Saint George - WYD2013 Patron of the Week

Last edited 5th November 2012

Saint George - WYD2013 Patron of the Week

We have all seen the image – St. George, dressed in English armour, riding a white horse, and of course slaying a dragon. What is funny about this image is that St. George was not English at all – his father was a Roman army official, and his mother was born in Palestine... and somehow I doubt that he actually slayed a dragon! So what is the real story behind St. George? Is it just a myth?

The fact is, St. George was not only a very real person, but he is also an incredible example for all Christians. George was a successful soldier in the Roman army, and had a bright career ahead of him. However in the year 302, Emperor Diocletian issued an edict demanding that every Christian soldier in the Roman army be ordered to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods, or be imprisoned and put to death. Proud of his faith and showing great courage, St. George approached the Emperor and denounced the edict in front of his fellow soldiers. He then proudly proclaimed himself to be a Christian.

Emperor Diocletian desperately attempted to convert George, who was an exceptional soldier, and a favourite of the emperor’s – and George was promised land, money and slaves if he would give up Christianity. But the 28 year old George refused, and left with no alternative, Diocletian was forced to put his former favourite soldier, to death.

As a soldier and martyr of the Church, the story of St. George spread through Europe, Churches were built in his honour, and he became the Patron Saint of England and of Soldiers. Artists depicted George as a knight killing a dragon, which symbolized the way he defended the Church against evil and injustice. So although the story of St. George might be filled mythology – the message is clear... if a 28 year old guy can hold fast to his principles in an era when the world was against Christianity, we can too!

With your example, may we be strengthened in faith and strengthened before the onslaught of evil, awaiting the coming of Christ. Amen.

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