Commemoration of the deliverance of the island of Zakynthos from the plague by Saint George the Great-Martyr (1689)
Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom
Finding of the Wonderworking Icon of Mother of God Evangelistria of Tinos (1823)
Saint Pelagia Ivanovna of Diveyevo, fool for Christ’s and the disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov (1884)
Commemorated on January 30
The Great Martyr of Christ, George, is especially honored this day in Zakynthos, because he is linked to the salvation of the island from the plague that took place in the year 1689.
In 1669 Cretan refugees came to the island of Zakynthos after Heraklion fell to the Turks, among whom was Ioannis Papadopoulos who brought with him an old icon of Saint George, which was placed inside the Church of Saint Demetrios of Kola. Sacrilegious thieves, however, stripped it of its silver trim and threw the icon in a trough on November 13, 1688.
According to the scholar and priest Nicholas Gavriilopoulos, two young men at dawn were going hunting, and on their way they came upon the icon in the trough. They ran back to the Church of Saint Demetrios and told the parish priest where they found it and how. The Protopriest and other priests from the island went to the spot of the discovery with candles and incense and brought it to Foros (Saint Mark Square), where an excommunication was read towards those who committed this sacrilege. Finally it was then transferred back to the church again.
Some days later, on November 24th, throughout the entire district a plague spread, which they considered a divine punishment for the sacrilege. For atonement the people resorted to fasting and prayer. By January 30, 1689 they were completely free of the plague. This was considered a miracle of Saint George, and thus the feast was established. A Service was written by Nicholas Gavriilopoulos himself, and it was printed in Venice in 1710. The state also ordered on February 7, 1689 that every year a procession was to take place on January 30th.
It was decided to build a church in honor of Saint George to house the miraculous icon. This Church of Saint George the Kamariotis of Koumouton, built by the nobleman Yakumo Komoutos on his land in memory of his parents, and which was near Saint Mark Square at the beginning of Mantzarou Road, bore the following inscription: “George, by this church in your city, we foreigners entrust to you our salvation.”
There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles
are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:3).
Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence.
St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
“Today, increased knowledge and trust in logic has, unfortunately, shaken our faith to its foundfations and filled our souls with question marks and doubts. This is why we don’t have miracles anymore, because a miracle cannot be explained logically, it can only be experienced. But faith in God will bring down divine power and overturn all human expectations. It will perform miracles, resurrect the dead and astonish science. From the outside, all things pertaining to the spiritual life seem upside down. Indeed, the mysteries of God will be impossible to know and will appear strange and contrary to nature as long as we don’t overturn our secular mindset and see everything with spiritual eyes. Those who believe that they can come to know God’s mysteries through mere scientific theory, without a spiritual life, resemble a fool who thinks he can look through a telescope and see Paradise.”
–Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
(from pg. 244-255 of With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, Published by the Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti, Greece)
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About the victorious faith
“And the victory that conquers the world in our faith” (I John 5:4).
Christ the Lord conquered the world. That, brethren, is also our victory. The apostles conquered the world and that is our victory. The saints, virgins and martyrs conquered the world and that is our victory. Brethren, there is nothing more powerful in the world than the Christian Faith. The swords that struck this Faith became blunt and broken but the Faith remained. The kings who fought against this Faith were smothered under the anathema of crimes. The kingdoms that waged war against this Faith are destroyed. The towns that rejected this Faith lay demolished in their ruins. The heretics who corrupted this Faith perished in soul and body and under anathema departed from this world, and this Faith remained.
Brethren, when the world pursues us with its temptations: the temptation of external beauty, the temptation of riches, the temptation of pleasure, the temptation of transient glory; with what shall we resist and by what shall we be victorious if not by this Faith? In truth, by nothing except by this invincible Faith which knows about something better than all the wealth of this world.
When all the temptations of this world reveal the opposite side of their faces, when beauty turns into ugliness, health into sickness, riches into poverty, glory into dishonor, authority into humiliation and all blossoming physical life into filth and stench–by what shall we overcome this grief, this decay, this fifth and stench, and to preserve oneself from despair, if not by this Faith? In truth, by nothing except this invincible Faith which teaches us eternal and unchangeable values in the Kingdom of Christ.
When death shows its destructive power over our neighbors, over our relatives and our families, over our flowers, over our crops, over the works of our hands and, when it turns its irresistible teeth even on us, by what shall we conquer the fear of death and by what shall we unlock the doors of life, stronger than death, if not by this Faith? In truth, by nothing except this invincible Faith, which knows about the resurrection and life without death.
O Lord Jesus, the Conqueror of the world, help us also to conquer the world with faith in You.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January15.htmTroparion of St George the Trophy-bearer Tone 4
As the deliverer of captives/ and the protector of the poor,/ as the physician of the feeble and combatant of kings,/ holy champion and great martyr George,/ intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.
Kontakion. of St George the Trophy-bearer Fourth Tone
Thou Who wast raised up
Having been cultivated well by the Lord God, * as the most honored cultivator of piety * thou hast now gathered sheaves of virtues for thyself; *for, as thou didst sow with tears, * thou dost reap with rejoicing; * with thy blood thou didst contest * and thou now hast received Christ. * And by thine intercessions, O Saint George, * thou grantest all the forgiveness of trespasses.
There is nowhere on the earth, nor on the sea, nor in the city, nor the desert, in which the sounds of your wonders has not reached, O Martyr, forming an overflowing sea, for your wondrous name is praised throughout the whole earth.
All of the peoples of the nations praise, bless and hymn, crying out together: Rejoice, O savior, the joy of the faithful, rejoice, you who are the boast of Champions, O supremely-wondrous George.
–Excerpts from the Matins Canon of St. George the Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer
May God richly bless those who suffer for their faith, and persevere unto the end.
St. George the Great-martyr, the Trophy-bearer, the Victorious, the Wonderworker intercede for all of us and Have mercy on us now,
By your prayers, protect us
Before the throne of Christ God,
Our Almighty Savior;!