Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Woods, D.;
Aram Periodical
Pope Zacharias (741-52) and the Head of St. George
Optional Fields

When Pope Zacharias (741-52) discovered a casket containing the skull of a soldier and martyr from Palestine called George, he naturally assumed that it was a relic of the famous St. George allegedly buried at Diospolis in Palestine. Whatever doubts he might have felt in other circumstances concerning the authenticity of so wonderful a relic were easily dispelled by the fact that one of his predecessors had accepted it as a true relic of St. George of Diospolis, or so he thought. In fact, his predecessor had probably accepted it as a relic of a soldier and martyr named George buried at Eleutheropolis in Palestine, that is, of one of the defenders of Gaza whom the Muslims had recently murdered for their refusal to convert to Islam. The Pope who had first received this head is probably identifiable as Martin I (649-53) whose support of charitable activity in Arab-occupied territory contributed to his own trial and exile, and it is his exile which best explains why the head of St. George was placed in storage to be forgotten about for almost one hundred years.

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