Saint George of Lydda, King of Saints
Haleqa Hailu GebreMedhin (Ethiopian, b. 1959)
MediumPaint on cloth
DimensionsWork : 29 3/4 x 39 in. (75.57 cm x 1 m)
Credit LineGift of Neal and Elizabeth Sobania
LabelLydda was a city in Roman Palestine where Saint George is said to have been born sometime during the second half of the 3rd century CE. George was serving in the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Diocletian when the emperor ordered him to renounce his Christian faith. George refused and was repeatedly tortured before being executed, after which his body was returned to Lydda for burial. Veneration of George as a martyred saint may have begun locally in Lydda within a few decades of his death and gradually spread among Christian communities throughout the Roman empire and beyond during the following centuries. Saint George has been venerated in Ethiopia since at least the 12th century and is now regarded as the patron saint of Ethiopia. Images of Saint George as the King of Saints often appear on Ethiopian church walls around the corner from images of Saint George slaying the dragon.