The legend of George and the dragon came about in the early 11th century and it’s thought that the dragon represented Satan and the Roman Empire.
The story goes that a plague-ridden dragon lived in a lake. The people of the nearby village had to feed it two sheep a day to avoid its horrible anger. When there were no more sheep, they began feeding it their children.
The children were chosen by lottery and, one day, the King’s daughter was chosen. He pleaded with his people to spare his daughter and offered all his gold if another child could be sent. The people refused and the princess went to the dragon.
St George rode past and decided to stay with the princess. When the dragon appeared, St George used his lance to deliver a wound to the beast. He went back to the village and told them he would slay the dragon if they converted to Christianity. They agreed and the dragon was killed.
We know St George was born into a noble Christian family in Cappadocia – now Turkey – in the late third century. He followed in the footsteps of his father and became a soldier in Emperor Diocletian’s retinue.
The Emperor ordered the systematic persecution of Christians and St George refused. The Emperor didn’t want to lose one of his best soldiers, so he begged George to renounce his Christian god and make a sacrifice to the Roman gods.
George still refused and, because of his refusal, in 303AD he was tortured and executed in Palestine becoming an early Christian martyr.
St George’s Day is celebrated on the 23rd April because this is thought to be the day he died.
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