St. George of Maleas (Peloponnese) (the 5th – 6th centuries) was a saint famous for his ascetic life and piety. He gave himself up to ascetic practices on the cape of Maleas, in the southeastern end of Peloponnese. In the past, the cape posed a great threat to sailors because of strong winds, steep rocky descent to the sea, and pirates.
Little is known about the life of St. George of Maleas. According to Greek liturgical books, the saint, contrary to his parents’ will, refused to marry and secluded himself on the cape of Maleas to spend his life in fast and prayers. After a while, he was joined by disciples willing to imitate the saint’s ascetic life. St. George of Maleas had a gift of vision – he predicted his death three years before it happened. The saint ended his life in the circle of his disciples, whom he blessed before death.
In Russian liturgical books St. George is venerated as a “stylite, mild-tempered, like Christ, angel in flesh and a heavenly man.”
St. George is commonly depicted as a middle-aged man with black hair and a beard, wearing clerical vestments such as on the 1750 icon of Sts. Joseph Hymnographer and George of Maleas by Alexis Safyaninov (located in the Andrei Rublev Museum).
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
1. Георгий Малеин // Православная энциклопедия. Том XI. М., 2006. С. 66.
2. Минея. Месяц апрель. Московский Сретенский монастырь. С. 41.
3. Строгановский Иконописный Лицевой Подлинник. М., 1869.