09 May 2018

A special ritual for the feast of Saint George, the “Prince of Martyrs”

Every year on 5th and 6th May the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Saint George, their most important martyr. This commemoration includes spiritual experiences and religious rituals befitting such an anniversary.

Christians in the Holy Land

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As every year on 5th May Naseem begins his preparation for the feast of Saint George with the bread that will be given out to all believers as well as to their relatives and friends. Many Christians as well as Muslims gather from all over Palestine in the village of Al Khader, only a few kilometres from Bethlehem, in order to celebrate this feast day.

NASEEM HELAL
Bethlehem baker
"We have a very ancient tradition: people offer their vows for the sick and bring them the bread of the feast in the hope that they may be healed. Orthodox Christians and even Muslims believe that Al Khader (St George) intercedes for the poor and the needy”.

The faithful go to the Monastery of St George early in the morning. They are guided by passion and faith and they are ready to celebrate this feast. The surprising fact is that some faithful join the celebration after having walked barefoot for a long distance.

ILHAM QUMSIEH
Beit Sahour
“We treasure the memory of St George as a great saint. He can be compared to the apostles and has suffered much. We love him dearly and we always come here from very far away. We walk barefoot for more than 8 kilometres.”

ARCHIMANDRITE HANANIA
Monastery of St George - Al Khader Village
"As St George gave his everything to God, God gave him the power to respond to the request of Christians and non-Christians in the same way. Believers of Muslim and other faiths took part in this feast and have voiced their prayers. This was greatly respected, and it is proven by the fact that many still bear his name.”

One of the most important rituals is that of children dressing up as St George. Adults light great candles in release of their vows.

St George is still one of the most important martyrs in the history of the Orthodox Church and an example for anyone who has faith in Christ.

ARCHIMANDRITE HANANIA
Monastery of St George - Al Khader Village
"I ask St George to bestow peace of the soul and of the heart and I await the day in which peace will reign throughout the world."