One of my favorite stories Saint George and the Dragon
One of the most famous and loved Saints in Eastern Orthodoxy is Saint George. His great story begins in the year 275 when he was born. His father was a respected Roman Officer and head of a highly regarded and wealthy Christian family. When Saint George was 14 his father died and his mother decided to move to Palestine where she owned an immense family estate.
Following in his fathers footsteps he became a highly regarded and successful soldier of the Roman Army. The Emperor Diocletian was very pleased with Saint George, who by then was well known for his heroism in battle. His success didn’t go unnoticed and he was promoted to the highest rank “Tribunus” before his late twenties.
But although Emperor Diocletian was very pleased with Saint George, he also ordered his execution. In the year 302 the Emperor issued that every Christian and every Christian soldier should be arrested if he did not want to renounce Christianity and make an offer to the Pagan gods. Saint George openly and in front of other soldiers pronounced that he was a Christian and that he declined to renounce Christianity. The emperor not wanting to loose his best soldier tried to change his mind by offering land and wealth. But the Saint kept declining his offers.
So finally the Emperor ordered that Saint George must be tortured and executed. Saint George knowing what was coming gave away all his wealth and land to the poor. After the Saint was arrested the torture began. After various tortures including the dreadful wheel of swords, the Emperor kept asking him to renounce Christianity and offered him freedom. Saint George kept true to his faith enduring and withstanding even the most gruesome tortures. So finally the Emperor ordered his decapitation. Saint George died the 6th of Maj 303 (Orthodox calender, 26th of April normal calender).
The Legend of Saint George:
Near to the village Lydda there was a Lake that was the home of a ferocious dragon. Every time the villagers went to collect water the Dragon appeared and attacked. Lots of villagers got eaten or poisoned by the Dragons poisonous breath. The villagers while in despair went to the village Monarch, which advised that they must sacrifice a child to the dragon each day.
So every day they sacrificed a child, leaving it by the lake to get eaten by the Dragon. This continued until one day it was the Monarch’s turn to sacrifice his child, which was the princess. Like the other children before her the young princess was left alone near the lake, while she was crying and awaiting her doom she saw a roman soldier on a horse with a spear approaching. It was Saint George who was passing through returning from one of his battles. Just when the Saint wanted to ask the princess why she was crying the dragon appeared, the Saint didn’t hesitate and charged immediately. He speared and killed the dragon with one blow saving the poor princess from the beast. The villagers and Monarch were very grateful and saw it as a sign, so they renounced paganism and became Christians.