Feastday: April 23
Patron of England & Catalonia
Canonized By: by Pope Gelasius I
St George is undoubtedly amongst the most well known saints on this list. He was a third century Roman soldier and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. He is regarded as the most prominent military saint and is one of the most revered in the Western World. George was raised as a Christian and decided at a young age that he wanted to be a soldier. He joined Diocletian’s army and, before long, was one of the finest soldiers around. Some time later Diocletian decided that all soldiers who were Christians had to renounce their faith and become pagan. George refused (I am sure you all see where this is going). Diocletian tried to convince him to convert because he didn’t want to lose his best soldier but George refused.
Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords, in which he was resuscitated three times (pretty damned badass), George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303.
But most of all he is a badass because he killed a dragon or so the legend goes. Here is the story of St George and the Dragon:
“In the fully developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden Legend, a dragon or Crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.”