Saint George is England’s patron saint. His emblem is the instantly recognisable English flag (a red cross on a white background) which also features on the British flag. But do we know who Saint George really was?
The most well known story surrounding him, of course, is that of ‘George and the dragon’. The story goes there was a people-attacking dragon terrorising a city. The locals had resorted to sacrificing two sheep per day in order to keep the dragon from attacking. Soon this ceased to work and the locals began offering up one sheep and one human. Saint George came upon the dragon, rode at it and killed it with his spear.
Exciting as it is, this is certainly a myth. In 1483 a book detailing the story of Saint George’s dragon slaying was published. It took off and since then the story of George and the dragon has always been associated with the patron saint.
Little is actually known about Saint George as the facts are somewhat fuzzy but what we suspect to be true is that he was born in Cappadocia (an area which is now in Turkey), that he was from a Christian family, that he was alive in 3rd century AD, that he was a Roman soldier and that he showed incredible strength by standing by his Christian faith. He was imprisoned and tortured for his religion and he was later beheaded at Lydda in Palestine.
Happy St George’s Day – 23rd April.