Who was St. George?

The story of how St. George, patron saint of England, overcame the monstrous dragon is known to everyone, but no one is quite sure how he came to be adopted as our patron saint, or even weather he ever existed! It has been suggested that we, as a "nation of shopkeepers", instinctively adopted a man as our patron saint who is supposed to have made a huge fortune selling bacon to the Roman army!

We do know that there was a man called George who was venerated as a saint in Palestine in the early days of the church; but apart from the legend that he held a high position in the Roman army and served in Britain for a short time, none of the details of his life can be proved.

But probably the only historical fact that we can find about St. George is that, in the year 303 A.D., he was martyred during the furious persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletain.

The Golden Legend a collection of the lives of the saints, compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa tells us that St. George after slaying the dragon, took off his knightly clothes and gave everything he had to the poor. He taught about jesus Christ until he finally died a martyr in the year 303.

St. George was adopted as our patron saint during the time of the Norman Kings of England. In 1346, the Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III. in the insignia, the George, Which represent St. George and the dragon, is suspended from the collar.

Some years later, the magnificent St. George’s Chapel was built by Edward IV at Windsor. It was were here, during the reign of Henry V, that a heart, thought to be St. George’s hearth, was placed as a precious relic. We celebrate St. George’s heart, was placed as a precious relic.

We celebrate St. George’s day on April 23rd when his red and white flag is flown from every Anglican church in the country but we cannot be to possessive because he is also the patron saint of Portugal!

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