A Dialectical Combat

St. George the Martyr is not just a cavalryman potentially handy with a spear but a mysterious person with layers of interpretations and a gamut of meanings. Although a young and the most coveted soldier of the then Roman Emperor Dadianus he never succumbed to the imperial imposition of pagan worship. When all Christians relented their faith before an array of all the possible instruments of torture available, St. George was unflinching in his Christian grit. 

The earliest document speaking of St. George the Martyr is the 𝘈𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘵. 𝘎𝘦𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘦. Originally written in Greek in the 5th century and later translated to Syriac (which is the only one that prevails ). This document employs snake ( or to be precise asp-serpent ) as an epithet for Emperor Dadianus owing to his obstinacy in not repenting despite his wife Alexandra dying a martyr for Christ. It was only post 10th century, on account of western influence, that the paintings and icons of St. George began portraying a dragon in lieu of a serpent seeking a collaboration with Rev. 12:7. 

The icon of St. George that we behold is more symbolic than literal. Serpent represents the embodiment of evil. In antiquity heroes were perceived as those who slayed serpents. We even find in medieval paintings the toddler Christ crushing the head of a serpent. The icon of St. George delineates the cosmic battle with evil as well as the triumph of Christianity over paganism.  

Over the ages as the icon evolved from serpent to dragon a new interpretation came in. Dragon is a species which is terrestrial, aquatic, aerial and salamander. The ancients believed that the universe comprised of four major elements viz. earth, water, air and fire. Thus the dragon personified the distorted version of the universal elements. St. George in slaying the dragon reclaims the original sanctity and purpose of the universal elements hallowed by the Incarnation of Christ. 

St. George underwent multiple forms of torture and was executed several times only to be resurrected by Christ. Finally he was beheaded and put to death. His body was chopped and thrown into a lake. He was plunged into a cauldron of boiling metal and the remnant buried in the earth. He was torched and his body abandoned on a mountain for the birds to devour. Through these forms of torture St. George metamorphosed into water, earth, fire and air.  

The extent to which St. George goes to uphold the purity of the universe is staggering. He destroys his combatant at it’s own level. Unveiling the alchemical symbolic relationship between St. George and the serpent, Estelle Alma Mare remarks; 

“𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘚𝘵. 𝘎𝘦𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘯. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦, 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘺𝘮𝘣𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺.”

Fᴇsᴛᴀʟ Gʀᴇᴇᴛɪɴɢs﹗

~ 𝐃𝐚𝐲𝐫𝐨𝐲𝐨 𝐅𝐫. 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥

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