CHIVALRY & RENAISSANCE
for Enlarged Photo of Medallion
The cult of Saint George
goes back to the 4th century. From that time he was honored
and churches dedicated to him in Syria, Italy, Greece and Gaul.
In Venice, he is the second patron after Saint Mark; in 1222
the Council of Oxford appointed 23rd April as his Feast Day.
He became the English Patron Saint in 14th Century. He is also
the patron saint of Moscow, of Georgia which bears his name,
The legends surrounding Saint George are very varied. One
of them concerns the famous dragon, with which he is invariably
portrayed. According to legend, a pagan town in Libya was being
terrorized by a dragon. The locals kept throwing sheep to it
to placate it, and when it still remained unsatisfied, they
started sacrificing some of the citizenry. Finally the local
princess was to be thrown also to the beast, but Good Saint
George came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair
princess. At this the townsfolk converted to Christianity.
In Christian terms, the Dragon he slay represented satan and
the Princess represented the Christian Church. Saint George
rescued the pagans from evil by vanquishing it and saved the
Church from being devoured by the insatiable forces of darkness.
The origin of the legend, which is very well known, came originally
from the way in which the Greek Church honored George. They
venerated him as a soldier saint and told many stories of his
bravery and protection in battle. The western Christians, joining
with the Byzantine Christians in the Crusades, elaborated and
misinterpreted the Greek traditions and devised their own version.
The story we know today of Saint George and the dragon dates
from the troubadours of the 14th century.
The reason for his being adopted as the Saint of Battles was
partly because he was a soldier, but also because he is said
to have appeared to the Christian army before the Battle of
Antioch. It is also said that he appeared to our English King
Richard I (the Lionheart) during his Crusade against the Saracens,
which served as a great encouragement to the troops.
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