Search
Close this search box.
SAINTS OF ST JOSEPH'S CHURCH

St. George

Historians still continue to debate to this date on when Saint George was born. However, his date of birth is considered to be the 23rd April 303AD.

The first piece of evidence of George’s existence appeared within the works of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen’s Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. George was one of several names listed in the historical text, and Pope Gelasius claimed  by the end of the 5th Century that George was one of the saints “whose names are justly revered among men, but whose actions are known only to God.”

What we believe to be the truth is that George was born in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey, in the 3rd century; that his parents were Christians; and that when his father died, George’s mother returned to her native Palestine, taking George with her. When George was in his 20s’ he became a soldier in the Roman army and rose to the rank of Tribune and served as an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia.

On February 24, 303 A.D., Diocletian, who persecuted Christianity more fiercely, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods.

George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George’s father.

When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself.

In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods, and made several other offers that George refused.

Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George’s execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions. He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times, but still George did not turn from God.

On April 23, 303 A.D., George was decapitated before Nicomedia’s outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial, and other Christians went to honor George as a martyr.

Saint George and the Dragon

This version of the dragon tale is from The Golden Legend. There are several stories about George fighting dragons, but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Cyrene in Libya.

The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several occasions. It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught.

This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep. The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws. This continued until one day the princess’ straw was drawn.

The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it. She was offered to the dragon, but before she could be devoured, George appeared. He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross, and slayed the dragon.

After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity.

His rise and fall

It’s believed that Saint George was adopted in England because the story in the Golden Legend was similar to an Anglo-Saxon legend of Beowulf. Saint George was quickly incorporated into miracle plays adapted from pagan sources and is a prime figure in Spenser’s famous epic poem The Fairie Queen.

George’s popularity faded after the Reformation when religious beliefs changed. He also lost ground as gunpowder became the primary weapon of war and protection, making the lance and sword less significant. In 1778 Saint George’s Day was demoted to a simple day of devotion for Catholics in England.

Saint's Prayers

About the Saint

Feast Day:
The Feast of Saint George is on the 23rd April.
Patron of:
Saint George is the patron Saint of Boys Scouts, England, Georgia, Catalonia, Germany, Portugal and soldiers.
Location:
Located at Niche #11