April 23rd is St George’s day. He is the patron saint of England as well as Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia.In a recent poll, 6% of English people feared flying the flag of St George and one in six thought that if they did they would be asked to remove it. Unfortunately in England there is a misconceived view that St George’s image is associated with an imperial past, the slaughter of the First World War and even racism. George was adopted as England’s saint during the Crusades, and has represented the warrior spirit since then.
According to tradition, George was a Roman soldier and priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. He refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods and Diocletian, much against his will, was forced to order George’s execution. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Here are some icons that show how his representation has changed throughout the centuries. Happy St George’s Day!