|Who is it?||Christian martyr|
|Died On||23 April 303 (aged 17–47)\nNicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church Malankara Orthodox Church Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Church Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church Coptic Orthodox Church Anglican Communion Lutheranism Church of the East Umbanda|
|Major shrine||Church of Saint George, Lod, Edappally, India.|
|Feast||Saint George's Day: 23 April (Gregorian 6 May when Julian date is observed) (Coptic calendar: 23 Parmouti, 7 Hathor and 16 Epip)|
|Attributes||Clothed as a crusader in plate armour or mail, often bearing a lance tipped by a cross, riding a white horse, often slaying a dragon. In the Greek East and Latin West he is shown with St George's Cross emblazoned on his armour, or shield or banner.|
|Patronage||Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world|
St George killed the dragon in this country; and the place is shown close to Beyroot. Many churches and convents are named after him. The church at Lydda is dedicated to St. George; so is a convent near Bethlehem, and another small one just opposite the Jaffa gate, and others beside. The Arabs believe that St. George can restore mad people to their senses, and to say a person has been sent to St. George's is equivalent to saying he has been sent to a madhouse. It is singular that the Moslem Arabs adopted this veneration for St George, and send their mad people to be cured by him, as well as the Christians, but they commonly call him El Khudder—The Green—according to their favourite manner of using epithets instead of names. Why he should be called green, however, I cannot tell—unless it is from the colour of his horse. Gray horses are called green in Arabic.
In England, he was mentioned among the martyrs by the 8th-century monk Bede. The Georgslied is an adaptation of his legend in Old High German, composed in the late 9th century. The earliest dedication to the saint in England is a church at Fordington, Dorset that is mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great. Saint George did not rise to the position of "patron saint" of England, however, until the 14th century, and he was still obscured by Edward the Confessor, the traditional patron saint of England, until in 1552 during the reign of Edward VI all saints' banners other than George's were abolished in the English Reformation.
In the General Roman Calendar, the feast of Saint George is on 23 April. In the Tridentine Calendar of 1568, it was given the rank of "Semidouble". In Pope Pius XII's 1955 calendar this rank was reduced to "Simple", and in Pope John XXIII's 1960 calendar to a "Commemoration". Since Pope Paul VI's 1969 revision, it appears as an optional "Memorial". In some countries, such as England, the rank is higher. In England, it is a Solemnity (Roman Catholic) or Feast (Church of England): if it falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is transferred to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter.
The term "Saint George's cross" was at first associated with any plain Greek cross touching the edges of the field (not necessarily red on white). Thomas Fuller in 1647 spoke of "the plain or St George's cross" as "the mother of all the others" (that is, the other heraldic crosses).
Edward Gibbon argued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia, a notorious Arian bishop who was Athanasius of Alexandria's most bitter rival, and that it was he who in time became Saint George of England. J. B. Bury (16 October 1861 – 1 June 1927), who edited the 1906 edition of The Decline and Fall, wrote "this theory of Gibbon's has nothing to be said for it." He adds that: "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth".
A critical edition of a Syriac Acta of Saint George, accompanied by an annotated English translation, was published by E.W. Brooks (1863–1955) in 1925.
According to Elizabeth Anne Finn's Home in the Holy land (1866):
In India, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, one of the oriental catholic churches (Eastern Catholic Churches)and Malankara orthodox church venerate Saint George. The main pilgrim centers of the saint in India are at Edathua in Alappuzha district and Edappally in Ernakulam district of the southern state of Kerala. The saint is commemorated each year from 27 April to 14 May at Edathua On 27 April after the flag hoisting ceremony by the parish priest, the statue of the saint is taken from one of the altars and placed at the extension of the church to be venerated by the devotees till 14 May. The main feast day is 7 May, when the statue of the saint along with other saints is taken in procession around the church. Intercession to Saint George of Edathua is believed to be efficacious in repelling snakes and in curing mental ailments.The sacred relics of St. George were brought to Antioch from Mardeen in A.D.900 and were taken to Kerala, India from Antioch in 1912 by Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril and kept in the Orthodox seminary at Kundara, Kerala. H.H Mathews II Catholicos had given the relics to St. George churches at Puthupally, Kottayam District and Chandanappally, Pathanamthitta district.
In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria refers to Saint George as the "Prince of Martyrs" and celebrates his martyrdom on the 23rd of Paremhat of the Coptic calendar equivalent to 1 May. The Copts also celebrate the consecration of the first church dedicated to him on seventh of the month of Hatour of the Coptic calendar usually equivalent to 17 November.
It has been established that Saint George the Martyr and the Arian Bishop George of Alexandria were not identical; furthermore that Bishop George was slain by Gentile Greeks for exacting onerous taxes, especially inheritance taxes. And that Saint George in all likelihood was martyred before the year 290. Although the Diocletianic Persecution of 303, associated with military saints because the persecution was aimed at Christians among the professional Soldiers of the Roman army, is of undisputed historicity, the identity of Saint George as a historical individual had not been ascertained as of Edmund Spenser's day, Herbert Thurston in the saint's entry in the early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia takes the position that there are no grounds for doubting the historical existence of Saint George, but that, as usual with saints of this early period, the legend of the dragon cannot be treated as historical.
One of the highest civil distinctions awarded in Catalonia is the Saint George's Cross (Creu de Sant Jordi). The Sant Jordi Awards have been awarded in Barcelona since 1957.
Dalrymple himself visited the place in 1995. "I asked around in the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem, and discovered that the place was very much alive. With all the greatest shrines in the Christian world to choose from, it seemed that when the local Arab Christians had a Problem – an illness, or something more complicated: a husband detained in an Israeli prison camp, for Example – they preferred to seek the intercession of Saint George in his grubby little shrine at Beit Jala rather than praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem." He asked the priest at the shrine "Do you get many Muslims coming here?" The priest replied, "We get hundreds! Almost as many as the Christian pilgrims. Often, when I come in here, I find Muslims all over the floor, in the aisles, up and down."
William Dalrymple, reviewing the literature in 1999, tells us that J. E. Hanauer in his 1907 book Folklore of the Holy Land: Muslim, Christian and Jewish "mentioned a shrine in the village of Beit Jala, beside Bethlehem, which at the time was frequented by Christians who regarded it as the birthplace of St. George and by Jews who regarded it as the burial place of the Prophet Elias. According to Hanauer, in his day the monastery was "a sort of madhouse. Deranged persons of all the three faiths are taken thither and chained in the court of the chapel, where they are kept for forty days on bread and water, the Eastern Orthodox priest at the head of the establishment now and then reading the Gospel over them, or administering a whipping as the case demands.' In the 1920s, according to Taufiq Canaan's Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine, nothing seemed to have changed, and all three communities were still visiting the shrine and praying together."
Saint George is most commonly depicted in early icons, mosaics, and frescos wearing armour contemporary with the depiction, executed in gilding and silver colour, intended to identify him as a Roman soldier. Particularly after the Fall of Constantinople and Saint George's association with the crusades, he is often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. Thus, a 2003 Vatican stamp (issued on the anniversary of the Saint's death) depicts an armoured Saint George atop a white horse, killing the dragon. Eastern Orthodox iconography also permits Saint George to ride a black horse, as in a Russian icon in the British museum collection. This may also reflect a modern Russian interpretation as depicting not a killing, but as an internal struggle, against ourselves and the evil among us. In the south Lebanese village of Mieh Mieh, the Saint George Church for Melkite Catholics commissioned for its 75th Jubilee in 2012 (under the guidance of Mgr Sassine Gregoire), the only icons in the world portraying the whole life of Saint George, as well as the scenes of his torture and martyrdom (drawn in eastern iconographic style).
Saint George is very much honoured by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a "Great Martyr", and in Oriental Orthodoxy overall. His major feast day is on 23 April (Julian calendar 23 April currently corresponds to Gregorian calendar 6 May). If, however, the feast occurs before Easter, it is celebrated on Easter Monday, instead. The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates two additional feasts in honour of St. George. One is on 3 November, commemorating the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign Constantine the Great (305–37). When the church was consecrated, the relics of the Saint George were transferred there. The other feast is on 26 November for a church dedicated to him in Kiev, circa 1054.
The mosque of Nabi Jurjis which was restored by Timur in the 14th century, was located in Mosul and supposedly contained the tomb of George. It was however destroyed in July 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who also destroyed the Mosque of the Prophet Sheeth (Seth) and the Mosque of the Prophet Younis (Jonah). The militants claim such mosques have become places for apostasy instead of prayer.
The origins of the worship of Saint George go back to the Crown of Aragon, and share the same legend as that of Aragon. By the 15th century Catalan men used to celebrate Saint George's Day by giving roses to women. Nowadays Saint George is not a public holiday anymore but is a very popular celebration. Women receive roses (and often books) and, since the 20th century, men receive books (and sometimes roses) and the celebration is also used to celebrate Catalan national identity, culture and literature and romantic love.
The work of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen in the 17th century was one of the first pieces of scholarly research to establish the saint's historicity via their publications in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. Pope Gelasius I stated that George was among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God."
To celebrate this victory, Saint George’s cross was used as the insignia of Huesca and Aragon, honouring his name since he was their saviour. Nowadays, this cross is still present on Aragon’s shield.