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Born: Late 3rd century
Died: ~303
FEast: Apr. 23rd

Patron of:  
Soldiers, England, battle, equestrians, Ethiopia, Portugal

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St. George

Bio

 

 George, though he very likely was a real person, does not have many remaining sources to tell us about his life. It is thought that he was born in modern-day Turkey to Christian parents. His father was said to be a Roman officer (who was also martyred for his faith when George was 14). His mother then took George back to her hometown until she also passed. George then joined the Roman army and rose quickly through the ranks until he became guard to the emperor.

Two versions of the story split here, one saying that the Emperor, Diocletian, announced in the year 303 that to quell Christianity, he would force every other soldier to sacrifice to the Roman gods and that any Christian would be arrested. Though he was mainly targeting Christians who had any type of power, status, or role under him, he arrested many civilians as well. George, who he particularly liked (and he had liked his father as well), told him about his faith. Diocletian, unwilling to martyr his friend, begged him to convert and sacrifice to the Roman gods. He offered him money, slaves, and even more power if he would do so, but George refused. Finally, when George announced he was a Christian in front of the whole army, Diocletian was forced to keep his promise. George was tortured and then beheaded.

The other version of the story goes that George was tortured over 20 times in 7 years, but his suffering converted about 40,000 people, including the Empress, who became a martyr as well. He was killed in Lydda, which is now part of Israel.

Very interestingly, St. George is revered in Islam as well. According to those stories, he was a man who lived with the last remaining apostles of Jesus. Like in Christian stories, he would not sacrifice to pagan gods and was tortured, nearly dying 3 times, until he was finally killed. These legends also state that he possessed a power to make plants and trees grow.

The story of St. George slaying a dragon was added to his Christian legend many years after his death, but states that George saved a Libyan town from a beast who had been offered a sheep each day until the villagers ran out and hard to start sacrificing their own people. It is said that George showed up the day that the king's daughter was to be sacrificed, and he slayed the monster in return for the village's conversion to Christianity. It is not certain whether the early depictions of the dragon were supposed to simply represent a metaphor for the battle between good and evil, or whether George's story was combined with that of other mythological tales of dragons.

Since his martyrdom, George has become an extremely popular saint around the world. He is especially revered by armies and soldiers, and is said to have appeared in several battles throughout history to give armies victory or hope. The latest of these apparitions occurred in World War I, supposedly aiding British troops in retreat.

Prayer

 

Because you made the decision to stay true to what you believed. you sacrificed it all. You weren’t afraid to criticize authority though they were your friends and offered you riches. Help us be strong enough to criticize Authority & groups we are part of when we know they are wrong.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

gazing steadfastly at what battles lay ahead of him, I wanted my St. George to look as solid and steadfast as his legend and popularity have been. HIs high-collared jacket shields him as well as any ancient armor, and its embroidered dragon is as fierce as his spirit.

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