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| July/August 1998 | SOSSI Journal, VOL 47, NO. 4,

Posted on 04/23/2007 5:15:56 PM PDT by Salvation

The Legend that is Saint George
Tom Holmes

In different places and times, much of the world has chosen Saint George as a Patron Saint.  His slaying of the dragon as a symbol of the victory of goodness over evil endeared him to many.

Drawing by BP
Scout in the role of Saint George.
From Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys (1908)

Lord Robert Baden-Powell had made Saint George the patron Saint of the Scouting Movement.  Baden-Powell had a favorite rhyme about our patron Saint:
My warmest good wishes I am sending to you
And hoping that the winter is through
You will start out afresh to follow the lead
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed;
Not only to tackle what ever my befall,
But also successfully to win through it all
And then may you have an enjoyable spell
Of hiking, and jolly good camping as well.

There is almost nothing known of the early years of Saint George's life.  He was born sometime in the year 263AD, in the city of Lydia near Jerusalem.  His parents were from Cappadonia, a city in present day Turkey.  Is is said that his father was an Arab Sheit.

Sometime in his seventeenth year, he enlisted as a calvary soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.  He became a high ranking officer, rising through the ranks because he was a proficient soldier, an able horseman and had a commanding and cheerful attitude.

When the Emperor Diocletian began his campaign of persecuting Christians, George, who was a devout Christian, requested an audience with the Emperor and was granted one.  George at this conference pleaded with the Emperor to refrain from this distasteful practice.

Diocletian was so annoyed and incensed, that he commanded George to recant his religion.  When he refused, George was arrested, tortured, and finally put to death on April 23, 303AD.  This day is now known as Saint George's Day.

St George slays the dragon

Ancient storytellers told legends of an Eastern city called Salem where a terrifying dragon lived in a swamp nearby.  The dragon demanded a daily tribute of sheep and cattle.  Soon, after exhausting these food supplies, the dragon demanded the sacrifice of two children a day.  A lottery system was devised to pick the victims.  Cleodolinda, the daughter of the King, was chosen for that day's sacrifice.

As Cleodolinda was sadly proceeding to her doom, along came the knight George.  Seeing the dragon about to gulp down the lovely princess, George promised the citizens deliverance from their troubles.  After making the sign of the cross, he transfixed the dragon with his lance and wounded it with his magic sword Ascalon.  George then had the princess bind the beast with her girdle.  The dragon then became docile and tame, and followed the princess and George back to the city.  There in the market square, George killed the dragon with his lance.

As George was killing the dragon, he told the city citizens that this act was to show the power of God.  Not only was the princess saved and the city relieved, but the people gave up their idols and accepted Christianity.  George was said to have married the princess and lived happily ever after.

George was canonized by Pope Gelasius in 494AD.  The Pope said St. George was one of those "...whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God."  St. George exemplified courage, devotion, piety, leadership, truthfulness and dedication.  Crusaders venerated him and wore his cross (red on a white background).  King Edward III of England chose George to be the patron Saint for the Knight of the Garter.  During this time he also became the patron Saint of Portugal and Italy.  Czarina Catherine II founded the Russian Order of Saint George.

If you think of this tale as an allegory rather than a legend; with Saint George representing Christianity and the dragon as paganism, this shows us how good triumphs over evil.  Baden-Powell often used this as a symbol in the character building program of Scouting.  The Rover program started in 1917 is based on a Knighthood theme, with the symbol of St. George, patron saint of Scouts, being important.  St. George is typical of what a Scout should be.  He epitomized the qualities of selflessness and both moral and physical courage which Baden-Powell saw as being among the aims of Scouting.

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TOPICS: Catholic; History
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; scouts
1 posted on 04/23/2007 5:15:58 PM PDT by Salvation

To: All
And from Russia

St. George, Patron Saint of Scouting

"Prepared and alert a Scout follows the lead
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed."
- Baden-Powell in "Scouting for Boys"

Two Drawings of Scouts in the role of Saint George.
From Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys (1908)


In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote of chivalry and the knights of old. He tried to show Scouts a new path to chivalry and honor. Saint George was the Patron Saint of England, and of the Knights of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in Europe. They were familiar subjects to most English boys when B-P was writing. Here is what he wrote:


They (the knights of the Round Table) had as their patron saint St. George, because he was the only one of all the saints who was a horseman. He is the Patron Saint of cavalry from which the word Chivalry is derived, and the special saint of England.

He is also the Patron Saint of Boy Scouts everywhere. Therefore, all Scouts should know his story.

St. George was born in Cappadocia in the year AD 303. He enlisted as a cavalry soldier when he was seventeen, and soon became renowned for his bravery.

On one occasion he came to a city named Selem, near which lived a dragon who had to be fed daily with one of the citizens, drawn by lot.

The day St. George came there, the lot had fallen upon the king's daughter, Cleolinda. St. George resolved that she should not die, and so he went out and attacked the dragon, who lived in a swamp close by, and killed him.

When he was faced by a difficulty or danger, however great it appeared—even in the shape of a dragon—he did not avoid it or fear it, but went at it with all the power he could put into himself and his horse. Although inadequately armed for such an encounter, having merely a spear, he charged in, did his best, and finally succeeded in overcoming a difficulty which nobody had dared to tackle.

That is exactly the way in which a Scout should face a difficulty or danger, no matter how great or terrifying it may appear to him or how ill-equipped he may be for the struggle.

He should go at it boldly and confidently, using every power that he can to try to overcome it, and the probability is that he will succeed.

St. George's Day is April 23rd, and on that day all Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and of the Scout Law. Not that a Scout every forgets either, but on St. George's Day he makes a special point of thinking about them. Remember this when April 23rd comes round again.


To this day, Saint George continues as the Patron Saint of Scouting in many lands. His place in English Scouting is part of a national tradition. But here is an example from a distant land, Ukraine in Eastern Europe.

The illustration and the story are from "Ukrainian Scouting," the newsletter of Plast-Scouting in Ukraine.


Saint George, a mythical saint from Cappadokia (in modern-day central Turkey), usually portrayed on a horse with his spear piercing a dragon, has been revered in Ukraine since the great prince of Kyiv, Volodymyr the Great, established Christianity as the official state religion of the Kyivan Empire in 988 AD. St. George churches and icons are very popular in Ukraine.

For Ukrainians, St.George symbolizes purity of spirit, selfless devotion to the protection of their country and boundless courage and valor in the service of goodness and purity.

No wonder then that Ukrainian scouts adopted St. George as their patron saint. The feast of St. George falls in May. That date is celebrated by the Ukrainian "plastuny" as both the St. George’s day and the Festival of Spring—the yearly beginning of the camping and hiking season.

A weekend in May is usually selected for the "Sviato Vesny" (the Spring Festival). Scouts go out into the nature, to their camping-sites, into woods, or mountains, where they set up their tents, hold sport events, cookouts, campfires, various competitions, exercises and various other activities.

Special events of this festival often include some very old (pre-Christian) dances (called "vesnianky" and "hahilky") — which, for many thousands of years, have been held in springtime in Ukraine, during the Christian era as part of the Easter ceremonies. They take their origin in ancient pagan worship of such deities of spring as: Lada, Yarylo, etc. Special music, songs, and various rituals accompany these dances, which underlie the essential unity of man and nature and go back to the ancient Ukrainian traditions of striving to preserve nature and natural environment.

This year, as the years past, scouts in Ukraine held their annual Spring Festival, honoring St. George, as an example to scouts of valor and good deeds.


Magyar Cserkészszövetség, the Hungarian Scout Association (HSA), observes Saint George's Day as do Scouts of many lands. The drawing below is from their home page.

Drawing of Sankt Gyorgy,
Saint George,
Patron Saint of Scouting

Saint George in Russia

Saint George is the Patron Saint of Scouting. His feast day on April 23rd is celebrated by Scouts in many lands, including Russia. Icons of Saint George have been important in the Russian Orthodox Church since early times. These icons come from the Novgorod Icon Gallery of the Novgorod State University in Russia and date from the 12th to the 16th century.

2 posted on 04/23/2007 5:17:37 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")

To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Saint of the Day Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Saint of the Day Ping List.

3 posted on 04/23/2007 5:37:58 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")

To: Salvation
4 posted on 04/23/2007 5:41:57 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")

To: All
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

April 23, 2007
St. George

If Mary Magdalene was the victim of misunderstanding, George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life.

That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.The story of George's slaying the dragon, rescuing the king's daughter and converting Libya is a twelfth-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Genoa and Venice.


Human nature seems unable to be satisfied with mere cold historical data. Americans have Washington and Lincoln, but we somehow need Paul Bunyan, too. The life of St. Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of St. Nicholas. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.


"When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the city which is to come" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 50).

5 posted on 04/23/2007 6:05:13 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")

To: Salvation

Thank you! today is also my Boy Scout son’s 12th birthday :) I’m sending the info here to my Catholic Scouting friends.

6 posted on 04/23/2007 9:03:22 PM PDT by GOP_Thug_Mom (libera nos a malo)

To: Salvation; RonF; AppauledAtAppeasementConservat; Looking for Diogenes; Congressman Billybob; ...

There’s some interesting Scout History in the basic thread story and in the replies.

Let me add one more:

U.S. Army Recognition Award this recognition is given to those outstanding young men when they achieve their goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.


7 posted on 04/23/2007 9:12:29 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)

To: Salvation

Here is another really nice link concerning St. George (aka Mar Gewargis) :


8 posted on 04/23/2007 9:27:15 PM PDT by John Philoponus

To: Salvation; All
9 posted on 04/23/2007 10:15:53 PM PDT by dighton

To: GOP_Thug_Mom
St. George, Martyr

Saint George, Martyr
Optional Memorial
April 23rd

Greek - Icon
16th Century from personal collection

O God, Who dost gladden us by the merits and intercesion of Blessed George, Thy Martyr, mercifully grant that we, who ask Thy blessings through him, may obtain them by the gift of Thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in Unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
(Prayer from Saint Joseph Missal, 1950, Catholic Book Publishing)

hear the prayers of those who praise Your mighty power.
As Saint George was ready to follow Christ in suffernig and death,
so may he be ready to help us in our weakness.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Readings of the Day:
First Reading - Revelation 21:5-7

And He who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also He said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And He said to me,"It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."

Gospel Reading - Luke 9:23-26
And He[Jesus] said to all, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

[Scripture translation - Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition]

Saint George, A Patron of Chivalry
by Joanna Bogle

We need a patron of chivalry, a hero saint who will show us an example of how to defend the Church, protect the poor and vulnerable, and meet martyrdom with courage.  In these days when being an active and committed Catholic means standing against many of the everyday ideas and assumptions prevalent in our communities, we need a champion  of  personal valour, of standing up to be counted,  a person who will show us what it is to exert true Christian leadership.

Enter Saint George.  He was a soldier in the early years of the 4th century, serving in the Roman Army.  His ruler was the Emperor Diocletian.  George was a Tribune -- a rank about equivalent to today's Colonel. He was also a Christian, and, for several years, this apparently posed no problem. At this point there were several Christian communities within the Roman world. Christians were beginning to make their influence felt and as they were good citizens, honest, trustworthy, and loyal, they were more than tolerated by the Empires rulers.

But Diocletian grew envious. Where once he had been content with the loyalty of his subjects in temporal matters, now he wanted more. He sought the loyalty of their minds and souls. When this was not forthcoming, he grew savage. An edict against Christians was drawn up and copies posted in public places. George, as a leading citizen, took responsibility for tearing down the one in his locality -- an open act of defiance against an unjust law. He was arrested, tortured, and eventually martyred. He died on April 23rd, 404, which that year happened to be Good Friday.  It is said that red roses bloomed on his grave.

All these events took place in the territory we today call the Middle East, then part of the Roman Empire. The story of George's valor spread across the Christian world. We know that there were churches in Europe dedicated to him at an early date, including a couple in Britain, the land where he was later to become a popular saint. But what really made him famous were the events of several centuries later -- the Crusades.  English soldiers fighting in the Middle East learned about this soldier-saint and were impressed. His courage spoke to them. He was one of their own. This was a saint they could value and understand.

They took back his story to England -- as other soldiers were taking it back to their lands across what was then Christendom. His story became identified with their own -- the red cross on a white background that marked the crusader.

In England, Saint George became patron saint of an order of chivalry -- the Order of the Garter. To this day, this is still conferred by the Sovereign in honor of God, Our Lady, and Saint George on those deemed to have served their country in some outstanding way.

Catholics in England have long honored Saint George. As with other saints, he was somewhat downplayed at the Reformation. But English Catholics continued to honor him.  They were persecuted for their faith for years after the Reformation and unable to attend Mass openly or teach their Faith publicly to their children.  No wonder a hero martyr saint appealed to them.

When, finally, some freedom was granted, one of the first Catholic churches to be built in London was dedicated to Saint George. Today, its successor still stands in Southwark, on the south bank of the Thames -- Saint George's Cathedral.   It has seen many major events -- from a tragic bombing in 1941, which destroyed the original Pugin building (the cathedral was rebuilt in the 1950s) to a Papal visit in 1982 when Pope John Paul II met and blessed thousands of sick people who had been gathered there to greet him in a massive national pilgrimage.

Saint George's continues to thrive: it now serves a very multi-racial area, and its liturgy includes a robed choir who sing a beautiful Latin Mass each Sunday, which is well attended by a mixed congregation proud of their church and of their Faith.

This year, a team of Catholic publishers and representatives from major Catholic organizations from across Britain will be holding a national Catholic Book Fair on the Saturday nearest to Saint George's Day as part of the Saint George's Day celebrations.

We need Saint George today. We need his example of courage. Legend says he slew a dragon -- or, in some versions of the story, that he tamed it and brought it to the service of the Christian community. In this latter version, the dragon is seen as the pagan Roman Empire, which eventually came to be subdued by the Church.

Saint George was a manly saint -- a hero, a soldier, someone who knew he must use his strength and courage in the service of what is right. A martyr's life is a paradox: through death he brings life to the Church. What seems to be a failure ends in glory.  Because of Saint George's sacrifice, the Faith survived to be passed on to countless people in lands he never even knew existed. If we met him today -- if our young Christian men, who so badly need heroes, met him -- we would know that we shared the same Catholic Faith and in the Sign of the Cross we would be in unity. May we beg through his intercession in Heaven that we may have something of his courage.

Saint George, pray for us!

from A Book of Feasts and Seasons, by Joanna Bogle
Saint George's Day - How to set the table
Use a white sheet as a tablecloth. Across it stretch two lengths of crimson ribbon to form a Saint George's Cross. The ends of the ribbon should be cut into inverted V's -- this looks neat and helps prevent fraying. The ribbon can be pinned to the cloth -- this keeps the arrangement looking nice all through the meal and it is quite easy to do it in such a way that the pins don't show. A red rose -- you can now buy very attractive linen or silk ones at very little cost -- should be placed at the center of the cross. Use red candles.

Saint George's Day - Trifle for Saint George's Day
Serves six -- multiply the amounts as needed.
a dozen sponge fingers
six tablespoons raspberry jam
one packet of raspberry jelly
one tin raspberries
one pint custard
half a pint whipped cream
glacé cherries to decorate

Make up the custard first and allow it to get cold. Make up the raspberry jelly as directed on the packet, but use ice cubes instead of cold water as this makes it set far more quickly. It more or less sets as the ice cubes melt. Spread the sponge fingers with jam and put them in a large glass bowl. Pour sherry generously over them. Drain the raspberries and put these on top. Pour the jelly over these and leave it all to set. Then add the custard on top. Decorate the top of the trifle by covering it thickly with whipped cream and putting cherries on it. Do not add any other decorations: the theme for St. George's Day is Red and white. A wide velvet ribbon tied around the bowl looks nice.
Joanna Bogle is a Catholic writer and journalist living in London. She is a member of the Women for Faith and Family Editorial Board. Joanna broadcasts with the BBC and with Mother Angelica's EWTN radio, on which she has a "Catholic Heritage" series featuring places of pilgrimage and of historic interest in Europe. She is active with the Association of Catholic Women and with pro-life movements in Britain.

10 posted on 04/23/2009 8:39:59 AM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)

To: Salvation
Thank you, Salvation! Today is my son, Patrick's, 14th birthday. He's to be Confirmed in a month, and decided to take St. George as his patron. There's so much folklore surrounding this wonderful saint, it's good to have this.

St. George is also the Patron Saint of Boy Scouts, and Patrick is nearing the completion for his Eagle Rank requirements. :)

11 posted on 04/23/2009 6:37:39 PM PDT by GOP_Thug_Mom (Iibera nos a malo (Obama))

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