10 Facts You Probably Didn't Know
- St. George is believed to have been born between 275 and 285 AD.
- His father, Geronzio, was a Roman army official, while his mother, Policornia, was from Palestine. George himself was born in Cappadocia in what is now Turkey, making him, in a very loose sense, England's most successful immigrant (not that he ever came here himself).
- When he grew up, George served as a soldier in the Roman army under the Emperor Diocletian.
- George and Diocletian fell out after the latter gave an edict ordering the arrest of Christian officers in the army and ordered them to offer sacrifice to his pagan gods.
- After failing to convert George to paganism, Diocletian ordered his execution by decapitation, prior to which he was "lacerated on a wheel of swords". This occured on the 23rd April in 303 AD.
- After his death, George became a cult figure in Palestine and Lebanon, his fame spreading throughout the Roman Empire over the next century. He was canonised (recognised as a saint) in 494 AD by Pope Gelasius I.
- St. George is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a group of saints prayed to by medieval Germans for relief from the effects of the bubonic plague.
- The whole dragon-bothering legend arrived in England with the return of the Crusaders from the Holy Land in the 12th century, although evidence of the cult of St. George had existed in English ecclesiastical writings for around 300 years before this.
- St. George became the patron saint of England during the 14th-century reign of Edward III. Prior to that, St. Edmund had held the position. St. Edmund's feelings about his demotion are not a matter of public record.
- As well as England, St. George is also the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod and Moscow. St. George is also the patron saint of the Scouts, horses, butchers and sufferers of leprosy and syphilis.
So, there you have it. In honour of St. George's Day we've picked out a few of the finest English products from our virtual shelves. Don't forget to raise a glass to St. George of Lydda (to give him his full title) on April 23rd.