August 18, 2021

Holy New Martyr George of Kastoria who was formerly a Hagarene (+ 1809 or 1815)

St. George of Kastoria (Feast Day - August 18)

The glorious Neomartyr George, who was formerly a Hagarene, that is, a Muslim, was born in Kastoria in the late 18th century. He went to Ioannina to find work and there he was an eye-witness to the martyric contest of Saint Demetrios of Samarina, who suffered for his faith in Christ at the hands of Muslims. This inspired him to abandon the Islamic faith of his forefathers and embrace the Orthodox Christianity of the Holy New Martyr Demetrios. Upon Holy Baptism he received the name George.

George departed Ioannina and went to Acarnania, where he lived a quiet and God-pleasing life as a Christian. However, one day he was recognized by a Muslim man he was formerly acquainted with, and the Muslims tried to persuade him to return to Islam, but he steadfastly refused. Seeing how steadfast he was in his faith in Christ as the true God, they submitted George to harsh torture, including the insertion of molten iron into his intestines.

These hellish tortures led to Saint George surrendering his courageous spirit to the Lord, who crowned him with the unfading crown of martyrdom in either the year 1809 or 1815. His memory is celebrated on the 18th of August together with his fellow Holy New Martyr Demetrios of Salamina (whose feast today has been moved to the 17th of August).