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Saint George (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: Γεώργιος (Geórgios); died 23 April 303), also George of Lydda, was a
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
who is venerated as a
saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and Christian denomination, denominatio ...

saint
in
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. According to tradition he was a soldier in the
Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

Roman army
. Saint George was a soldier of
Cappadocian Greek Cappadocian, also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a mixed language originally spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey) by descendants of the pre-Turkic peoples of Anatolia. The language originally diverged from Byzantine Greek ...
origin and member of the
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
for
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most
venerated Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
saints and megalomartyrs in Christianity, and he has been especially venerated as a
military saint 300px, Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754)">Theotokos.html" ;"title="Triptych of the Theotokos">Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754) The military saints, warrior saints a ...
since the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
. In
hagiography A hagiography (; ) or vita (from Latin ''vita'', life, which begins the title of most medieval biographies) is a biography of a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holin ...
, as one of the
Fourteen Holy Helpers The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints veneration, venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. This group of ''Nothelfer'' ("helpers in ...
and one of the most prominent
military saint 300px, Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754)">Theotokos.html" ;"title="Triptych of the Theotokos">Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754) The military saints, warrior saints a ...
s, he is immortalized in the legend of
Saint George and the Dragon In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, or closeness to God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of fai ...
. His memorial,
Saint George's Day Saint George's Day, also called the Feast of Saint George, is the feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saint In religious belief, a s ...
, is traditionally celebrated on 23 April.
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...

Ethiopia
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
and
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
in Spain,
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
in Russia, and several other states, regions, cities, universities, professions and organizations claim George as their
patron Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...
. The bones of Saint George are buried in the
Church of Saint George, Lod Church of Saint George ( ar, كنيسة القديس جيورجوس or كنيسة مار جريس, he, כנסיית גאורגיוס הקדוש קוטל הדרקון) is one of the two major shrines for the fourth-century Christian martyr A ...
, Israel.


Legend

Very little is known about George's life, but it is thought he was a Roman officer of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
descent from
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
who was martyred in one of the pre-Constantinian persecutions. Beyond this, early sources give conflicting information. There are two main versions of the legend, a Greek and a Latin version, which can both be traced to the 5th or 6th century. The saint's veneration dates to the 5th century with some certainty, and possibly still to the 4th. The addition of the dragon legend dates to the 11th century. The earliest text which preserves fragments of George's narrative is in a Greek hagiography which is identified by
Hippolyte Delehaye Hippolyte Delehaye, S.J., (Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,Bollandist The Bollandists or Bollandist Society (french: Société des Bollandistes) are an association of scholars, philologists, and historians (originally all Jesuit The Society of Jesus (SJ; la, Societas Iesu) is a religious order of the Catholi ...
s to be a
palimpsest In textual studiesTextual scholarship (or textual studies) is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods fo ...

palimpsest
of the 5th century. An earlier work by
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...

Eusebius
, ''
Church history __NOTOC__ Church history or ecclesiastical history as an academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as ...
'', written in the 4th century, contributed to the legend but did not name George or provide significant detail. The work of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch,
Jean Bolland Jean Bolland ( la, Johannes Bollandus) (13 August 1596 – 12 September 1665) was a Jesuit priest and prominent Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish ...

Jean Bolland
, and
Godfrey Henschen Godfrey Henschen (also ''Henskens'' or ''Godefridus Henschenius'' in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around ...
in the 17th century was one of the first pieces of scholarly research to establish the saint's historicity, via their publications in ''
Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca The ''Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca'' is a catalogue of Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca
''.
Pope Gelasius I Pope Gelasius I was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern O ...

Pope Gelasius I
stated in 494 that George was among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God."


Greek version

The most complete version, based upon the fifth-century Greek text but in a later form, survives in a translation into
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
from about 600. From text fragments preserved in the
British Library The British Library is the national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow book ...

British Library
a translation into English was published in 1925. In the Greek tradition, George was born to Greek Christian parents, in
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
. His father died for the faith when George was fourteen, and his mother returned with George to her homeland of
Syria Palaestina Syria Palaestina (literally, "Palestinian Syria";Trevor Bryce, 2009, ''The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia''Roland de Vaux, 1978, ''The Early History of Israel'', Page 2: "After the revolt of Bar Cochba in A. ...
. A few years later, George's mother died. George travelled to the eastern imperial capital,
Nicomedia Nicomedia (; el, Νικομήδεια, ''Nikomedeia''; modern İzmit İzmit () is a district and the central district of Kocaeli Province, Kocaeli province, Turkey. It is located at the Gulf of İzmit in the Sea of Marmara, about east of Is ...
, where he joined the Roman army. George was persecuted by one ''Dadianus''. In later versions of the Greek legend, this name is rationalised to
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
, and George's martyrdom is placed in the
Diocletian persecution The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians The persecution of Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic ...
of AD 303. The setting in Nicomedia is also secondary, and inconsistent with the earliest cultus of the saint being located in Diospolis. George was executed by
decapitation Decapitation or beheading is the total separation of the head from the body. Such an injury is invariably fatal to humans and most other animals, since it deprives the brain of oxygenated blood, while all other organs are deprived of the auto ...

decapitation
before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra of Rome to become a Christian as well, so she joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to
Lydda Lod ( he, לוד, ; ar, اللد ', '; Latin language, Latin: ''Lydda'', ''Diospolis'', Ancient Greek: Λύδδα / Διόσπολις – city of Zeus) is a city southeast of Tel Aviv in the Central District (Israel), Central District of Israe ...

Lydda
for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr..


Latin version

The Latin ''Passio Sancti Georgii'' (6th century) follows the general course of the Greek legend, but Diocletian here becomes ''Dacian, Emperor of the Persians''. George lived and died in in Cappadocia. His martyrdom was greatly extended to more than twenty separate tortures over the course of seven years. Over the course of his martyrdom, 40,900 pagans were converted to Christianity, including the empress Alexandra. When George finally died, the wicked Dacian was carried away in a whirlwind of fire. In later Latin versions, the persecutor is the Roman emperor
Decius Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius (c. 201 ADJune 251 AD), sometimes translated as Trajan Decius or Decius, was the emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler ...

Decius
, or a Roman judge named Dacian serving under Diocletian.


Historicity

There is little information on the early life of George.
Herbert Thurston Herbert Henry Charles Thurston (15 November 1856 – 3 November 1939) was an English priest of the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit order, and a prolific scholar on Liturgy, liturgical, literary, historical, an ...
in ''
The Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'' states that based upon an ancient cultus, narratives of the early pilgrims, and the early dedications of churches to George, going back to the fourth century, "there seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George", although no faith can be placed in either the details of his history or his alleged exploits. "There seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George, even though he is not commemorated in the Syrian, or in the primitive Hieronymian Martyrologium, but no faith can be placed in the attempts that have been made to fill up any of the details of his history. For example, it is now generally admitted that St. George cannot safely be identified by the nameless martyr spoken of by Eusebius (Church History VIII.5), who tore down Diocletian's edict of persecution at Nicomedia. The version of the legend in which Diocletian appears as persecutor is not primitive. Diocletian is only a rationalized form of the name Dadianus. Moreover, the connection of the saint's name with Nicomedia is inconsistent with the early cultus at Diospolis. Still less is St. George to be considered, as suggested by Gibbon, Vetter, and others, a legendary double of the disreputable bishop, George of Cappadocia, the Arian opponent of St. Athanasius." The
Diocletianic Persecution#REDIRECT Diocletianic Persecution The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and ...
of 303, associated with
military saint 300px, Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754)">Theotokos.html" ;"title="Triptych of the Theotokos">Bogomater flanked by Saints George and Demetrius as horsemen (dated 1754) The military saints, warrior saints a ...
s because the persecution was aimed at Christians among the professional soldiers of the
Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

Roman army
, is of undisputed historicity. According to
Donald Attwater Donald Attwater by Eric Gill, 1929, private collection. Donald Attwater (24 December 1892–February 1977) was a British Catholic author, editor and translator, and a visiting lecturer at the University of Notre Dame The University of Notre Da ...

Donald Attwater
,
"No historical particulars of his life have survived, ...The widespread veneration for St George as a soldier saint from early times had its centre in Palestine at Diospolis, now
Lydda Lod ( he, לוד, ; ar, اللد ', '; Latin language, Latin: ''Lydda'', ''Diospolis'', Ancient Greek: Λύδδα / Διόσπολις – city of Zeus) is a city southeast of Tel Aviv in the Central District (Israel), Central District of Israe ...

Lydda
. St George was apparently martyred there, at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century; that is all that can be reasonably surmised about him."
Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval En ...

Edward Gibbon
. argued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia,Edward Gibbon, ''
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ''The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'' is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most importan ...
'', 2:23:5
. a notorious 4th-century Arian bishop who was 's most bitter rival, and that it was he who in time became George of England. This identification is seen as highly improbable. Bishop George was slain by Gentile Greeks for exacting onerous taxes, especially inheritance taxes. J. B. Bury, who edited the 1906 edition of Gibbon's ''The Decline and Fall'', wrote "this theory of Gibbon's has nothing to be said for it." He adds that: "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth". Saint George in all likelihood was martyred before the year 290.


George and the dragon

The legend of
Saint George and the Dragon In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, or closeness to God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of fai ...
was first recorded in the 11th century, in a Georgian source. It reached Catholic Europe in the 12th century. In the ''
Golden Legend is one of many stories of the saints preserved in the ''Golden Legend''. The ''Golden Legend'' (Latin language, Latin: ''Legenda aurea'' or ''Legenda sanctorum'') is a collection of hagiography, hagiographies by Jacobus de Varagine that was w ...
'', by 13th-century Archbishop of
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
Jacobus da Varagine Jacopo De Fazio, best known as the blessed Jacobus de Varagine, or in Latin Voragine ( it, Giacomo da Varazze, Jacopo da Varazze; c. 123013 or 16 July 1298) was an Italy, Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa. He was the author, or more accur ...
, George's death was at the hands of Dacian, and about the year 287. The tradition tells that a fierce dragon was causing panic at the city of Silene,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, at the time George arrived there. In order to prevent the dragon from devastating people from the city, they gave two sheep each day to the dragon, but when the sheep were not enough they were forced to sacrifice humans instead of the two sheep. The human to be sacrificed was elected by the city's own people and one time the king's daughter was chosen to be sacrificed but no one was willing to take her place. George saved the girl by slaying the dragon with a lance. The king was so grateful that he offered him treasures as a reward for saving his daughter's life, but George refused it and instead he gave these to the poor. The people of the city were so amazed at what they had witnessed that they became Christians and were all baptized. The ''Golden Legend'' offered a historicised narration of George's encounter with a
dragon A dragon is a large, serpent Serpent or The Serpent may refer to: * Snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote Amniotes (fro ...

dragon
. This account was very influential and it remains the most familiar version in English owing to
William Caxton William Caxton ( 1422 – 1491) was an English merchant A merchant is a person who trades in commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in busine ...
's 15th-century translation. In the medieval romances, the lance with which George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, after the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
ine city of
Ashkelon Ashkelon or Ashqelon (; he, , ), also known as Ascalon (; grc-gre, Ἀσκάλων, ''Askálōn''; ar, عَسْقَلَان, '), is a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel on the Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea ...
, today in Israel. The name ''Ascalon'' was used by
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
for his personal aircraft during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, according to records at
Bletchley Park Bletchley Park is an English country house An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a Townhouse (Great Britain), town house. This allowed ...

Bletchley Park
. Several sculptures of George battling the dragon can be found in
Stockholm Stockholm (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smalle ...

Stockholm
, the earliest inside
Storkyrkan Storkyrkan (, ), also called Stockholms domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral), is the oldest church in Stockholm. Storkyrkan lies in the centre of Stockholm in Gamla stan, between Stockholm Palace and Stortorget, the old main square of Stockholm. It was ...

Storkyrkan
("The Great Church") in the Old Town. Iconography of the horseman with spear overcoming evil was widespread throughout the Christian period.


Muslim legends

George ( ar, جرجس, ''Jirjis'' or ''Girgus'') is included in some Muslim texts as a prophetic figure. The Islamic sources state that he lived among a group of believers who were in direct contact with the last apostles of Jesus. He is described as a rich merchant who opposed erection of
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

Apollo
's statue by
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
's king Dadan. After confronting the king, George was tortured many times to no effect, was imprisoned and was aided by the angels. Eventually, he exposed that the idols were possessed by Satan, but was martyred when the city was destroyed by God in a rain of fire. Muslim scholars had tried to find a historical connection of the saint due to his popularity. According to Muslim legend, he was martyred under the rule of
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
and was killed three times but resurrected every time. The legend is more developed in the Persian version of
al-Tabari Al-Tabari (; fa, محمد بن جریر طبری, ar, أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري) (839–923 CE; 224–310 AH) was an influential polymath, scholar, historian and commentator on the Qur'an from Amol, ...
wherein he resurrects the dead, makes trees sprout and pillars bear flowers. After one of his deaths, the world is covered by darkness which is lifted only when he is resurrected. He is able to convert the queen but she is put to death. He then prays to God to allow him to die, which is granted. Al-Tha`labi states that he was from Palestine and lived in the times of some
disciples of Jesus File:Rom, Domitilla-Katakomben, Fresko "Christus und die 12 Apostel" und Christussymbol "Chi Rho" 1.jpg, upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, fresco with the Chi Rho, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theolo ...
. He was killed many times by the king of Mosul, and resurrected each time. When the king tried to starve him, he touched a piece of dry wood brought by a woman and turned it green, with varieties of fruits and vegetables growing from it. After his fourth death, the city was burnt along with him.
Ibn al-Athir Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ash-Shaybani, better known as Ali 'Izz al- Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari ( ar, علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري) (1160-1233) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, ...
's account of one of his deaths is parallel to the
crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; e ...
, stating, "When he died, God sent stormy winds and thunder and lightning and dark clouds, so that darkness fell between heaven and earth, and people were in great wonderment." The account adds that the darkness was lifted after his resurrection.


Veneration


History

A
titular church In the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country ...
built in Lydda during the reign of
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
(reigned 306–337) was consecrated to "a man of the highest distinction", according to the church history of
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...

Eusebius
; the name of the ''titulus'' "patron" was not disclosed, but later he was asserted to have been George. The veneration of George spread from
Syria Palaestina Syria Palaestina (literally, "Palestinian Syria";Trevor Bryce, 2009, ''The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia''Roland de Vaux, 1978, ''The Early History of Israel'', Page 2: "After the revolt of Bar Cochba in A. ...
through Lebanon to the rest of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
– though the martyr is not mentioned in the Syriac '' Breviarium'' – and the region east of the Black Sea. By the 5th century, the veneration of George had reached the Christian
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
, as well: in 494, George was canonized as a
saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and Christian denomination, denominatio ...

saint
by
Pope Gelasius I Pope Gelasius I was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern O ...

Pope Gelasius I
, among those "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to " The early cult of the saint was localized in , in Palestine. The first description of Lydda as a pilgrimage site where George's relics were venerated is '' De Situ Terrae Sanctae'' by the archdeacon Theodosius, written between 518 and 530. By the end of the 6th century, the center of his veneration appears to have shifted to
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
. The ''Life'' of Saint Theodore of Sykeon, written in the 7th century, mentions the veneration of the relics of the saint in Cappadocia. By the time of the
early Muslim conquests The early Muslim conquests ( ar, الفتوحات الإسلامية, ''al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya''), also referred to as the Arab conquests and the early Islamic conquests began with the Prophets of Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7 ...
of the mostly Christian and
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōr ...
Middle East, a basilica in Lydda dedicated to George existed. A new church was erected in 1872 and is still standing, where the feast of the translation of the relics of Saint George to that location is celebrated on November 3 each year. In England, he was mentioned among the martyrs by the 8th-century monk
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sa ...

Bede
. The '' Georgslied'' is an adaptation of his legend in
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Euro ...
, composed in the late 9th century. The earliest dedication to the saint in England is a church at
Fordington, Dorset Fordington is a part of the town of Dorchester, Dorset; originally a separate village, it has now become a suburb. Taking its name from a ford across the River Frome, Dorset, River Frome, it grew up around the church of St George's Church, Fording ...
, that is mentioned in the will of
Alfred the Great Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons This is a list of monarchs of Wessex until 886 AD. For later monarchs, see the List of English monarchs. While the details of the later monarchs are confirmed by a numbe ...

Alfred the Great
. George did not rise to the position of "patron saint" of England, however, until the 14th century, and he was still obscured by
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
, the traditional patron saint of England, until in 1552 during the reign of
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fr ...

Edward VI
all saints' banners other than George's were abolished in the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformati ...
. Belief in an apparition of George heartened the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
at the Battle of Antioch in 1098, and a similar appearance occurred the following year at Jerusalem. The chivalric military
Order of Sant Jordi d'Alfama Knights of Saint George Saint George (Greek language, Greek: Γεώργιος; died 23 April 303), also George of Lydda, was a Christians, Christian who is venerated as a saint in Christianity. According to tradition he was a soldier in the Rom ...
was established by king from the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon (; an, Corona d'Aragón; ca, Corona d'Aragó; es, Corona de Aragón)' ()' (, , )' ()' (). was a composite monarchy A composite monarchy (or composite state) is a historical category, introduced by H. G. Koenigsberger ...
in 1201,
Republic of Genoa The Republic of Genoa ( lij, Repúbrica de Zêna ; it, Repubblica di Genova; la, Res Publica Ianuensis) was a medieval and early modern maritime republic The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it ...
,
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, an ...
(1326), and by
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III (21 September 1415 – 19 August 1493) was Holy Roman emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, ...

Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
.
Edward III of England Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern En ...

Edward III of England
put his
Order of the Garter (Shame on him who thinks evil of it) , eligibility = , criteria = At Her Majesty's pleasure , status = Currently constituted , founder = Edward III Edward III (13 November 131221 June 1377), also known as Edward ...
under the banner of George, probably in 1348. The chronicler
Jean Froissart Jean Froissart (Old Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (p ...

Jean Froissart
observed the English invoking George as a battle cry on several occasions during the
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years’ War (french: link=yes, La guerre de Cent Ans; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of and during the . It originated from disputed claims to the between the English and the French roy ...
. In his rise as a national saint, George was aided by the very fact that the saint had no legendary connection with England, and no specifically localized shrine, as that of
Thomas Becket Thomas Becket (), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bish ...

Thomas Becket
at Canterbury: "Consequently, numerous shrines were established during the late fifteenth century," Muriel C. McClendon has written, "and his did not become closely identified with a particular occupation or with the cure of a specific malady." In the wake of the Crusades, George became a model of
chivalry Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised ...
in works of literature, including
medieval romance As a literary genre A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, setting tone, tone, Content (media), content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. They generally move from more ...
s. In the 13th century,
Jacobus de Voragine Jacopo De Fazio, best known as the blessed Jacobus de Varagine, or in Latin Voragine ( it, Giacomo da Varazze, Jacopo da Varazze; c. 123013 or 16 July 1298) was an Italy, Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa. He was the author, or more accur ...
, Archbishop of Genoa, compiled the ''Legenda Sanctorum'', (''Readings of the Saints'') also known as ''Legenda Aurea'' (the ''Golden Legend''). Its 177 chapters (182 in some editions) include the story of George, among many others. After the invention of the printing press, the book became a bestseller. The establishment of George as a popular saint and protective giant in the West, that had captured the medieval imagination, was codified by the official elevation of his feast to a ''festum duplex'' at a church council in 1415, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April. There was wide latitude from community to community in celebration of the day across late medieval and early modern England, and no uniform "national" celebration elsewhere, a token of the popular and vernacular nature of George's ''cultus'' and its local horizons, supported by a local guild or confraternity under George's protection, or the dedication of a local church. When the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformati ...
severely curtailed the saints' days in the calendar, Saint George's Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed. In April 2019, the parish church of São Jorge, in São Jorge,
Madeira Island Madeira is a Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the ...
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, solemnly received the
relic In religion, a relic is an object or article of religious significance from the past, it usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration Veneratio ...

relic
s of George, patron saint of the parish. During the celebrations the 504th anniversary of its foundation. the relics were brought by the new Bishop of Funchal, D. Nuno Brás.


Veneration in the Levant

George is renowned throughout the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, as both saint and prophet. His veneration by Christians and Muslims lies in his composite personality combining several Biblical, Quranic and other ancient mythical heroes.
William DalrympleWilliam Dalrymple may refer to: * William Dalrymple (1678–1744), Scottish Member of Parliament * William Dalrymple (moderator) William Dalrymple (29 August 1723 – 28 January 1814) was a Scottish religious writer, minister and Moderator of the ...
, who reviewed the literature in 1999, tells us that J. E. Hanauer in his 1907 book ''Folklore of the Holy Land: Muslim, Christian and Jewish'' "mentioned a shrine in the village of Beit Jala, beside Bethlehem, which at the time was frequented by Christians who regarded it as the birthplace of George and some Jews who regarded it as the burial place of the Elijah, Prophet Elias. According to Hanauer, in his day the monastery was "a sort of madhouse. Deranged persons of all the three faiths are taken thither and chained in the court of the chapel, where they are kept for forty days on bread and water, the Eastern Orthodox priest at the head of the establishment now and then reading the Gospel over them, or administering a whipping as the case demands." In the 1920s, according to Tawfiq Canaan's ''Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine'', nothing seemed to have changed, and all three communities were still visiting the shrine and praying together." Dalrymple himself visited the place in 1995. "I asked around in the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem, and discovered that the place was very much alive. With all the greatest shrines in the Christian world to choose from, it seemed that when the local Arab Christians had a problem – an illness, or something more complicated – they preferred to seek the intercession of George in his grubby little shrine at Beit Jala rather than praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem." He asked the priest at the shrine "Do you get many Muslims coming here?" The priest replied, "We get hundreds! Almost as many as the Christian pilgrims. Often, when I come in here, I find Muslims all over the floor, in the aisles, up and down." The ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' quotes G. A. Smith in his ''Historic Geography of the Holy Land,'' p. 164, saying: "The Mahommedans who usually identify St. George with the prophet Elijah, at Lydda confound his legend with one about Christ himself. Their name for Antichrist is Dajjal, and they have a tradition that Jesus will slay Antichrist by the gate of Lydda. The notion sprang from an ancient bas-relief of George and the Dragon on the Lydda church. But Dajjal may be derived, by a very common confusion between ''n'' and ''l'', from Dagon, whose name two neighbouring villages bear to this day, while one of the gates of Lydda used to be called the Gate of Dagon."


Veneration in the Muslim world

George is described as a prophetic figure in Islamic sources. George is venerated by some Christians and Muslims because of his composite personality combining several Biblical, Quranic and other ancient mythical heroes. In some sources he is identified with Elijah or Mar Elis, George or Mar Jirjus and in others as al-Khidr. The last epithet meaning the "green prophet", is common to Christian, Muslim, and Druze folk piety. Samuel Curtiss who visited an artificial cave dedicated to him where he is identified with Elijah, reports that childless Muslim women used to visit the shrine to pray for children. Per tradition, he was brought to his place of martyrdom in chains, thus priests of Church of St. George chain the sick especially the mentally ill to a chain for overnight or longer for healing. This is sought after by both Muslims and Christians.''Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam'' by Richard G. Hovannisian, Georges Sabagh (2000) , Cambridge University Press, pp. 109–110 According to Elizabeth Anne Finn's ''Home in the Holy land'' (1866): The mosque of Nabi Jurjis, which was restored by Timur in the 14th century, was located in Mosul and supposedly contained the tomb of George. It was however destroyed in July 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who also destroyed the Mosque of the Prophet Sheeth (Seth) and the Mosque of the Prophet Younis (Jonah). The militants claim such mosques have become places for apostasy instead of prayer. George or ''Hazrat'' Jurjays was the patron saint of Mosul. Along with Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Theodosius, he was revered by both Christian and Muslim communities of Jazira Region, Jazira and Anatolia. The wall paintings of Kırk Dam Altı Kilise at Belisırma dedicated to him are dated between 1282 and 1304. These paintings depict him as a mounted knight appearing between donors including a Georgian lady called Thamar and her husband, the Emir and Consul Basil, while the Seljuk Sultan Mesud II and Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos, Androncius II are also named in the inscriptions. A maqam (shrine), shrine attributed to prophet George can be found in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Evliya Celebi states in his ''Seyahatname'' that he visited the tombs of prophet Jonah and prophet George in the city.


Feast days

In the General Roman Calendar, the feast of George is on 23 April. In the Tridentine Calendar of 1568, it was given the ranking of liturgical days in the Roman Rite, rank of "Semidouble". In Pope Pius XII's General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, 1955 calendar this rank was reduced to "Simple", and in Pope John XXIII's General Roman Calendar of 1960, 1960 calendar to a Commemoration (liturgy), "Commemoration". Since Pope Paul VI's Mysterii Paschalis, 1969 revision, it appears as an Memorial (liturgy), "optional memorial". In some countries such as
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, the rank is higher – it is a Solemnity (Roman Catholic) or Feast (Church of England): if it falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is transferred to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. George is very much honoured by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a "Great Martyr", and in Oriental Orthodoxy overall. His calendar of saints, major feast day is on 23 April (Julian calendar 23 April currently corresponds to Gregorian calendar 6 May). If, however, the feast occurs before Easter, it is celebrated on Easter Monday, instead. The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates two additional feasts in honour of George. One is on 3 November, commemorating the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign of
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
(305–37). When the church was consecrated, the
relic In religion, a relic is an object or article of religious significance from the past, it usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration Veneratio ...

relic
s of George were transferred there. The other feast is on 26 November for a church dedicated to him in Kiev, ''circa'' 1054. In Bulgaria, George's day ( bg, Гергьовден) is celebrated on 6 May, when it is customary to slaughter and roast a lamb. George's day is also a public holiday. In Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian Orthodox Church refers to George as ''Sveti Djordje'' (''Свети Ђорђе'') or ''Sveti Georgije'' (''Свети Георгије''). George's day (''Đurđevdan'') is celebrated on 6 May, and is a common ''slava'' (patron saint day) among ethnic Serbs. In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria refers to George () as the "Prince of Martyrs" and celebrates his martyrdom on the 23rd of Paremhat of the Coptic calendar, equivalent to 1 May. The Copts also celebrate the consecration of the first church dedicated to him on the seventh of the month of Hatour of the Coptic calendar usually equivalent to 17 November. In India, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, one of the oriental catholic churches (Eastern Catholic Churches), and Malankara Orthodox Church venerate George. The main pilgrim centers of the saint in India are at Aruvithura and Puthuppally in Kottayam District, Edathua in Alappuzha district, and Edappally in Ernakulam district of the southern state of Kerala. The saint is commemorated each year from 27 April to 14 May at Edathua. On 27 April after the flag hoisting ceremony by the parish priest, the statue of the saint is taken from one of the altars and placed at the extension of the church to be venerated by devotees till 14 May. The main feast day is 7 May, when the statue of the saint along with other saints is taken in procession around the church. Intercession to George of Edathua is believed to be efficacious in repelling snakes and in curing mental ailments. The sacred relics of George were brought to Antioch from Mardin in 900 and were taken to Kerala, India, from Antioch in 1912 by Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril and kept in the Orthodox seminary at Kundara, Kerala. H.H. Mathews II Catholicos had given the relics to St. George churches at Puthupally, Kottayam District, and Chandanappally, Pathanamthitta district. George is Calendar of saints (Church of England), remembered in the Church of England with a Festival (Anglicanism), Festival on April 23, 23 April.


Patronages

George is a highly celebrated saint in both the Catholic, Western and Eastern Christian churches, and many Patronages of Saint George exist throughout the world. George is the patron saint of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
. His cross forms the national flag of England, and features within the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and other national flags containing the Union Flag, such as those of Australia and New Zealand. By the 14th century, the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family. George is the patron saint of
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...

Ethiopia
. He is also the patron saint of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church; George slaying the dragon is one of the most frequently used subjects of icons in the church. The Georgia (country), country of Georgia, where devotions to the saint date back to the fourth century, is not technically named after the saint, but is a well-attested back-formation of the English name. However, many towns and cities around the world are. George is one of the patron saints of Georgia. Exactly 365 Orthodox churches in Georgia are named after George according to the number of days in a year. According to legend, George was cut into 365 pieces after he fell in battle and every single piece was spread throughout the entire country.. George is also one of the patron saints of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. In a battle between the Maltese and the Moors, George was alleged to have been seen with Saint Paul and Saint Agata, protecting the Maltese. George is the protector of the island of Gozo and the patron of Gozo's largest city, Victoria, Gozo, Victoria. The St. George's Basilica, Malta, St. George's Basilica in Victoria is dedicated to him. Devotions to George in
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
date back to the 12th century. Nuno Álvares Pereira attributed the victory of the Portuguese in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 to George. During the reign of John I of Portugal (1357–1433), George became the patron saint of Portugal and the King ordered that the saint's image on the horse be carried in the ''Corpus Christi (feast), Corpus Christi'' procession. The flag of George (white with red cross) was also carried by the Portuguese troops and hoisted in the fortresses, during the 15th century. "Portugal and Saint George" became the battle cry of the Portuguese troops, being still today the battle cry of the Portuguese Army, with simply "Saint George" being the battle cry of the Portuguese Navy. Devotions to Saint George in Brazil was influenced by the Portuguese colonization. George is the unofficial patron saint of the city of Rio de Janeiro (title officially attributed to Saint Sebastian) and of the city of São Jorge dos Ilhéus (Saint George of Ilhéus). Additionally, George is the patron saint of Scouts and of the Cavalry of the Brazilian Army. In May 2019, he was made official as the patron saint of the State of Rio de Janeiro, next to Saint Sebastian. George is also revered in several Afro-Brazilian religions, such as Umbanda, where it is syncretized in the form of Ogum. However, the connection of George with the Moon is purely Brazilian, with a strong influence of African culture, and in no way related to the European saint. Tradition says that the spots at the Moon's surface represent the miraculous saint, his horse and his sword slaying the dragon and ready to defend those who seek his help. George, is also the patron saint of the region of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
, in Spain, where his feast day is celebrated on 23 April and is known as "Aragon Day", ''or 'Día de Aragón in Spanish. He became the patron saint of the former Kingdom of Aragon and
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon (; an, Corona d'Aragón; ca, Corona d'Aragó; es, Corona de Aragón)' ()' (, , )' ()' (). was a composite monarchy A composite monarchy (or composite state) is a historical category, introduced by H. G. Koenigsberger ...
when King Pedro I of Aragon won the Battle of Alcoraz in 1096. Legend has it that victory eventually fell to the Christian armies when George appeared to them on the battlefield, helping them secure the reconquest of the city of Huesca which had been under the Muslim control of the Taifa of Saragossa, Zaragoza. The battle, which had begun two years earlier in 1094, was long and arduous, and had also taken the life of King Pedro's own father, King Sancho Ramirez. With the Aragonese spirits flagging, it is said that George descending from heaven on his charger and bearing a dark red cross, appeared at the head of the Christian cavalry leading the knights into battle. Interpreting this as a sign of protection from God, the Christian militia returned emboldened to the battle field, more energized than ever, convinced theirs was the banner of the one true faith. Defeated, the moors rapidly abandoned the battlefield. After two years of being locked down under siege, Huesca was liberated and King Pedro made his triumphal entry into the city. To celebrate this victory, the cross of St. George was adopted as the personal coat of arms of Huesca and Aragon, in honour of their saviour. After the taking of Huesca, King Pedro aided the military leader and nobleman, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, otherwise known as El Cid, with a coalition army from Aragon in the long reconquest of the Kingdom of Valencia. Tales of King Pedro's success at Huesca and in leading his expedition of armies with El Cid against the Moors, under the auspices of George on his standard, spread quickly throughout the realm and beyond the Crown of Aragon, and Christian armies throughout Europe quickly began adopting George as their protector and patron, during all subsequent Crusades to the Holy Lands. By 1117, the military order of Templars adopted the Cross of St. George as a simple, unifying sign for international Christian militia embroidered on the left hand side of their tunics, placed above the heart. The Cross of St. George, also known in Aragon as The Cross of Alcoraz, continues to emblazon the flags of all of Aragon's provinces. The association of St. George with chivalry and noblemen in Aragon continued through the ages. Indeed, even the author Miguel de Cervantes, in his book on the adventures of Don Quixote, also mentions the jousting events that took place at the festival of St. George in Saragossa, Zaragoza in Aragon where one could gain international renown in winning a joust against any of the knights of Aragon. In Valencia, Catalonia, the Balearics, Malta, Sicily and Sardinia, the origins of the veneration of St. George go back to their shared history as territories under the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon (; an, Corona d'Aragón; ca, Corona d'Aragó; es, Corona de Aragón)' ()' (, , )' ()' (). was a composite monarchy A composite monarchy (or composite state) is a historical category, introduced by H. G. Koenigsberger ...
, thereby sharing the same legend. One of the highest civil distinctions awarded in Catalonia is the Creu de Sant Jordi Award, St. George's Cross (''Creu de Sant Jordi''). The Sant Jordi Awards have been awarded in Barcelona since 1957. Saint George (''Sant Jordi'' in Catalan language, Catalan) is also the patron saint of
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
. His cross appears in many buildings and local flags, including the flag of Barcelona, the Catalan capital. A Catalan variation to the traditional legend places George's life story as having occurred in the town of Montblanc, Tarragona, Montblanc, near Tarragona. In 1469 the Order of St. George (Habsburg-Lorraine) was founded in Rome by Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Friedrich III. of Habsburg in the presence of Pope Paul II in honor of Saint George. The order was continued and promoted by his son, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg. The later history of the order was eventful, in particular the order was dissolved by Nazi Germany. Only after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe was the order reactivated as a European association in association with Saint George by the Habsburg family.


Arms and flag

It became fashionable in the 15th century, with the full development of classical heraldry, to provide attributed arms to saints and other historical characters from the pre-heraldic ages. The widespread attribution to George of the red cross on a white field in Western art – "Saint George's Cross" – probably first arose in
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
, which had adopted this image for Genoa#Flag, their flag and George as their patron saint in the 12th century. A ''vexillum beati Georgii'' is mentioned in the Genovese annals for the year 1198, referring to a red flag with a depiction of George and the dragon. An illumination of this flag is shown in the annals for the year 1227. The Genoese flag with the red cross was used alongside this "George's flag", from at least 1218, and was known as the ''insignia cruxata comunis Janue'' ("cross ensign of the commune of Genoa"). The flag showing the saint himself was the city's principal war flag, but the flag showing the plain cross was used alongside it in the 1240s. In 1348
Edward III of England Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern En ...

Edward III of England
chose George as the patron saint of his
Order of the Garter (Shame on him who thinks evil of it) , eligibility = , criteria = At Her Majesty's pleasure , status = Currently constituted , founder = Edward III Edward III (13 November 131221 June 1377), also known as Edward ...
, and also took to using a red-on-white cross in the hoist of his Royal Standards of England, Royal Standard. The term "Saint George's cross" was at first associated with any plain Christian cross variants#Greek cross, Greek cross touching the edges of the field (not necessarily red on white). Thomas Fuller in 1647 spoke of "the plain or St George's cross" as "the mother of all the others" (that is, the other Crosses in heraldry, heraldic crosses).


Iconography

George is most commonly depicted in early icons, mosaics, and frescos wearing armour contemporary with the depiction, executed in gilding and silver colour, intended to identify him as a Roman army, Roman soldier. Particularly after the Fall of Constantinople and George's association with the crusades, he is often portrayed mounted upon a White horse (mythology), white horse. Thus, a 2003 Vatican stamp (issued on the anniversary of the Saint's death) depicts an armoured George atop a white horse, killing the dragon. Eastern Orthodox iconography also permits George to ride a black horse, as in a Russian icon in the British museum collection. In the south Lebanese village of Mieh Mieh, the Saint George Church for Melkite Catholics commissioned for its 75th jubilee in 2012 (under the guidance of Mgr Sassine Gregoire) the only icons in the world portraying the whole life of George, as well as the scenes of his torture and martyrdom (drawn in eastern iconographic style). George may also be portrayed with Saint Demetrius, another early soldier saint. When the two saintly warriors are together and mounted upon horses, they may resemble earthly manifestations of the archangels Michael (archangel), Michael and Gabriel. Eastern traditions distinguish the two as George rides a white horse and Demetrius a red horse (the red pigment may appear black if it has bituminized). George can also be identified by his spearing a dragon, whereas Demetrius may be spearing a human figure, representing Maximian.


Gallery

;Eastern File:Tetarteron sb1975.jpg, Tetarteron of Manuel I Komnenos (12th century) showing a bust of George File:Novgorod George.jpg, Main icon of Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod (c. 1130) File:Georgeladoga.jpg, A 12th-century depiction of St George in a church at the Russian village of Staraya Ladoga File:LifeofStGeorge.JPG, Scenes from the life of George, Kremikovtsi Monastery, Bulgaria (15th century) File:St.George rescuing the emperor's daughter.JPG, A plaque, on which is represented George rescuing the emperor's daughter (15th century) File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM De slag bij Adua TMnr 5956-2.jpg, "Ethiopian Empire forces, assisted by St George (top), win the Battle of Adwa against Kingdom of Italy, Italy. Painted 1965–75." ;Western File:St george.png, George as a crusader knight, miniature from a ms. of ''Vies de Saints'', c. 1340 (BNF Richelieu Manuscrits Français 185) File:St George BNF Fr 241 101v.jpg, Miniature of George and the Dragon, ms. of the ''Golden Legend, Legenda Aurea'', dated 1348 (BNF Français 241, fol. 101v.) File:St George Royal19BXVII 109.jpg, Miniature of George and the Dragon, ms. of the'' Legenda Aurea'', Paris, 1382 (BL Royal 19 B XVII, f. 109). File:1480 Setzschild mit Heiligem Georg anagoria.JPG, George on a small pavise (Nuremberg, c. 1480) File:Tübingen - Stiftskirche Sankt Georg 52329.jpg, George as a martyr: St. George's Collegiate Church, Tübingen, St. George's Collegiate Church in Tübingen (15th century) File:Saint George - Carlo Crivelli.jpg, George by Carlo Crivelli File:Saint Georg – Master of Sierentz.jpg, St.George by the Master of Sierentz. (1440–1450)


See also

*
Saint George's Day Saint George's Day, also called the Feast of Saint George, is the feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saint In religious belief, a s ...
* Saint Andrew * "St. George and the Dragon (ballad), St. George and the Dragon", a 17th-century ballad comparing the myth of George to that of other heroes * Dragon Hill, Uffington, English hill named due to a legend that George slew the dragon there * Fort St George, an English-built fort in Chennai, India * "'' Georgslied''", 9th-century
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Euro ...
poem about the life of George * "''Georgslegende''", 13th-century Middle High German poem about the martyrdom of George * Ederlezi (song), Ederlezi, song and Romani name for the Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian Feast of Saint George * Knights of St. George (disambiguation), Knights of St George * Uastyrdzhi, Ossetian name for George * Tetri Giorgi, Georgian name for George * Moors and Christians of Alcoy, an international historical festival dedicated to George in Alcoy, Spain, Alcoy (Province of Alicante, Alicante), Spain * ''The Magic Sword (1962 film), The Magic Sword'', a 1962 film loosely based on the legend of St George and the Dragon * Patrick Woodroffe, author of several poems about St George collated in a book called ''Hallelujah Anyway'' * St George's Church (disambiguation), St George's Church, churches dedicated to St George * St. George's School (disambiguation), St George's School, schools dedicated to St George * St. George's College (disambiguation), St George's College, colleges dedicated to St George * St George's Castle (disambiguation), St George's Castle, castles dedicated to St George * St George's Hospital (disambiguation), St George's Hospital, hospitals dedicated to St George * Ribbon of St. George, ribbon dedicated to St George * George (given name) * Joris en de Draak, a roller coaster in the theme park Efteling based on the legend of St George and the dragon * Order of St. George (Habsburg-Lorraine)


References


Further reading

* Brook, E.W., 1925. ''Acts of Saint George'' in series ''Analecta Gorgiana'' 8 (Gorgias Press). * Burgoyne, Michael H. 1976. ''A Chronological Index to the Muslim Monuments of Jerusalem''. In ''The Architecture of Islamic Jerusalem''. Jerusalem: The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. * Gabidzashvili, Enriko. 1991. ''Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature''. Armazi – 89: Tbilisi, Georgia. * Good, Jonathan, 2009. ''The Cult of Saint George in Medieval England'' (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press). * Loomis, C. Grant, 1948. ''White Magic, An Introduction to the Folklore of Christian Legend'' (Cambridge: Medieval Society of America) * Natsheh, Yusuf. 2000. "Architectural survey", in ''Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City 1517–1917''. Edited by Sylvia Auld and Robert Hillenbrand (London: Altajir World of Islam Trust) pp. 893–899. * Whatley, E. Gordon, editor, with Anne B. Thompson and Robert K. Upchurch, 2004. ''St. George and the Dragon in the South English Legendary (East Midland Revision, c. 1400)'' Originally published in ''Saints' Lives in Middle English Collections'' (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications)
on-line introduction
* George Menachery, ''Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India''. Vol.II Trichur – 73.


External links


English translation of the 5th century Latin legend
at Archive.org.
''St. George and the Dragon'', free illustrated book based on 'The Seven Champions' by Richard Johnson (1596)

Archnet


an

(more than 125), fro
Dragons in Art and on the Web




including a woodcut of a Scout on horseback slaying a dragon
A prayer for St George's Day

St. George



Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George
Orthodox icon and synaxarion for 23 April
Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George in Lydia
Icon and synaxarion for 3 November
Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George at Kiev
Icon and synaxarion for 26 November
Saint George in the church
in Plášťovce, (:hu:Palást (település), Palást) in Slovakia
The St George Orthodox Military Association

Famous Georgian Pilgrim Center in India St. George Orthodox Church Puthuppally, Kerala, India

Hail George
Radio webcast explains how Saint George came to be confused with some Afro-Brazilian deities
Blog Article on the Feast of Saint George
The feast of Saint George is 23 April – About that Dragon ...

at th
Christian Iconography
web site.

from Caxton's translation of the Golden Legend {{DEFAULTSORT:George 303 deaths 3rd-century births 3rd-century Romans 4th-century Romans 3rd-century Greek people 4th-century Greek people Cappadocian Greeks Christian saints Dragonslayers Fourteen Holy Helpers People whose existence is disputed Saint George (martyr), Saints from Roman Anatolia Wonderworkers Great Martyrs Legendary Romans Anglican saints Christians martyred during the reign of Diocletian Prophets in the Druze faith