Who was St George? Well that’s a very good question…according to http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/StGeorge.htm very little is actually known about him but it is thought that he was a high ranking officer in the Roman army who was killed around about AD 303.

Apparently Emperor Diocletian had St. George tortured to denounce his faith in Christ. But despite this St George it seems showed remarkable courage and faith. He was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine. His head it seems was later taken to Rome where it was laid to rest in the church dedicated in his name.

What was St George famous for? Well it’s said that St George slayed a dragon on Dragon Hill in Uffinton, Berkshire, England. It is said that no grass grows where the dragon’s blood flowed. However it is highly unlikely he was ever in England and even more unlikely still that he actually ever fought a real live, fire breathing dragon.

However it is commonly believed that in the middle ages the symbol of the devil was the dragon, which leads me to believe that he probably helped purge the land of sin. His name has been known here as early as the eighth-century however the slaying of the ‘Dragon’ was first credited to him personally in the twelfth-century.

King Edward III made St George the Patron Saint of England when he formed the Order of the Garter in St. George’s name in 1350, the cult of the Saint was further progressed by King Henry V, at the battle of Agincourt in northern France.

Shakespeare made sure that nobody would forget St. George, and has King Henry V finishing his pre-battle speech with the famous phrase, ‘Cry God for Harry, England and St. George!’

An interesting piece of trivia – Shakespeare was apparently born on St. George’s Day in 1564, and according to legends, died on St. George’s Day, 1616.

Here is some interesting information: This year 2011, St Georges Day will be officially celebrated on May 2nd. This is because Easter falls late this year and April 23rd being today, is Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Under the rules of the Church of England, if St Georges Day falls within a week of Easter then Easter has precedence and St Georges Day is moved to after Easter. This will the first Monday in May, which is May Day Bank Holiday. Similarly, if 23rd April falls on a Sunday, then St Georges Day moves to Monday 24th April, again because of the rules of the Church.

St. George’s Day is still celebrated today, and we fly his flag on his feast day in his honour on April 23rd (or as near as possible) all over England.

Advertisements