Saint George Patron of England

Saint George Patron Of England

George, whose name in Greek means “farmer,” was born to a Christian family in Cappadocia around the year 280. After moving to Palestine, he joined the army of Diocletian. When the emperor issued the edict of persecution against Christians in 303, George gave all his belongings to the poor and, in front of Diocletian himself, tore the document apart and professed his faith in Christ. For this he suffered terrible torture and was eventually beheaded.

Shortly after his death, a basilica was erected over the place of his burial in Lydda (modern-day Lod, in Israel). His relics are still visible today.

Among the most ancient documents attesting to the existence of St. George, a Greek epigraph from 368 found in Heraclea of Bethany speaks of the "house or church of the saints and triumphant martyrs George and companions". A Passio Georgii was classified among the hagiographic works by the Gelasianum Decree of 496 and deemed apocryphal. There were many later redactions of the Passio, which informed subsequent legends.

From martyr to holy warrior.

The crusaders contributed a great deal to transforming the figure of St. George the martyr into a holy warrior, seeing in the killing of the dragon a symbol for the defeat of Islam; Richard I of England (“the Lionheart”) invoked him as the protector of all soldiers. With the Normans the cult of St. George became firmly rooted in England where, in 1348, King Edward III established the Order of the Knights of St. George. Throughout the Middle Ages his figure inspired a great deal of epic literature.