November 3, 2014

Holy New Hieromartyr George of Neapolis (+ 1797)

St. George of Neapolis (Feast Day - November 3)

Saint George, the New Hieromartyr of Christ, lived in Neapolis of Asia Minor (Nev-Sechir in Turkish) in the eighteenth century. He was a priest at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos and served his flock with righteousness and holiness as a true servant of the Most High. Gifted with the qualities of love and meekness, brotherly love and forbearance, humble and spotless was his support and consolation of the Greek Christians who then lived under the yoke of the Turks. As an angel on earth the divine George willingly served his fellow men cultivating the divine gifts and pleasing God.

In the year 1797 he was invited to the village of Malakopi, located within six hours from Neapolis, to serve at some great feast and to bless their pious Christians, because their priest was ill, or, in the opinion of others, was hiding from the fury of the Hagarenes [Turks]. The elder George gladly accepted the invitation without considering the suffering and above all the risks.

Mounting his shabby donkey, he proceeded willingly. As he approached near Malakopi, suddenly at Kobia Dere, which is translated as “ravine”, he experienced a wild attack by Turkish shepherds, who angrily fell on him with an indescribable fury. They robbed him, stripped him naked, and in the end they gave him a martyric death, cutting off his honorable head. They left his body, naked and bloodied, with his head in an adjacent canyon, but his soul flew near to his Lord to be numbered among the Venerable Ones and the Hieromartyrs.

Four days passed without the holy priest reaching Malakopi, but also not returning to Neapolis. Concerned citizens of Neapolis went in search of him. They found his holy body and his honorable head and lamented and wept over his horrible death. A shepherd hastily buried him, fearing the fury of Hagarenes. Above his grave a stone bore the simple inscription: “The Priest George”.

Some time passed, until one night the Holy Hieromartyr appeared in a vision to a pious widow relating to her what happened and urging her to inform the Mayor to look to find the location in which he was buried. The woman did not give importance to it, but when after a few days the dream was repeated, she was fearful and did what the Saint asked. Without delay the pious citizens of Neapolis, led by a priest named Neophytos, son also of priest Vasilios, a fellow parish priest of the Saint, hastened and excavated that shallow quickly dug grave. Oh, the miracle! The relic of the Saint remained whole and incorrupt spreading heavenly fragrance and grace! After they venerated it with reverence and awe, they placed it in a wooden casket and carried it to the home of Fr. Neophytos, according to the desire of the Saint himself, and kept it in a cell.

There many came, locals and foreigners, to venerate the Saint and receive blessing from his venerable relic. Miracles began to occur. The sick and disabled were healed, childless couples bore children, spiritual illnesses disappeared, and further, during drought the citizens of Neapolis fled to the Saint, and they shortly after saw the blessed rain fall strongly. All confessed how miraculous Saint George was shown to be!

In 1924, with the exchange of populations, the Greeks of Cappadocia left for free Greece, each taking with him whatever he considered most precious. The then priest of the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Archimandrite Ignatios, perceiving his first responsibility to safely transfer the miraculous and incorrupt relic of Saint George, brought it from the shore of Mersinis by steamer to Attica. During the journey they had very rough seas, but they were lulled with a miracle of the Saint.

In Attica the sacred relic was handed over to citizens of Neapolis, who placed it with reverence in the Church of Saint Eustathios in New Neapolis, Perissos. Since then countless are the miracles and the healings which Saint George worked to those who call on his name with faith.

Since 11 February 1999, at the request of Metropolitan Dionysios and the noble concession of Metropolitan Stephen of Trifilia and Olympia, a piece of the sacred relic of the Saint is treasured at the Holy Metropolis Church of Saint George of Neapolis, as a permanent blessing for the people of the Metropolis bearing the name of Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.