Accepted as The Patron Saint of England around April 303, St George is one of the most idolized saints and a Great Martyr among Christians around the world. Most of his life story was sabotaged with myths and legend, and therefore it isn’t easy to differentiate between what is a fact and what is fiction.
Although very little is known about St George’s life, it is known that he took birth in a place called Cappadocia in Asia Minor (now Turkey) to a Christian family of noble lineage. At a point in his life, he served as a High Ranking Officer in the Roman Army, and the fact that he opposed the mistreatment and annihilation of Christians speak volumes about his chivalric character.
However, over the years, the legends and myths about him are believed to have started somewhere around the 12th century and were passed down to the generations that came after.
While many of these legends and myths may have some percentage of truth to it, a major part of them is nothing but a made-up story. So please put on your fact goggle, for we have some facts to decipher.
Patriotic Myths About St George: The Great Martyr
1. He Slew A Dragon.
St George is one such philanthropist of the Christian Community whose bravery and valiance stories are quite the topic of discussion. One such myth making the rounds is the one where he slew a Dragon. This was told by the Crusaders who learned of him during the medieval age of religious wars and campaigns.
As Legend goes, he came across a village where the local people were terrorized by a dragon and resorted to sacrifice one sheep every day to quench the dragon’s thirst for blood. Until one day, there were no sheep let to offer, and the local children were forced to suffer the wrath of the Dragon.
The lottery system of selecting the children for sacrifice was used, and when it happened to be the King’s daughter’s turn, St George turned up and offered to slay the beast. In his tussle with the dragon, he noticed a half recovered wound and charged towards it with his sword leading to the killing of the dragon.
A huge feast was called in honor of him that turned into an annual tradition and is still in practice as St George’s Day Celebrations. With no actual proof, him slaying the dragon is still a myth that still needs confirmation.
2. He Was English.
St George may be worshipped as a great patron of the Christian Community and a National hero, but the fact that he was born more than 2000 miles away in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey) accounts for the fact that he wasn’t English by birth. To add to it, he is believed to have died in Lydda (modern-day Israel), and in his tomb, there is a Christian Pilgrimage Centre.
3. He Was A Knight.
The tales of St George’s bravery and chivalry have been highly acknowledged, and he is often regarded as “The Knight in Shining Armor,” considering his legendary tale of him slaying a dragon. But, if you go deep down in history, you will find that he was more likely an officer in the Roman Army and not actually a Knight or a Warrior on horseback.
4. He Was A Martyr.
For his stern belief in Christianity and his dying for his faith in the religion, St George is looked upon as “The Great Martyr.” It is said that during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian, he was executed for refusing to make a sacrifice in the way of The Pagan Gods. This act of self-sacrifice inspired people all around the world and drew them towards accepting Christianity.
5. He Never Visited England.
St George’s reputation and holiness are spread across Europe, and his feast day celebrations that began around the 9th century are still in existence even today.
Banners bearing the emblem of St George (white background with a red cross on it) became popular with English Kings Edward I (1272-1307) and Edward III (1327-77). They also owned a relic of St George’s blood and had a strong interest in his preaching.
6. The Dragon Wasn’t Always A Part Of The Story.
The Images of St George and the Dragon are from the 9th Century, 500 years after his death. There is a probability that these stories were made up to depict the victory of good over evil. There is no way actually to know.
However, the legend of St George slaying the Dragon began making rounds in the medieval age. Some people also believed that it was a Minotaur and not a Dragon. Therefore, the amount of truth to this myth can’t actually be determined.
7. He Was A Saint For 1000 Years Before The Holiday.
Pope Gelasius declared George a Saint in 494 AD and said that he was one of those exemplary names that are justly looked upon among men but whose acts are known only to God.
The Feast of St George was and is being celebrated in England for hundreds of years on the day of his martyrdom (23 April) and is one of the most important feast days in the English Calendar.
8. England Is Not The Only Country To Worship The Teachings of St George.
Apart from England, St George’s Day is celebrated in many other countries worldwide, including Canada, Croatia, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and The Republic of Macedonia.
He is truly an international saint, and as their patron, many people have their own celebrations and traditions to honor him. These traditions and celebrations differ from country to country. If you are in Canada for the St George’s Day Holiday and have no idea of what to do during your day off, visit Awesome Ways To Spend Holidays In Canada.
9. People Sought Protection From Him.
His Tales of bravery and fearlessness are, without a doubt, known to the world. Even in the medieval age, his courage was an inspiration to many, and a lot of people sought refuge from him.
10. He Represents the Highest Of Honors.
The Order of The Garter or The Garter Badge is the highest order of chivalry in the country even today, and St George’s cross appears on it. His image is the Pendant of the Garter Chain.
The Garter Badge is presented to those officers who show exceptional qualities of bravery at the time of their duties. Tap The Order Of The Garter to obtain a list of all the honorable people who received it.
11. Borris Johnson is a Re-Incarnation of St. George Sent To Rescue England.
Borris Johnson, Former Prime Minister of The United Kingdom and Leader of The Conservative Party, is said to be the re-birth of St George and that he is here to save the country from being doomed. As much as this myth is cherished by many, it is only a myth.
12. Shakespeare’s Greatest Work Was A Lost Play That He wrote On St George.
Shakespeare supposedly died on St George’s Day, but that has nothing to do with any of his works. In fact, there is no mention of St George in any of Shakespeare’s works at all.
Although Shakespeare put forth some intriguing work that is loved and celebrated by literature lovers around the world even today, visit Top 5 Greatest Works By William Shakespeare to know more.
13. St George invented Cheddar Cheese.
As surprising as it sounds, there is a whole other type of cheese named after him that is exclusively made in Santa Rosa, California. To know more, hop on to St-George’s Cheddar and discover everything you need to know about it. Originally, it was Joseph Harding who invented Cheddar cheese around the 19th Century.
14. St George’s Day is a Bank Holiday.
Although it is a day of celebrating The Great Patron of England, it isn’t a public holiday. This implies that banks will be up and running as usual.
15. England Isn’t Named After St George
He is definitely The Patron Saint of England and has a large no of people around there agreeing to his patronage, but the country isn’t named after him. However, England has adopted his symbol (the red cross) into their flag, and the flag bears it even today.
16. St George’s Day Cannot Be Celebrated In England Anymore Due to Political Barriers.
In the beginning, this used to be a National Holiday, but the tradition died somewhere in the 1800s. But, there is still a celebration that takes place, and if you are one to participate, stick a flag on your car and grab a beer.
If you’re in Canada and wondering how St George’s Day is celebrated there, Visit St. George’s Day in Canada.
17. Celebrating St George’s Day Signifies You’re A Racist.
In the last couple of years, people have been opposing the celebrations as it attracts unwanted nationalism and racism. As weird as it sounds, the Celebrations are not banned and are still celebrated in a decent way where no sort of racist conduct is entertained.
18. The Unconventional Legends About St George Were Convicted By The Pope.
We are all aware of how the early Christians exaggerated the tales of their great patrons and martyrs to make them more significant. Similarly, St George’s stories and myths were made up, and these legends and stories made up about him were so queer and unnatural that Pope Gelasius of the Roman Catholic Church had to condemn them.
19. He Was Honored In The Byzantine Empire For Being One Of The Military Saints.
As discussed before, there is no actual proof of him being a soldier or a part of the Military Service but, he is still considered as one of those saints who served as a knight before accepting sainthood, and therefore he is said to have been honored at the Byzantine Empire.
20. St George Inspired Many Others To Accept Christianity.
His faith in his religion and bravery was an inspiration to many people all over the world and led them to adopt Christianity as their religion. This includes the Wife of the same Emperor who beheaded St George for resigning his military post and protesting for his religion.
A Lot of other celebrations are declared in the name of many other great Saints like St Patrick, St John, and many more. To know more about the other Saints declared by the Roman Catholic Church, Visit List of Saints.
St Patrick is one other widely celebrated Saint in Canada. To get specific details about the festivities on this day, do give a read to our article St Patrick’s Day: Facts, History & Traditions.
In the medieval ages, people were highly misguided and onto the path of misery. With constant waging of wars and immense politics on the run, it was almost as if peace was completely erased from people’s lives.
Having somebody to look upon whose life had great examples that depict good over evil was important. Therefore Sainthood was a ray of hope to those misguided and looking to be saved. Many Saints existed in time around the world, and associating their faith to unwanted racism and criticism is highly unjust.
If you are in Canada at the time, know that you are up for a long three-day fun vacation to plan.
Happy St George’s Day!