Saint George by Gustave Moreau. Español: San Jorge por Gustave Moreau. Galego: San Xurxo por Gustave Moreau
Simple (1955 Calendar): April 23
The Church asserts that St. George was a real person and his feast is celebrated on April 23rd.
George from an illustrious family, was a Cappadocian who who fought in the Roman army during the third century. He rebuked Diocletian when that ruler began to persecute the Christians, and was in consequence tortured and beheaded. The brave and defiant cheerfulness of the young officer during his torture was so great an inspiration to Christians of succeeding centuries that both the East and the West surrounded his bright figure with clusters of beautiful legends. St. George is the patron of England, and Christian soldiers. He was especially venerated in Christian Russia.
St. George lived in the early centuries of Christianity and died in c. 303 AD.
"The first piece of evidence of George's existence appeared within the works of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland, and Godfrey Henschen's Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. George was one of several names listed in the historical text, and Pope Gelasius claimed George was one of the saints 'whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.'" (Catholic Online)Born into an illustrious family, St. George was a Cappadocian who fought in the Roman army. While Emperor Diocletian began to persecute the Christians in 303 AD, St. George rebuked the Emperor. Despite the Emperor's friendship with George's father, he spared not his cruelty from St. George. For his "crime," St. George was tortured by laceration on a wheel of swords and was ultimately beheaded. This all came after many attempts by the Emperor to George to simply sacrifice to the Roman gods and receive his life, wealth, and fame in the process. St. George remained steadfast in worshiping the only True God.
On April 23, 303 AD, St. George was decapitated. He was buried in Lydda and honored by Christians as a martyr.
His cheerfulness and acceptance of suffering for the sake of Christ while being tortured served as a great inspiration for Christians in many lands for centuries to come. St. George is the patron saint of England and Christian soldiers. In Russia, he is especially venerated as well. Thus, we see in St. George far more than a "Dragon slayer" - we see an example of final perseverance and the ability to preserve in the midst of the greatest difficulties.
Also of note, St. George is revered by both Christians and Muslims - one of the few saints to hold such a place.
So what is his connection with the dragon? Click here to read the fascinating story.
Prayer for St. George
St. George, Heroic Catholic soldier and defender of your Faith, you dared to criticize a tyrannical Emperor and were subjected to horrible torture. You could have occupied a high military position but you preferred to die for your Lord. Obtain for us the great grace of heroic Christian courage that should mark soldiers of Christ. Amen
O God, the merits and prayers of Your blesses martyr George are a source of happiness for us. Grant us as a gift of grace the blessings we seek through him. Through Our Lord . . .
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal