23rd April 303AD: St George's day has its beginnings


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    23rd April is St George’s day.
    In 303AD in Nicomedia(Turkey) St George was beheaded on the orders of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. George was brought up Christian and joined the Roman army(like his father). He was a member of the Emperor’s Bodyguard, with the rank of Comes(count). The Emperor issued an edict against Christianity and George was meant to enforce it.
    He confessed to being a Christian and suffered torture and execution.
    His body was taken back to Lydia, where his mother was from and his tomb became a shrine. And the tales of his death and exploits began. He was said to be resuscitated by God and the story of the Dragon was in circulation by the 7th century and recorded by a German Bishop, Arculf. He was certainly being discussed in 8th century England and in 1061 the first church of St George was dedicated to him in Doncaster(North England).
    His name was much used in the Crusades and supposedly helped them capture Antioch in 1098. Richard the Lionheart adopted the Red Cross on white for the 3rd Crusade and named him patron if the Order of the Garter. Henry V called on him before Agincourt in 1415 too.
    He had been a full saint, but he was downgraded in 1969, only to be elevated to full saint again by Pope John II in 2000.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @wittmann:

    He had been a full saint, but he was downgraded in 1969, only to be elevated to full saint again by Pope John II in 2000.

    Interesting – I didn’t know that a saint could be retrograded then boosted back up.  I hope he didn’t get dizzy from his up-and-down-and-up travels through the various celestial spheres.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Our Popes are very fickle.
    I am surprised it was done so quickly(30 years). Seems almost rude of the great Pope John Paul II to overturn Paul VI’s decision while he was still in people’s memory.

    What I wonder is what was the Roman Bodyguard’s real name. Can’t have been George!
    Was it of Latin derivation or of a Lydian one?

    My nonna had a picture of John XXIII(58-63) in her living room.
    Always liked it as a child. Suppose it was comforting.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    Heaven, 1969.

    The day had started out well for Saint George. That was not unusual, because in Heaven, all days start out well. They also continue well, and end well. Heaven is a happy place.
    Saint George made his plans for the day. Listen to the Heavenly Choirs, and when the weather was fine, maybe ride a cloud in the afternoon. His life had become easier over the years. People didn’t pray like they used to, and when they did, they mostly didn’t pray to him. England was in no particular trouble either, so his duties as an active saint had become rather modest lately.

    His quiet musings were suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door of his spacious celestial room. Without even waiting for him to answer, the Archangel Michael stepped in. George really liked Michael, and thought they had a lot in common, so he greeted him with a cheerful: “Hey Mike! What’s up?”
    But there was a somber look on the Archangel’s face. “George…. you’d better sit down. I’m not quite sure how to say this, but there’s news from Rome.”
    As sudden anxiety befell George as he followed up on Michael’s advice and pulled over a seat. There are many seats in Heaven, and he had a choice selection of them in his own room. “News from Rome”, he didn’t like the sound of that. The last time there had been “news from Rome”, it had been from Diocletian, and he remembered all too well how that had ended.
    “His Holiness the Pope”, Michael continued, his statuesque figure upright as before, “has decreed that you are no longer a Full Saint. I’m really sorry.” The Archangel sincerely felt sympathy for his old friend, but there was nothing he could do.

    In shock, George stammered: “But… but… why? I’ve been a Full Saint for more than sixteen hundred years! Surely, there must be some mistake!”

    The Archangel shook his head. “No, George. You know that the Pope is infallible. I’m afraid you’ll just have to afterlive1 with it. But you’re a brave man, and there will still be a place for you in Heaven, of course.”
    He paused briefly.
    “But unfortunately, it won’t be this place. The quarters for non-canonized saints are rather modest compared to your current accommodation. I hate to tell you this, but there won’t be enough room for…. that”.
    With those words, the Archangel gestured at the large stuffed dragon that occupied a prominent place on a pedestal near the center of George’s living room.

    “No! Nooooo!” George clasped his head with both hands as reality dawned on him. The dragon was his pride and joy, it was what made him who he was, it symbolized so much to him…… Thoughts raged through his head in a split second. Why? Why now? What could have happened? He had totally expected this some four centuries ago, when England had started its own Church, and with him being the patron saint of that country and all that… but this was 1969!

    But a saint doesn’t cling to material possessions. George knew that he had to bear this.

    “Yes, Michael. I understand. I’ll start packing right away.”

    “I’m sorry, George. As your friend, I wanted to be the one to break the bad news to you. Gabe normally handles these things.” He looked at the dragon.
    “You know… I’ll see what I can do for you. You can’t take it with you, but Purgatory has been expended a lot lately, and while it will inevitably fill up with new arrivals, they may have some room left for it. And once it’s there, people will get used to it. They don’t have any clear expectations of what it should look like anyway, it’s never been specified to the same level of detail as Heaven or Hell.”

    George nodded slightly as the Archangel placed a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks, Michael. That really means a lot to me.”

    And thus, even this day in Heaven ended somewhat well.

    1Heavenly slang for the ongoing state of experiencing the afterlife.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Thanks Herr KaLeun, I enjoyed that.
    I forgot and like how we can blame Henry VIII for Pope Paul VI’s decision: makes sense.
    Either that or sinking the fleet at Taranto!


  • Customizer

    Explains why the Englsih don’t celebrate St George’s day - the dood never even heard of England.

    Really, he’s the patron Saint of England’s French ruling class; the real PS of England is St Edmund.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Morning Flashman.
    I had forgotten about St Edmund; thank you for the reminder.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    St George was a bad-ass.

    Killed the dragon, saved the maiden, converted the pagan villiage to civilized Christianity.

    Awesome. 😛


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Wait wait wait…

    St Edmund?

    I think you’ve mistaken him for Boramir from Lord of the Rings…


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