St George

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Information about St George

Published on August 7, 2008

Author: martytoo


Slide 1: Bilston Community Association Proudly Presents A Guide toSt. George Together We Are Stronger Unless otherwise indicated click any where on a slide to continue the presentation Fact or Fiction? St. George was English : Fact or Fiction? St. George was English Slide 3: St. George – The Facts ? The real-life history of St George is so scant that he was demoted by the Catholic Church to a third-class, minor saint in the first half of the twentieth century. Only in the year 2000 was he elevated once again to the role of 'national saint' and awarded his "day of solemnity" by the Pope. If little is known about the man, the myth is legendary - a dragon-slaying Christian hero triumphs over evil in a feat of derring-do. St George was initially promoted to patron saint in 1061 when a church in Doncaster was dedicated to him. But our first reference to him in history comes from the Anglo-Saxon prose writer, Aelfric, who reveres him in his Lives of the Saints (c.1000). George also appears in the Golden Legends, an English translation of Jacobus de Voragine's Saint's Lives published by Caxton in 1483. At the Council of Oxford in 1222, St George's Day was declared a public holiday. It was Edward III who instituted the Order of St George and encouraged the battle cry 'St George for England!' St George's Day continued to grow in popularity and the 23rd April soon became an occasion for feasting in monasteries across England. His lifeWho was Saint George? : His lifeWho was Saint George? The story of Saint George is so wrapped in myth and legend that it's difficult to extract the historical facts of a real life. Some believe he never existed or that he's a Christianized version of an older pagan myth. In the early centuries of Christianity, followers would write up fabulous accounts of the lives of their heroes. This enhanced George's reputation but left the details of his life very blurred. Early life What we believe to be the truth is that George was born in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey in the 3rd century; that his parents were Christians; and that when his father died, George's mother returned to her native Palestine, taking George with her. George became a soldier in the Roman army and rose to the rank of Tribune. Persecution of Christians The Emperor of the day, Diocletian (245-313 AD), began a campaign against Christians at the very beginning of the 4th century. In about 303 AD George is said to have objected to this persecution and resigned his military post in protest. Torture and martyrdom George tore up the Emperor's order against Christians. This infuriated Diocletian, and George was imprisoned and tortured - but he refused to deny his faith. Eventually he was dragged through the streets of Diospolis (now Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded. It's said that Diocletian's wife was so impressed by George's resilience that she became a Christian and that she too was executed for her faith. Myths about Saint George : Myths about Saint George The image of George most familiar to us today, the saint dressed in a white tunic bedecked with a red cross, astride his stallion, and skewering a dragon as he rescues a fair maiden, depends more on a late medieval and Renaissance ideal of this miles Christi (knight of Christ) than on his legend in its earlier forms, in which the dragon and the maiden play no part and George's role is one of verbal jousting and violent suffering rather than knightly derring-do.The Martyrdom of St. George in the South English Legendary, ed. E. Gordon Whatley Paulo Uccello's impression of the dragon, 1857 © The story of Saint George only achieved mass circulation when it was printed in 1483 by Caxton in a book called The Golden Legend. This was a translation of a book by Jacques de Voragine, a French bishop, which incorporated fantastic details of Saints' lives. George and the Dragon This version of the dragon tale is from The Golden Legend. S. George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. On a time he came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a stagne or a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country.The Golden Legend More fearful, fell and crueller was sheThan the deadly monster of Lerna was doubtlessUpon her wings and on her back on highWere green rough scales like iron of hardnessIf Hercules for all his hardinessWith bill or club had run this dragon toHe should forsooth have found enough to do. adapted from Alexander Barclay, The lyfe of saynt George, 1515, a translation of Baptista Spagnuoli, Georgius, 1507, printed in The Life of St. George, ed William Nelson, Oxford University Press, 1960 Myths Continued : Myths Continued The people of the town had begun to feed the dragon two sheep every day to prevent it attacking them; when the sheep failed, they began to give it one sheep and one man. The king decreed that the human sacrifice should be chosen by lot. This continued until the king's daughter was selected. The king tried to bargain his way out of it, but the townspeople were adamant that she should be delivered to the dragon just as many of their children had been. Then did the king do array his daughter like as she should be wedded, and embraced her, kissed her and gave her his benediction, and after, led her to the place where the dragon was.The Golden Legend George, who was passing, asked the lady what was happening. She told him about the dragon and begged him to leave before it appeared and killed him too. Then said S. George: Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing hereof for I shall help thee in the name of Jesu Christ. She said: For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me. Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair. The Golden Legend The princess led the defeated dragon into the city, causing much panic and alarm until George told the people not to be afraid: "Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesu Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon." The king was baptised, followed by all his people, whereupon George killed the dragon and had it dragged out of the city (requiring four ox carts to do so) and its body thrown into the fields. The king set up a church of Our Lady and Saint George. On the site there sprang up "a fountain of living water, which healeth sick people that drink thereof". Myths about his martyrdom : Myths about his martyrdom In the stories George is said to have been tortured in a number of gruesome and hideous ways. He was forced to swallow poison; crushed between two spiked wheels; boiled in a cauldron of molten lead. None of these attempts killed him and his wounds were healed in the night by Christ himself. George was told his life would be spared if he would offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. The people assembled to see him do so but instead George prayed to the Christian God. Immediately, fire came down from heaven, an earthquake shook the ground, and priests, idols, and the temple buildings were destroyed. However, by this time it was God's will that St. George should die for his faith, and he was beheaded without further trouble. Stories of this nature abounded about pagan and Christian figures in the early Middle Ages. People would have expected their heroes to have undergone such experiences and in an age when many things seemed mystical, few were sceptical about such stories. His rise and fall It's believed that Saint George was adopted in England because the story in the Golden Legend was similar to an Anglo-Saxon legend. Saint George was quickly incorporated into miracle plays adapted from pagan sources and is a prime figure in Spenser's famous epic poem The Fairie Queen. George's popularity faded after the Reformation when religious beliefs changed. He also lost ground as gunpowder became the primary weapon of war and protection, making the lance and sword less significant. In 1778 Saint George's Day was demoted to a simple day of devotion for Catholics in England. Saint George and England : Saint George and England The earliest known British reference to Saint George occurs in an account by St. Adamnan, the 7th century Abbot of lona. He's believed to have heard the story from Arcuif, a French bishop who had travelled to Jerusalem and other holy places in Palestine. The saint is also mentioned in the writings of the Venerable Bede. George's reputation grew with the returning crusaders. A miracle appearance, when it was claimed that he appeared to lead crusaders into battle, is recorded in stone over the south door of a church at Fordington in Dorset. This still exists and is the earliest known church in England to be dedicated to Saint George. The Council of Oxford in 1222 named 23rd April Saint George's Day. Order of the Garter When Edward III (1327-77) founded the Order of the Garter (c. 1348), the premier order of knighthood in England, he put it under Saint George's patronage. The magnificent St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle was built by Edward IV and Henry VII as the chapel of the order. The badge of the Order shows Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon. From the 14th century Saint George was regarded as a special protector of the English. English soldiers were called to wear "a signe of Saint George" on chest and back. He became, in the popular imagination, English. The flag of Saint George The flag of Saint George - a red cross on a white background - is incorporated into the Union Jack and recalled in the ensign of the Royal Navy. Henry V In 1415 Archbishop Chicele promoted the feast of Saint George to principal status after Henry V's speech at the Battle of Agincourt invoking Saint George as England's patron saint. Many believed they saw him fighting on the English side. The George Cross In 1940 King George VI inaugurated the George Cross for 'acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger'. The award is usually awarded to civilians. Saint George slaying the dragon is depicted on the silver cross. In 1969 the Roman Catholic Church revised its Calendar of Saints and downgraded Saint George to its lowest status - commemoration - which means celebration of his feast is optional. He has not been, as some people believe, abolished. Slide 9: Also known as Victory Bringer Memorial 23 April (Roman Catholic); 3 November (Russian Orthodox); fourth Sunday in June (Malta); third Sunday in July (Gozo) Profile Soldier. Martyr. That's all we know for sure. George is Recognized as a Patron of the Following Aragon; agricultural workers; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Boy Scouts; Butchers; Canada; Cappadocia; Catalonia; Cavalry; Chivalry; Constantinople; Crusaders; England (by Pope Benedict XIV); Equestrians; Farmers; Ferrara Italy; field hands; field workers; Genoa, Italy; Georgia; Germany; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Heide, Germany; Herpes; Horsemen; Horses; Husbandmen; Istanbul; Knights; Lepers; Leprosy; Lithuania; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Plague; Portugal; Ptuj, Slovenia; Riders; Saddle makers; Saddlers; Sheep; Shepherds; Skin diseases; Skin rashes; Soldiers; Syphilis; Teutonic Knights; Venice So as you can see we share our Patron Saint with quite a collection! Saint George a Summary : Saint George a Summary Saint George's Day is April 23. Saint George is the patron saint of England. He's popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry - but actually he wasn't English at all. Very little, if anything, is known about the real Saint George. Pope Gelasius said that George is one of the saints "whose names are rightly reverenced among us, but whose actions are known only to God." Facts in brief Everything about Saint George is dubious, so the information below should be taken as mythical rather than real. Born in Turkey (in Cappadocia) Lived in 3rd century AD His parents were Christian Later lived in Palestine Became a Roman soldier Protested against Rome's persecution of Christians Imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith Beheaded at Lydda in Palestine 23rd April was named as Saint George's day in 1222 Some people have campaigned for Saint Alban to be the patron saint of England instead of George. Slide 11: The life of St. George is shrouded in legend. He was born in Cappadocia of noble Christian parents. On the death of his father, he lived with his mother in Palestine. He held an important post in the Roman Army - the rank of Tribune during the reign of Emperor Diodelsian (245-313). When the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor started, St. George personally complained to him. He was imprisoned tortured and beheaded. In the legend of St. George, he is usually portrayed with a dragon. One of the legends is of Saint George rescuing the princess in the town of Silence. "In the town of Silence, in Libya, there was a dragon, who was appeased by being fed two sheep a day; when these failed, the townsfolk offered by lot one of their young people. One day the lot fell on the King's daughter, who was led out to the sacrifice, dressed in her wedding gown. St. George came along and slaughtered the dragon and rescued the princess". A cult dedicated to St. George can be traced back to as early as the 4th century A.D. and it was his subsequent veneration as a military saint in early Christianity, which established the nature of the St. George's legend. Early evidence for this can be seen in the Byzantine Empire of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Legend of George Slide 12:  The tale of George and the Dragon is also believed among secular historians to share a common theme with the Greek myth of Ethiopian princess Andromeda and her saviour and later husband Perseus, slayer of the gorgon Medusa. According to this myth, Perseus beheaded Medusa as George did his Dragon in a shared theme of decapitation. Perseus' meeting with Andromeda was placed in her native Ethiopia. In several versions, George meets his Dragon in Libya (North Africa west of Egypt). Both locales can be interpreted to represent distant chthonic kingdoms of magic. The saving of the king's daughter is another shared theme as is the reward-bargain exacted by the respective hero of the stories: Possession of the princess for Perseus and the mass baptism of the king's subjects for George. Another idea is that Saint George is an alternative manifestation of St Michael, the archangel and captain of the heavenly host. Saint George's history could be considered an example of Princess and Dragon Fairy tales. Slide 13: The story of Saint George and the Dragon was included in Jacobus de Voragine's collection of Saints' lives written about 1275, to become part of the Golden Legends, translated into English and published by Caxton in 1483. A modern version says: "At the town of Silene, in Libya, there was a dragon, who was appeased by being fed two sheep a day; when these failed, the townsfolk offered by lot one of their young people. One day the lot fell on the King's daughter, who was led out to the sacrifice, dressed in her wedding gown. George appeared and transfixed the dragon with his spear and then using the Princess's girdle led the bemused dragon into the town, where it was beheaded." Catholic Encyclopaedia Slide 14: There are also those who believe it to be based on a Biblical Story The triumph of the Christian hero over evil "And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the Salvation, and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ." Revelation 12:9-10 St. George & Racism : St. George & Racism It has been suggested that celebrating St. George’s Day might be seen as Racist. This possibly stems from certain so called Football supporters. Who displayed the English Flag (St. George’s Cross) whilst carrying out act’s of Violence. This view is nonsense, the information in this presentation shows that St. George was not even English, so by celebrating St. George we are in effect celebrating England’s Multi Cultural society. Our Community Association is open to everyone regardless of Race Creed or Colour. We recently carried out a survey via our website not one vote cast considered it a Racist event! There is growing support for St. George’s Day to be made a Public Holiday in England. Where to find More Information About St. George : Where to find More Information About St. George Go to your Local Library and find a book or visit the libraries website and search their catalogue for Saint George Wolverhampton Dudley Walsall Sandwell Birmingham Useful Web Links : Useful Web Links The Royal Society of St. George BBC History Section Bilston Community Association Bilston Online Google UK – a useful search page Yahoo Answers – another search page About Bilston Community Association : About Bilston Community Association Bilston Community Association (BCA) is made up of affiliated members from Bilston and the neighbourhood areas. New members are always welcome. We are a registered charity who’s aim is to serve the people of Bilston. A wide range of activities takes place in our centre including, Dancing, Karate, Keep Fit, Indoor Bowls, Youth Activities, I.T. Classes provided by City of Wolverhampton College. We have a modern I.T. facility available for hire To see more about us visit our website Thank You for viewing this presentation we hope you found it interesting and possibly entertaining as well.

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