What date is St George’s Day and why is he patron saint of England?
Though the patron saint for England, he was actually born in Turkey around 280 BC. He was a Roman soldier and rose up through the ranks to become the personal guard of Emperor Diocletian.
St George’s Day is the 23rd April every year.
It used to be a public holiday, but that is no longer the case, unfortunately.
According to legend, George was responsible for converting all the inhabitants of a town called Silene to Christianity after he saved their princess from a dragon. The only well in the town was guarded by the dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots.
On the day that St George visited, a princess had been selected for sacrifice. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In the Middle Ages, a dragon was commonly used to represent the Devil.
George was executed for being a Christian on 23 April 303.
He was canonised in 494 by Pope Gelasius who claimed he was one of those ‘whose names are justly revered among men but whose acts are known only to God’.
George is the patron saint of many countries, not just England. King Edward III made him the Patron Saint of England when he formed the Order of the Garter in St George’s name in 1350. The cult of the Saint was further advanced by Henry V, at the battle of Agincourt in northern France.
A feast day of St George has been celebrated in England for hundreds of years on 23 April.