By Tony Winterburn • 23 April 2020 • 8:32
THE Feast of Saint George, which is more commonly known as St George’s Day, is annually commemorated on April 23 and is the day that sees England celebrate its patron saint.
St George is now a highly celebrated saint in both Western and Eastern Christian churches and a huge number of patronages of St George exist all over the world, large numbers of British expats in Spain look forward to St George’s Day, however this year is set to be a quieter affair due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Every April 23, England celebrates its patron saint, St George, who according to legend, was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.
Who is St George and where did he come from?
The early life of St George is relatively unknown with accounts differing in regards to his place of birth. Some believe George was born in Cappadocia and others that he originates from Syria Palaestina, but it is agreed by many that he was raised at least partly in the Lydda area of Palestine.
Aged 17, shortly after his mother’s death, George travelled to the capital at Nicomedia, where he then joined the Roman army, climbing through the ranks and being promoted to the rank of military tribune by his late 20’s.
On February 24, 303 AD, Emperor Diocletian, issued an order that every Christian soldier in the army should be degraded and that every soldier was required to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods.
George, when seeing this, distributed his wealth to the poor and confronted the emperor, declaring himself to be a Christian. It is believed that the Emperor then tortured George in order to get him to deny his faith and convert, but George withstood this torture and refused to cave.
What is the legend of St George?
Stories of George’s strength and courage began to spread throughout Europe, and the legend of his fight with a dragon became the best-known story about him.
The legendary story about George and the Dragon is that St George fought and killed a dragon on the flat-topped Dragon Hill in Uffington, Berkshire, where it is said that no grass now grows where the dragon’s blood trickled down.
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