Is St. George a myth, a legend? Was he a martyr, is he really a saint?
As with other saints of the early Church a variety of legends surround this saint.
We know that he was born in Cappadocia ( now a part of Turkey) some time in the 3rd century AD. His parents were devout Catholics. When his father died, together with his mother, he went to Palestine, his mother’s native country where she owned some family estates. As a young man he became a soldier and later a tribune in the Roman army.
During the reign of Emperor Diocletian, Christians were persecuted for their Faith when they refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. George protested openly against this persecution and in protest he resigned his military post. The Emperor, who valued George in the army, offered him land, wealth, many slaves, trying to convince him to renounce his Faith, but George stood firm. He was imprisoned and tortured. When he knew that death was awaiting him, he distributed his possessions to the poor.
In the end he was beheaded and became a Palestinian martyr.
So where does the dragon of St. George come in?
The most popular myth that surrounds St. George is that of George as a brave soldier slaying a dragon. The story is based on the rescue of a young maiden being saved from a dragon that was terrorizing the people of a town. George is represented as a brave soldier who courageously slays the dragon with his spear.
We all know that dragons never existed. The story of the dragon symbolizes the victory of good over evil, with the message of the story being that of identifying with ideals of bravery, honour, gallantry, heroism in dying for Christ. The dragon is used as a metaphor representing enemies of Christ, portraying everything that is evil.