Saint George

23rd April

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.

St. George is the patron saint of England, Palestine, Greece, Portugal, Georgia and Russia. A white flag with a red Cross is known as St. George’s Flag. 

Ask the children if they think that there are still martyrs today.

  •  In very simple language, without causing concern, one needs to talk to our children that persecutions still go on in certain countries.
  • They will be more appreciative of the fact that they can practise their Faith, when they are made aware that millions of Christians have been driven out of their homes, killed, kidnapped, imprisoned because of religious hatred.
  • Point out that we should be grateful that we have churches in every town and village, priests who make it possible for us to have the Real Presence of Christ in every church.
  • When you are out walking or in a car and pass by a church, encourage children to acknowledge this reality and give praise and  thanks to Jesus present sacramentally in that church.
  • For older children, you might consider mentioning historical characters who were assassinated, ‘martyred’, for their beliefs : Abraham Lincoln for the freedom of slaves; Martin Luther King for fair treatment and rights of coloured people; Mahatma Gandhi for his beliefs in methods of keeping peace.

St. George was not swayed by the beliefs of the society of his time that demanded the adoration of Roman gods.

Even though we are not being faced with martyrdom, to be a good Christian adds up ‘to be in the world but not of the world’ if we are to keep steadfast in our Christian values.

It is never too early to start laying the groundwork in our children’s lives to stand firm in Christian principles.

Invest in quiet time or grasp an opportunity ( even through a TV show, or an advert) to talk about certain behaviour very often as a result of the influence of friends.

His amounts to the effect of peer pressure, that might lead them to accept inappropriate behaviour so that they are accepted by the circle of friends. Standing firm might cost them being shunned when they refrain from doing what everyone else is doing if it is not right.

Listen to their experiences, lead them to realize the importance of choosing good friends. Get to know their friends!

For Family Prayer time lead

  • prayers of thanksgiving: for the priests and catechists in the parish (mention them by name), for the churches and for those who work for their upkeep.
  • prayers for those who are suffering because of their faith to continue being strong as they are an example to all of us for whom it is not difficult to practise our Faith.

According to the legend, St. George was a soldier and officer in the Guard of the Roman Emperor. The Roman Emperor sentenced to death all the Christians. Since George’s parents were Christians, he confessed that he was a Christian and thus, the Emperor tortured him and as a result, St. George is Christian Martyr. 

Activity: Physical Activity with this Worship Song! 

If you wish dress like a soldier (green/brown t-shirt is enough), while singing, do this physical activity work out and praise the Lord! This activity shall remind us that we need to praise the Lord all the time! 

Don’t forget to send us some pictures!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.