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The Dragon-Slaying Saint: St Georges Day

Thursday 20th April 2017

Saint George’s Day is celebrated every year on 23rd April which is dedicated to the patron saint of England who is identified with English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry (even though he wasn't English at all!)

Everything about Saint George is dubious, so the information below should be taken as mythical rather than real.

  • St George was born in Cappadocia (which is now in Turkey) and lived in 3rd century AD
  • His parents were Christian
  • He later lived in Palestine and became a Roman soldier
  • St George protested against Rome's persecution of Christians and as a result, was imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith
  • He was beheaded at Lydda in Palestine
  • 23rd April was named as Saint George's day in 1222


The story of Saint George only achieved mass circulation when it was printed in 1483 by Caxton in a book called The Golden Legend. The tale that is believed goes something like this…  

The people of the town had begun to feed the dragon two sheep every day to prevent it attacking them; when the sheep failed, they began to give it one sheep and one man. The king decreed that the human sacrifice should be chosen by lot. This continued until the king's daughter was selected. The king tried to bargain his way out of it, but the townspeople were adamant that she should be delivered to the dragon just as many of their children had been.

George, who was passing, asked the lady what was happening. She told him about the dragon and begged him to leave before it appeared and killed him too.

The princess led the defeated dragon into the city, causing much panic and alarm until George told the people not to be afraid: "Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesu Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon."

The king was baptised, followed by all his people, whereupon George killed the dragon and had it dragged out of the city (requiring four ox carts to do so) and its body thrown into the fields.

The king set up a church of Our Lady and Saint George. On the site there sprang up "a fountain of living water, which healeth sick people that drink thereof".


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