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"Who was St. George?" has long been the theme oi endless, not to say acrimonious, controversy and discussion. ' Time, the great destroyer of truth as of fiction, has left us but little beyond the bare facts, and that little, unfortunately, has been overlaid and obscured by monkish and other fairy tales more easily rejected than accepted. But such stories, surely were based upon facts, and had some figure around which to cling, just as the parasitic ivy attests the existence of the tower it conceals from view' - Professor Owen,, the eminent ornithologist, was able, from a single bone, to reconstruct the ti'l'ijiinal bird from which it originally formed a part; and from what is actually known of St. Gecrge, we are enabled to conjecture what manner of man he was. and how eventually he became the special Patron of Chivalry and the tutelary Saint of England, whose exemplary life and virtues were worthy of all emulation and have exerted, and will continue to exert, a widespread and inspirine influence over', our countrymen. The identity of St. George, the snocial Patron of Chivalry, has been clearly established. Briefly, he was of Greek origin and Christian parentage, and born at Lydda, in Palestine, in the beautiful vale of Sharon (famous for its roses), on April 23, AA). 270. He held high military command under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, during whose reign he died a Christian martyr at Nifiomedia. in Asia Minor, on the anniversary of his birth (Good 1 Friday), A.D. 303. and was buried at the place of his birth. Although the memory of St. George was highly revered by the valorous King Arthur and his Knights ill; the Round Table—in Saxon times— and by our chivalrous crusading King Richard 1., it was King Edward 111., of glorious memory, who first proclaimed him "Patron of the right noble Roilmo of Enslaml," founding in his honour, in 1347, the Noble Order of the CJnrtoi-—the Blue Ribbon of Chivalry.

ft is surmised that St.; George was^ sent on a mission to Britain, where, at that time, Constantino, the joint Emperor, with Diocletian.' held his Court at his capital city of York (Eboracum). Constantine had married Helena, a British princess, born at Colchester, and the borough seal (over 500 years old) hears in Latin the inscription: , "Colchester is the birthplace of Helena, whom the Cross makes glorious." Not without reason, it is surmised that St. George converted to Christianity Helena, who, in turn. ; caused her son Constantino—born at' York—to embrace that faith. He, as Constantine the Great, founded Constantinople, and became the first Christian Emperor of Home, an Englishman, or, shall we say, a southern Briton ? As already stated, St. George _ was martyred at Nicomedia, in Asia Minor, whence,/ after, some, years, hisbodywas brought to Lydda, his place of birth, and interred with great pomp and ceremony. Now, if we look at the map of Asia Minor, so familiarised .by the dreadful war, we can easily follow the course' of the vessel bearing the remains of St. George. , , Starting from Nicomedia, at -the eastern extremity of what is now the Sea of Marmora, the vessel would sail through the Dardanelles, afterwards known as St. George's Arm, and calling at Thessalonica, where, a church was dedicated to St. George, it would sail along the , Sea, past the'southeastern point of Thessaly, known to this .day as St. George's Cape, thence by the Isle of Scyros, where is situated the town of St.. George, skirting .the southern shore of St. George's Bay, to the beautiful city of Beirut, whose in- j habitants were, and still are, mostly Christians, and where, and in the district, many churches were built in honour of our Saint. Arriving at j Joppa, there are but nine miles inland j to Lydda, in the vale of Sharon, where, in one of the most beautiful spots in all Palestine, repose the remains of the Patron Saint of England. Sharon, as recorded in Holy Writ, was celebrated for its roses, and may we not from this fact reasonably infer that the rose —the lovely Queen of Flowers —thus so happily associated with our Patron Saint — became, as it ever will remain, the national emblem of England ?

This is the story of St. George, from which has been eliminated the captivating and beautiful legend of his combat with the Dragon, which symbolises the dual triumph of Christianity over Paganism and of good over evil. Should the evidence adduced be deemed inconclusive, it follows that much-of ancient history must be regarded as unintelligible and fabulous. Gibbon, the great historian of the Roman Empire, uiiaccountablv confused St. George with George, the fraudulent army contractor, who, by. devious ways, ultimately became the Arian Archbishop of Alexandria, where his infamous conduct caused him to bo slain by his own people, A.D. 362, nearly 60 years after the death of our patron.—" English Race."

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Bibliographic details

ST. GEORGE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9592, 23 April 1919

Word Count

ST. GEORGE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9592, 23 April 1919