St George, The Turkish Patron Saint of Lepers
St. George is known to be he patron saint of everything Anglo, but did you know he was actually born in Turkey? According to Christian scholars, he was born into a noble Christian family during the third century, and became a soldier in the Roman army.
Although he has been mythologised as a dragon slayer, St. George became a martry by refusing to fight. Roman Emperor Diocletian had ordered St. George to join his army, in the third century where the Romans were still persecuting Christians, St. George refused. As a result, Romans tortured and eventually executed him in Palestine.
It wasn’t until 11th century St. George became glorified among the English. English soldiers returning from the crusades in middle-east claimed that they were assisted by St. George during the battle. Following the spread of his popularity, in 1222 the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day.
In Australia, there is a bank, a sports team, a town named after St. George among many other things.
Lesser-known facts about St George
- Despite being Christian, St George is also a popular figure in Palestine, where his religious commitment is celebrated.
- He is also the patron saint of scouters, riders and people with leprosy.
- According to a survey taken by the think tank British Future last year, only 40 per cent of the English know when St George’s Day takes place.
- He is also celebrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.