April 23rd. St. George’s Day
George was a 4th Century Christian martyr born in around 280 A.D. in Lydda. George was a soldier in the Roman army. His father was Gerontius and his mother was Polychronia, both being Greek Christians living in Roman Palestine. He followed his father’s profession of soldier and became part of the retinue of the Emperor Diocletian. The emperor ordered the systematic persecution of Christians and George refused to take part. Having defended his faith he beheaded at Nicomedia near Lyddia in Palestine on the 23rd of April in the year 303 AD.
George is venerated in many countries around the world as Patron Saint such as; Aragon, Bavaria, Beirut, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Georgia (named after him), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia. As well as cities such as Barcelona, Genoa, Istanbul, Moscow and Venice (second to St Mark). He is patron of soldiers, cavalry and chivalry; of farmers and field workers, Boy Scouts and butchers; of horses, riders and saddlers; and of sufferers from leprosy, plague and syphilis.
The familiar image of George is of him killing a dragon, however the story of George and the dragon is a legend that dates from the Middle Ages.
Whilst we do not consider him as a saint to whom we pray, we do thank God for his fine example as someone who was willing to suffer death rather than deny his Lord.
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