Monday, April 25, 2022

When Saint George Karslides as a Child Rode on the Horse of Saint George the Great Martyr

Saint George Karslides was born in 1901 with the name Athanasios, in Argyroupolis (Gümüşhane) of Pontus. As a very young child he lost his parents and his faithful grandmother undertook to protect him. She inspired him with his love for the liturgical life of our Church.

But soon after his grandmother left for heaven. Only one older brother was left, who also tortured and oppressed him. So at the age of 7-8 he left secretly, to escape from the contempt and tyranny of his older brother. He felt a deep thirst for God.
On a snowy night, Athanasios began his long journey alone with his weapon of faith, having with him, in addition to the icon of the Mother of God which was a gift from his grandmother, a cross, an incense burner and his birth certificate. He went on an adventurous course through impassable paths and snowy areas of the Caucasus. The Lord was constantly protecting him.

One day while he was alone and praying, a young and handsome horseman appeared to him and took him with him. He spoke lovingly to him, telling him where he was going and what to do when he left him. He actually took him very far, to Tbilisi, Georgia. This companion was Saint George the Trophy-bearer, whose name he would eventually take and become his patron saint.

He was led by divine Providence to the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pege. At the age of nine he was dressed in the honorable garments of a monk. At the time of his tonsure it is said that the bells rang on their own. On September 8, 1925, he was ordained a priest in Mtskheta and was named George, as Saint George had foretold to him, when he had seen him as a horseman in his childhood. With this name he would glorify God for the rest of his life. He endured great and horrible hardships with hope in God.