Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saint George

Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier and priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Eastern Orthodox Churche, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

St George's Day is celebrated by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint. St George's Day is also England's National Day. Many countries which observe St George's Day celebrate it on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George's death in 303 AD, and the Eastern Orthodox old calendarists, who use the Julian calendar, celebrate on May 6.

The Feast of Saint George is a palestinian holiday commemorating Saint George (known as al-Khadr in Palestinian culture), supposed to be originated during the Byzantine rule of Palestine. The feast occurs annually on 5 May, and although it is originally a local Christian holiday, both Palestinian Christian and Muslims participate. Previously, the feast attracted Arabs from throughout Palestine to visit the Monastery of Saint George and trade loaves of bread, make sacrifices they vow to fulfill and gather for picnics under the olive trees surrounding the monastery.

The same tradition continues today, with many Christian pilgrims coming to give sacrifices and baptize their children, due to the abundance stories about the healing properties of the St. George. Noteworthy, the Feast of St. George is one of the rare Christian rituals where an animal is sacrificed within the monastery. The most common animal slaughtered is the sheep. On the morning of 6 May, Greek Orthodox Christians from Beit Jala, Bethlehem and Beit Sahour would march in a procession to the monastery.

Traditionally, Muslims guard the entrance of the church and welcome pilgrims. As the Christians, the Muslims too sacrifice sheep during the feast and offerings are stored in a sheep pen in the garden of the monastery. In Islam, two sacrifices are offered: The first is the dhabihah, which requires that one-third of the immolated lamb be set aside for consumption by its owner, while the remaining two-thirds are for Allah and given as charity. The second offering is that of a live animal, bequeathed as a gift to St. George.

Muslim signs dot the courtyard of the monastery and traces of the sacrifices are evident in the form of the lamb hides left on the balustrades to dry.


Nanda said...

Legal! Eu fiz um post dia 23 de abril, que foi o dia de São jorge!
Gosto muito dele... e peço sua proteção pra mim e pra meus filhos!

Dr. Heckle said...

Thank you for posting this! I didn't know anything about St George's Day.

Katariina said...

It`s always a wonderful visit here in your blog.It is a pleasure to get to know you,dear Ana Cristina.
You are lovely lady.