St George is the patron saint of England and among the most famous of Christian figures. His flag is the Red cross of the martyr on a white background. It forms the central cross to the Union Jack.
He is unusually both a Christian Saint and a Muslim Prophet. But of the man himself, nothing is certainly known. Our earliest source, Eusebius of Caesarea, writing in around 322 AD, tells of a soldier of noble birth who was put to death under Diocletian at Nicomedia on 23 April, 303 AD, but makes no mention of his name, his country or his place of burial.
According to Eastern Church, he was born to a Christian family during the late 3rd century. His father was from Cappadocia (now in Turkey) and served as an officer of the army. His mother was from Lydda, Palestine. She returned to her native city as a widow along with her young son. It has now been realized that as George rose to the rank of Count, that he probably was not from a family of local origin in that area. He could have been of mercenary origin. Quite possibly of a Sarmatian or Germanic tribal origin as these were common mercenary tribes.
The youth apparently followed the example of his father in joining the army soon after his coming of age. He reportedly proved to be a charismatic soldier and consequently rose quickly through the military ranks of the time. By his late twenties he reportedly had gained the titles of Tribunus (Tribune) and Comes (Count). By that time, George had been reportedly positioned in Nicomedia as a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian (reign 284 – 305).
In 303, Diocletian issued an edict authorising the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. George refused and was executed.
His wife it seems may have followed her husband in to the same fate some short while later. George rapidly became venerated throughout Christendom as an example of bravery in defence of the poor and the defenceless and of the Christian faith. He became a Saint in around 900 AD.
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 England. St George’s Day is celebrated on April 23rd (the same days as the old English Sigurd’s Day)
The Dragon Slayer
It is felt that he has been described as a Dragon Slayer because the Roman Emperor Diocletian who had him executed has been referred to in text as ‘a dragon’, so by prevailing in history, George and the values he represents have slayed him.
He may have been particularly well received in England because of a similar legend in Anglo-Saxon literature, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer. In fact that in reality Sigurd the Dragon Slayer may have more relevance to the English.
St George represents fairness, resilience, and courage. He is thus England’s patron saint as his values represent core English values. These can be listed as 9 English Values.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "St George" https://englishhistory.net/folklore/st-george/, February 16, 2022