Monday, 23 April 2007

SAINT GEORGE'S DAY


The most famous legend of Saint George is of him slaying a dragon. In the Middle Ages the dragon was commonly used to represent the Devil. The slaying of the dragon by St George was first credited to him in the twelfth century, long after his death. It is therefore likely that the many stories connected with St George's name are fictitious.
There are many versions of story of St George slaying the dragon, but most agree on the following:
A town was terrorised by a dragon A young princess was offered to the dragon and when George heard about this he rode into the village, slayed the dragon and rescued the princess.
The Legend of St. George and the Dragon
St. George journeyed for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met a poor hermit who told him that everyone in that land was in great distress, for a dragon had long ravaged the country.
'Every day,' said the old man, 'he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The King's daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.'
When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night in the hermit's hut, and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he drew near he saw a little procession of women, headed by a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. The princess Sabra was being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. Then he entered the valley.

As soon as the dragon saw him it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But St. George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it. The dragon's scales were so hard that the spear broke into a thousand pieces. and St. George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under and enchanted orange tree against which not poison could prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him. Within a few minutes he had recovered his strength and was able to fight again.
He smote the beast with his sword but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet.



THE REAL ST GEORGE


Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. Very little is known about the man who became St George.
Quick Facts about St George
• Born in Turkey (in Cappadocia)
• Lived in 3rd century
• His parents were Christian
• Became a Roman soldier
• Protested against Rome's persecution of Christians
• Imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith
• Beheaded at Lydda in Palestine
St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith.
The Emperor Diocletian gave him many important missions, and it is thought that on one of these he came to England. It was while he was in England that he heard the Emperor was putting all Christians to death and so he returned to Rome to help his brother Christians. He pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. Diocletian did all he could to persuade St. George to give up his faith, but he refused and was finally beheaded on 23 April, 303.
In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced Edward the Confessor as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day .
Patron Saint
St George is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine and Portugal amongst others, although he is celebrated on different days.
St George is also patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis.

5 comments:

CG said...

he wasn't very English at all really, was he? Must tell Sian he is patron saint of riders :)

A wildlife gardener said...

What a great legend, Ruth! Spent some time catching up with the blogs I missed over the wknd...loved the photo of all the green leaves...amazing!

Women on the Verge said...

This is one of the stories my daughters ask to hear over and over... great post!! Thanks ruth!

E

Allotment Lady said...

There were lots of celebrations going on over the weekend - mock battles and Morris Men dancing a George and the Dragon fight.

Strange how we got him as a Saints Day isn't it

Mousie said...

that's a great story...i learnt so many things...
Thank you Ruth
Love from Mousie

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