St George is the patron saint of England and we celebrate St. George’s day on 23 April.
Patron saints are chosen as special protectors over areas of life. These areas can include jobs, illnesses, churches and countries. Patron saints are often chosen today because of an interest or talent. For example, Francis de Sales was a writer so he is patron saint of journalists and writers.
St. George was a soldier in the Roman army. The Roman Emperor Diocletian liked St. George, although he didn’t like other Christians and ordered all he found to be killed. George was a brave man so he went to the Emperor and told him he didn’t agree with killing Christians, and then left the Roman army. For leaving, he was tortured and finally beheaded. If all the stories were true, St. George survived being chopped to pieces three times, buried and burnt alive! St. George is also the patron saint of Portugal, Germany, Lithuania, soldiers and, less obviously, skin diseases.
The story of St. George was written in about 1275. According to the legend, a terrible dragon had ruined all the countryside around a city in Libya called Selena, making its home in a nearby swamp. Its fiery breath caused devastation whenever it went near the city, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger. When the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and there was a lottery to choose the victim. On one occasion the King’s daughter was chosen. The king offered all his money to whoever would take her place, but the people had agreed that no substitutes should be allowed, and the Princess was taken to the swamp. St. George was riding by on his horse, and asked the girl what was going on. She told him to leave her, but the good knight stayed, and when the dragon appeared, St. George bravely attacked it. He tied the Princess’s belt around the dragon’s neck, and the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George told all the people not to be afraid and to become Christians. He then cut off the dragon’s head and the people were all converted to Christianity. The King tried to give George half his kingdom, but the saint refused. He left the city telling the King to take good care of the churches, and to be kind to the poor.
Celebrate St Georges Day with Sarova.
Submitted by Mark Gibbons, Revenue Manager at The Bull