St. George, Patron Saint of England
The battle between St George and the dragon
By students Alvarez Marta and Hasler Cecile
St George was a Roman Soldier in the Guar of Diocletian. He was born in 280 AD in a Christian noble family in Nicomedia, Turkey and died in Lydda, Palestine. He is one of the most venerated saints in the Roman Catholic Church.
Saint George was a brave man with a strong personality. Records describe him as tall in stature and very handsome. Among his men, he gained a reputation for being fair and chivalrous.
In the year 302 A.D. Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to pagan gods, but George never accepted.
After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords, George was excluded by decapitation on April 23, 303 A.D. Before the execution, George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honor him as a martyr.
Saint George is said to have appeared to the Crusaders before a major battle at Antioch. Word of this alleged miracle assured his place as a revered saint.
In the fully-developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden legend, a dragon makes its nest at a spring, that also provides water for the city of “Silene” in Libya. The citizens tried to dislodge the dragon from its nest in order to collect water. To do this, they offered it a sheep or if a sheep can’t be found, then a maiden was offered instead. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happened to be the princess. She was offered to the dragon, but St George faced it and rescued the princess. The grateful citizens abandoned their ancestral paganism and convert into Christianity.
This is a metaphor that shows how it’s possible to defeat the evil (represented by the dragon) with the Christian faith. It’s a classical legend similar to other historical ones in which good and evil meet face to face.