|Saint George of Lydda|
Saint George, 1472, by Carlo Crivelli
|Died||23 April 303|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Church of Saint George, Lod, Israel|
|Feast||23 April/6 May (Saint George’s Day)|
|Attributes||Clothed as a soldier in a suit of armour or chain mail, often bearing a lance tipped by a cross, riding a white horse, often slaying a dragon. In the West he is shown with St George’s Cross emblazoned on his armour, or shield or banner.|
|Patronage||Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world|
Saint George (Greek: Γεώργιος Georgios; Classical Syriac: ܓܝܘܪܓܝܣ Giwargis; Latin: Georgius; c. 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD), born in Lydda, Roman Palestine, was a soldier in the Roman army and was later venerated as a Christian martyr. His father was Gerontius, a Greek Christian from Cappadocia, and an official in the Roman army. His mother Polychronia was a Christian from Roman Palestine. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian. In hagiography, Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Roman Catholic (Latin and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Orthodox, East Syrian, and Miaphysite Churches. He is immortalized in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April (6 May), and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.
Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world, including: Malta, Georgia, England, Egypt, Bulgaria, Aragon, Catalonia, Romania, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Sardinia, Serbia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia and Syria, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Botoşani, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Timișoara, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg im Breisgau, Kragujevac, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pérouges, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lydda, Lviv, Barcelona, Moscow and Victoria, as well as of the Scout Movement and a wide range of professions, organizations, and disease sufferers including leprosy, plague, herpes and syphilis.
The life of Saint George
Historians have argued the exact details of the birth of Saint George for over a century, although the approximate date of his death is subject to little debate. The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia takes the position that there seems to be no ground for doubting the historical existence of Saint George, but that little faith can be placed in some of the fanciful stories about him.
The work of the Bollandists Daniel Papebroch, Jean Bolland and Godfrey Henschen in the 17th century was one of the first pieces of scholarly research to establish the historicity of the saint’s existence via their publications in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and paved the way for other scholars to dismiss the medieval legends. Pope Gelasius stated that George was among those saints “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.”
The traditional legends have offered a historicised narration of George’s encounter with a dragon. The modern legend that follows below is synthesised from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes. Chief among the legendary sources about the saint is the Golden Legend, which remains the most familiar version in English owing to William Caxton‘s 15th-century translation.
It is likely that Saint George was born to a Greek Christian noble family in Lydda in Palestine, during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD. He died in the Greek city of Nicomedia in Asia Minor. His father, Gerontios, was a Greek from Cappadocia, an officer in the Roman army; and his mother, Polychronia, was a Greek native of Lydda. They were both Christians from noble families of the Anici, so their child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgios (Greek), meaning “worker of the land” (i.e., farmer). At the age of fourteen, George lost his father; a few years later, George’s mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.
Then George decided to go to Nicomedia and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.
On 24 February AD 303, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted.
Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have George executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.
Although the above distillation of the legend of George connects him to the conversion of Athanasius, who according to Rufinus was brought up by Christian ecclesiastical authorities from a very early age, Edward Gibbon argued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia, a notorious Arian bishop who was Athanasius’ most bitter rival, and that it was he who in time became Saint George of England. According to Professor Bury, Gibbon’s latest editor, “this theory of Gibbon’s has nothing to be said for it.” He adds that: “the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth”.
In 1856 Ralph Waldo Emerson published a book of essays entitled “English Traits.” In it, he wrote a paragraph on the history of Saint George. Emerson compared the legend of Saint George to the legend of Amerigo Vespucci, calling the former “an impostor” and the latter “a thief.” The editorial notes appended to the 1904 edition of Emerson’s complete works state that Emerson based his account on the work of Gibbon, and that current evidence seems to show that the real St. George was not George the Arian of Cappadocia. Merton M. Sealts also quotes Edward Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s youngest son, as stating that he believed his father’s account was derived from Gibbon and that the real St. George “was apparently another who died two generations earlier.”
Saint George and the dragon
Eastern Orthodox depictions of Saint George slaying a dragon often include the image of the young maiden who looks on from a distance. The standard iconographic interpretation of the image icon is that the dragon represents both Satan (Rev. 12:9) and the monster from his life story. The young maiden is the wife of Diocletian, Alexandra. Thus the image, as interpreted through the language of Byzantine iconography, is an image of the martyrdom of the saint.
The episode of St. George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century Cappadocia (in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church, George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century); the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.
In the fully developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden Legend, a dragon or crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in the Holy Land, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.
The dragon motif was first combined with the standardised Passio Georgii in Vincent of Beauvais‘ encyclopaedic Speculum Historiale and then in Jacobus de Voragine‘s “Golden Legend“, which guaranteed its popularity in the later Middle Ages as a literary and pictorial subject.
The parallels with Perseus, Cetus and Andromeda are inescapable. In the allegorical reading, the dragon embodies a suppressed pagan cult. The story has other roots that predate Christianity. Examples such as Sabazios, the sky father, who was usually depicted riding on horseback, and Zeus‘s defeat of Typhon the Titan in Greek mythology, along with examples from Germanic and Vedic traditions, have led a number of historians, such as Loomis, to suggest that George is a Christianized version of older deities in Indo-European culture, or at least a suitably Christian substitute for one of them.
There is some evidence linking the legend back to very old Egyptian and Phoenician sources in a late antique statue of Horus fighting a “dragon”. This ties the legendary George and to some extent, the historical George, to various ancient sources using mythological and linguistic arguments. In Egyptian mythology, the god Setekh murdered his brother Osiris. Horus, the son of Osiris, avenged his father’s death by killing Setekh. This iconography of the horseman with spear overcoming evil was widespread throughout the Christian period.
Veneration as a martyr
A church built in Lydda during the reign of Constantine I (reigned 306–37) was consecrated to “a man of the highest distinction”, according to the church history of Eusebius of Caesarea; the name of the patron was not disclosed, but later he was asserted to have been George.
By the time of the Muslim conquest in the seventh century, a basilica dedicated to the saint in Lydda existed. The church was destroyed in 1010 but was later rebuilt and dedicated to Saint George by the Crusaders. In 1191 and during the conflict known as the Third Crusade (1189–92), the church was again destroyed by the forces of Saladin, Sultan of the Ayyubid dynasty (reigned 1171–93). A new church was erected in 1872 and is still standing.
During the fourth century the veneration of George spread from Palestine through Lebanon to the rest of the Eastern Roman Empire – though the martyr is not mentioned in the Syriac Breviarium – and Georgia. In Georgia the feast day on November 23 is credited to St Nino of Cappadocia, who in Georgian hagiography is a relative of St George, credited with bringing Christianity to the Georgians in the fourth century. By the fifth century, the cult of Saint George had reached the Western Roman Empire as well: in 494, George was canonized as a saint by Pope Gelasius I, among those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to [God].”
In England he was mentioned among the martyrs by Bede. The earliest dedication to the saint is a church at Fordington, Dorset, that is mentioned in the will of Alfred the Great. He did not rise to the position of “patron saint”, however, until the 14th century, and he was still obscured by Edward the Confessor, the traditional patron saint of England, until 1552 when all saints’ banners other than George’s were abolished in the English Reformation.
An apparition of George heartened the Franks at the siege of Antioch, 1098, and made a similar appearance the following year at Jerusalem. Chivalric military Orders of St. George were established in Aragon (1201), Genoa, Hungary, and by Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and in England the Synod of Oxford, 1222 declared St George’s Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George, probably in 1348. The chronicler Froissart observed the English invoking St. George as a battle cry on several occasions during the Hundred Years’ War. In his rise as a national saint George was aided by the very fact that the saint had no legendary connection with England, and no specifically localized shrine, as that of Thomas Becket at Canterbury: “Consequently, numerous shrines were established during the late fifteenth century,” Muriel C. McClendon has written, “and his did not become closely identified with a particular occupation or with the cure of a specific malady.”
The establishment of George as a popular saint and protective giant in the West that had captured the medieval imagination was codified by the official elevation of his feast to a festum duplex at a church council in 1415, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April. There was wide latitude from community to community in celebration of the day across late medieval and early modern England, and no uniform “national” celebration elsewhere, a token of the popular and vernacular nature of George’s cultus and its local horizons, supported by a local guild or confraternity under George’s protection, or the dedication of a local church. When the Reformation in England severely curtailed the saints’ days in the calendar, St. George’s Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the earliest text preserving fragments of George’s narrative is in an Acta Sanctorum identified by Hippolyte Delehaye of the scholarly Bollandists to be a palimpsest of the fifth century. However, this Acta Sancti Georgii was soon banned as heresy by Pope Gelasius I (in 496).
The compiler of this Acta, according to Hippolyte Delehaye “confused the martyr with his namesake, the celebrated George of Cappadocia, the Arian intruder into the see of Alexandria and enemy of St. Athanasius“. A critical edition of a Syriac Acta of Saint George, accompanied by an annotated English translation was published by E.W. Brooks (1863–1955) in 1925. The hagiography was originally written in Greek.
In Sweden, the princess rescued by Saint George is held to represent the kingdom of Sweden, while the dragon represents an invading army. Several sculptures of Saint George battling the dragon can be found in Stockholm, the earliest inside Storkyrkan (“The Great Church”) in the Old Town.
In Islamic cultures
Saint George is somewhat of an exception among saints and legends, in that he is known and respected by Muslims, as well as venerated by Christians throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Asia Minor. His stature in these regions derives from the fact that his figure has become somewhat of a composite character mixing elements from Biblical, Quranic and folkloric sources, at times being partially identified with Al-Khidr. He is said to have killed a dragon near the sea in Beirut. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muslim women visited his shrine in the area to pray for him.
In the General Roman Calendar the feast of Saint George is on 23 April. In the Tridentine Calendar of 1568, it was given the rank of “Semidouble”. In Pope Pius XII‘s 1955 calendar this rank was reduced to “Simple”, and in Pope John XXIII‘s 1960 calendar to a “Commemoration”. Since Pope Paul VI‘s 1969 revision it appears as an optional “Memorial“. In some countries, such as England, the rank is higher.
St George is very much honoured by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a “Great Martyr”, and in Oriental Orthodoxy overall. His major feast day is on 23 April (Julian Calendar 23 April currently corresponds to Gregorian Calendar 6 May). If, however, the feast occurs before Easter, it is celebrated on Easter Monday instead. The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates two additional feasts in honour of St. George. One is on 3 November, commemorating the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign Constantine the Great (305–37). When the church was consecrated, the relics of the St. George were transferred there. The other feast is on 26 November for a church dedicated to him in Kiev, ca. 1054.
In Egypt the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria refers to St George as the “Prince of Martyrs” and celebrates his martyrdom on the 23rd of Paremhat of the Coptic Calendar equivalent to 1 May. The Copts also celebrate the consecration of the first church dedicated to him on 7th of the month of Hatour of the Coptic Calendar usually equivalent to 17 November.
St. George is the patron saint of England. His cross forms the national flag of England, and features within the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, and other national flags containing the Union Flag, such as those of Australia and New Zealand. Traces of the cult of Saint George in England pre-date the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century; by the fourteenth century the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family.
The country of Georgia, where devotions to the saint date back to the fourth century, is not technically named after the saint, but is a well-attested backward derivation of the English name. However, a large number of towns and cities around the world are. Saint George is one of the patron Saints of Georgia; the name Georgia (Sakartvelo in Georgian) is an anglicisation of Gurj, derived from the Persian word for the frightening and heroic people in that territory. However, chronicles describing the land as Georgie or Georgia in French and English, date from the early Middle Ages “because of their special reverence for Saint George”, but these accounts have been seen as folk etymology; compare Land of Prester John.
There are exactly 365 Orthodox churches in Georgia named after Saint George according to the number of days in a year. According to myth, St. George was cut into 365 pieces after he fell in battle and every single piece was spread throughout the entire country. According to another myth, Saint George appeared in person during the Battle of Didgori to support the Georgian victory over the Seldjuk army and the Georgian uprising against Persian rule. Saint George is considered by many Georgians to have special meaning as a symbol of national liberation.
Devotions to Saint George in Portugal date back to the 12th century. Saint Constable attributed the victory of the Portuguese in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 to Saint George. During the reign of King John I (1357–1433), Saint George became the patron saint of Portugal and the King ordered that the saint’s image on the horse be carried in the Corpus Christi procession. The flag of Saint George (white with red cross) was also carried by the Portuguese troops and hoisted in the fortresses, during the 15th century. “Portugal and Saint George” became the battle cry of the Portuguese troops, being still today the battle cry of the Portuguese Army, with simply “Saint George” being the battle cry of the Portuguese Navy.
Saint George is also one of the patron saints of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. In a battle between the Maltese and the Moors, Saint George was alleged to have been seen with Saint Paul and Saint Agata, protecting the Maltese. Besides being the patron of Victoria where St. George’s Basilica, Malta is dedicated to him, St George is the protector of the island Gozo.
There is a tradition in the Holy Land of Christians and Muslim going to an Eastern Orthodox shrine of St. George at Beith Jala, Jews also attend the site in the belief that the prophet Elijah was buried there. This is testified to by Elizabeth Finn in 1866, where she wrote, “St. George killed the dragon in this country Palestine; and the place is shown close to Beirut (Lebanon). Many churches and convents are named after him. The church at Lydda is dedicated to St. George: so is a convent near Bethlehem, and another small one just opposite the Jaffa gate; and others beside. The Arabs believe that St. George can restore mad people to their senses; and to say a person has been sent to St. George’s, is equivalent to saying he has been sent to a madhouse. It is singular that the Moslem Arabs share this veneration for St. George, and send their mad people to be cured by him, as well as the Christians. But they commonly call him El Khudder —The Green—according to their favourite manner of using epithets instead of names. Why he should be called green, however, I cannot tell—unless it is from the colour of his horse. Gray horses are called green in Arabic.” A possible explanation for this colour reference is Al Khidr, the erstwhile tutor of Moses, gained his name from having sat in a barren desert, turning it into a lush green paradise.
William Dalrymple reviewing the literature in 1999 tells us that J. E. Hanauer in his 1907 book Folklore of the Holy Land: Muslim, Christian and Jewish “mentioned a shrine in the village of Beit Jala, beside Bethlehem, which at the time was frequented by all three of Palestine’s religious communities. Christians regarded it as the birthplace of St. George, Jews as the burial place of the Prophet Elias. According to Hanauer, in his day the monastery was “a sort of madhouse. Deranged persons of all the three faiths are taken thither and chained in the court of the chapel, where they are kept for forty days on bread and water, the Eastern Orthodox priest at the head of the establishment now and then reading the Gospel over them, or administering a whipping as the case demands.’ In the 1920s, according to Taufiq Canaan‘s Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine, nothing seemed to have changed, and all three communities were still visiting the shrine and praying together.”
Dalrymple himself visited the place in 1995. “I asked around in the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem, and discovered that the place was very much alive. With all the greatest shrines in the Christian world to choose from, it seemed that when the local Arab Christians had a problem – an illness, or something more complicated: a husband detained in an Israeli prison camp, for example – they preferred to seek the intercession of St George in his grubby little shrine at Beit Jala rather than praying at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.” He asked the priest at the shrine “Do you get many Muslims coming here?” The priest replied, “We get hundreds! Almost as many as the Christian pilgrims. Often, when I come in here, I find Muslims all over the floor, in the aisles, up and down.”
The Encyclopædia Britannica quotes G.A. Smith in his Historic Geography of the Holy Land p. 164 saying “The Mahommedans who usually identify St. George with the prophet Elijah, at Lydda confound his legend with one about Christ himself. Their name for Antichrist is Dajjal, and they have a tradition that Jesus will slay Antichrist by the gate of Lydda. The notion sprang from an ancient bas-relief of George and the Dragon on the Lydda church. But Dajjal may be derived, by a very common confusion between n and l, from Dagon, whose name two neighbouring villages bear to this day, while one of the gates of Lydda used to be called the Gate of Dagon.”
Colours and flag
The “Colours of Saint George”, or St George’s Cross are a white flag with a red cross, frequently borne by entities which claim him as patron (e.g. the Republic of Genoa and then Liguria, England, Georgia, Catalonia, Aragon, etc.).
This was formerly the banner attributed to St. Ambrose. Adopted by the city of Milan (of which he was Archbishop) at least as early as the 9th century, its use spread over Northern Italy including Genoa.[dubious ] Genoa’s patron saint was St. George and while the flag was not associated with George in Genoa itself, it is possibly[clarification needed] the cause of the use of the design as the attributed arms of Saint George in the 14th century.[dubious ]
The same colour scheme was used by Viktor Vasnetsov for the façade of the Tretyakov Gallery, in which some of the most famous St. George icons are exhibited and which displays St. George as the coat of arms of Moscow over its entrance.
Iconography and models
St. George is most commonly depicted in early icons, mosaics and frescos wearing armour contemporary with the depiction, executed in gilding and silver colour, intended to identify him as a Roman soldier. Particularly after the Fall of Constantinople and St. George’s association with the crusades, he is often portrayed mounted upon a white horse. Thus, a 2003 Vatican stamp (issued on the anniversary of the Saint’s death) depicts an armoured Saint George atop a white horse, killing the dragon. Eastern Orthodox iconography also permits St. George to ride a black horse, as in a Russian icon in the British museum collection. This may also reflect a modern Russian interpretation as depicting not a killing but as an internal struggle, against ourselves and the evil among us. In the south Lebanese village of Mieh Mieh, the Saint George Church for Melkite Catholics commissioned for its 75th jubilee in 2012 (under the guidance of Mgr Sassine Gregoire), the only icons in the world portraying the whole life of Saint George as well as the scenes of his torture and martyrdom (drawn in eastern iconographic style).
St. George may also be portrayed with St. Demetrius, another early soldier saint. When the two saintly warriors are together and mounted upon horses, they may resemble earthly manifestations of the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Eastern traditions distinguish the two as St. George rides a white horse and St. Demetrius a red horse St. George can also be identified by his spearing a dragon, whereas St. Demetrius may be spearing a human figure, representing Maximian.
During the early second millennium, St. George became a model of chivalry in works of literature, including medieval romances. In the 13th century, Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, compiled the Legenda Sanctorum, (Readings of the Saints) also known as Legenda Aurea (the Golden Legend). Its 177 chapters (182 in some editions) include the story of Saint George, among many others. After the invention of the printing press, the book became a bestseller, second only to the Bible among books published by early English printer William Caxton (c.a.1415-c.a.1492).
- For a larger gallery, please see: Saint George gallery.
Bulgarian Orthodox icon of St. George fighting the dragon.
Scenes from the life of St. George, Kremikovtsi Monastery, Bulgaria.
12th century depiction of St. George in a church at the Russian village of Staraya Ladoga.
- Bristol, England, which has a district called Saint George and also a park bearing that name
- Saint George’s Day
- “St. George and the Dragon (ballad),” a 17th-century ballad comparing the myth of St. George to that of other heroes
- Dragon Hill, Uffington
- Frithjof Schuon
- Georgslied, 9th-century Old High German poem about the life of Saint George
- Knights of St. George
- One Good Knight (a novel) Andres Dealencar.
- St George’s Church, churches dedicated to St. George
- St. George Dragons (sports)
- St. George’s, Bermuda
- The Magic Sword, 1962 film loosely based on the legend of St. George and the Dragon
- Patrick Woodroffe, author of several poems about St George collated in a book called Hallelujah Anyway
- St. George’s Austrian High School, a private Austrian-Turkish high school located in Istanbul, Turkey
- Middleton St George, a village in north-east England
- Church of Saint George, Lod
- St George Girl’s High School, a high school located in Sydney, Australia
- Saint George’s College, Chile
- Foakes-Jackson, FJ (2005), A History of the Christian Church, Cosimo Press, p. 461, ISBN 1-59605-452-2.
- Ball, Ann (2003), Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices, p. 568, ISBN 0-87973-910-X.
- Maloney, Allison. St George: Let’s Hear it For England!. The Random House Group Limited.
- Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys. Horace Cox. ASIN B001IWO5VO., Yarn No. 20 – Chivalry to others
- Mills, Charles (2012), The History of Chivalry, Longman, Rees, p. 9.
- Spenser, Edmund (1998), Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, Cannon Press, p. 196, ISBN 978-1-885767-39-4.
- Herbert Thurston (1913). “St. George“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Walter, Christopher (2003), The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition, Ashgate Publishing, p. 110, ISBN 1-84014-694-X
- Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca 271, 272.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “George, Saint”. Encyclopædia Britannica 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 737.
In the canon of Pope Gelasius (494) George is mentioned in a list of those ‘whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God’
- De Voragine, Jacobus (1995), The Golden Legend, Princeton University Press, p. 238, ISBN 978-0-691-00153-1.
- Murray, J (1863), Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom, Royal Society of Literature, p. 133
- Heylin, A (1862), The Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record 1, p. 244.
- Darch, John H (2006), Saints on Earth, Church House Press, p. 56, ISBN 978-0-7151-4036-9.
- Walter, Christopher (2003), The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition, Ashgate Publishing, p. 112, ISBN 1-84014-694-X.
- Smith, William (1867), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Little Brown & Co, p. 249.
- Gibbs, Margaret (1971), Saints beyond the White Cliffs, Ayer Press, p. 2, ISBN 0-8369-8058-1.
- Hackwood, Fred (2003), Christ Lore the Legends, Traditions, Myths, Kessinger Publishing, p. 255, ISBN 0-7661-3656-6.
- Butler, Alban (2008), Lives of the Saints, ISBN 1-4375-1281-X.:166
- Tyrannius Rufinus, History of the Church, 1:14
- Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2:23:5
- Richardson, Robert D; Moser, Barry, eds. (1996), Emerson, p. 520,
George of Cappadocia… [held] the contract to supply the army with bacon… embraced Arianism… [and was] promoted… to the episcopal throne of Alexandria… When Julian came, George was dragged to prison, the prison was burst open by a mob, and George was lynched… [he] became in good time Saint George of England.
- Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2:23:5
- “Saint George”, Catholic Encyclopedia,
it is not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop.
- The complete works of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Edward Waldo Emerson, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1904, page 355
- Text of the essay at bartleby.com
- Journals & Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Merton M. Sealts Jr. 1973 ISBN 0-674-48473-8 page 168
- Robertson developed by Crusaders returned from the Holy Lands. The Medieval Saints’ Lives (pp 51–52) suggested that the dragon motif was transferred to the George legend from that of his fellow soldier saint, Saint Theodore Tiro. The Roman Catholic writer Alban Butler (Lives of the Saints) credited the motif as a late addition: “It should be noted, however, that the story of the dragon, though given so much prominence, was a later accretion, of which we have no sure traces before the twelfth century. This puts out of court the attempts made by many folklorists to present St. George as no more than a Christianized survival of pagan mythology.”
- “He drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rose hardily against the dragon which came toward him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore, and threw him to the ground”, according to Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: or Lives of the Saints as Englished by William Caxton, F. S. Ellis, ed. (London, 1900), vol. III:123–45), quotation p. 128.
- Loomis 1948:65 and notes 111–17, giving references to other saints’ encounters with dragons. “To Loomis’s list might be added the stories of Martha… and Silvester, which is vigorously summarized (from a fifth-century version of the Actus Silvestri) by the early English writer, Aldhelm, abbot of Malmesbury (639–709), in his De Virginitate (see Aldhelm: The Prose Works, pp. 82–83). On dragons and saints, see now Rauer, Beowulf and the Dragon“. Saint Mercurialis, the first bishop of the city of Forlì, in Romagna, is often portrayed in the act of killing a dragon.
- Incidentally, the name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II, according to records at Bletchley Park.
- Charles Clermont-Ganneau, “Horus et Saint Georges, d’après un bas-relief inédit du Louvre”. Revue archéologique, 1876
- For patrons of fourth-century churches, see titulus.
- Pringle, Denys (1998), The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press, p. 25, ISBN 0-521-39037-0.
- Samantha Riches, St. George: Hero, Martyr and Myth (Sutton, 2000), ISBN 0750924527, p. 19.
- McClendon 1999:6. Perrin, British Flags, 1922, p. 38.
- Catholic Encyclopedia 1913, s.v. “Orders of St. George” omits Genoa and Hungary: see David Scott Fox, Saint George: The Saint with Three Faces (1983:59–63, 98–123), noted by McClellan 999:6 note 13. Additional Orders of St. George were founded in the eighteenth century (Catholic Encyclopedia).
- McClendon 1999:10.
- Erasmus, in The Praise of Folly (1509, printed 1511) remarked “The Christians have now their gigantic St. George, as well as the pagans had their Hercules.”
- Only the most essential work might be done on a festum duplex
- Muriel C. McClendon, “A Moveable Feast: Saint George’s Day Celebrations and Religious Change in Early Modern England” The Journal of British Studies 38.1 (January 1999:1–27).
- Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam by Richard G. Hovannisian, Georges Sabagh 2000 ISBN 0-521-62350-2, Cambridge University Press pages 109-110
- Seal, Graham (2001), Encyclopedia of folk heroes, p. 85, ISBN 1-57607-216-9.
- Hinds, Kathryn (2001), Medieval England, Marshall Cavendish, p. 44, ISBN 0-7614-0308-6.
- Spilling, Michael (2008), Georgia, Winnie Wong, p. 63, ISBN 0-7614-3033-4.
- David Marshall Lang, The Georgians, (New York: Frederick A Praeger, 1966), 17–18. The terms Georgia and Georgians appeared in Western Europe in numerous early medieval annals. The French chronicler Jacques de Vitry and the English traveller Sir John Mandeville wrote that Georgians are called Georgian because they especially revere Saint George.
- Gabidzashvili, Enriko (1991), Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature, Tbilisi, Georgia: Armazi – 89.
- Foakes-Jackson, FJ (2005), A History of the Christian Church, Cosimo, p. 556, ISBN 1-59605-452-2.
- Eastmond, Antony (1998), Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia, Penn State Press, p. 119, ISBN 0-271-01628-0.
- The Saint George’s Victory order, among other civilian and military decorations, is one of the highest decorations in Georgia.
- de Oliveira Marques, AH; André, Vítor; Wyatt, SS (1971), Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages, University of Wisconsin Press, p. 216, ISBN 0-299-05584-1.
- de Bles, Arthur (2004), How to Distinguish the Saints in Art, p. 86, ISBN 1-4179-0870-X.
- Elizabeth Anne Finn (1866). Home in the Holyland. London: James Nisbet and Co. pp. 46–7.
- “al-Khadir (al-Khidr)”. Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Qur’an, 18:64–65
- Hanauer, JE (1907). “Folk-lore of the Holy Land, Moslem, Christian and Jewish”. Retrieved January 18, 2007.
- William Dalrymple (March 15, 1999). From the Holy Mountain: a journey among the Christians of the Middle East. Owl Books.
- “Who is Saint George?”. St. George’s Basilica. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
- H. S. Haddad. ““Georgic” Cults and Saints of the Levant”. Retrieved on January 18, 2007
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “George, Saint”. Encyclopædia Britannica 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 737.
- British flags, from the Flag Institute site. Accessed 2 May 2007
- “Vatican stamps”. Vaticanstate.va. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- The red pigment may appear black if it has bitumenized.
- Brook, E.W., 1925. Acts of Saint George in series Analecta Gorgiana 8 (Gorgias Press).
- Burgoyne, Michael H. 1976. A Chronological Index to the Muslim Monuments of Jerusalem. In The Architecture of Islamic Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.
- Gabidzashvili, Enriko. 1991. Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature. Armazi – 89: Tbilisi, Georgia.
- Good, Jonathan, 2009. The Cult of Saint George in Medieval England (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press).
- Loomis, C. Grant, 1948. White Magic, An Introduction to the Folklore of Christian Legend (Cambridge: Medieval Society of America)
- Natsheh, Yusuf. 2000. “Architectural survey”, in Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City 1517–1917. Edited by Sylvia Auld and Robert Hillenbrand (London: Altajir World of Islam Trust) pp 893–899.
- Whatley, E. Gordon, editor, with Anne B. Thompson and Robert K. Upchurch, 2004. St. George and the Dragon in the South English Legendary (East Midland Revision, c. 1400) Originally published in Saints’ Lives in Middle English Collections (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications) (on-line introduction)
- George Menachery, Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India. Vol.II Trichur – 73.
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- Hail George Radio webcast explains how Saint George came to be confused with some Afro-Brazilian deities
- Blog Article on the Feast of St. George The feast of St. George is April 23 – About that Dragon…
- St. George, Martyr at the Christian Iconography web site.
- Of St. George, Martyr from Caxton’s translation of the Golden Legend
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