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January 3, 2018

Holy New Martyr Zorzes the Iberian (+ 1770)

St. Zorzes of Iberia (Feast Day - January 2)

Verses

By a rope O Martyr Zorzes you were afflicted by hanging,
Oppressed in this way by hostiles you were afflicted.

Saint Zorzes (George or Gyorgy) was from Iberia (Georgia), and was sold into slavery when he was young. His master, a Muslim from the Greek island of Mytilene, forced him to be circumcised and embrace Islam and renamed him Sali. After his master died, George remained unmarried on the island and opened a small shop where he sold various goods.

In 1770, when he was over seventy years old, he appeared before the authorities and announced that he was an Orthodox Christian who was baptized with the name Zorzes, throwing his Turkish headdress to the ground. The judge thought that George had lost his mind, since his declaration would lead to his death.

The next day George was questioned again, and then he was beaten. He endured his torments with silence, but would not be turned from his confession of faith. After being sentenced to death, he was handed over to the Janissaries who beat him all along the way to the place of his execution, trying to force him to embrace Islam. However, the more they compelled him, the tighter Zorzes shut his mouth so that not a sound came from his mouth. Finally, the Holy Martyr was hanged on 2 January 1770, at a place called Parmak Kapi, receiving the crown of martyrdom from the Savior Christ.