Warrior saint who was martyred in Palestine.
The legend about the dragon is a fairly modern one. It originated in Italy and was very popular amongst the crusaders. The story tells us he was from Cappadocia and a very high officer in the Roman army. At this time there was a terrible dragon in Libya who ate a virgin, chosen by lot, every day. The turn came to the king's daughter, and St. George defeated the monster and dragged it into town by the princess's girdle. He then killed it and had five oxen drag it into the sea.
When St. George converted to the Christian faith the emperor Diocletian wanted him to sacrifice to the pagan gods. The saint refused, made the temple collapse, and was thrown into prison, where Christ appeared to him.
Diocletian then made St. George drink poison, but it did not affect him. He was then bound to a wheel, but the angels destroyed it. The emperor then had 60 nailed hammered into his head, and then had his head pulled off. The saint is healed by the angels.
He is considered one of the 14 Holy Helpers, and is the patron saint of soldiers, peasants, working animals, and the poor. He is invoked against the plague, syphilis, leprosy, snake bites and witches He is also the avenger of women, and is usually depicted as a young knight on a horse, slaying a dragon.
Traditionally the day of St. George is the first day of spring.
Orthodox nameday: 23/4
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