During the canonization ceremony of Saint George the Pilgrim that took place Saturday, June 22, at Targu Neamt, His Eminence Metropolitan Teofan said that the Romanian lay-ascetic was ‘a man of pure prayer, a shining diamond, and a mane of pure essence.’
The ascetic George Lazar reached dispassion, a state that every Christian should achieve, the Metropolitan noted.
This ‘genius of holiness’, Metropolitan Teofan said, lived on earth ‘in the holy atmosphere of the Kingdom of Heaven,’ that is ‘he lowered the heaven to earth or raised the earth to heaven.’
Referring to St George the Pilgrim and other holy ascetics, His Eminence said that ‘they were sent to earth because we humans have often lost the authentic path of the Gospel.’
Local canonization ceremony
The local proclamation of St George’s canonization took place at the princely St John Church in Piatra Neamt, where St George laboured his spiritual feats in the bell tower of the church from 1895 until the end of his earthly life in 1916.
The ceremony was held after the Great Vespers on a stage next to the St John Church, which was founded by Ruler Prince Saint Stephen the Great.
The services were led by His Eminence Metropolitan Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina, having as concelebrants Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis, Archbishop Ioachim of Roman and Bacau, Bishop Ignatie of Husi, and Bishop Macarie of Northern Europe.
A reliquary containing a particle of St George’s holy relics was offered to the St John Parish in Targu Neamt.
Following Vespers, His Grace Bishop Ignatie read out the synodal tomos on the canonization of Saint George the Pilgrim.
Then the holy relics of the newly-glorified Saint George were carried in procession on the streets of Targu Neamt.
Saint George the Pilgrim
Saint George was born in 1864 in Susag, Alba County. After living 14 years in marriage, with the approval of his wife, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Places taking with him the Holy Gospel and the Psalter.
Suffering many temptations from demons, he decided to strengthen his patience and humility by walking barefoot and bareheaded for the rest of his life.
In 1895 he returned to Romania, settling in to a small chamber in the tower bell of St John Church in Piatra Neamt.
He slept only for three hours every night. During the day, he walked barefoot and bareheaded on the streets of the city, incessantly whispering psalms.
The Saint passed away to the Lord on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos in 1916, when Romania was entering WWI.
The lay-ascetic George Lazar was glorified by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church during its working session on 5 October 2017.
Marking the centennial of the Union of Bessarabia with Romania, Patriarch Daniel led a joint canonization ceremony in Iași on 25 March 2018, when Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu and lay-ascetic George Lazăr were declared Saints of the Orthodox Church.
Photography courtesy of Doxologia.ro