Saint George
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

St George

What We Know About St. George:

Coptic text say that St. George was born in 270 A.D. in Militene, a city in Cappadocia, where his father, a Christian named Anastasius, was governor. He grandfather, John, was also a Christian governor.

St. George's mother was named Kira Theognosta, the daughter of Dionysus, Count of Lydda. After Anastasius died, Kira returned to Lydda with her ten-year-old son, George, and his sisters Kasia and Mathrona. These names are the Coptic version of Catherine and Martha.

St. George died circa 303. Little is known for certain about England's Patron saint, St. George, except that he was martyed at Lydda, in Palestine, before Constantine became Emperor. There are many legends about George and the slaying of Dragons, a parable of good versus evil. However these stories did not appear before the 12th century. The dawn of the legends of The Golden Fleece perpetuated these myths.

In some legends it states that Justus was the new governor, and that he trained George as a soldier. George was thought to have served Emperor Diocletian, alongside of a young Constantine, in 295 A.D. George was martyred by the persecutions of Diocletian. In the East, George is a demigod who endures a series of tortures, such as running in red-hot iron shoes.

In 530, Theodosius, a deacon and pilgrim wrote about St. George's tomb at Lydda and the miracles that occured there. Many Crusaders visited the shrine to St. George there. In 1010 this same shrine was destroyed by Khalif Halim and then restored by King Etienne of Hungary.

Clovis, King of the Franks, dedicated a monastery near Cambrai in honor of St. George.

Chilbert, son of Clovis placed a relic of St. George in a monastery that he erected near Paris, France. This monastery was also dedicated to St. Vincent.

In 751, Zacharias, the last Greek Pope is said to have discovered the saint's head in Rome, Italy. He presented this relic to San Giorgio in Velabro, and eventually it was sent to Ferrara. There were a total of four relics of the head of St. George.

Robert d'Oiley, a Norman nobleman, built a castle in Oxford in 1074, with a chapel dedicated to St. George. Edward III built St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England.

St George was, at one time or another, the patron saint of Germany, Portugal, Barcelona, Genoa, Ferrara, Armenia, Antioch, Constantinople, France, Coptic Christians, and Russians.

St George's Day is April 23rd.(Water)

St George Rescues a Princess:

A water-dwelling dragon was threatening a town in Libya called Silene, and the people were sacrificing their sheep for its appeasement. When the supply of sheep began to run low, the people agreed to send one sheep and one child each day. They would pick the child by means of a lottery. Lots were drawn and eventually the king's only daughter was chosen. The king could not bear to lose his only female child, so he wanted her spared. The townspeople said that would not be fair to release the princess, since most all of the village had lost their children to sacrifice. The people treatened to burn the king and his palace if his daughter was not given equal treatment.

The princess was sent out to the dragon with the sheep. She was dressed in all her finery much like a bride would dress for her wedding. Saint George, then a knight errant, was passing by that very day. He thought it shameful that any child should be lost to such a beast, and he offered to rid the city of the dragon. The princess protested saying that she must do as others before her had done. George insisted that they must stop this practice or no one will have any children left in their village. St. George wounds the dragon with his lance. He then instructs the princess to remove her girdle and to use it around the dragon's neck. The princess then leads the dragon back to the city. Everyone is frightened of the visage of the dragon, except Saint George. He tells the people that he will kill the dragon if the entire town will become Christians. The dragon is killed and the townspeople are all baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The king is no sooner baptized than he builds a Christian church. The king is so grateful for having his beloved daughter back, that he offers George an award of money, land, and the hand of his daughter in marriage. George refuses monetary gains, but teaches the king about Christianity.

Of course this is only one version of the many stories of St. George and his killing of Dragons. To the Christian world, the dragon was considered a creature of Satan much like the serpent in the garden of evil. Whether a real dragon ever existed is not known, but there have been bones of dinosaurs that resemble dragons.



This page is updated and designed by Maggie Sypniewski, BFA
Last updated on February 21, 2006