ST. PATRICK'S RC CHURCH
- Waterloo [London]
The London Parish Run by the General Delegation of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Conventual
ST. GEORGE - Patron Saint of England
It is likely that Saint George was born to a Christian noble family [Anici] in Lod, Syria [c 275/285] from Gerontius, a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and Polychronia, from Palestine. Georgius (Latin) or Georgios (Greek), meaning "worker of the land" lost his father at the age of 14. His mother died a few years later. He then decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of the time, and present himself for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had also known his father, one of his finest soldiers. George was soon promoted to the rank of Tribune and was stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor in Nicomedia.
In the year 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every soldier in the army should offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. George objected, and with the courage of his faith reproached the Emperor. He loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes, he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. George was arrested. Diocletian, not wanting to lose one of his best tribunes and the son of the official Gerontius, attempted to offer him gifts of land, money and slaves if George made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George never accepted, and was ready to give his life for Christ and for his faith. The Emperor decided to have him executed for his refusal to obey the edict. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords, George was finally executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on the 23rd of April 303. Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, both became Christians by his witness, and joined George in his martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda in Palestine for burial. His head was later taken to Rome and was interred in San Giorgio al Velabro Church.
Depictions of Saint George slaying a dragon often include the image of the young maiden who looks on from a distance. The standard iconographic interpretation of the image icon is that the dragon represents both Satan [Rev. 12:3] and the Roman Empire. The young maiden is the wife of Diocletian, Alexandra.
Since St. George is a vivid example of the importance of having courage to witness his faith and to give his life for Christ and for what he believed in, during the reign of King Edward (1327-1377), St. George became a model and patron saint of the English monarchy and from the 14th century he was regarded as a special protector of the English. In his honour English soldiers were called to wear the sign of St. George on chest and back (the red cross on the white tunic) which has later became the English National Flag.
Feast Day - 23 April
Shield with St. George's Sign