St. George (Feast: April 23)
Though the story of St. George is intertwined with legend, especially the account of him slaying a dragon, the historicity of his life is certain.
He was of Greek origin, seemingly of a noble, Christian family. His father was Gerondios, from Capaddocia, a prominent officer in the Imperial army. His mother was Polychronia, from the city of Lyda, now in Israel.
As a youth, he lost first his father and then his mother, after which he enlisted in the Roman army under Emperor Diocletian. The latter favored him in honor of his father’s service, and George was made an Imperial Tribune.
By imperial edict, Roman soldiers were forbidden to practice Christianity. Notwithstanding this prohibition, George loudly proclaimed himself a follower of Christ before the Emperor Diocletian and his fellow soldiers.
Upset at the news, the Emperor offered George an abundance of earthly goods in exchange for his Christian Faith, but George was unmoved.
He endured various tortures and was finally beheaded. The Empress Alexandra was converted by his courageous example, and some interpret that while the dragon often depicted being slain by St. George is the pagan Roman might, the lady in the background is the Empress.
Devotion to St. George spread throughout Asia Minor, and already early in the fourth century churches were being dedicated to his honor.
Throughout the history of Christian battles there have been reports of St. George’s heavenly assistance, Richard I of England and other Crusaders also confirming such intercession.
It is not known how St. George was chosen as patron of England, though it is certain that his fame had reached the isle long before the Norman Conquest.
DAILY QUOTE for January 23, 2021
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Vincent of Zaragoza
One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.