England gets ready to celebrate St George's Day tomorrow

Many drinks will be raised tomorrow and flags will fly across the land to celebrate St George s Day and England s patron saint. But how many people really known about the life of St George other than the myth of him riding on horseback and slaying a drago

Many drinks will be raised tomorrow and flags will fly across the land to celebrate St George's Day and England's patron saint.

But how many people really known about the life of St George other than the myth of him riding on horseback and slaying a dragon?

It is believed he was born to a Christian noble family in Lydda, Palestine, during the late third century between 275AD and 285AD and died on April 23, 303, when he was executed in Nicomedia, part of the Roman Empire.

At the age of 14 George lost his father. After losing his mother a few years later, George moved to Nicomedia, the imperial city at the time, and presented himself to Emperor Diocletian to volunteer as a soldier.


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The emperor welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father Gerontius, one of his finest soldiers.

In his late 20s George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and became an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.

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But in 302AD, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. George objected which upset the emperor and George renounced the emperor's edict claiming to be a Christian and declaring his worship for Jesus Christ.

Diocletian attempted to convert George offering gifts of money, land and slaves if he made the sacrifice to the Pagan gods. George continued to refuse and the emperor was left with no choice but to have him executed.

Before his execution George gave his wealth to the poor. During his torture including being cut to ribbons on a wheel of swords when he was resuscitated three times, George was finally executed by decapitation.

Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, who witnessed his suffering, later became Christians as well and joined George in martyrdom.

George's body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians went to honour him as a martyr.

The St George's cross on a white field was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 for ships entering the Mediterranean to benefit from the protection of the Geonoese fleet during the Crusades.

St George is also a celebrated saint in both Western and Eastern churches and is also the patron saint of Portugal, Malta and Gozo.

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