St George and the English Flag


St George

Feast Day April 23


2003 will be the 1700th anniversary of his death.

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God’s holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr who was victorious over the devil.

He was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and he was one of the Emperor’s favorite soldiers. Now Diocletian was a pagan and a bitter enemy to the Christians. He put to death every Christian he could find. George was a brave Christian, a real soldier of Christ. Without fear, he went to the Emperor and sternly scolded him for being so cruel. Then he gave up his position in the Roman army. For this he was tortured in many terrible ways and finally beheaded.

So boldly daring and so cheerful was St. George in declaring his Faith and in dying for it that Christians felt courage when they heard about it. Many songs and poems were written about this martyr. Soldiers, especially, have always been devoted to him.

We all have some “dragon” we have to conquer. It might be pride, or anger, or laziness, or greediness, or something else. Let us make sure we fight against these “dragons”, with God’s help. Then we can call ourselves real soldiers of Christ.

The Cross of St George badge was first used by Richard the Lionheart about 1188 at the Third Crusade. English soldiers started using it about 1277. St George became the English Patron Saint in 1348 when Edward III founded the Order of the Garter.

The Royal Navy adopted the badge as the White Ensign at the time of the Armada. In recent times the emblem has been hijacked by neo-Nazis. But the English have bought over 30 million St George’s flags to wave for the 2002 World Cup, and we think this enthusiasm for things English will now continue.


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