Today is St George’s Day – Expats stuck at home in Spain’s Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, Spain to Celebrate at Home

From Benidorm in the north of Spain to Gibraltar in the south, British expats celebrate St George’s Day

 The History of the Feast of Saint George

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.

It is generally believed that his parents were Christian and belonged to the nobility, it is understood they were of Greek heritage. His father, Gerontius, was a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and his mother, Polychronia, was from Lydda, 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.

How did St George become a Martyr?

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.

George was then executed in front of Nicomedia’s city wall on April 23, 303, where his courage and faith made him a martyr, his body was returned to Lydda for burial and his head later taken to Rome where it became interred in the church dedicated to him.

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.

George was first credited with slaying a dragon around the 12th century, but his name started to become known in England as early as the eighth century.

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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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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