A previous Byzantine basilica was build here in the 15th Century C.E. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem received permission from the Ottoman authorities at the end of the nineteenth century to build a new church, named after St. George who was born in Lod (Lydda), on the site of a previous basilica. Contrary to the normal rule, the apse faces north rather than east. St. George was a Roman Army officer and a Christian martyr and became famous for fighting the dragon (the devil). Crusaders imported the narrative of St. George back to Europe and he became the Patron Saint of many countries including England and Palestine.
This church is beautifully decorated with exquisite Orthodox artwork, as you can see below. The monks of the neighboring St. George Monastery ensure that all is kept clean and quiet. I wish that this was the rule for all the sites that I visit.
The Ottoman authorities required that a mosque be built on part of the area. This became the Al-Khidr Mosque adjacent to the Church of St. George.
St George’s sarcophagus is in the crypt.
Entrance to Church of St George
Church of St George