On this day (April 23) in 303 A.D., St. George the Great Martyr was beheaded for his faith in Christ. St. George was born into a devout Christian family during a time of severe persecution. He gave his wealth to the poor and, under the reign of Emperor Diocletian, was tortured for being a Christian. But he persevered until the end.
A myth about St. George slaying a dragon comes to us from the 11th and 12th centuries. It is said that a fearsome dragon held an entire city in fear. Each year, in order to appease the dragon, the people cast lots and an unfortunate young girl was offered as a living sacrifice. This particular year, the lot fell on the King’s daughter. She was bound and set out for the dragon. Then, out of nowhere, St. George appeared on a white horse. He slew the dragon and bound him with a leash, giving it to the princess. Even though this myth is often dismissed as fiction, the story demonstrates great truth about the Christian life. Each of us must work to slay the dragons of passion. When we do, thousands around us will notice, and many will be saved.
St. George has been recognized as the patron of many communities and churches in both the East and the West.
A blessed feast of St. George to you! St. George, pray for us!