but George, and I wish to die an Orthodox Christian."

"Infidel," responded the Aga, "don't you bear the badge [of circumcision] since infancy? Havn't I brought you up as my son and given you to my daughter, and so many other good things, and now you tell me I am mistaken?"

George answered: "Yes, you are mistaken. Because you did not give birth to me, nor have I known you as a father, nor am I named Mehmed, but George, an Orthodox Christian."

In saying this, the Aga had George imprisoned and beaten, hoping this would change his attitude.

Now there was a preacher in the area named Father George, who found out about George and asked the local leaders of the Greek Orthodox community to send two fellow Orthodox Christians to jail for allegedly owing money. In this way he could communicate with George in prison through them and give him moral support and Holy Communion.

In prison George was tormented by having his feet placed in stocks and a heated iron device placed on his head, among other things. George bore all this torments with steadfastness of faith and courage. Hearing that his death by hanging was imminent, he requested that Father George bring him Holy Communion quickly.

The next day George was taken outside to the house of the prominent Orthodox Christian named Pantelakes Pharmakis. He was given a last chance to return to Islam, but George refused. Then with the noose around his neck, he turned East and prayed: "Lord, remember me in Your Kingdom." He was then hanged from the wall of the house of Pantelakes, on June 25, 1823.

That night, a bright light shined on the body of George. This caused the Turks to order his body be taken down immediately, and they forced some Jews to drag his body to the sea, and they threw it in the water.

When the body of George was thrown into the sea, a ship captained by Eliax Sklavounes docked in the harbor flying an Austrian flag. Hearing the splash, the captain ordered a life-boat lowered, and the body was recovered. In the morning, with favorable tide and wind, the captain sailed for Russia, where he handed the body of the Martyr over to Orthodox Christians who buried him with honor.

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