At the end of the solemn meeting of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, in the presence of His Eminence Pavlos, Metropolitan of Drama, the Holy Synod decided to enlist St Venerable George (Karslides) the New Confessor of Drama in the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
In the historical parekklesion (chapel) St Great Martyr George of the Patriarchal Residence an icon and a reliquary containing a fragment of the holy relics of St Venerable George are sheltered. These were offered by His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos of Drama on July 22th, 2011 on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and of the re-consecration of the historical parekklesion.
Our Venerable Father George was born in 1901 in the city of Argyropolis in the region of Pontus (today’s Gümüșhane, Turkey), the son of two pious Christians, named Savva and Sophia Karslides. He received the name of Athanasios at the Holy Baptism. At a young age he remained an orphan of both parents, and was raised by his elder brother and sister, and by his grandmother on his father’s side. After the death of his grandmother, who offered him as a blessing an icon of the Theotokos, which he kept his entire life, he left together with his grandfather from his hometown to Erzurum (Turkey), and then to Tbilisi (Georgia). Full of divine love, young Athanasios entered the community of the Georgian Monastery New Athos.
There he studied Georgian language, but he especially laboured to acquire obedience, humbleness, patience, vigilance and prayer. On 20 July 1919 he received the monastic tonsure with the name of Symeon. After a short while, he was imprisoned and cruelly tortured by the atheists. In 1923, he was freed and moved to Sukhumi (Abkhazia). On 08 September 1925, he was consecrated a priest by a Georgian hierarch, who changed his name into George.
Venerable George left to Greece in 1929 and settled in the village of Sipsa (today Taxiarches), next to Drama, where he developed a rich spiritual activity among the faithful, whom he drew close to the Church and guided especially to the Holy Mystery of Repentance (Confession), to which he offered particular importance. In 1936 he travelled as a pilgrim to the Holy Land, filled with the longing to see the places where Christ our Lord wrought the salvation of the world.
After returning to Sipsa, in 1939, Venerable George decided to build a monastery dedicated to the Ascension of the Lord, with a small church and some dwellings.
In 1959, he foresaw his upcoming end, notifying his close disciples about it several times. In the very prime of morning, on November 04, after praying in front of the icon of the Theotokos, saying the prayer “O blessed Theotokos, open the doors of compassion to us”, Venerable George the Confessor commended his soul in the hands of our Saviour Jesus Christ. After three days, the uncorrupted body of Venerable George was buried next to the monastery founded by him, by Metropolitan Phillip of Drama.
Numerous healings and wondrous appearances occurred after the passing to the Lord of Venerable George. His relics full of special fragrance were discovered on 09 February 2006 by His Eminence Pavlos, Metropolitan of Drama.
His canonization was made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on 18 March 2008, with feast day November 04th, the day of his passing to the Lord.
Troparion, plagal 1 tone 5, prosomia:Let us the faithful, praise and adore the Word…
Let us the faithful honour with hymns Venerable George, the founder of the honourable Monastery of the Ascension, the teacher of the prayer of the heart, of humbleness and vigilance, as a new boast of the Confessors, crying: Protect by divine support, o Passion-bearer, all those who pray to you!
Kondakion, plagal 4 tone 8, prosomia:To thee o champion leader…
Let us worthily praise in pious hymns the untired worker of virtue, who by the plow of love and true faith made souls fruitful and founded in the latter times the Monastery of the Ascension in Drama, crying: Rejoice, o blessed George!