George (1515) - “I am ready to die”
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29
George, a young goldsmith in Serbia at the time of the Ottoman Empire, was burnt alive on this date in 1515. He was a handsome man whose faithful Christianity had come to the attention of some local Muslims. In a bid to convert George, they sent a mufti (an Islamic religious law expert) to talk with him about faith.
Ably defending Christianity in a discussion with the mufti, George provoked the anger of those who wished to see him convert to Islam, and he was summoned by the local qadi (magistrate). This time he was offered great wealth if he would deny Christ. But yet again George defended his faith, and that night he was imprisoned to await a public hearing the next day.
“For the truth about Christ, I proclaim it, and I am ready to die for it,” exclaimed George under examination from the qadi and in front of a hostile crowd. Answering him the qadi replied, “Because you do not want to deny Christ, you are worthy of death.” George was burnt alive.
O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee:
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee:
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
George Matheson (1842-1906)
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing