festivals and traditions

The Legend of St. George

George lived during 4th century and was probably born in Cappadocia in 270 a.D. His parents were Christian and noble.

George became a soldier at 17 in the Roman army. He was imprisoned and tortured because of his protest against Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He was beheaded on  April 23rd, 303 at Lydda in Palestine.

St. George and the Dragon – Gustave Moreau

According to a legend, Diocletian’s wife, Alexandria, was so impressed at the soldier’s courage that she converted to Christianity, but was put to death, too, immediately after.

The fame of Saint George throughout Europe is due to the legend of “George and the Dragon”, which was easily accepted in England because of a similar tale in Anglo-Saxon tradition (remember Beowulf?). The legend of Saint George was quickly incorporated into miracle plays adapted from pagan sources. According to this legend, a dragon once lived in Libia. The dragon demanded the sacrifice of a beautiful girl every day and by the time George arrived there all the young girls had been killed, except the king’s daughter. An incredible number of armies had tried to kill it, but they had all been defeated. Saint George crossed himself and rode against the dragon, killing it after a long battle with one blow of his spear. He then spoke to the people and converted them to christianity. Given a reward in money, George distributed it among the poor and rode away.


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