|Saint George of Lydda|
Portrait by Hans von Kulmbach (circa 1510).
Lydda, Syria Palaestina, Roman Empire
|Died||23 April 303
Nicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire
|Major shrine||Church of Saint George, Lod, Israel|
|Feast||Saint George's Day: 23 April
(Gregorian 6 May when Julian date is observed)
|Attributes||Clothed as a crusader in plate armour or mail, often bearing a lance tipped by a cross, riding a white horse, often slaying a dragon. In the Greek East and Latin West he is shown with St George's Cross emblazoned on his armour, or shield or banner.|
|Patronage||Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world|
Saint George (Greek: Γεώργιος Geṓrgios; Latin: Georgius; AD 275–281 to 23 April 303), according to legend, was a Roman soldier and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian of the Roman army, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity.
In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon. His memorial, Saint George's Day, is traditionally celebrated on the Julian date of April 23 (currently May 6 according to the Gregorian calendar). Numerous countries, cities, professions and organisations claim Saint George as their patron.
According to some sources his parents were Christians of the noble Roman family of the gens Anicia. Other sources say his parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius (Greek: Γερόντιος Gerontios) was a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and his mother Polychronia was a Christian and a Greek native from Lydda in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina (Palestine). Accounts differ regarding whether George was born in Cappadocia or Syria Palaestina, but agree that he was raised at least partly in Lydda.
- 1 Life
- 2 Saint George and the dragon
- 3 Veneration as a martyr
- 4 Feast days
- 5 Patronages
- 6 Veneration in the Levant
- 7 Arms and flag
- 8 Iconography and models
- 9 Gallery
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Although the Diocletianic Persecution of 303, associated with military saints because the persecution was aimed at Christians among the professional soldiers of the Roman army, is of undisputed historicity, the identity of Saint George as a historical individual cannot be ascertained. Herbert Thurston in the saint's entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia takes the position that there is no grounds for doubting the historical existence of Saint George, but that, as usual with saints of this early period, the legends surrounding his veneration cannot be treated as historical.
The earliest text preserving fragments of George's narrative is in a Greek hagiography identified by Hippolyte Delehaye of the scholarly Bollandists to be a palimpsest of the fifth century, but banned as heretical by Pope Gelasius I in 496. The compiler of this Acta Sancti Georgii, according to Hippolyte Delehaye, "confused the martyr with his namesake, the celebrated George of Cappadocia, the Arian intruder into the see of Alexandria and enemy of St. Athanasius". An earlier work by Eusebius, Church history, written in the 4th century, contributed to the legend but did not name George or provide significant detail.
A critical edition of a Syriac Acta of Saint George,[clarification needed] accompanied by an annotated English translation, was published by E.W. Brooks (1863–1955) in 1925.
The work of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen 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. Pope Gelasius I stated that George was among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God."
The traditional legends have offered a historicised narration of George's encounter with a dragon. The modern legend that follows below is synthesised from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes. Chief among the legendary sources about the saint is the Golden Legend, which remains the most familiar version in English owing to William Caxton's 15th-century translation.
According to hagiographical tradition, George was born to a Christian noble family in Lydda, Syria Palaestina, during the late third century. He died in Nicomedia in Anatolia. His father, Gerontius, was from Cappadocia, an officer in the Roman army; his mother, Polychronia, was a native of Lydda. They were both Christians from noble families of the Anici so their child was raised with Christian beliefs. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.
At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother died.
George then decided to go to Nicomedia and present himself to Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius—one of his finest soldiers. By his late twenties, George was promoted to the rank of military tribune and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.
On 24 February 303, Diocletian, influenced by Galerius, issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith, approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money, and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted.
Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian ordered that George be executed for his refusal. Before the execution, George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords during which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra of Rome and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, as well, so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.
Edward Gibbon argued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia, a notorious Arian bishop who was Athanasius of Alexandria's most bitter rival, and that it was he who in time became Saint George of England. According to Professor Bury, Gibbon's latest editor, "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".
In 1856, Ralph Waldo Emerson published a book of essays entitled English Traits. In it, he wrote a paragraph on the history of Saint George. Emerson compared the legend of Saint George to the legend of Amerigo Vespucci, calling the former "an impostor" and the latter "a thief." The editorial notes appended to the 1904 edition of Emerson's complete works state that Emerson based his account on the work of Gibbon, and that current evidence seems to show that the real St. George was not George the Arian of Cappadocia. Merton M. Sealts also quotes Edward Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson's youngest son, as stating that he believed his father's account was derived from Gibbon and that the real St. George "was apparently another who died two generations earlier."
Saint George and the dragon
Eastern Orthodox depictions of Saint George slaying a dragon often include the image of a young woman who looks on from a distance. The standard iconographic interpretation of the image icon is that the dragon represents both Satan (Rev. 12:9) and the monster from his life story. The young woman is the wife of Diocletian, Empress Alexandra. Thus, the image, as interpreted through the language of Byzantine iconography, is an image of the martyrdom of the saint.
The episode of George and the dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of chivalric romance. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early 11th-century Cappadocia (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an 11th-century Georgian text.
In the fully developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden Legend, a dragon or crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene, Libya or the city of Lydda in Syria Palaestina, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a virgin maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.
The dragon motif was first combined with the standardised Passio Georgii in Vincent of Beauvais' encyclopaedic Speculum Historiale and then in Jacobus de Voragine's "Golden Legend", which guaranteed its popularity in the later Middle Ages as a literary and pictorial subject.
The parallels with Perseus, Cetus, and Andromeda are inescapable. In the allegorical reading, the dragon embodies a suppressed pagan cult. The story has other roots that predate Christianity. Examples such as Sabazios, the sky father, who was usually depicted riding on horseback, and Zeus's defeat of Typhon the Titan in Greek mythology, along with examples from Germanic and Indo-Iranian traditions, have led a number of historians, such as Loomis, to suggest that George is a Christianized version of older deities in Indo-European culture, or at least a suitably Christian substitute for one of them.
In the medieval romances, the lance with which Saint George slew the dragon was called Ascalon after the Levantine city of Ashkelon, today in Israel. The name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II, according to records at Bletchley Park. In Sweden, the princess rescued by Saint George is held to represent the kingdom of Sweden, while the dragon represents an invading army. Several sculptures of Saint George battling the dragon can be found in Stockholm, the earliest inside Storkyrkan ("The Great Church") in the Old Town.
Some evidence links the legend back to very old Egyptian and Phoenician sources in a late antique statue of Horus fighting a "dragon". This ties the legendary George and to some extent, the historical George, to various ancient sources using mythological and linguistic arguments. In Egyptian mythology, the god Setekh murdered his brother Osiris. Horus, the son of Osiris, avenged his father's death by killing Setekh. This iconography of the horseman with spear overcoming evil was widespread throughout the Christian period.
Veneration as a martyr
A titular church built in Lydda during the reign of Constantine the Great (reigned 306–37) was consecrated to "a man of the highest distinction", according to the church history of Eusebius; the name of the titulus "patron" was not disclosed, but later he was asserted to have been George.
By the time of the early Muslim conquests of the mostly Christian and Zoroastrian Middle East and in the seventh century, a basilica dedicated to the saint in Lydda existed. The church was destroyed by Muslims in 1010, but was later rebuilt and dedicated to Saint George by the Crusaders. In 1191 and during the conflict known as the Third Crusade (1189–92), the church was again destroyed by the forces of Saladin, Sultan of the Ayyubid dynasty (reigned 1171–93). A new church was erected in 1872 and is still standing.
During the fourth century, the veneration of George spread from Palestine through Lebanon to the rest of the Byzantine Empire – though the martyr is not mentioned in the Syriac Breviarium – and Georgia. In Georgia, the feast day on November 23 is credited to Saint Nino of Cappadocia, who in Georgian hagiography is a relative of Saint George, credited with bringing Christianity to the Georgians in the fourth century. By the fifth century, the veneration of Saint George had reached the Christian Western Roman Empire, as well: in 494, George was canonized as a saint by Pope Gelasius I, among those "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to [God]."
In England, he was mentioned among the martyrs by Bede. The Georgslied is an adaptation of his legend in Old High German, composed in the late 9th century. The earliest dedication to the saint in England is a church at Fordington, Dorset that is mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great.
An apparition of George heartened the Franks at the siege of Antioch, 1098, and made a similar appearance the following year at Jerusalem. The chivalric military Order of Sant Jordi d'Alfama was established in Aragon in 1201, Republic of Genoa, Kingdom of Hungary (1326), and by Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and in England the Synod of Oxford, 1222 declared Saint George's Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. Edward III of England put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George, probably in 1348. The chronicler Jean Froissart observed the English invoking Saint George as a battle cry on several occasions during the Hundred Years' War. 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 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."
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. Wide latitude existed 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 severely curtailed the saints' days in the calendar, Saint George's Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed.
In the General Roman Calendar, the feast of Saint George is on 23 April. In the Tridentine Calendar of 1568, it was given the rank of "Semidouble". In Pope Pius XII's 1955 calendar this rank was reduced to "Simple", and in Pope John XXIII's 1960 calendar to a "Commemoration". Since Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision, it appears as an optional "Memorial". In some countries, such as England, the rank is higher. In England, 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.
Saint 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 major feast day is on April 23 (Julian calendar 23 April currently corresponds to Gregorian calendar May 6). 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 St. George. One is on 3 November, commemorating the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign Constantine the Great (305–37). When the church was consecrated, the relics of the Saint George were transferred there. The other feast is on 26 November for a church dedicated to him in Kiev, circa 1054.
In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria refers to Saint 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 seventh of the month of Hatour of the Coptic calendar usually equivalent to 17 November.
Saint George is the patron saint of England. His cross forms the national flag of England, and features within the Union Jack of the United Kingdom, and other national flags containing the Union Flag, such as those of Australia and New Zealand. Traces of the cult of Saint George in England antedate the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century; by the 14th century, the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family.
The 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, a large number of towns and cities around the world are. Saint George is one of the patron Saints of Georgia; the name Georgia (Sakartvelo in Georgian) is an anglicisation of Gurj, ultimately derived from the Persian word gurj/gurjān ("wolf"). Chronicles describing the land as Georgie or Georgia in French and English, date from the early Middle Ages, as written by the travellers John Mandeville and Jacques de Vitry "because of their special reverence for Saint George", but these accounts have been seen as folk etymology and are rejected by the scholarly community.
Exactly 365 Orthodox churches in Georgia are named after Saint George according to the number of days in a year. According to myth, St. George was cut into 365 pieces after he fell in battle and every single piece was spread throughout the entire country. According to another myth, Saint George appeared in person during the Battle of Didgori to support the Georgian victory over the Seljuq army and the Georgian uprising against Persian rule. Saint George is considered by many Georgians to have special meaning as a symbol of national liberation.
Malta and Gozo
Saint 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, Saint George was alleged to have been seen with Saint Paul and Saint Agata, protecting the Maltese. Besides being the patron of Victoria where St. George's Basilica, Malta is dedicated to him, Saint George is the protector of the island Gozo.
Devotions to Saint George in Portugal date back to the 12th century. Nuno Álvares Pereira attributed the victory of the Portuguese in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 to Saint George. During the reign of John I of Portugal (1357–1433), Saint 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 procession. The flag of Saint 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.
Saint George is the patron saint of Romania and a number of churches, towns, and geographical areas are dedicated to him, including city of Sfântu Gheorghe in Covasna County, and Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the river Danube.
Veneration in the Levant
William Dalrymple, reviewing 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 St. George and by Jews who regarded it as the burial place of the 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 Taufiq 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: a husband detained in an Israeli prison camp, for example – they preferred to seek the intercession of Saint 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."
Saint George is something of an exception among saints and legends, in that he is known and revered by Muslims, while being venerated by Christians throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Asia Minor. His stature in these regions derives from the fact that his figure has become somewhat of a composite paradoxical character mixing elements from Biblical, Quranic, and folkloric sources, at times being the partially contrapositive of Khidr.
St George killed the dragon in this country; and the place is shown close to Beyroot. Many churches and convents are named after him. The church at Lydda is dedicated to St George; so is a convent near Bethlehem, and another small one just opposite the Jaffa gate, and others beside. The Arabs believe that St George can restore mad people to their senses, and to say a person has been sent to St. George's is equivalent to saying he has been sent to a madhouse. It is singular that the Moslem Arabs adopted this veneration for St George, and send their mad people to be cured by him, as well as the Christians, but they commonly call him El Khudder—The Green—according to their favourite manner of using epithets instead of names. Why he should be called green, however, I cannot tell—unless it is from the colour of his horse. Gray horses are called green in Arabic.
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 Saint George of the red cross on a white field in western art - "St George's Cross" - dates to the early 15th century, but the association may have been established by the early 14th century of the red cross used as insignia cruxata comunis by the city of Genoa and its patron saint George. Edward III of England chose Saint George as the patron saint of his Order of the Garter in 1348, and also took to using a red-on-white cross in the hoist of his Royal Standard.
The association of Saint George with the red-on-white probably first arose in Genoa, which had adopted these tinctures for 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 Saint 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.
The term "Saint George's cross" was at first associated with any plain 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 heraldic crosses).
Iconography and models
Saint 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 soldier. Particularly after the Fall of Constantinople and Saint George's association with the crusades, he is often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. Thus, a 2003 Vatican stamp (issued on the anniversary of the Saint's death) depicts an armoured Saint George atop a white horse, killing the dragon. Eastern Orthodox iconography also permits Saint George to ride a black horse, as in a Russian icon in the British museum collection. This may also reflect a modern Russian interpretation as depicting not a killing, but as an internal struggle, against ourselves and the evil among us. 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 Saint George, as well as the scenes of his torture and martyrdom (drawn in eastern iconographic style).
Saint George may also be portrayed with St. 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 and Gabriel. Eastern traditions distinguish the two as St. George rides a white horse and St. Demetrius a red horse St. George can also be identified by his spearing a dragon, whereas St. Demetrius may be spearing a human figure, representing Maximian.
During the early second millennium, Saint George became a model of chivalry in works of literature, including medieval romances. In the 13th century, Jacobus de Voragine, 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 Saint George, among many others. After the invention of the printing press, the book became a bestseller, second only to the Bible among books published by early English printer William Caxton (circa 1415-1492).
- For a larger gallery, please see: Saint George gallery.
A 15th-century icon of St George from Novgorod
Bulgarian Orthodox icon of St George fighting the dragon.
Scenes from the life of St George, Kremikovtsi Monastery, Bulgaria
A 12th-century depiction of St George in a church at the Russian village of Staraya Ladoga
- Saint George's Day
- "St. George and the Dragon", a 17th-century ballad comparing the myth of St George to that of other heroes
- Dragon Hill, Uffington, English hill named due to a legend that Saint George slew the dragon there
- "Georgslied", 9th-century Old High German poem about the life of Saint George
- Knights of St George
- Uastyrdzhi, Ossetian name for Saint George
- Tetri Giorgi, Georgian name for Saint George
- 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, churches dedicated to St George
- St George's School, schools dedicated to St George
- St George's College, colleges dedicated to St George
- St George's Castle, castles dedicated to St George
- St George's Hospital, hospitals dedicated to St George
- Foakes-Jackson, FJ (2005), A History of the Christian Church, Cosimo Press, p. 461, ISBN 1-59605-452-2.
- Ball, Ann (2003), Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices, p. 568, ISBN 0-87973-910-X.
- Attwater, Donald (1995) . Dictionary of Saints (Third ed.). London: Penguin Reference. p. 152.
No historical particulars of his life have survived, and such are the vagaries of his legend that endeavours have been made to demonstrate that he never existed ... The widespread veneration for St George as a soldier saint from early times had its centre in Palestine at Diospolis, now Lydda. St George was apparently martyred there, at the end of the third or the beginning for fourth century; that is all that can be reasonably surmised about him ... His best-known story, popularized in the later middle ages by the Golden Legend, tells that he was a knight from Cappadocia, who rescued a maiden princess from a dragon at Silene in Libya, leading to the Christianization of much of the kingdom.; Meekins, Jeannie. Saint George: Dragon Slayer: A 15-Minute Book. p. 9.
There is little information on the early life of St George. Two stories tell of his possible origins. One says that he was born in the city of Cappadocia, which is in the middle of Turkey ... George's parents were both Christian, and they brought him up to be a Christian. His father died when he was fourteen, and his mother took George back to her homeland of Palestine. At seventeen, he joined the Roman army. A second story says that George's father came from Cappadocia. His mother was from Lydda, in Palestine, and George was born in Lydda. ... Both of his parents were from noble Greek families and gave him the Greek name of Georgios. ... George's father had been an officer in the Roman army, so George joined the Roman army as soon as he could.; Clapton, Edward. The Life of St. George. p. 9.
George, the tutelary saint of England, as well as the special patron of chivalry, was born in the third century at Lydda in Palestine. He was of noble Christian parents of Greek origin.; Guiley, Rosemary. The Encyclopedia of Saints. p. 129.
George was an historical figure. According to an account by Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia (in modern Turkey) to a noble Christian family; his mother was Palestinian. After his father died, he went to live in Palestine with his mother.; Maloney, Allison. St George: Let's Hear it For England!. The Random House Group Limited..
- Mills, Charles (2012), The History of Chivalry, Longman, Rees, p. 9.
- Spenser, Edmund (1998), Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, Cannon Press, p. 196, ISBN 978-1-885767-39-4.
- Thurston, Herbert (1913). "St. George". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "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."
- Acta Sanctorum, Volume 12, as republished in 1866
- Church History (Eusebius), book 8, chapter 5; Greek text here, and English text here. Eusebius's full text as follows:
Immediately on the publication of the decree against the churches in Nicomedia, a certain man, not obscure but very highly honored with distinguished temporal dignities, moved with zeal toward God, and incited with ardent faith, seized the edict as it was posted openly and publicly, and tore it to pieces as a profane and impious thing; and this was done while two of the sovereigns were in the same city,—the oldest of all, and the one who held the fourth place in the government after him. But this man, first in that place, after distinguishing himself in such a manner suffered those things which were likely to follow such daring, and kept his spirit cheerful and undisturbed till death.
- Walter, Christopher (2003), The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition, Ashgate Publishing, p. 110, ISBN 1-84014-694-X. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca 271, 272.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "George, Saint". Encyclopædia Britannica 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 737.
In the canon of Pope Gelasius (494) George is mentioned in a list of those 'whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God'
- De Voragine, Jacobus (1995), The Golden Legend, Princeton University Press, p. 238, ISBN 978-0-691-00153-1.
- Murray, J (1863), Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom, Royal Society of Literature, p. 133 Heylin, A (1862), The Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record 1, p. 244. Darch, John H (2006), Saints on Earth, Church House Press, p. 56, ISBN 978-0-7151-4036-9. Walter, Christopher (2003), The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition, Ashgate Publishing, p. 112, ISBN 1-84014-694-X.
- Smith, William (1867), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Little Brown & Co, p. 249.
- Gibbs, Margaret (1971), Saints beyond the White Cliffs, Ayer Press, p. 2, ISBN 0-8369-8058-1.
- Hackwood, Fred (2003), Christ Lore the Legends, Traditions, Myths, Kessinger Publishing, p. 255, ISBN 0-7661-3656-6.
- Butler, Alban (2008), Lives of the Saints, ISBN 1-4375-1281-X.:166
- Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2:23:5
- Richardson, Robert D; Moser, Barry, eds. (1996), Emerson, p. 520,
George of Cappadocia... [held] the contract to supply the army with bacon... embraced Arianism... [and was] promoted... to the episcopal throne of Alexandria... When Julian came, George was dragged to prison, the prison was burst open by a mob, and George was lynched... [he] became in good time Saint George of England.
- Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2:23:5
- "Saint George", Catholic Encyclopedia,
it is not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop.
- The complete works of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Waldo Emerson, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1904, page 355
- Text of the essay at bartleby.com
- Journals & Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Merton M. Sealts Jr. 1973 ISBN 0-674-48473-8 page 168
- Robertson developed by Crusaders returned from the Holy Lands. The Medieval Saints' Lives (pp 51–52) suggested that the dragon motif was transferred to the George legend from that of his fellow military saint, Theodore of Amasea. The Roman Catholic writer Alban Butler (Lives of the Saints) credited the motif as a late addition: "It should be noted, however, that the story of the dragon, though given so much prominence, was a later accretion, of which we have no sure traces before the twelfth century. This puts out of court the attempts made by many folklorists to present St. George as no more than a Christianized survival of pagan mythology."
- "He drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rose hardily against the dragon which came toward him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore, and threw him to the ground", according to Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: or Lives of the Saints as Englished by William Caxton, Frederick Startridge Ellis, ed. (London, 1900), vol. III:123–45), quotation p. 128.
- Loomis 1948:65 and notes 111–17, giving references to other saints' encounters with dragons. "To Loomis's list might be added the stories of Martha... and Silvester, which is vigorously summarized (from a fifth-century version of the Actus Silvestri) by the early English writer, Aldhelm, abbot of Malmesbury (639–709), in his De Virginitate (see Aldhelm: The Prose Works, pp. 82–83). On dragons and saints, see now Rauer, Beowulf and the Dragon". Mercurialis of Forlì, the first bishop of the city of Forlì, in Romagna, is often portrayed in the act of killing a dragon.
- "Horus on horseback | Louvre Museum | Paris". www.louvre.fr.
- Charles Clermont-Ganneau, "Horus et Saint Georges, d’après un bas-relief inédit du Louvre". Revue archéologique, 1876
- Pringle, Denys (1998), The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press, p. 25, ISBN 0-521-39037-0.
- Samantha Riches, St. George: Hero, Martyr and Myth (Sutton, 2000), ISBN 0750924527, p. 19. Saint 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, the traditional patron saint of England, until 1552 when all saints' banners other than George's were abolished in the English Reformation. McClendon 1999:6. Perrin, British Flags, 1922, p. 38.
- Catholic Encyclopedia 1913, s.v. "Orders of St. George" omits Genoa and Hungary: see David Scott Fox, Saint George: The Saint with Three Faces (1983:59–63, 98–123), noted by McClellan 999:6 note 13. Additional Orders of St. George were founded in the eighteenth century (Catholic Encyclopedia).
- McClendon 1999:10.
- Desiderius Erasmus, in The Praise of Folly (1509, printed 1511) remarked "The Christians have now their gigantic St. George, as well as the pagans had their Hercules."
- Only the most essential work might be done on a festum duplex
- Muriel C. McClendon, "A Moveable Feast: Saint George's Day Celebrations and Religious Change in Early Modern England" The Journal of British Studies 38.1 (January 1999:1–27).
- The Divine Office: Table of Liturgical Days, Section I (RC) and Calendar, Lectionary and Collects (Church House Publishing 1997) p12 (C of E)
- Seal, Graham (2001), Encyclopedia of folk heroes, p. 85, ISBN 1-57607-216-9.
- Hinds, Kathryn (2001), Medieval England, Marshall Cavendish, p. 44, ISBN 0-7614-0308-6.
- Hock, Hans Henrich; Zgusta, Ladislav (1997). Historical, Indo-European, and Lexicographical Studies. Walter de Gruyter. p. 211. ISBN 978-3110128840.
- Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 3. ISBN 978-1442241466.
- David Marshall Lang, The Georgians, (New York: Frederick A Praeger, 1966), 17–18. The terms Georgia and Georgians appeared in Western Europe in numerous early medieval annals. The French chronicler Jacques de Vitry and the English traveller John Mandeville wrote that Georgians are called 'Georgian' because they especially revere Saint George.
- Gabidzashvili, Enriko (1991), Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature, Tbilisi, Georgia: Armazi – 89.
- Foakes-Jackson, FJ (2005), A History of the Christian Church, Cosimo, p. 556, ISBN 1-59605-452-2.
- Eastmond, Antony (1998), Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia, Penn State Press, p. 119, ISBN 0-271-01628-0.
- The Saint George's Victory order, among other civilian and military decorations, is one of the highest decorations in Georgia.
- de Bles, Arthur (2004), How to Distinguish the Saints in Art, p. 86, ISBN 1-4179-0870-X.
- de Oliveira Marques, AH; André, Vítor; Wyatt, SS (1971), Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages, University of Wisconsin Press, p. 216, ISBN 0-299-05584-1.
- Patronages of Saint George
- Hanauer, JE (1907). "Folk-lore of the Holy Land, Moslem, Christian and Jewish". Retrieved January 18, 2007.
- William Dalrymple (March 15, 1999). From the Holy Mountain: a journey among the Christians of the Middle East. Owl Books.
- "Who is Saint George?". St. George's Basilica. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
- H. S. Haddad. ""Georgic" Cults and Saints of the Levant". Retrieved on January 18, 2007
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "George, Saint". Encyclopædia Britannica 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 737.
- Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam by Richard G. Hovannisian, Georges Sabagh 2000 ISBN 0-521-62350-2, Cambridge University Press pages 109-110
- Elizabeth Finn Home in the Holy land,
- Elizabeth Anne Finn (1866). Home in the Holyland. London: James Nisbet and Co. pp. 46–7. p. 46.
- Aldo Ziggioto, "Genova", in Vexilla Italica 1, XX (1993); Aldo Ziggioto, "Le Bandiere degli Stati Italiani", in Armi Antiche 1994, cited after Pier Paolo Lugli, 18 July 2000 on Flags of the World.
- William Woo Seymour, The Cross in Tradition, History and Art, 1898, p. 363
- Fuller, A Supplement tu the Historie of the Holy Warre (Book V), 1647, chapter 4.
- "Vatican stamps". Vaticanstate.va. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- The red pigment may appear black if it has bitumenized.
- 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.
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- St. George and the Dragon, free illustrated book based on 'The Seven Champions' by Richard Johnson (1596)
- Saint George and the Dragon links and pictures (more than 125), from Dragons in Art and on the Web
- Story of St. George from The Golden Legends
- Saint George and the Boy Scouts, including a woodcut of a Scout on horseback slaying a dragon
- A prayer for St George's Day
- St. George
- St. George and the Dragon: An Introduction
- Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George Orthodox icon and synaxarion for April 23
- Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George in Lydia Icon and synaxarion for November 3
- Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George at Kiev Icon and synaxarion for November 26
- St. George in the church in Plášťovce,(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 St. George The feast of St. George is April 23 - About that Dragon...
- St. George, Martyr at the Christian Iconography web site.
- Of St. George, Martyr from Caxton's translation of the Golden Legend