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With tea and rain, there is the trusty white steed and dense suit of armour of St George; as one of the most recognisable symbols of England. Historically very little is known about, England’s Patron Saint, the real St George.
St. George, was a very Brave Man
He born into a noble Christian family, in Cappadocia (now part of Turkey), around the year 280.
It is widely known that he followed his father’s profession of a soldier. When his father died, he and his mother started living in Palestine (her homeland) and later George became one of the advisors of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
George refused to take orders from Diocletian, and abandon his religion, for the systematic persecution of Christians. As a consequence, anticipated trouble, he freed his slaves and gave his property to the poor.
He was tortured and then beheaded on 23rd April 303, in Nicomedia (Palestine), as a consequence of his act; becoming an early Christian martyr.
He started earning his reputation, at the start of the 4th Century, as a protector of Christianity and helper of the poor; and it wasn’t until 494AD that he was canonised by Pope Gelasius.
England and the St George’s Cross
The relationship between St. Georg’s Cross and England goes back to the Middle Ages. A holy day in St. George’s honour was declared, by a meeting of bishops in Oxford in the year 1222, to be celebrated in England.
King Edward 1, in the 1270s, used the red cross to distinguish his army from the white crosses used by rebel barons at the Battle of Lewes. King Edward 1, is believed to have, introduced the cross as the national emblem.
The most widely recognised symbol of St Georg’s Day, In England, is the St George’s cross; a red cross on a white background. England’s national flag is derived from St George’s Cross.
The flag of Genoa is also derived from St George’s Cross, this is identical to the flag of England. The flag used to be the imperial war flag of the Holy Roman Empire. The symbol is used in many other European regions, most notably in the flag of Milan, which is also identical to the flag of England (England’s flag developed in the late 18th century, following the American and French Revolutions).
St. George the Patron Saint of England
King Edward III, reigning from 1327-1377, decided to make him the Patron Saint of England. King Edward III was influenced by the stories of returning crusaders telling of Saint George’s bravery. So, when King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter, England’s order of knights, he made Saint George its patron. Such has been the power of St George’s story that many other nations and capital cities had adopted him as their patron saint. St George is not the just the patron saint of England, but a number of other places: including Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal, Russia and Genoa. He is even remembered among the Gorani people, living in mountainous areas in the Balkans, who were converted to Islam many centuries ago.
By the 14th century, Saint George was viewed as a special protector of the English.
England’s National Football Team
As a special protector of the English, Saint George’s symbol has now been invigorated, as a national symbol by fans of the English National Football, cricket and rugby teams. Flags, scarves and painted faces all bear this cross at international matches.
Celebrating St. George’s Day
Even today, 23rd April (St Georges Day) is believed to be the day of St. George’s martyrdom and the day of celebration in England.
St George’s Day was once celebrated as widely as Christmas, in England, becoming a national holiday in the early 15th century; but by the end of the 18th century, after the union of England and Scotland (1 May 1707), the celebrations waned and was no longer England’s a public holiday.
A custom on Saint George’s Day is to wear a red rose in your lapel. The more popular custom, these days, is to fly the Saint George’s Cross Flag; often seen in English pubs adorning their establishments with flags. In cathedrals, churches and chapels, on St. George’s Day, the Jerusalem hymn is sung with traditional English food to be enjoyed later in the day.
Traditional English food, to celebrated St. George’s Day, is also enjoyed at the Mayor of London’s annual Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is decorated in red and white lined with stalls selling English food, inspired by St George’s Days 13th-century origins, as a national feasting day.
St. George, his example, as a man of courage in defence of his religion and a helper of the poor had spread throughout the globe,
His example, as a man of courage in defence of his religion and a helper of the poor, spread throughout the continents. Saint George is a great example, which is why we are delighted, that after so many years we still rejoice his special position these days.
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