Today is the feast of St. George! We can sure use more men of valor like him today! Much of what follows comes from the patron saint website: He lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Dioceletian in the 3rd century and partially into the 4th. St. George served in the legions of Rome and made a reputation for himself as a fearless officer and highly respected leader of men.
Over the years there were many legends about him so that when the crusades were launched from England, hero-worshipping crusaders returned from the Holy Land with some well exaggerated stories about their beloved St. George!
St. George resigned his commission in the Roman army rather than participate in any of the pagan rituals expected of the soldiers. He also resented the merciless persecution of the Christians, whose ranks he joined in a total committment to Jesus Christ. The fight he put up for Christianity was to prove to be his undoing, and the terrible retribution on the part of the tyrant Diocletian was all the more intense against the man whom he considered a traitor for having gone over to the side of decency.
It is certain that St. George was put through unspeakable tortures, which he bravely endured, before finally being beheaded in Nikomedia, a town in Asia Minor. His courage gave heart to the many converts for which he was responsible and his defiant spirit lingered on to inspire Christians to greater effort in behalf of the Savior, despite the great danger involved.
The Emperor Constantine, some years later, erected the Church of St. George in his memory, setting a precedent for many other churches which were to be erected in his memory in the years to come. St. George symbolizes the struggle against paganism and the never-ending combat between good and evil. In the roster of soldiers who have become Christian saints, the name of St. George leads all the rest. To learn more about St. George check out the Patron Saints Index!
When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old
he was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold
with a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand
for God and for valour he rode through the land
No charger have I, and no sword by my side
yet still to adventure and battle I ride
though back into storyland giants have fled
and the knights are no more and the dragons are dead
Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
gainst the dragons of anger the ogres of greed
and let me set free with the sword of my youth
from the castle of darkness the power of the truth