Saint George


Saint George

Infobox Saint
name=Saint George
birth_date=between ca. AD 275 and 281
death_date=April 23 303
feast_day=April 23
venerated_in=Anglicanism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Lutheranism
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism


imagesize=200px
caption=Painting by Gustave Moreau depicting Saint George slaying the dragon
birth_place=Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey
death_place=Lydda, Palestine
titles=Martyr
beatified_date=
beatified_place=
beatified_by=
canonized_date=
canonized_place=
canonized_by=
attributes=Clothed as a soldier in a suit of armour or chain mail, often bearing a lance tipped by a cross, riding a white horse, often slaying a dragon. In the West he is shown with St George's Cross emblazoned on his armour, or shield or banner.
patronage=agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians (Brazilian football team); Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights [ [http://saints.sqpn.com/saintg05.htm Saint George] at Patron Saints Index]
major_shrine=Church of Saint George, Lod
suppressed_date=
issues=
prayer=
prayer_attrib=

In Christian hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Anglican Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Eastern Catholic Churches. He is immortalised in the tale of George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April.

St. George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organisations and disease sufferers.

Tradition assigns him the dates of (ca. 275-281 – April 23, 303. The dates are strictly traditional, as the details of George's life are purely legendary. [ For the evolution of the "legendarium", see P.J. Hogarth, "St. George: the evolution of a saint and his dragon", "History Today" 30 (April 1980:17-22).] According to the same tradition, he was a soldier in the Guard of Emperor Diocletian in the Roman Empire, venerated as a martyr, which caused him to be regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.


=Life and
vita" or "acta" that would have some merit as reflecting history and cannot be accounted a historical individual. ["The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge" omitted Saint George.] Chief among the late sources is the Golden Legend, which remains the most familiar version in English owing to William Caxton's 15th century translation.

The traditional legend offers a historicised narration of George's encounter with his dragon: see "St. George and the Dragon" below. The modern legend that follows is synthesized from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes, to narrate a purely human military career in closer harmony with modern expectations of reality.

The Life and Death

George was born to a Christian noble family during the late third century around AD 275 and AD 285, in Lydia Palestine. His father Geronzio was a Roman army official from Cappodocia and his mother from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici (can not be defeated), so by this the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decide to call him George meaning "worker of the land". At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother Policronia died.

Then George decided to go to Nicomedeia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father Geronzio -- one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedeia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian in the army should be arrested and every soldier offer sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and tore up the edict. Diocletian was upset, not wanting lose his best Tribune and son of his best official, Geronzio. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but he never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him 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 in which he was miraculously resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honor him as a martyr.

aint George and the dragon

The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend, [Robertson, "The Medieval Saints' Lives" (pp 51-52) suggested that the dragon motif was transferred to the George legend from that of his fellow soldier saint, Saint Theodore Tiro. The Roman Catholic writer Alban Butler ("Lives of the Saints") was at pains to credit 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."] brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance (Loomis; Whatley). The earliest known depiction of the mytheme is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia (Whatley), (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 eleventh-century Georgian text (Whatley).

In the fully-developed Western version, a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, in order 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 maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life with no result. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears the saint on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, ["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
] slays it and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

The dragon motif was first combined with the standardized "Passio Georgii" in Vincent of Beauvais' encyclopedic "Speculum historale" and then in Jacobus de Voragine, "Golden Legend", which guaranteed its popularity in the later Middle Ages as a literary and pictorial subject (Whatley).

The parallels with Perseus and Andromeda are inescapable. In the allegorical reading, the dragon embodies a suppressed pagan cult. [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"." (Whatley 2004). Saint Mercurialis, the first bishop of the city of Forlì, in Romagna, is often portrayed in the act of killing a dragon.] The story has 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 Vedic 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.

In the medieval romances, the lance with which St George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, named after the city of Ashkelon in Israel. [Incidentally, the name "Ascalon" was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II, according to records at Bletchley Park.]

Veneration as a martyr

A church built in Lydda during the reign of Constantine I (reigned 306–337), was consecrated to "a man of the highest distinction", according to the church history of Eusebius of Caesarea; the name of the patron [For patrons of fourth-century churches, see "titulus".] was not disclosed, but later he was asserted to have been George. The church was destroyed 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 (1189–1192), the church was again destroyed by the forces of Saladin, Sultan of the Ayyubid dynasty (reigned 1171–1193). 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 Eastern Roman Empire -though the martyr is not mentioned in the Syriac Breviarium [Butler.] - and Georgia. In Georgia the feast day on November 23 is credited to St Nino of Cappadocia, who in Georgian hagiography is a relative of St George, credited with bringing Christianity to the Georgians in the fourth century. By the fifth century the cult of Saint George had reached the Western Roman Empire as well: in 494, George was canonised 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 the earliest dedication to George, who was mentioned among the martyrs by Bede, is a church at Fordington, Dorset, that is mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great. "Saint George and his feast day began to gain more widespread fame among all Europeans, however, from the time of the Crusades." [McClendon 1999:6.] An apparition of George heartened the Franks at the siege of Antioch, 1098, and made a similar appearance the following year at Jerusalem. Chivalric military Order of St. George were established in Aragon (1201), Genoa, Hungary, and by Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13350a.htm "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").] and Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George. In England the Synod of Oxford, 1222 declared St. George's Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. The chronicler Froissart observed the English invoking St. 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 localised shrine, as of Thomas Becket at Canterbury: "Consequently, numerous shrines were established during the late fifteenth century," Muriel C. McClendon has written, [McClendon 1999:10.] "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 [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."] in the West that had captured the medieval imagination was codified by the official elevation of his feast to a "festum duplex" [Only the most essential work might be done on 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, [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).] 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 Reformation in England severely curtailed the saints' days in the calendar, St. George's Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed.

ources

According to the "Catholic Encyclopedia", the earliest text preserving fragments of George's narrative is in an Acta Sanctorum identified by Hippolyte Delehaye of the scholarly Bollandists to be a palimpsest of the fifth century. The compiler of this "Acta", 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". A critical edition of a Syriac "Acta" of Saint George, accompanied by an annoted English translation was published by E.W. Brooks (1863-1955) in 1925. The hagiography was originally written in Greek.

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.

The façade of architect Antoni Gaudi's famous Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain depicts this allegory.

Iconography

St. 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. After the Fall of Constantinople and the association of St George with the crusades, he is more often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. At the same time St George began to be associated with St. Demetrius, another early soldier saint. When the two saints are portrayed together mounted upon horses, they may be likened to earthly manifestations of the archangels Michael and Gabriel. St George is always depicted in Eastern traditions upon a white horse and St. Demetrius on a red horse [The red pigment may appear black if it has bitumenized.] St George can also be identified in the act of spearing a dragon, unlike St Demetrius, who is sometimes shown spearing a human figure, understood to represent Maximian.


=Later depictions and occurrences=

During the early second millennium, George came to be seen as the model of chivalry, and during this time was depicted in works of literature, such as the medieval romances.

Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, compiled the "Legenda Sanctorum", ("Readings of the Saints") also known as "Legenda Aurea" (the "Golden Legend") for its worth among readers. Its 177 chapters (182 in other editions) contain the story of Saint George.

Modern Russians interpret the icon not as a killing but as a struggle, against ourselves and the evil among us. The dragon never dies but the saint persists with his horse (will and support of the people) and his spear (technical means). This is a useful symbol for modern technocrats, especially in fields such as public health.

Colours

The "Colours of Saint George", or St George's Cross) are a white flag with a red cross, frequently borne by entities over which he is patron (e.g. England, Georgia, Liguria, Catalonia etc).

The origin of the St George's Cross came from the earlier plain white tunics worn by the early crusaders.

The same colour scheme was used by Viktor Vasnetsov for the facade of the Tretyakov Gallery, in which some of the most famous St. George icons are exhibited and which displays St. George as the coat of arms of Moscow over its entrance.

Patronage and remembrance

In the General Calendar of the Roman Rite the feast of Saint George is on April 23. In the Tridentine Calendar it was given the rank of "Semidouble". In Pope Pius XII's 1955 calendar this rank is reduced to "Simple". In Pope John XXIII's 1960 calendar the celebration to just a "Commemoration". In Pope Paul VI's 1969 calendar it is raised to the level of an optional "Memorial". In some countries, such as England, the rank is higher.

St George is very much honored 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 April 23 currently corresponds to Gregorian Calendar May 6). The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates two additional feasts in honour of St. George: one on November 3 commemorating the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign Constantine the Great (305-337). When the church was consecrated, the relics of the St. George were transferred there. The other feast on November 26 for a church dedicated to him in Kiev, ca. 1054.

Countries

Belgium

In Mons (Belgium), [ [http://www.mons.be Mons.be - Site officiel de la Ville de Mons ] ] Saint Georges is honoured each year at the Trinity Sunday. In the heart of the city, a reconstitution (known as the “Combat dit Lumeçon”) of the fight between Saint Georges and the dragon is played by 46 actors. [ [http://www.doudou.org Doudou - Mons - Le Doudou, Ducasse Rituelle de Mons - La Procession du Car d'Or et le Combat dit "Lumeçon" BLOG ] ] According to the tradition, the inhabitants of Mons try to get a piece of the dragon during the fight. This will bring luck for one year to the ones succeeding in this challenge. This event is part of the annual Ducasse and is attended by thousands of people.

Brazil

As part of the Portuguese Empire, Brazil inherited the devotion to Saint George, as patron saint of Portugal.In the religious traditions of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda, Ogum (as this Yoruba divinity is known in the Portuguese language) is often identified with Saint George in many regions of the country, being widely celebrated by both religions' followers. Popular devotion to Saint George is very strong in Rio de Janeiro, where the saint vies in popularity with the city's official patron Saint Sebastian, both saints' feast days being local holidays. Saint George is also the patron saint of the football club Corinthians, of São Paulo. The club stadium is also known as Parque São Jorge (Saint George's Park, in portuguese).

Bulgaria

St. George is praised by the Bulgarians as "liberator of captives, and defender of the poor, physician of the sick". For centuries he has been considered by the Bulgarians as their protector. Possibly the most celebrated name day in the country, St George's Day (Гергьовден, Gergyovden) is a public holiday that takes place on 6 May every year. A common ritual is to prepare and eat a whole lamb. St. George is the patron saint of farmers and shepherds.

St. George's Day is also the Day of the Bulgarian Army (made official with a decree of Knyaz Alexander of Bulgaria on 9 January 1880) and parades are organised in the capital Sofia to present the best of the army's equipment and manpower.

England

Traces of the cult of St George predate the Norman Conquest, in ninth-century liturgy used at Durham Cathedral, in a tenth-century Anglo-Saxon martyrology, and in dedications to Saint George at Fordingham, Dorset, at Thetford, Southwark and Doncaster. He received further impetus when the crusaders returned from the Holy Land in the 12th century. King Edward III of England (reigned 1327 – 1377) was known for promoting the codes of knighthood and in 1348 founded the Order of the Garter. During his reign, George came to be recognised as the patron saint of the English monarchy; prior to this, Saint Edmund had been considered the patron saint of England, although his veneration had waned since the time of the Norman conquest, and his cult was partly eclipsed by that of Edward the Confessor. Edward dedicated the chapel at Windsor Castle to the soldier saint who represented the knightly values of chivalry which he so much admired, and the Garter ceremony takes place there every year. In the 16th century, William Shakespeare firmly placed St George within the national conscience in his play Henry V in which the English troops are rallied with the cry “God for Harry, England and St George,” and Edmund Spenser included St. George (Redcross Knight) as a central figure in his epic poem The Faerie Queen.

In 1963, in the Roman Catholic Church, St George was demoted to a third class minor saint and removed him from the Universal Calendar, with the proviso that he could be honoured in local calendars. Pope John Paul II, in 2000, restored St George to the Calendar, and he appears in Missals as the English Patron Saint.

With the revival of Scottish and Welsh nationalism, there has been renewed interest within England in Saint George, whose memory had been in abeyance for many years. This is most evident in the St George's flags which now have replaced Union Flags in stadiums where English sports teams compete. St George’s Day is celebrated each year in the City of London with a day of celebration run by the Greater London Authority and the London Mayor. The City of Salisbury holds an annual St George’s Day pageant, the origins of which are believed to go back to the thirteenth century. [http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/open_thread/2008/04/by_george.html] [http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/23/britishidentity] [http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g9oCok2bLW3sawDp3iGJhDOJQwag] [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/23/nday323.xml] [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/04/23/do2301.xml] [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/23/ngeorge123.xml] [http://www.salisbury.gov.uk/leisure/arts-and-entertainment/st-george.htm]

Georgia

Saint George is a patron saint of Georgia. According to Georgian author Enriko Gabisashvili, Saint George is most venerated in the nation of Georgia. An 18th century Georgian geographer and historian Vakhushti Bagrationi wrote that there are 365 Orthodox churches in Georgia named after Saint George according to the number of days in one year. Gabidzashvili, Enriko. 1991. "Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature". Armazi - 89: Tbilisi, Georgia.] There are indeed many churches in Georgia named after the Saint and Alaverdi Monastery is one of the largest.

The Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates St. George's day twice a year, on May 6 (O.C. April 23) and November 23. The feast day in November was instituted by St Nino of Cappadocia, who was credited with bringing Christianity to the land of Georgia in the fourth century. She was from Cappadocia, like Saint George, and was his relative. This feast day is unique to Georgia and it is the day of St George's martyrdom.

There are also many folk traditions in Georgia that vary from Georgian Orthodox Church rules, because they portray the Saint differently than the Church does and show the veneration of Saint George in common people of Georgia. Different regions of Georgia have different traditions and in most folk tales Saint George is venerated very highly, almost as much as Jesus Christ himself. In the province of Kakheti province, there is an icon of St George known as "White George". This image of "White George" is also seen on the current Coat of Arms of Georgia. The region of Pshavi have icons of known as the "Cuppola St. George" and "Lashari St. George". The Khevsureti region has "Kakhmati", "Gudani", and "Sanebi" icons dedicated to the Saint. The Pshavs and Khevsurs, during the Middle Ages used to refer to Saint George almost as much as praying to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Another notable icon is known as the "Lomisi Saint George" which can be found in the Mtiuleti and Khevi provinces of Georgia.

An example of folk tale about St. George:Once the Lord Jesus Christ, the prophet Elias and Saint George were going through Georgia. When they became tired and hungry they stopped to dine. They saw a Georgian shepherd man and decided to ask him to feed them. First, Elias went up to the shepherd and asked him for a sheep. After the shepherd asked his identity Elias said that, he was the one who sent him rain to get him a good profit from farming. The shepherd became angry at him and told him that he was the one who also sent thunderstorms, which destroyed the farms of poor widows.

After Elias, Jesus Christ himself went up to the shepherd and asked him for a sheep and told him that he was God, the creator of everything. The shepherd became angry at Jesus and told him that he is the one who takes the souls away of young men and grants long lives to many dishonest people.

After Elias and Christ's unsuccessful attempts, St George went up to the shepherd, asked him for a sheep and told him that he is Saint George who the shepherd calls upon every time when he has troubles and St. George protect him from all the evil and saves him from troubles. After hearing St George, the shepherd fell down on his knees and adored him and gave him everything. This folk tale shows the veneration of St George in the Middle Ages provinces of Georgia and similar tales are told in the northern mountainous parts of the country.

Some interesting tales come from Georgian sources, some of which are also attested to by Persian ones, that the Georgian Army during many battles were led by a knight on the white horse who came down from the Heaven. Catholicos Besarion of Georgia also testified this fact.Fact|date=August 2008

India

There are numerous churches dedicated to Saint George in India (especially in Kerala) practising Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism. There are also countless shrines to St. George in Kerala, India. On the banks of the Kodoor river in the district of Kottayam in Kerala, the village of Puthupally famous for the 16th-century St.George Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Church. The feast of this church, held in May 6th and May 7th, is famous and attracts a lot of pilgrims from all over Kerala. It is one of the famous pilgrim centers of Saint George, in India. Here they celebrate his feast on the first Saturday and Sunday during the month of May.

Italy

In Italy, Saint George is one of the Patron Saints of Genoa, as well as the patron saint of Ferrara and Reggio Calabria. The historical bank that was the backbone of the Republic of Genoa, "Repubblica Marinara di Genova", was dedicated to St George, "Banco di San Giorgio". The power of the "Repubblica" passing from commerce to banking, Genoa lent money to all the European countries and sovereigns, so the power of the "Repubblica" was identified with its patron saint. Throughout the province of Ferrara the cult of Saint George is remarkable for a medieval belief that the dragon Saint George defeated inhabited the Po. Actually the dragon has to be considered as a metaphor for the fear of Po river frequent floods that threatened to completely destroy Ferrara and the small hamlets next to it. The former cathedral and the newer 12th century basilique cathedral of the city (Ferrara Cathedral) are both dedicated to the legendary Saint.

Lebanon

Saint George is the patron saint of Beirut, Lebanon. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1937546.stm BBC News | ENGLAND | St George comes under fire ] ] Many bays around Lebanon are named after Saint George, particularly the Saint George Bay in Beirut.

The Saint George Bay in Beirut is believed to be the place where the dragon lived and where it was slain. [ [http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/197106/st.george.the.ubiquitous.htm Saudi Aramco World : St. George The Ubiquitous ] ] In Lebanon, Saint George is believed to have cleaned off his spear at a massive rocky cave running into the hillside and overlooking the beautiful Jounieh Bay. Others argue it is at the Bay of Tabarja. The waters of both caves are believed to have miraculous powers for healing ailing children. [ [http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/197106/st.george.the.ubiquitous.htm Saudi Aramco World : St. George The Ubiquitous ] ] An ancient gilded icon of St. George at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Beirut has been a major attraction for believers: Greek Orthodox, Copts, Catholics, Maronites and some Muslims, for many centuries. [ [http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/197106/st.george.the.ubiquitous.htm Saudi Aramco World : St. George The Ubiquitous ] ] Many churches are named in honor of the saint in Lebanon:

*The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, Centre Ville, Beirut, Lebanon
*The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, Souk El Gharb, Lebanon
*The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, Tripoli, Lebanon
*The Greek Catholic Church of Saint Georges of Bmakine, Souk El Gharb, Lebanon
*The Maronite Catholic Cathedral of Saint George, Centre Ville, Beirut, Lebanon
*The Maronite Catholic Cathedral of Saint George, Ehden, Lebanon
*Holy Monastery of Saint George, Deir El Harf, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Ain Bourdai, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Baabdat, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Barsaa, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Beit Mery, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Bteghrine, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Edde, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Faitroun, Keserwan District, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Kfeir, Mount Hermon, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Khonchara, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Nahr Barada, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Qaitouli, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Qlaia, South Lebanon, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Rmaich, South Lebanon, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Sarba, South Lebanon, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Sarine, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
*Saint Georges of Zouk Mikael, Keserwan District, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon
*Triple Church of St. George, Tabarja, Lebanon
*Church of Saint George, Brummana, Lebanon

Malta

Saint George is also one of the patron saints of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. In a battleFact|date=February 2008 between the Maltese and the Moors, Saint George was alleged to have been seen with Saint Paul and Saint Agata, protecting the Maltese. Two parishes are dedicated to Saint George in Malta and Gozo, the Parish of Qormi, Malta and the Parish of Victoria, Gozo. Besides being the patron of Victoria where a splendid basilica is dedicated to him, St George is the protector of the island Gozo. He is also the patron saint of the village of Qormi. Many churches in the Maltese Islands, have also altars dedicated to this saint.

The George Cross was awarded to the entire island of Malta for their courage and endurance during World War II. In a letter dated 15 April 1942, King George VI, stated: "To honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history." Since that time, the George Cross has appeared on the Flag of Malta.

Ossetia

St. George is identified with the Nart Uastyrdzhi in Ossetian tradition and as such the main patron of North Ossetia.

Palestine

The Feast of Saint George is celebrated by both the Palestinian Christians, whose patron saint is George, and many Muslims, especially in the areas around Bethlehem where he is believed to have lived in his childhood. Christian houses can be identified with a stone-engraved picture of the saint (known as Mar Jiries) in front of their homes for his protection. In one hotel in Bethlehem, Saint George appears over the lift, as well as many other places throughout the structure.

In the town of Beit Jala, just west of Bethlehem stands a statue of Saint George carved of stone depicting the saint on his horse while fighting the dragon. The statue stands in the town's main square.

There is also a mid-sized town just west of Bethlehem named al-Khader in his honour. The town contains a 16th century monastery known as the Monastery of Saint George. In the Wadi Qelt near Jericho stands the St. George's Monastery.

Portugal

Apparently the English crusaders that helped King Alfonse Henriques in the conquest of Lisbon in 1147, introduced the major devotion to Saint George in Portugal.

Nevertheless, it was not until the time of King Alfonse IV that the use of "São Jorge !" (Saint George) as battle cry, substituted the former "Sant'Iago !" (Saint James).

Nun'Álvares, Constable of Portugal, considered Saint George the leader of the Portuguese victory in the battle of Aljubarrota. King John I was also a devotee of the Saint and was in his reign that Saint George replaced Saint James as the main patron saint of Portugal. In 1387 he ordered that its image on horse was carried in Corpus Cristi procession, tradition that also extended, later, to Brazil.

Already in 1386, England and Portugal - also united by the patronage of Saint George alliance, that still is in force, as the oldest international alliance in the world.

erbia

"Đurđevdan" (Serbian: "Ђурђевдан" - George's day) is a Serbian religious holiday, celebrated on April 23 by the Julian calendar (May 6 by Gregorian calendar), which is the feast of Saint George and a very important Slava. He is one of the most important Christian saints in Orthodox churches. This holiday is attached to the tradition of celebrating the beginning of spring. Christian synaxaria hold that St. George was a martyr who died for his faith. On icons, he is usually depicted as a man riding a horse and killing a dragon. Đurđevdan is celebrated all over the Serbian diaspora but mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Serbian Language St. George is called "Sveti Đorđe" (Serbian Cyrillic: Свети Ђорђе).

pain

In Spain, Saint George also came to be considered as the patron saint of the medieval Crown of Aragon, the territory of four current autonomous communities of Spain: Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Nowadays Saint George is the saint patron of both Aragon and Catalonia, as well as the saint patron of historically important Spanish towns such as Cáceres or Alcoy (Spanish language: "San Jorge", Catalan language: "Sant Jordi", Aragonese language: "Sant Chorche").

His feast date, April 23, is one of the most important holidays in Catalonia, where it is traditional to give a present to the loved one; red roses for women and books for men. In Aragon it is a public holiday, celebrated as the 'Day of Aragon'. It is also a public holiday in Castile and Leon, where the day commemorates the defeat at the Revolt of the Comuneros.

The anniversary of the deaths, in 1616, of Cervantes and Shakespeare, has led UNESCO to declare April 23 World Book and Copyright Day.

United States

The United States Armor Association ("a non-profit organization with over 6,000 members dedicated to disseminating knowledge of the military art and sciences, with special attention to mobility in ground warfare" [cite web|url=http://usarmor-assn.sc8.info/index.html|title=The U.S. Armor Association homepage Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007] ) "recognizes its finest tankers and cavalrymen" with a bronze medal of the Order of St. George. [cite web|url=http://usarmor-assn.sc8.info/awards.html|title=U.S. Armor Association Awards Program Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007] . St George is also known to be the patron saint of the Boy Scouts of America.cite web |url=http://pinetreeweb.com/stgeorge.htm |title=St. George, Patron Saint of Scouting |accessdate=2007-03-05] Point Saint George in Del Norte County, California is also named after him.

The USS Arleigh Burke(DDG-51) uses a depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon on the ship's crest.

Organisations

Freemasonry

The Freemasons consider St. George one of their primary patron saints. The United Grand Lodge of England holds its annual festival on a day as near as possible to St. George's Day, and St. George is depicted on the ceiling of the Grand Lodge Temple on Great Queen Street, London. A number of Masonic lodges around the world bear the name of St. George.

Orders

Saint George is a patron saint of the Teutonic Knights. There are several orders that call themselves Knights of St. George.

couting

St George's Day is also celebrated with parades in those countries of which he is the patron saint. Also, St George is the patron saint of Scouting. On St George's day (or the closest Sunday), Scouts in some countries choose to take part in a parades and some kind of church service in which they renew their Scout Promise. The scouting award for Episcopalian adults is the St. George medal.

Others

He is also the patron saint of skin disease sufferers and syphilitic people. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,,477220,00.html] In Colombia there is a school called Gimnasio Campestre which honors St. George and where they recite his hymn every Friday. In Santiago, Chile, there is a school called Saint George's College, part of the congregation Holy Cross.In the Norwegian military, Saint George is also the patron of the Cavalry.The St George Rugby League Club [http://www.dragons.com.au] is a participate in the Australian National Rugby League competition. Based at Kogarah in Sydney NSW, the side encompasses three council areas (Kogarah Municipal, Hurstville City, and Rockdale City councils) locally known as the St. George District. The club commenced playing in the Sydney competition in 1921.

Interfaith shrine

There is a tradition in the Holy Land of Christians and Muslim going to an Eastern Orthodox shrine for St. George at Beith Jala, Jews also attending the site in the belief that the prophet Elijah was buried there. This is testified to by Elizabeth Finn in 1866, where she wrote, “St. George killed the dragon in this country Palestine; and the place is shown close to Beyrut . 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 share 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 favorite 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.” [cite book |pages=46-47|title=Home in the Holyland|author= Elizabeth Anne Finn|publisher=James Nisbet and Co., London|date=1866] A possible explanation for this colour reference is Al Khidr, the erstwhile tutor of Moses, gained his name from having sat in a barren desert, turning it into a lush green paradise. See above for the association of Al Khidder and St George.

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 all three of Palestine’s religious communities. Christians regarded it as the birthplace of St. George, Jews as the burial place of the Prophet Elias, Muslims as the home of the legendary saint of fertility known simply as Khidr, Arabic for green. 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.’ [cite web|url=http://www.sacred-texts.com/asia/flhl/flhl12.htm|title= Folk-lore of the Holy Land, Moslem, Christian and Jewish, by J. E. Hanauer 1907 Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007] In the 1920’s 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."cite book|title=From the Holy Mountain: a journey among the Christians of the Middle East |author=William Dalrymple|publisher= Owl Books (March 15, 1999)]

Dalrymple himself visited the place in 1995 "I asked around in the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem, and discovered that the pace 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 St George in his grubby little shrine at Beit Jala rather than praying at 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."cite web|url=http://www.stgeorge.org.mt/page.asp?id=12|title=Who is Saint George?|publisher= St. George's Basilica Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007] [cite web|title="Georgic" Cults and Saints of the Levant |author=H. S. Haddad|url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0029-5973(196904)16%3A1%3C21%3A%22CASOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-M Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007]

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 neighboring villages bear to this day, while one of the gates of Lydda used to be called the Gate of Dagon.” [cite book|page=737|title= Encyclopædia Britannica - eleventh edition|date=1910|publisher= Encyclopædia Britannica Co., New York, NY Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007]

ee also

*Khidr
*Frithjof Schuon
*Georgslied, 9th-century Old High German poem about the life of Saint George
*Knights of St. George
*Bristol, England, which has a district christened Saint George and also a park bearing that name
*St. George's Day
*Diada de Sant Jordi
*Paladin
*Dragon Hill, Uffington
*St George's Church, churches dedicated to St. George
*"The Magic Sword", 1961 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 Dragons

Notes

References

* Brooks, 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.
* Alban Butler, "Butler's Lives of the Saints", vol. 2, pp. 148-150. "George, Martyr, Protector of the Kingdom of England" ( [http://www.oscgeneral.org/basilica/legende.html on-line text] )
* Gabidzashvili, Enriko. 1991. "Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature". Armazi - 89: Tbilisi, Georgia.
* 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) ( [http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/whgeodintro.htm On-line Introduction] )
* Prof. George Menachery, "Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India". Vol.II Trichur - 73.


= External links =
* [http://www.enjoyengland.com/attractions/events/calendar/april/st-george.aspx Events and ideas for all the family on St George’s Day across England]
* [http://www.storyresources.co.nz/shop/item.aspx?itemid=528 St George and the Dragon Felt Board Story] at [http://www.storyresources.co.nz/shop/ Story Resources]
* [http://www.stgeorgesholiday.com/st_george.asp St. George and the Dragon, free illustrated book based on 'The Seven Champions' by Richard Johnson (1596)]
* [http://www.bulgarian-guide.com/bulgarian-holidays/gergiovden/ Bulgaria - St. George's Day]
* [http://www.emelmagazine.com/main.php?splash=2&is_idfk2=326 (Emel Muslim magazine) A very modern patron: Muslims and St George]
* [http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.tcl?site_id=5549 Archnet]
* [http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/dragons/6.html Saint George and the Dragon links] and [http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/dragons/38.html pictures] (more than 125), from [http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/dragons/ Dragons in Art and on the Web]
* [http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/golden184.htm Story of St. George from The Golden Legends]
* [http://www.pinetreeweb.com/stgeorge.htm Saint George and the Boy Scouts] , including a woodcut of a Scout on horseback slaying a dragon
* [http://www.allinfoaboutenglishculture.com/st-george.html The Elevation of St George]
* [http://www.digitas.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/wiki/ken/SaintGeorge A prayer for St George's Day]
* [http://www.niranamchurch.com/StGeorge.asp St. George]
* [http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/whgeodintro.htm St. George and the Dragon: An Introduction]
* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101184 Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George] Orthodox icon and synaxarion for April 23
* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=103161 Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George in Lydia] Icon and synaxarion for November 3
* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=103398 Dedication of the Church of the Greatmartyr George at Kiev] Icon and synaxarion for November 26----


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