Today is St. George’s Day in England and it’s being celebrated in a Google Doodle. But who is St. George and how did he become the patron saint of England?
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates St. George’s Day in England, but who is the patron and what does he represent?
St George is England’s patron saint but where he comes from may surprise you.
St. George was actually born in Lydda, Roman Palestine, between 275 AD and 285 AD. Following the death of both his parents, he became an officer in the Roman army under Emperor Diocletian.
He was represented as a hero after undertaking various feats of courage, although was executed by Diocletian due to his faith as a Christian, hence how he became a martyr.
Possibly the most famous story about St. George is of him and the dragon and although there are many interpretations of this, it’s thought it took place in Silene, a city in what is now Libya.
The most popular story says the city had a dragon that was making their life a misery, forcing them to feed it two sheep everyday. However, the dragon got increasingly angry and they began feeding it children which they chose by a lottery.
One day, the king’s daughter was chosen. The king then promised to give the townspeople all his gold and silver if they let his daughter off the duty, but the people refused.
The princess was taken to the lake to be fed to the dragon. However, St. George rode past the scene at that very time and promised to stay with the princess. He fortified himself with the cross, that is now symbolized on the England national flag and charged at the dragon, spearing it with his sword.
After wounding the beast, St. George tied a noose around the dragon’s neck and along with the King’s daughter, led it back into the city of Silene. St. George shouted to the townsfolk that if they promised to convert to Christianity, he would slay the dragon. They all did and the dragon was killed.
The heroic tales of St. George spread throughout the Roman empire during the fourth century and arrived in England with stories of martyrs by English monk St. Bede in the 7th and 8th centuries.
St. George was made a saint in the 14th century, although he didn’t become the official patron saint of England until 1552, when all flags were banned except the St. George’s Cross during the English Reformation.
Although St. George is England’s patron saint, he is not as widely celebrated as St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint, is in the UK.
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