The Legend of St George
The Legend of St George.
Saint George was probably chosen as the patron Saint of England for his chilvary and bravery being a mixture of fact and legend, representing good over evil..
Saint George is said to be born in Cappadocia (Turkey) of noble Christian parents. After the death of his father, his mother took him back to Palestine where she came from and he joined the army of the Emperor Dioclesian at the age of seventeen. He quickly rose to the rank of the equivalent to colonel for his outstanding bravery. His valour was against adversity and protection of Christians against tyranny and repression. When the Emperor Dioclesian began to persecute Christians, Saint George rebuked him. Giving up his commission, the Emperor put him in prison and had him beheaded on 23rd April.AD.303.at Lydda in Palestine (Nicomedia). The Emperors wife, Alexandria was so impressed at George’s courage that she became a Christian, so too was put to death. St George was canonised in AD.494.
The legend of the dragon first appeared in the 6th century. A town called Selem in Libya was being terrorised by a dragon in the marshes and the people had to feed the dragon for fear of it coming into the town. The time came for the Princess Cleolinda the King’s daughter to be sacrificed, but Saint George rode in and killed the dragon. The whole town after this event became Christians. This story has been added to during the years, it is said that the dragon represented Satan, the Princess the Church and George rescuing pagans from evil.
English folklore has it that Saint George slew the dragon in Oxfordshire and Hereford, When he probably never came to England at all. Saint George replaced Edward the confessor as patron saint of England following the crusades, who introduced the cult of St George into Western Europe. The feast of Saint George on the 23rd April was given its official status in 1415, when he became the patron saint.
Saint George is also the patron saint of Moscow in Russia, and was until the 18th century patron of Portugal when they broke from Spain in the 12th century, they had to choose a new patron. The acquaintance with the English in the crusades confirmed George as the natural successor.
Chilvary in the face of danger is how Baden-Powell of the Scout movement saw him and claimed Saint George as their patron, and is to this day. Other countries in the scouting movement have also adopted him.
Joyce Gale © 2003
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