There are hundreds of saints celebrated in the Armenian Church, but we can say with all certainty and confidence that Saint George is one the most venerated, loved and admired saints of all times for the Armenian Christians. Now, when we hear the name St. George, influenced by the common imagery of the saint, we probably think of a mighty and powerful general, respected and successful commander sitting on his white horse, marching victoriously forward and slaying the ugly and evil dragon. We might be surprised to learn that the primary source for the lives of saints in the Armenian Church – Haysmavourk, does not include any of those details at all. Instead, Haysmavourk focuses on something entirely different, far more beautiful and inspiring. It focuses on the life of the saint after his persecution and arrest. It depicts a wounded man of God with a precious divine gift of healing diseases and curing illnesses. It highlights and shows us that despite all the suffering and pain in his life, St. George never stopped healing people, never stopped loving, helping and supporting those who turned to him for spiritual guidance and cure.
There is so much to admire and learn from the extraordinary story of St. George’s life and faith. Healing and helping someone when we are in pain and in need of help is extremely hard. It is hard to connect and relate to a stranger’s suffering when our lives are in turmoil. And it is hard to offer, give and sacrifice when our emotional, spiritual, physical and financial resources are scarce and hardly enough for our own needs and survival. In such situations, we naturally tend to bend and focus our efforts, resources and attention inwards and focus on our immediate needs and requirements.
While such an approach is understandable and might even appear to be the only reasonable and rational way to act in such situations, it also is dangerous because inadvertently, it isolates and separates us from others, the world we live in, and eliminates any and every prospect of finding a true remedy and resolution for the challenges we face.
Nothing good ever happens to a human being in loneliness and divine salvation, and miracles can only be experienced through our communion with others. Therefore, to be human requires an ability to feel and connect with the struggles and pain of those around us. And to be a Christian requires an ability to relate to the suffering of a stranger and do something about it despite the scope of their challenges and our abilities. This is what the life of St. George highlights and reminds us of. This is what we learn from the ministry and life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who fed the hungry when he had no food, distributed his Body and Blood to the disciple who would betray him on the same day, embraced and trusted his friends who denied knowing him and redeemed the world which rejected him.