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quarta-feira, 18 de abril de 2012

Saint George

St George is the patron saint of England. His day is celebrated on  April 23rd.

St George was a Christian knight. He was born in Cappadocia, Turkey. Later he became a Roman soldier who protested against Rome's persecution of Christians. He was imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith. He was beheaded at Nicomedia and died on April 23rd, 303 AD. Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.

Tintoretto (1518-1594)

The story of St. George and the Dragon was a legend brought back by the Crusaders. It dates back to the Middle Ages when the dragon was commonly used to represent evil and therefore is an excellent tale of good triumphing over evil.


 Raphael (1483-1520) St George Fighting the Dragon

It is said that one day while he was riding in the province of Lybia, near a city called Sylene, he came across a place where a dragon lived. The people had gathered to attack and kill it, but its breath was so terrible that all fled. To prevent it coming nearer, locals supplied two sheep to the dragon every day. Yet, when sheep became scarce, a human victim had to take their place.

When a girl was about to become the next victim, St George attacked the dragon and transfixed it with his lance. He borrowed the girl´s girdle and fastened it round the dragon´s neck, and took the monster into the city. St George told the people to have no fear. If they believed in Jesus and were baptized, he would slay the dragon. The people agreed and the dragon was killed.

In the battle of Antioch (1098) during the First Crusade, it was said that St George helped the French against the Byzantine occupiers. The returning crusaders popularized his cult.

King Richard I, The Lion Heart (1157-1199) adopted St George's cross as a uniform for his soldiers: a red cross on a white background. Since then St. George has been popularly identified with English ideals of charity, chivalry and courage (now known as the 3 C's).

However, St George was probably not recognized as England´s patron saint until King Edward III (1327-1377) founded the Order of the Garter, of which St George has always been the patron.

The battle of Agincourt

What made St George's cross as England's official national flag, was its use by King Henry V during his famous victory over the French at Agincourt, in 1415, in the Hundred Years ‘War.

The flag of St. George

The rise of the British Empire and the need to unify England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland resulted in St. George becoming less popular. The Union Jack replaced the Cross of St. George as the United Kingdom’s national flag. However, St. George’s cross is still the flag of England!

Read an illustrated children's story based on the 'The Seven Champions' by Richard Johnson (1596):


The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to St George, the  patron saint of England. It was founded in 1348 by King Edward III.

The order's emblem is a garter with the motto : "Honi soit qui mal y pense".

King João I (1357-1433) of Portugal married the English princess, Philippa of Lancaster, and was also awarded the Order of the Garter.

The Queen wearing the mantle and the hat of the Order

This Garter badge was worn by George III for the Installation of the Knights of the Garter on St George's Day (23 April) 1805. 

"A very large Brilliant George with rubies, saphires in the drapery & Brilliant Fleur-de-lis at top". Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 

Royal Yacht Britannia

Saint George in Portugal

The Castle of São Jorge was dedicated to Saint George by King João I of Portugal.

St George Anglican Church is situated in the Estrela district of Lisbon


Walsh, Michael. Butler´s Lives of the Saints. HarperSanFrancisco. 1991

1 comentário:

  1. :) great explanation. But my theory is that the English were just jealous of the beautiful Lisbon castle!