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Carcere, cæde, siti, vinclis, fame, frigore, flammis,
Confessus Christum, duxit ad astra caput:
Ecce sub occiduo cardine præbet opem.
Obtinet hic meritis, quod petit alma fides.
Proficiant animæ quæ nova templa suæ.”
Gregory of Tours, A. D. 596, mentions miracles wrought by St. George :-"Multa de Georgio martyre miracula cognovimus;" meaning, no doubt, that he had heard of them. There is a story, of this date, to the effect, that some men, carrying relics of St. George and other saints, came to a place, on the frontiers of Limosin, where a few priests, having a little chantry or oratory of boards, did daily pour out their devotions to the Lord. The men begged for a night's lodging, and were welcomed. Next morning, not being able to lift up their knapsacks when about to depart, they concluded it to be the will of God that they should give some relics to the priests; which having done accordingly, the difficulty was removed. Some miraculous relics of St. George also, about this time, were preserved in a village of La Maine. Theodorus Syceotes died under Heraclius, The legends say that St. George usually appeared to him, taught and directed him during his life. He is, no doubt, the man mentioned in our translation as carrying a communication from the Khalíf Moáwiyah to St. George. Vincentius, bishop of Beauvais, a very learned man, confirms the legend which represents St. George as suffering martyrdom in the Dacian persecution at Diospolis or Lydda. Usuardus, a scholar of Alcuin, A. D. 812, thus writes in his • Martyrology :'-“The ninth of the kalends of May (April 23rd). This day took place in Diospolis (Lydda), a city of Persia, the passion of the martyr St. George, that glorious champion renowned for miracles; the acts of whose passion, although they be numbered amongst writings apocryphal, yet doth the church of God reverently honour his most illustrious martyrdom amongst the diadems of the martyrs. (We remark, that writers of this period generally consider Palestine as under Persian dominion, rather than Grecian, which is not far from the truth.) Notgerus, (afterwards canonized,) a monk of St. Gal, in Switzerland, A. D. 912, confirms this legend. The Venerable Bede reports the same. Pope Zacharias, A.D. 742, built a church and monastery to St. George, and enshrined his head,* which had been presented to him by the Venetians. A Saxon MS., in the Library of C. C. College, Cambridge, quoted by Selden, and said to be about the age of St. Dunstan, asserts that St. George was martyred by Datianus the emperor. Nicephorus Callistes, a Greek, A. D. 1305, in the reign of Andronicus the elder, confirms the usual Greek tradition. The Magdeburg Centuriators admit it; in which they are followed by our Fox.
We have passed over an earlier testimony. Adamsianus, A. D. 690, testifies that Arculfus, after his return from the East, “etiam nobis de quodam martyre, Georgio nomine, narrationem contulit."
The scene of the martyrdom of St. George is invariably laid in Lydda or Diospolis, near (it is about three miles from) Ramlah, or Ramula, in Palestine. In addition to the above authorities, Anna Comnena speaks of Ramlah as the place near whereunto the great martyr George suffered ; and Johannes Cotonias, in his · Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum,' observes,Mox urbem antiquissimam Diospolim
* See note 1. infra.
olim nuncupatam, distantem a Rama (Ramlah) tria millia passuum, eminus conspeximus. Hæc Divi Georgii martyrio et tumulo, et imprimis Petri apostoli prædicatione et miraculis celebris est; nunc solo æquata. Præter pauca
Maurorum tuguriola solum superest templum in martyris memoriam, a Ricardo, Angliæ rege, ut aliqui putant, restauratum super fundamenta antiquioris delubri a Cæsare Justiniano erecti.” This church of Justinian had been destroyed by the Saracens, who were apprehensive that Godfrey's soldiers would make use of the great blocks of timber belonging to that fabric, in the siege of Jerusalem. Lydda also occupies a place in the traditions and veneration of the Musalmáns; no doubt, from its connexion with the memory of St. George.
This concurring stream of tradition, as to time and place, would seem to establish not only the existence of St. George, but also some distinguishing marks of peculiar personal identity. They, however, who maintain that George the Arian, of Alexandria, is the person referred to, rest mainly upon the following positions :-Jacobus de Voragine, archbishop of Genoa, A. D. 1290, styled by Ludovicus Vives “homo ferrei oris, plumbei cordis," (a man iron-faced and leaden-hearted,) wrote, among other works, the Legenda Aurea,' (Golden Legends,) a book teeming with absurdities. In his Legend of St. George, he tells the story of the dragon slain, and the princess rescued, by the military saint (the dragon being supposed to be the symbol of heresy, and the princess of the church). Whence he borrowed this tale, is not known, although a faint tradition exists that Berytus in Syro-Phænicia was the scene of the exploit. Again, in the • Acts of the Passion of St. George,' there is an account of a conference between George and a certain wizard named Athanasius. This legend is assuredly ancient, and is evidently an Arian version of the contests between George and Athanasins of Alexandria, into the see of which city George intruded himself during the exile of the orthodox archbishop or patriarch. These are the main grounds which have induced some writers to imagine that the Catholic Church has erroneously honoured a corrupt and dissevered member. They are but very weak grounds. If we have some regard to perspective in throwing back our eye upon historical evidence, and do not confound all antiquity in commingled anachronism, we cannot but see where the truth lies. The , Golden Legend' is of trifling authority even as a record of tradition; and the interpolated Acts were evidently corrupted by the Arians. James de Voragine admitted every tale he met with ; and no monuments of antiquity are more liable to corruptions than local Formularies and Lives of Saints. Against this evidence we may confidently urge a successive unbroken tradition, which, in many circumstances of time and place, is wholly inconsistent with the pretensions of the Alexandrian heretic. It is remarkable that St. George was especially honoured in France and Spain,* at the very time when the Arian controversy (especially in the latter country) was in the minds of every one.
Is it likely that Catholics should at that season honour so zealous a champion of error as was the Alexandrian George? Is it probable that Justinian, so orthodox an emperor, would found a church in honour even of a suspected saint? Modern pride must not presume that there was then no power of discrimination among men,
What would be more improbable, than that the East and West, amidst the warmth of the Arian dissensions, should unite in venerating the
* Jacobus de Voragine wrote a history of Lombardy. May not the story of the Dragon and George have been a legend of the Vandal Arians ?
implacable enemy of the faithful Athanasius? Why should the tradition end in Lydda, and not in Alexandria ? Besides, it is justly observable, that George, being a Christian name, was probably borne by others before George of Alexandria; for it is not to be imagined that so significant a name, derived from Scripture, was never assumed until the beginning of the fourth century. George the Arian was killed A. D. 361, and St. George suffered A. D. 290. May we not conjecture that the parents of the Alexandrian George gave him the name of a recent and especially illustrious martyr, who perhaps was himself by no means the first who bore the appellation in question ?
A curious extract from Epiphanius, although it has been advanced by the advocates of the Arian George, will, on the contrary, distinctly show what were the sentiments of that orthodox and zealous Father respecting the character of the Alexandrian soi-disant prelate. And these sentiments were expressed at a time when the real St. George was the object of universal regard and veneration. It can scarcely be thought that Epiphanius was either ignorant of the prevailing feeling, or conceived that the Arian was the object of the honour that George every where received. The passage in question is found in the account of the heresy of the Anomoioi," (Karà 'Avopotov,) a branch of the Arian sect, which said that the Son was of like substance, not of the same substance, with the Father. (Epiph. adv. Hæres. Basil. 1540. Græcè, p. 388. Hæres. 76.)-". There are again certain called Anomoioi ('Ανομοιοϊ). These are of recent origin, and their ringleader was one Aëtius, a deacon, so constituted, on account of that same idle talk, by George of Alexandria; (that George) who became bishop of the Arians 'and Meletians; and who, in the time of Julian (as I have before
* See note 2. infra.