Get Your St.George Facts Here

  • In the UK we’re lacking in Bank holidays and a national day as such. Like most Englanders though I don’t actually know a great deal about our patron saint. As we’re so busy at work I took it upon myself to find out. On your behalf.
  • Born in Cappadociam, Turkey (or Georgia) in about 280 AD and grew up in Palestine. Said to have served with distinction in the Roman army, holding the rank of Tribune (Colonel).
  • It is certain that he had become widely venerated as a personal intercessor as well as a symbol of military virtues, some time before he was officially proclaimed ‘protector’.
  • St George is the patron saint of the following; England, Netherlands, Catalonia, Lebanon, Canada, Germany, Greece, Sicily, Portugal, Slovenia, Lithuania, Russia, equestrians, farmers, sheep and in the tradition of saving the best for last – leprosy, herpes and syphilis.
  • It is probable, according to the early accounts, that his family was of Dacian origin, because of his tall stature and fair hair.
  • Patron Saint of England since at least the reign of Edward III in the 14th century and universally recognised as a saint for some 1,600 years.
  • It looks like date of 23 April has previously been a holiday in England in honour of St George since 1222. In 1415, when English soldiers under Henry V won the battle of Agincourt, the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered St George’s Day to be one of the country?s greatest feasts and celebrated like Christmas Day with only vital work undertaken.
  • The holiday lost its general popularity after the Protestant reformation in the late 18th century.
  • He is believed to have enlisted in the Cavalry of the Roman Army at the age of 17 during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and quickly established a reputation amongst his peers for his physical strength and good looks, virtuous behaviour and valorous military bearing.
  • He was apparently tortured over a period for publicly declaring himself a Christian and protesting against the persecution of Christians. He was beheaded at Lydda (Lod) in what is now Israel on 23rd April 303AD.

  • The evidence about his early cult strongly suggests that his martyrdom took place in extraordinary circumstances, perhaps connected with the destruction of a local pagan temple.
  • Probably he first became popular in England when his reputation for virtue and chivalrous conduct became the spiritual inspiration of the Crusaders, who told of his heroic acts in the cause of Christianity.
  • The Cross of St George is the red Greek cross of a martyr on a white or silver background symbolising heaven.
  • During the Crusades the pennant or flag of St George became prominent as a means of recognition for English Knights. The Cross was also worn on shields and breastplates and on badges over the shoulders.
  • The Cross of St George was first used as a symbol of England in 1277 by the army of Edward I. Richard II later made it the flag of the English army.
  • St George’s Day is the first day of camping(!)(?)
  • The legend of St. George and the Dragon has it that the citizens of Silene in Libya were being terrorised by a dragon. To keep it at bay, the townsfolk offered it sacrifices, first of sheep and then of children and young people. When the turn came for the king’s daughter, Princess Cleodolinda, to be sacrificed, St George rode up on his white charger, dismounted and fought the monster on foot until it eventually succumbed. He then dragged the dying monster into the city with the Princess’s girdle and slew the dragon in front of the people. St. George was greeted as their deliverer and the king offered him a bag of gold as a reward. This he refused and asked that it be given to the poor.
  • His feast date, April 23, is the Day of Aragon (Spain) and is also holiday in Catalonia (Spain) where it is traditional to give a rose and a book to the loved one. This, together with the anniversary of the deaths, in 1616, of Cervantes and Shakespeare, has led UNESCO to declare April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day.
  • In the 13th century, there was a Guild of St George to which the Honourable Company of Pikemen were related. They later evolved into the Honourable Artillery Company.
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