23Apr

St George & the Dragon

Little is actually known about England’s patron Saint George, whose feast day falls today. What we do know is that he was born circa 280 in Cappadocia, an area that is now part of Turkey and that Emperor Diocletian executed St. George on April 23, 303, in Palestine, for protesting Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. this is a man who was willing to go to his death for love of Christ.

George was written about by Eusebius of Caesarea and made known to England by Arculphus and Adamnan in the early 700s. He was made patron saint of England in 1098, after appearing to soldiers at the Battle of Antioch. And he will be forever linked with the great legend of his defeating a dragon which was terrorising a community and holding it to ransom.

Some historians have suggested the dragon may have been a crocodile. Others think George might have slain one of the last living dinosaurs. Others believe there never was a dangerous beast and that the story is fable. Whatever the truth the story is powerful and works effectively as allegory. You can use the story to speak of St. George as the symbol of good overcoming the dragon which is the symbol of evil. Or you can see the captured princess as a symbol of purity which is under threat from the dragon as a symbol of lust, conquered by the Christian virtue of St. George. Or George can represent Christianity overcoming paganism which is the dragon. What a great tale it is!

Today the last word simply must go to Shakespeare.

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2 thoughts on “St George & the Dragon

  1. Not wanting to nitpick, but surely the Emperor didn’t execute Saint George with his own hands? I think he rather had him executed by his minions.
    In the words of Father Hunwicke: “A very Happy Name Day to our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis! May the Protector of the Realm of England, his own Patron, pray that he have every Grace! And […] Ratzinger Major; and Archbishop Gaenswein!!”
    England and Saint George!!!

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