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St. George, FEAST DAY APRIL 23

Some of the more colorful stories about this patron of England are not substantiated by fact, but that doesn't mean that the legends surrounding St. George have any less power on the imagination. In fact, the most common depiction of the saint, in which he is slaying a dragon, persists, even though it derives from a 12th century Italian fable.


What we can be fairly certain of is that George was a Christian, probably a soldier, who was martyred on April 23, 303 AD, during the time of the Emperor Diocletian. The legends which grew up about him often revolve around his standing as a man-of-arms; the story of the dragon, for instance, comes from a tale in which St. George supposedly rescued a king's daughter from being slain by a serpent.

As an example of the ideal of medieval knighthood, St. George became the patron of the Knights of the Garter, more properly known as the Knights of the Order of St. George. St. George's Chapel, located in Windsor Castle, is its Mother Church and a special service for members of the Order is still held in the chapel every June.

St. George's feast day is celebrated on April 23.


Sources for this article includes:
"Saint George." CatholicSaints.Info. 21 November 2015.
Schreck, Alan. "Catholic Church History from A to Z." Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2002.

Thurston, Herbert. "St. George." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.

Vermont Catholic Magazine © 2016 Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington