Comments to: David Woods
Last Updated: December 2000

The Ethiopic Miracles of St. George

Warning: The following text is my English translation of the modern Latin translation by V. Arras, Miraculorum S. Georgii Megalomartyris Collectio Altera (Scriptores Aethiopici 32: Louvain, 1953) of the original Ethiopic text which he published as Scriptores Aethiopici 31. As the translation of a translation, therefore, it must loose many important nuances, but it may serve some practical use as a guide to the contents of the Ethiopic texts in the absence of a direct English translation of the same.

The 15th miracle of St. George. May the prayer and blessing of this distinguished martyr forever attend his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen. And when all the inhabitants of the land of Egypt heard the numerous miracles which St. George the martyr of Christ was effecting in his chapel in the town of Beba, they came there by river and by land-journey, Christians and unbelievers from every region, bearing votive gifts and presents with them; and those who were able to come, came to that place; and those who were journeying by ship, but were not able to enter, used to throw lamps and incense on the path over the desert; and everyone used bring the things found there and give them to the archpriest. And there was a certain man journeying by ship, and his ship was not hurrying its course, [but] neither was he able to enter the shrine; he immediately tied together many lamps and threw them a long distance onto the river-bank. Afterwards, a certain unbeliever from among the men of the town came and took up the things found there and brought them to the church; and he brought many goods besides to the church of St. George. May his prayer and blessing forever attend his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen.

The 16th miracle of St. George. May his prayer always attend his beloved Habta Giyorgis. And a certain unbeliever from among the inhabitants of the town of Beba went to the region of Elzaz in order to visit the temple in the town of Mecca; and it is said that the devil and his allies descended from heaven in that region. He went also in order to visit the grave of a false prophet in the town of Athribis. When he had completed his visit, he returned with his companions. As he travelled, he became separated and was slow to follow his companions on the journey and was left alone in the desert. As soon as he had lost them, he lamented bitterly because that desert is a parched place and there is neither tree nor water there. And he then implored the false prophet and his companions, but found no-one to help him. He then cried out, saying, "O St. George, my neighbour, help me quickly." And the martyr George appeared to him, sitting on a white horse, and taking his hand he set him on the horse with himself; and the same moment he brought him to the town of Beba, as if in the blink of an eye, and set him down and left him among the palms outside the town; and that journey along which St. George had brought him is one of three months' duration. When this man saw this, how he had arrived at his city, he was terrified and lost unconscious; but afterwards, when his consciousness had returned to him, he got up and went home. Moreover, when the inhabitants of the city saw him, they wondered and said to him, "Who is it who brought you back from a far-distant land before everyone returns ?" And he told them all the things which St. George had done for him; and they were amazed at his words. And there was a clay vessel like an ostrich-egg which he had brought back from Mecca. Seeing this clay vessel, he went to that church of St. George and gave it to the archpriest; and he made known to him all the things which the martyr had done for him and how he had brought him back from a far distant region as if in the blink of an eye. And he asked him to hang that clay vessel in the church that it might commemorate this miracle in the the future. And the archpriest hung it above the ambo, which is a lofty place where the sacred books are read, in sight of the picture of St. George. And I, entering that shrine, saw that clay egg suspended there; and I called the archpriest and said to him, "How have they hung that clay vessel in this church ? For this egg is not made except in the city of Mecca, and unbelievers have brought it from there and hung it in the church." However, he told me this miracle which St. George had worked for that unbeliever and how he had brought him back from the region of Elzaz and saved him from death. And they hung up that clay vessel in commemoration of that miracle. And I, when I had heard these things, praised the Lord who works miracles through His saints. May the prayer of this George forever attend his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen.

The 17th miracle of St. George. May his prayer and blessing and powerful aid attend forever upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. And there was a certain unbeliever in that town called Beba. And one day he entered into the shrine of St. George in order to mock him and his church, and said, "O George, I have a problem, and if you fulfil my request, I will give you this egg full of olive oil." After this he departed and went home. That night St. George came to him as he was lying at home and, greatly annoyed, stabbed him with the spear which he had in his hand. And waking up from his sleep, he saw before him a man sitting on a white horse, and in his hand a spear. He was terrified with great fear and, stretched out before him, said to him, "Who are you, my Lord ?" He replied to him, "I am George. Where is the egg-shell full of oil which you promised that you would give to me ?" And having said this, he disappeared from him. On the following day, however, [the unbeliever] took a large amount of olive-oil and went to the shrine of St. George and gave it to the archpriest; and he told him how he had seen the martyr and how he had spoken to him and asked him to carry out his promise. And he was saved. And he reported that miracle to all the inhabitants of the city; and they wondered and feared greatly. May the prayer of this St. George attend forever upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen.

The 20th miracle of the victorious martyr St. George. May his prayer and blessing attend forever upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. There was a certain wicked man in the town of Beba; he was an unbeliever and the commander there. And he hated the martyr and his church, and he use blaspheme against and mock him, and he hated all the faithful. All people in this shrine suffered great misery because of him and everyday they begged the martyr to destroy him. And after many days the martyr heard their prayer. For the governor came unexpectedly to Sahidi, which is a part of Egypt, and held an assembly there on the bank of the river next to the shrine of the martyr St. George. And he summoned the archpriest and questioned him concerning the wicked deeds which this commander had committed against the church of the martyr and all the faithful. And he told he everything which he had done. Then he summoned that man, did not question him at all, but ordered [his men] to cut off his head and hang his body on the palm tree next to the church of St. George so that all men going along that way might see him. And all the Christians, seeing this, praised the Lord, most high and deserving of praise, and his holy martyr St. George who had received their prayer. This miracle, indeed, the archpriest of this town and shrine told to me. May the prayer and blessing of this powerful martyr St. George, the wrestler, attend at all time forever upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen.

The 21st miracle of the martyr St. George. May his assistance forever attend upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. I will tell you another miracle also which the martyr St. George wondrously worked in another church of his which was built for him there; for the faithful of the land of Egypt, on account of their excessive love for him, built many monasteries and churches for him in their land. And there was a town in the land of Egypt whose name was Qu'arzom, which means Palace of Assenbly; but they also call it Qwastat Mesr which means Boundary of Egypt. Artaxerxes, the king of Persia who is called Chosroes, built a temple to the fire in that town when he came into the land of Egypt because he worshipped fire. The lord and father Patriarch of the Egyptians dwells there in the great church of Our Lady the Mother of God which is called Ma'alqa which means Hanging (click here for photos of the modern church). There is also in this town a church of the martyr St. George which is called Dorbenteqa which means Gate of the Just. And I, [although] unworthy, was trained in priestly service in that shrine from my youth. And a certain man from among the nobles of Egypt was archpriest in that church; and he was also one of my relatives. (And he had a large house next to the entrance of the shrine). He wanted to set marble-work beneath the image of Our Lady and the image of St. George; and the word rekwam means marble. There was no-one skilled in marble-work among the Christians, except only a Mohammedan. This [type of ] work is famous because it is done with a great mass of marble; and they insert seashells in it, and they import these seashells from the Red Sea, and pearls are found in them. When they finish marble-work with seashell, it is extremely beautiful and the heart of the viewer rejoices. For this reason, this man decided to himself to adorn the church with this [type of] work; and on account of this work he summoned a certain Mohammedan man, with his son, who were skilled in this [type of] work; and he gave to them multi-coloured marble and as many shells as were needed, and he ordered them to construct this work beneath the two images which we mentioned previously. And when they entered the church in order to complete the work which had been entrusted to them, the son of the Mohammedan saw the light of the lamp which burns throughout the day before the image of St. George.And greatly angered, he exstinguished the light; but it shone as before. And he exstinguished this light again, and it shone as previously; and he exstinguished it for a third time, and spat upon the image of the martyr; and he looked at the light and found it shining as in the beginning. Then he left it, and remained in order to finish his work. At the end of the day, he took his payment, with his father, and they went home. However, that night St. George appeared to this evil son of the unbeliever and roused him from his sleep. And then he saw him sitting on a white horse with a spear in his hand; and he was terrified with great fear. And St. George said to him, "I am he whose lamp you thrice exstinguished and upon whose image you spat." And he immediately stabbed his side with his spear. And he suddenly shouted out in a great voice. And his father and mother woke up and said to him, "Why did you shout ?" And he replied to them, "George himself, whose lamp I exstinguished and upon whose image I spat today, came to me and stabbed my side." He showed them the spot on his side, and then he suddenly died. On the following day, at the height of morning, his father went weeping to the archpriest and told him all the things that his son had done the day before in the church of St. George, and how St. George had appeared to him and had stabbed him with his spear and he had died. The archpriest was greatly astonished; and he told to all the sons of the shrine all the things which this unbeliever said; and they glorified the Lord, most high and deserving of praise, who works miracles through the hands of his martyr St. George. May his prayer and blessing attend forever upon his beloved Habta Giyorgis. Amen.


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Copyright © 2000, David Woods. This translation may be copied for the purpose of private research only.