The pendant bears image of Saint George – one of the most notorious and honored saints in the Christian world and beyond. A figure of mighty defender defeating foes became a symbol of good prevailing upon evil for a great number of countries and nations. This figure holds together the best and ever-valued characteristics of human nature, such as:
- faithfulness to one’s words and deeds;
The canonical biography of the saint tells that George was a descendant of a noble family and an heir to a great fortune, a man who had faith in Christ and gave away his fortune to the poor. He lived at the time of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s rule – the third century BC, which was the time of aggressive persecution of the Christians.
George was the Imperial Army officer of the high rank and was the Emperor’s confidant. He had the bravery to publicly stand up for his fellow Christians and proclaim himself as a Christian too. For this and for his rejection to disown his faith he was imprisoned, tortured and made. The first memorable churches and his biography in writing were found in Syria.
The tradition of veneration of the saint came from Byzantium to Rus’ after its christianization and was quickly adopted. Eventually, the figure of the brave Christian warrior became an impersonation of the whole nation. The history of the famous image of the warrior and the snake began in the XII century. This image soon appears at the state’s coat of arms and after that the epithet “the Victory-Bearer” was added to the name “George”.
The recognizable image showing the horseman was based on “Saint George and the Dragon” – a legend about George fighting a dragon and saving a king’s daughter who otherwise was doomed to become a victim to the monster. The narrative has got an allegorical meaning – a victory of the Christian Church over Satan.
Centuries of people’s love
Princes of Rus’ venerated Saint George and saw him as a patron saint of the military, and the peasantry made prayer for a good harvest and well-being. History of veneration:
- The great martyr was initially called Egory the Brave, Egor or Yuri in the Russian manner.
- Eastern Orthodox Liturgical Calendar has three dates honored to the memory of the saint. The most famous one – the 6th of May, notorious Yuri’s Day or the day of his repose.
- Not only icon painters were inspired by the image of George. Jewelers have made many different kinds of pectoral crosses and pendant icons picturing the legendary hero for centuries.
- The most cast icons made in the pre-Mongol period are depicting the saint horseman.
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