"Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's Patro

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"Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's Patro

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:34 pm

"Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's Patron Saint
by Kenneth Humphreys

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God for Harry! England and Saint George!" -- Shakespeare, Henry V act 3, sc. 1, l. 31


St George's links with England are decidedly tenuous. Needless to say, there is no evidence at all to link him to the killing of a dragon. Is there even any evidence that George himself existed?

Working backwards through the centuries of self-serving pious fable (the ‘knightly’ George was brought back to England by the crusaders in the twelfth/thirteenth centuries and was subsequently popularised by Caxton) we find that in the eighth century it was believed that George had visited Caerleon and Glastonbury while serving as a member of Emperor Constantine's staff! Yet when we reach the fifth century we find that neither the Syrian list of saints nor the so-called Hieronymian Martyrologium commemorate a St George at all. About this time, however, Pope Gelasius records that St. George was among those saints ‘whose names are justly reverenced among men but whose actions are only known to God’.

Not that a shortage of fact would have held back imaginative Christian scribes. Indeed, in keeping with the spirit of the times, a great many ‘apocryphal acts’ of Saint George were in circulation which presented at great length not a dragon-slayer but an early Christian martyr. The supposed passion of St George involved an endless variety of tortures which the saint had endured and had miraculously survived. These legendary ‘acts’ point back to an earlier mishmash of Ethiopic, Syriac and Coptic tradition, all derived from an unknown Greek original. The 4th or 5th century Coptic texts managed at one and the same time to relate George to the Governor of Cappadocia, to the Count of Lydda in Palestine and to Joseph of Arimathea! These utterly fantastic tales were condemned by the Catholic church not for their fantasy but because they were the work of heretics. All these early churches had been under the sway of Arians. Hence, the Acta Sancti Georgii were outlawed by Pope Gelasius in AD 496.

Subsequent Catholic attitude softened, and an approved legend rescued George from the heretics and placed him in the reign of Diocletian, a favourite villain of the Christians. George was given a noble birth, Christian parents, and a tenacious commitment to the faith. He is made a Roman cavalry officer, who bravely complains to the nasty Emperor of the harshness of his decrees. George refuses to carry out orders to persecute the Church and for his defiance is thrown into prison and tortured. But George doesn’t go quietly. In fact, he is brutally tortured to death, yet is raised to life again three times. Much of his passion was modelled on that of Christ himself, and it was for that reason that the Feast of St George was celebrated near to Easter (18 and 23 April).

What this ‘official’ legend symbolized was the victory of Christianity over paganism. Hence the image of St. George is of a brave warrior, defeating enemies of the faith by Christian forbearance. In many of the ‘traditions’ the climax of the story actually has George smashing idols. This is the clue to the true origin of our hero – not at the beginning of the fourth century but half a century later, when Christianity defeated the briefly resurgent paganism of Emperor Julian.

The ‘real' George was a rather different character from the paragon of fiction. As has been pointed out by Gibbon, Vetter, and others, ‘St. George’ is a legendary accretion around a notorious fourth century bishop, George of Cappadocia. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia concedes that it is ‘not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop.’

The future archbishop of Alexandria began his career as a humble cloth worker in Cilicia (now southern Turkey). By ‘assiduous flattery’ or other means he acquired the contract to supply the Roman army with bacon.
Says Gibbon:

‘His employment was mean; he rendered it infamous. He accumulated wealth by the basest arts of fraud and corruption; but his malversations were so notorious, that George was compelled to escape from the pursuits of justice.’


Making his way to Palestine, George set himself up in the religion business at Diospolis (Lydda), where he became a profane grandee of the ruling Arian Christians. As a wealthy and influential opponent of the Catholic Athanasius he was well-placed to take the bishop’s chair in Alexandria when Athanasius was driven into exile. In his new lofty station George gave free reign to his greed and cruelty, establishing several commercial monopolies and pillaging the ancient temples. ‘The tyrant…oppressed with an impartial hand the various inhabitants of his extensive diocese.’ (Gibbon). So incensed were the inhabitants that on at least one occasion he was expelled by a mob and it required troops to get him back into the bishop’s palace.

His end came with the elevation of Julian to the purple. The angry pagans of Alexandria (probably aided by Catholics) took their revenge on George by throttling the bishop and dumping his body in the sea. Emperor Julian himself sequestered the extensive library which George had acquired. Yet the notorious prelate was to achieve a nobility in death which had been denied to him in life. His family built a tomb and a church to house it at Lydda, and attracted a profitable traffic in pilgrims. The venality of his life was white-washed and, thanks to the creative scribblers for Christ two hundred years later, his name was attached to a colourful story of piety, fortitude, divine deliverance and – ultimately – a princess and a dragon. As Gibbon famously records:

‘This odious stranger disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero, and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the Garter.’


The large red Saint George's cross on a white ground remains still the ‘white ensign’ of the British Navy and it is also one of the elements which go to make up the Union "Jack".

Quite a success story for an unmitigated rogue – and bacon salesman.
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:40 pm

St. George
by Michael Collins MA (Oxon) MPhil
Copyright ©1996, 1997, 1998 Britannia Internet Magazine.

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In this short essay compiled from secondary sources, I have identified three main themes:

1. the historical St George

2. the growth and influence of legends about him in England

3. the place of St George in English history, literature and institutions

Image

Because the themes are interrelated and affect each other, I present them chronologically. An essay on the theological considerations is planned as a separate, linked page.

St George is the patron saint of England and among the most famous of Christian figures. But of the man himself, nothing is certainly known. Our earliest source, Eusebius of Caesarea, writing c. 322, tells of a soldier of noble birth who was put to death under Diocletian at Nicomedia on 23 April, 303, but makes no mention of his name, his country or his place of burial. According to the apocryphal Acts of St George current in various versions in the Eastern Church from the fifth century, George held the rank of tribune in the Roman army and was beheaded by Diocletian for protesting against the Emperor's persecution of Christians. George rapidly became venerated throughout Christendom as an example of bravery in defence of the poor and the defenceless and of the Christian faith.

George was probably first made well known in England by Arculpus and Adamnan in the early eighth century. The Acts of St George, which recounted his visits to Caerleon and Glastonbury while on service in England, were translated into Anglo-Saxon. Among churches dedicated to St George was one at Doncaster in 1061. George was adopted as the patron saint of soldiers after he was said to have appeared to the Crusader army at the Battle of Antioch in 1098. Many similar stories were transmitted to the West by Crusaders who had heard them from Byzantine troops, and were circulated further by the troubadours. When Richard 1 was campaigning in Palestine in 1191-92 he put the army under the protection of St George.

Because of his widespread following, particularly in the Near East, and the many miracles attributed to him, George became universally recognized as a saint sometime after 900. Originally, veneration as a saint was authorized by local bishops but, after a number of scandals, the Popes began in the twelfth century to take control of the procedure and to systematize it. A lesser holiday in honour of St George, to be kept on 23 April, was declared by the Synod of Oxford in 1222; and St George had become acknowledged as Patron Saint of England by the end of the fourteenth century. In 1415, the year of Agincourt, Archbishop Chichele raised St George's Day to a great feast and ordered it to be observed like Christmas Day. In 1778 the holiday reverted to a simple day of devotion for English Catholics.

The banner of St George, the red cross of a martyr on a white background, was adopted for the uniform of English soldiers possibly in the reign of Richard 1, and later became the flag of England and the White Ensign of the Royal Navy. In a seal of Lyme Regis dating from 1284 a ship is depicted bearing a flag with a cross on a plain background. During Edward III's campaigns in France in 1345-49, pennants bearing the red cross on a white background were ordered for the king's ship and uniforms in the same style for the men at arms. When Richard II invaded Scotland in 1385, every man was ordered to wear 'a signe (sic) of the arms of St George', both before and behind, whilst death was threatened against any of the enemy's soldiers 'who do bear the same crosse or token of Saint George, even if they be prisoners'.

The fame of St George throughout Europe was greatly increased by the publication of the Legenda Sanctorum (Readings on the Saints), later known as the Legenda Aurea (The Golden Legend) by James of Voragine in 1265. The name 'golden legend' does not refer to St George but to the whole collection of stories, which were said to be worth their weight in gold. It was this book which popularized the legend of George and the Dragon. The legend may have been particularly well received in England because of a similar legend in Anglo-Saxon literature. St George became a stock figure in the secular miracle plays derived from pagan sources which continued to be performed at the beginning of spring. The origin of the legend remains obscure. It is first recorded in the late sixth century and may have been an allegory of the persecution of Diocletian, who was sometimes referred to as 'the dragon' in ancient texts. The story may also be a christianized version of the Greek legend of Perseus, who was said to have rescued the virgin Andromeda from a sea monster at Arsuf or Jaffa, near Lydda (Diospolis), where the cult of St George grew up around the site of his supposed tomb.

In 1348, George was adopted by Edward III as principal Patron of his new order of chivalry, the Knights of the Garter. Some believe that the Order took its name from a pendant badge or jewel traditionally shown in depictions of Saint George. The insignia of the Order include a Collar and Badge Appendant, known as the George. The badge is of gold and presents a richly enamelled representation of St George on horseback slaying the dragon. A second medal, the Lesser George, also depicting George and the dragon, is worn attached to the Sash. The objective of the Order was probably to focus the efforts of England on further Crusades to reconquer the Holy Land. The earliest records of the Order of the Garter were destroyed by fire, but it is believed that either in 1348 or in 1344 Edward proclaimed St George Patron Saint of England. Although the cult of St George was suppressed in England at the Reformation, St George's Chapel, Windsor, completed in stages from 1483 to 1528, has remained the official seat of the Order, where its chapters assemble. The Monarch and the Prince of Wales are always members, together with 24 others and 26 Knights or Ladies Companion.

Much later, in 1818, the Prince Regent, later George IV, created the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George to recognize exemplary service in the diplomatic field. The Order was founded to commemorate the British protectorate of the Ionian islands and Malta, which had begun in 1814. Originally membership was limited to inhabitants of the islands and to Britons who had served locally. In 1879 membership was widened to include foreigners who had performed distinguished service in Commonwealth countries. The Order was reorganized by William IV into three classes: Knight Grand Cross (GCMG); Knight Commander (KCMG); and Companion (CMG). Nowadays there are women members of each class with the title 'Dame'. The medal of the Order shows St George and the Dragon on one side, and St Michael confronting the Devil on the other with the inscription,'auspicium melioris aevi' ('augury of a better age'). The Chapel of the Order is St Paul's Cathedral.

Saint George is a leading character in one of the greatest poems in the English language, Spencer's Faerie Queene (1590 and 1596). St George appears in Book 1 as the Redcrosse (sic) Knight of Holiness, protector of the Virgin. In this guise he may also be seen as the Anglican church upholding the monarchy of Elizabeth I:

But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore
And dead (as living) ever he adored.


Image

The legend of St George and the dragon took on a new lease of life during the Counter Reformation. The discoveries in Africa, India and the Americas, in areas which maps had previously shown as populated by dragons, presented vast new fields for Church missionary endeavour, and St George was once again invoked as an example of danger faced and overcome for the good of the Church. Meanwhile, the Protestant author, John Bunyan (1628-88), recalled the story of George and the Dragon in the account of the fight between Christian and Apollyon in Pilgrim's Progress (1679 and 1684).

The cult of St George was ridiculed by Erasmus after his visit (sometime between 1511 and 1513) to the saint's shrine at Canterbury, where the supposed arm of George attracted a large pilgrim traffic. Edmund Gibbon claimed that St George was originally George of Cappadocia, the Arian opponent of St Athanasius, but this theory, says Gibbon's nineteenth-century editor, J.B.Bury, 'has nothing to be said for it'. Research which established what little we actually know about the historical George was carried out around the turn of the century by the Bollandists, a scholarly society within the Jesuits. On the evidence of fourth century inscriptions found in Syria, one dating from c346, and the testimony of the pilgrim Theodosius, who visited Lydda in 530 and is the first to mention the tomb of St George, they concluded that George had indeed actually existed.

In more modern times, St George was chosen by Baden-Powell, its founder, to be patron of the Scouting Movement, and on St George's Day, scouts are bidden to remember their Promise and the Scout Law. Baden-Powell recounted in Scouting for Boys that the Knights of the Round Table 'had as their patron saint St George because he was the only one of all the saints who was a horseman. He is the patron saint of cavalry, from which the word chivalry is derived'.

In 1940, when the civilian population of Britain was subjected to mass bombing by the Luftwaffe, King George V1 instituted the George Cross for 'acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger'. The award, which is second only to the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration, is usually given to civilians and can be given posthumously. The award consists of a silver cross. On one side is depicted St George slaying the dragon, with the inscription,'For Gallantry'; on the other appear the name of the holder and the date of the award. For lesser, but still outstanding acts of courage, the King created the George Medal. This also is a silver cross, with on one side the reigning monarch and on the other St George slaying the dragon. The island of Malta was awarded the George Cross for its heroism in resisting attack during World War 11.

Some confusion has arisen from the revision of its Calendar of Saints by the Roman Catholic Church in 1969. Saints have long been honoured with different degrees of solemnity. What the Catholic Church did was to downgrade the recollection of St George to the lowest category, commemoration, an optional memorial for local observance. The Church did not abolish St George. Indeed, it maintains a fine Cathedral named for him, opposite the Imperial War Museum in London.

The reason the Church now simply commemorates St George is that, although he certainly existed, so little is definitely known about him. Most of the legends about George are apochryphal and indeed incredible. The Church has never officially held that these legends are literally true, but made use of them to illustrate some of its teachings in times when people were more comfortable with such materials. As early as 496, Pope Gelasius in De libris recipiendis includes George among those saints 'whose names are rightly reverenced among us, but whose actions are known only to God'. The virtues associated with St George, such as courage, honour and fortitude in defence of the Christian faith, indeed remain as important as ever. St George is also, of course, venerated in the Church of England, by the Orthodox churches and by the Churches of the Near East and Ethiopia. The supposed tomb of St George can still be seen at Lod, south-east of Tel-Aviv; and a convent in Cairo preserves personal objects which are believed to have belonged to George.

St George is still venerated in a large number of places, by followers of particular occupations and sufferers from certain diseases. George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to St Mark). He is patron of soldiers, cavalry and chivalry; of farmers and field workers, Boy Scouts and butchers; of horses, riders and saddlers; and of sufferers from leprosy, plague and syphilis. He is particularly the patron saint of archers, which gives special point to these famous lines from Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1, l. 31:

'I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry God for Harry, England and St George!'


Indirectly, the spirit of George the soldier saint played a part in modern English history when Sir Laurence Olivier's film of Henry V was issued in 1944 as an encouragement to our armies fighting for the liberation of France.

H.Delehaye, Les legendes grecques des saints militaires, Paris 1909
I.H.Elder, George of Lydda, 1949
E. Hoode, Guide to the Holy Land, Jerusalem 1962
G.J.Marcus, Saint George of England, 1939
Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend : Readings on the Saints, Tr. William Granger Ryan, 2 vols (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993)
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:50 pm

St. George
by New Advent (Editor: Kevin Knight)

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Martyr, patron of England, suffered at or near Lydda, also known as Diospolis, in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. According to the very careful investigation of the whole question recently instituted by Father Delehaye, the Bollandist, in the light of modern sources of information, the above statement sums up all that can safely be affirmed about St. George, despite his early cultus and pre-eminent renown both in East and West (see Delehaye, "Saints Militaires", 1909, pp.45-76).

Earlier studies of the subject have generally been based upon an attempt to determine which of the various sets of legendary "Acts" was most likely to preserve traces of a primitive and authentic record. Delehaye rightly points out that the earliest narrative known to us, even though fragments of it may be read in a palimpsest of the fifth century, is full beyond belief of extravagances and of quite incredible marvels. Three times is George put to death-chopped into small pieces, buried deep in the earth and consumed by fire -- but each time he is resuscitated by the power of God. Besides this we have dead men brought to life to be baptized, wholesale conversions, including that of "the Empress Alexandra", armies and idols destroyed instantaneously, beams of timber suddenly bursting into leaf, and finally milk flowing instead of blood from the martyr's severed head. There is, it is true, a mitigated form of the story, which the older Bollandists have in a measure taken under their protection (see Act. SS., 23 Ap., no. 159). But even this abounds both in marvels and in historical contradictions, while modern critics, like Amelineau and Delehaye, though approaching the question from very different standpoints, are agreed in thinking that this mitigated version has been derived from the more extravagant by a process of elimination and rationalization, not vice versa. Remembering the unscrupulous freedom with which any wild story, even when pagan in origin, was appropriated by the early hagiographers to the honour of a popular saint (see, for example, the case of St. Procopius as detailed in Delehaye, "Legends", ch. v) we are fairly safe in assuming that the Acts of St. George, though ancient in date and preserved to us (with endless variations) in many different languages, afford absolutely no indication at all for arriving at the saint's authentic history. This, however, by no means implies that the martyr St. George never existed. An ancient cultus, going back to a very early epoch and connected with a definite locality, in itself constitutes a strong historical argument. Such we have in the case of St. George. The narratives of the early pilgrims, Theodosius, Antoninus, and Arculphus, from the sixth to the eighth century, all speak of Lydda or Diospolis as the seat of the veneration of St. George, and as the resting-place of his remains (Geyer, "Itinera Hierosol.", 139, 176, 288). The early date of the dedications to the saint is attested by existing inscriptions of ruined churches in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and the church of St. George at Thessalonica is also considered by some authorities to belong to the fourth century. Further the famous decree "De Libris recipiendis", attributed to Pope Gelasius in 495, attests that certain apocryphal Acts of St. George were already in existence, but includes him among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are only known to God".

There seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George, even though he is not commemorated in the Syrian, or in the primitive Hieronymian Martyrologium, but no faith can be placed in the attempts that have been made to fill up any of the details of his history. For example, it is now generally admitted that St. George cannot safely be identified by the nameless martyr spoken of by Eusebius (Hist. Eccles., VIII, v), who tore down Diocletian's edict of persecution at Nicomedia. The version of the legend in which Diocletian appears as persecutor is not primitive. Diocletian is only a rationalized form of the name Dadianus. Moreover, the connection of the saint's name with Nicomedia is inconsistent with the early cultus at Diospolis.

Still less is St. George to be considered, as suggested by Gibbon, Vetter, and others, a legendary double of the disreputable bishop, George of Cappadocia, the Arian opponent of St. Athanasius. "This odious stranger", says Gibbon, in a famous passage, "disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero, and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the Garter." "But this theory, says Professor Bury, Gibbon's latest editor, "has nothing to be said for it." The cultus of St. George is too ancient to allow of such an identification, though it is not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop. Again, as Bury points out, "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth, for over against the fabulous Christian dragon-slayer Theodore of the Bithynian Heraclaea, we can set Agapetus of Synnada and Arsacius, who though celebrated as dragon-slayers, were historical persons". This episode of the dragon is in fact a very late development, which cannot be traced further back than the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is found in the Golden Legend (Historia Lombardic of James de Voragine and to this circumstance it probably owes its wide diffusion. It may have been derived from an allegorization of the tyrant Diocletian or Dadianus, who is sometimes called a dragon (ho bythios drakon) in the older text, but despite the researches of Vetter (Reinbot von Durne, pp.lxxv-cix) the origin of the dragon story remains very obscure. In any case the late occurrence of this development refutes the attempts made to derive it from pagan sources. Hence it is certainly not true, as stated by Hartland, that in George's person "the Church has converted and baptized the pagan hero Perseus" (The Legend of Perseus, iii, 38). In the East, St. George (ho megalomartyr), has from the beginning been classed among the greatest of the martyrs. In the West also his cultus is very early. Apart from the ancient origin of St. George in Velabro at Rome, Clovis (c. 512) built a monastery at Baralle in his honour (Kurth, Clovis, II, 177). Arculphus and Adamnan probably made him well known in Britain early in the eighth century. His Acts were translated into Anglo-Saxon, and English churches were dedicated to him before the Norman Conquest, for example one at Doncaster, in 1061. The crusades no doubt added to his popularity. William of Malmesbury tells us that Saints George and Demetrius, "the martyr knights", were seen assisting the Franks at the battle of Antioch, 1098 (Gesta Regum, II, 420). It is conjectured, but not proved, that the "arms of St. George " (argent, a cross, gules) were introduced about the time of Richard Coeur de Lion. What is certain is that in 1284 in the official seal of Lyme Regis a ship is represented with a plain flag bearing a cross. The large red St. George's cross on a white ground remains still the "white ensign" of the British Navy and it is also one of the elements which go to make up the Union Jack. Anyway, in the fourteenth century, "St. George's arms" became a sort of uniform for English soldiers and sailors. We find, for example, in the wardrobe accounts of 1345-49, at the time of the battle of Crecy, that a charge is made for 86 penoncells of the arms of St. George intended for the king's ship, and for 800 others for the men-at-arms (Archaeologia, XXXI, 119). A little later, in the Ordinances of Richard II to the English army invading Scotland, every man is ordered to wear "a signe of the arms of St. George" both before and behind, while the pain of death is threatened against any of the enemy's soldiers "who do bear the same crosse or token of Saint George, even if they be prisoners". Somewhat earlier than this Edward III had founded (c. 1347) the Order of the Garter, an order of knighthood of which St. George was the principal patron. The chapel dedicated to St. George in Windsor Caste was built to be the official sanctuary of the order, and a badge or jewel of St. George slaying the dragon was adopted as part of the insignia. In this way the cross of St. George has in a manner become identified with the idea of knighthood, and even in Elizabeth's days, Spenser, at the beginning of his Faerie Queene, tells us of his hero, the Red Cross Knight:

But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore
And dead (as living) ever he adored.


We are told also that the hero thought continually of wreaking vengeance:

Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.


Ecclesiastically speaking, St. George's day, 23 April, was ordered to be kept as a lesser holiday as early as 1222, in the national synod of Oxford. In 1415, the Constitution of Archbishop Chichele raised St. George's day to the rank of one of the greatest feasts and ordered it to be observed like Christmas day. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries St. George's day remained a holiday of obligation for English Catholics. Since 1778, it has been kept, like many of these older holidays, as a simple feast of devotion, though it ranks liturgically as a double of the first class with an octave.

SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON

The best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the cross, bravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection as patron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churches, honour the clergy, and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in the dragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer.

Sources

STEMMER in Kirchenlex., s.v.; DELEHAYE, Les légendes grecques des saints militaires (Paris, 1909), pp. 45-76; DELEHAYE, The Legends of the Saints (Eng. tr., London, 1907), pp. 190 and 212; STOKES in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v. Georgius (43); MATZKE, Contributions to the History of St. George in Publications of the Modern Language Association (Baltimore, 902-3), XVII, 464-535 and XVIII, 99-171; GALTIER in Bulletin del' Institut français d'archéologie orientale (Paris, 1905), IV, 220: HUBER, Zur Georgslegende (Erlangen, 1906); STRZYGOWSKI, Der Koptische Reiterheilige und der heilige Georg (Leipzig, 1902); GORRES, Ritter St. Georg in Zeitschrift f. wiss. Theologie, XVI, pp. 454 sqq.; Act SS., 23 Apr.; DILLMANN, Apok. Märtyregeschichten in the Sitzungsberichte of the Berlin Academy, 1887; AMÉLINEAU, Les Actes des Martyrs de l'Église Copte (Paris, 1890); GUTSCHMID, Die Sage Vom H. Georg in the Berichte of the Saxon Academy, XIII (Leipzig, 1861); ZARNCKE, Passio S. Georgii in the Berichte of the Saxon Academy, XXVII (Leipzig, 1875); CLERMONT-GANNEAU, Horus et St. Georges in the Revue Archeologique, new series, XXXII, pp. 196-204 and 372-99; ZWIERZINA, Bemerkungen zur Georgius-Legende in Prager deutsche Studien (Prague, 1908), VIII, 1-10; DETLEFSEN in Sitzungsberichte K.K. Acad. (Vienna, 1858), XXVIII, 386-95; VETTER. Der heilige Georg des Reinbot von Durne (Halle, 1896); WALLIS BUDGE, The Martyrdom and Miracles of St. George, the Coptic texts and translation (London, 1888); THURSTON in The Month (April, 1892); FRIEDRICH, Der geschichtliche heilige Georg in the Vienna Sitxungsberichte, 1889, II, 159-203; VESELOVSKIJ in the Sbornik of the St. Petersburg Academy (1881), XXI, 172-89; ARNDT in the Berichte of the Academy of Saxony, XXVI, pp. 49-70 (Leipzig, 1874); on St. George in Art see especially: SCHARF, On a Votive Painting of St. George and the Dragon in Archaelogia, XLIX, pp. 243-300 (London, 1885); GORDON, St. George Champion of Christendom (London, 1907); BULLEY, St. George for Merrie England (London, 1908); on the Flag and Arms of St. George: CUMBERLAND, History of the Union Jack (London, 1901); GREEN, The Union Jack (London, 1903).
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:00 pm

St. George & The Dragon
by paintedchurch.org

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Image
St George & the Dragon : Broughton, Bucks (CCT*) c.1470
Photo: T. Marshall


‘Enfors we us with all our might
To love Seint George, our Lady[’s] knight...
He keped the ma[i]d from dragon’s dred,
And fraid all France and put to flight.
At Agincourt - the crownecle ye red -
The French him see foremost in fight.
In his virtu he wol us lede
Againis the Fend, the f[o]ul wight,
And with his banner us oversprede,
If we him love with all oure might.’¹


This incomplete but splendid example of St. George fighting the Dragon fills a large area of the south wall at Broughton. The roof was restored and made lower at some time after it was painted in the later 15th century and the head and shoulders of George himself have gone as a result. Medieval artists invariably painted horses well, but here the Dragon too is very stylishly rendered indeed as St. George thrusts his spear into its mouth. The saint bears his Red Cross on his shield; his elaborate armour helps to date the painting.

But in any case, probably only after the English victory at Azincourt (Agincourt) in 1415 would St. George, who from this point effectively becomes the patron saint of England,² be painted in such bravura fashion - one 14th century painting at Little Kimble in Buckinghamshire and even shows him simply standing with spear and shield. George was said to have appeared above the Azincourt battlefield to rally the English troops, whereas in sad fact, of course, the French defeat, in which a huge proportion of the French aristocracy was wiped out, had more to do with the sodden ground and the skill of the unencumbered English longbowmen.

But English medieval church painters, to their credit, concentrated on the original Legend of the Saint in which he defeats a poison-breathing dragon that has been terrorising the neighbourhood and people. The story is in the Golden Legend and Caxton translated and printed it. The Dragon, unappeased by regular offerings of sheep, was eventually given a human victim chosen by lot. She was the king’s daughter. It was at this point in the story that George attacked the Dragon and led it captive with the princess’s girdle. He promised to destroy it completely if king and people would believe in Jesus Christ and be converted, to which condition they agreed.

One of the most interesting features of this painting is the inclusion of the princess, who is shown as a small figure at the left, in front of some faded painted buildings, probably intended for the king’s palace. To the right of her is something that looks like a lamb. If it is, then specific Christian references to the Agnus Dei and the Virgin (the virginal princess went out to meet her fate dressed as a bride) cluster around the story. It is not far from here to the idea of St. George as ‘Our Lady’s knight’, an idea which has been amplified by the recent discovery of the painting on the orb of the banner-staff in the Wilton Diptych (National Gallery, London). The inscription there reads - ‘This [England] is your dowry, O holy Virgin, wherefore O Mary, may you rule over it’.³
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:02 pm

St. George and the Dragon
by Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). Percy's source: Richard Johnson, Seven Champions of Christendome (1597).

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Of Hector's deeds did Homer sing;
And of the sack of stately Troy,
What griefs fair Helena did bring,
Which was sir Paris' only joy:
And by my pen I will recite
St. George's deeds, and English knight.

Against the Sarazens so rude
Fought he full long and many a day,
Where many gyants he subdu'd,
In honour of the Christian way:
And after many adventures past
To Egypt land he came at last.

Now, as the story plain doth tell,
Within that countrey there did rest
A dreadful dragon fierce and fell,
Whereby they were full sore opprest;
Who by his poisonous breath each day,
Did many of the city slay.


The grief whereof did grow so great
Throughout the limits of the land,
That they their wise-men did intreat
To shew their cunning out of hand;
What way they might this fiend destroy,
That did the countrey thus annoy.

The wise-men all before the king
This answer fram'd incontinent;
The dragon none to death might bring
By any means they could invent:
His skin more hard than brass was found,
That sword nor spear could pierce nor wound.

When this the people understood,
They cryed out most piteouslye,
The dragon's breath infects their blood,
That every day in heaps they dye:
Among them such a plague it bred,
The living scarce could bury the dead.

No means there were, as they could hear,
For to appease the dragon's rage,
But to present some virgin clear,
Whose blood his fury might asswage;
Each day he would a maiden eat,
For to allay his hunger great.


This thing by art the wise-men found,
Which truly must observed be;
Wherefore throughout the city round
A virgin pure of good degree
Was by the king's commission still
Taken up to serve the dragon's will.

Thus did the dragon every day
Untimely crop some virgin flowr,
Till all the maids were worn away,
And none were left him to devour:
Saving the king's fair daughter bright,
Her father's only heart's delight.

Then came the officers to the king
That heavy message to declare,
Which did his heart with sorrow sting;
"She is," quoth he, "my kingdom's heir:
0 let us all be poisoned here,
Ere she should die, that is my dear."

Then rose the people presently,
And to the king in rage they went;
They said his daughter dear should dye,
The dragon's fury to prevent:
"Our daughters all are dead," quoth they,
And have been made the dragon's prey:


And by their blood we rescued were,
And thou hast sav'd thy life thereby;
And now in sooth it is but faire,
For us thy daughter so should die."
"0 save my daughter," said the king;
And let ME feel the dragon's' sting."

Then fell fair Sabra on her knee,
And to her father dear did say,
"0 father, strive not thus for me,
But let me be the dragon's prey;
It may be, for my sake alone
This plague upon the land was thrown.


Tis better I should dye," she said,
Than all your subjects perish quite;
Perhaps the dragon here was laid,
For my offence to work his spite:
And after he hath suckt my gore,
Your land shall feel the grief no more."

"What hast thou done, my daughter dear,
For to deserve this heavy scourge ?
It is my fault, as may appear,
Which makes the gods our state to purge;
Then ought I die, to stint the strife,
And to preserve thy happy life."

Like mad-men, all the people cried,
"Thy death to us can do no good;
Our safety only doth abide
In making her the dragon's food."
"Lo! here I am, I come," quoth she,
"Therefore do what you will with me."

"Nay stay, dear daughter," quoth the queen,
"And as thou art a virgin bright,
That hast for vertue famous been,
So let me cloath thee all in white;
And crown thy head with flowers sweet,
An ornament for virgins meet."

And when she was attired so,
According to her mother's mind,
Unto the stake then did she go;
To which her tender limbs they bind
And being bound to stake a thrall
She bade farewell unto them all.

"Farewell, my father dear," quoth she,
"And my sweet mother meek and mild;
Take you no thought nor weep for me,
For you may have another child:
Since for my country's good I dye,
Death I receive most willinglye."

The king and queen and all their train
With weeping eyes went then their way,
And let their daughter there remain,
To be the hungry dragon's prey:
But as she did there weeping lye,
Behold St. George came riding by.

And seeing there a lady bright
So rudely tyed unto a stake,
As well became a valiant knight,
He straight to her his way did take
"Tell me, sweet maiden," then quoth he,
"What caitif thus abuseth thee?

And, lo! by Christ his cross I vow,
Which here is figured on my breast,
I will revenge it on his brow,
And break my lance upon his chest:"
And speaking thus whereas he stood,
The dragon issued from the wood.


The lady that did first espy
The dreadful dragon coming so,
Unto St. George aloud did cry,
And willed him away to go;
"Here comes that cursed fiend," quoth she;
"That soon will make an end of me."

St. George then looking round about,
The fiery dragon soon espy'd,
And like a knight of courage stout,
Against him did most fiercely ride;
And with such blows he did him greet,
he fell beneath his horse's feet.


For with his launce that was so strong,
As he came gaping in his face,
In at his mouth he thrust along;
For he could pierce no other place:
And thus within the lady's view
This mighty dragon straight he slew.

The savour of his poisoned breath
Could do this holy knight no harm.
Thus he the lady sav'd from death,
And home he led her by the arm;
Which when king Ptolemy did see,
There was great mirth and melody.

When as that valiant champion there
Had slain the dragon in the field,
To court he brought the lady fair,
Which to their hearts much joy did yield.
He in the court of Egypt staid
Till he most falsely was betray'd.

That lady dearly lov'd the knight,
He counted her his only joy;
But when their love was brought to light
It turn'd unto their great annoy:
Th' Morocco king was in the court,
Who to the orchard did resort,

Dayly to take the pleasant air,
For pleasure sake he us'd to walk,
Under a wall he oft did hear
St. George with lady Sabra talk:
Their love he shew'd unto the king,
Which to St. George great woe did bring.


Those kings together did devise
To make the Christian knight away,
With letters him in curteous wise
They straightway sent to Persia:
But wrote to the sophy him to kill,
And treacherously his blood to spill.

Thus they for good did him reward
With evil, and most subtilly
By much vile meanes they had regard
To work his death most cruelly;
Who, as through Persia land he rode,
With zeal destroy'd each idol god.

For which offence he straight was thrown
Into a dungeon dark and deep;
Where, when he thought his wrongs upon,
He bitterly did wail and weep:
Yet like a knight of courage stout,
At length his way he digged out.

Three grooms of the king of Persia
By night this valiant champion slew,
Though he had fasted many a day;
And then away from thence he flew

On the best steed the sophy had;
Which when he knew he was full mad.

Towards Christendom he made his flight,
But met a gyant by the way,
With whom in combat he did fight
Most valiantly a summer's day:
Who yet, for all his bats of steel,
Was forc'd the sting of death to feel.

Back o'er the seas with many bands
Of warlike souldiers soon he past,
Vowing upon those heathen lands
To work revenge; which at the last,
Ere thrice three years were gone and spent,
He wrought unto his heart's content.

Save onely Egypt land he spar'd
For Sabra bright her only sake,

And, ere for her he had regard,
He meant a tryal kind to make:
Mean while the king o'ercome in field
Unto Saint George did quickly yield.

Then straight Morocco's king he slew,
And took fair Sabra to his wife,
But meant to try if she were true
Ere with her he would lead his life:
And, tho' he had her in his train,
She did a virgin pure remain.


Toward England then that lovely dame
The brave St. George conducted strait,
An eunuch also with them came,
Who did upon the lady wait;
These three from Egypt went alone.
Now mark St. George's valour shown.

When as they in a forest were,
The lady did desire to rest;
Mean while St. George to kill a deer,
For their repast did think it best:
Leaving her with the eunuch there,
Whilst he did go to kill the deer.

But lo! all in his absence came
Two hungry lyons fierce and fell,
And tore the eunuch on the same
in pieces small, the truth to tell;
Down by the lady then they laid,
Whereby they shew'd, she was a maid.


But when he came from hunting back,
And did behold this heavy chance,
Then for his lovely virgin's sake
His courage strait he did advance,
And came into the lions' sight,
Who ran at him with all their might.

Their rage did him no whit dismay,
Who, like a stout and valiant knight,
Did both the hungry lyons slay
Within the lady Sabra's sight:
Who all this while sad and demure
There stood most like a virgin pure.

Now when St. George did surely know
This lady was a virgin true,
His heart was glad, that erst was woe,
And all his love did soon renew:
He set her on a palfrey steed,
And towards England came with speed.

Where being in short space arriv'd
Unto his native dwelling-place;
Therein with his dear love he livd,
And fortune did his nuptials grace:
They many years of joy did see,
And led their lives at Coventry.
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:04 pm

St. George Dedicating Himself to the Virgin
by paintedchurch.org

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Image
St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin, Astbury, Cheshire (‡Chester) Later C.15
Photo: T. Marshall


A rare English sighting of St. George without the Dragon, but with some other very uncommon contextual details.¹ At the far left and shown left below, George kneels, accompanied by a priest in a white robe and a red-brown cowl, before an altar beside which the Virgin stands at the extreme left. She has almost disappeared, but something of two angels accompanying her, particularly their narrow, diagonally-angled wings, can still be seen. St. George has laid aside his shield for this act of dedication, and it stands, its red cross still detectable, to the right of the priest.

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In the center of the painting and shown here below is George’s white horse, saddled and ready. The horizon(?) visible here may show buildings, but it is difficult to be sure.

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The scene to the right (detail below) has George standing with a lance, with a kneeling female figure who is almost certainly the the princess in his story, and who is about to become the Dragon’s next victim unless George intervenes. A structure to the right of the princess may be intended for a stone doorway or tower.

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It may be that this painting is meant, unusually, to be read from right to left, and that this depiction of the kneeling princess is intended to show her entreating George’s help in the beginning, after which George prays for the assistance of Christ and the Virgin before the combat. On the other hand, the princess may be kneeling in gratitude before her victorious champion. There may once have been other scenes, including the Dragon, painted elsewhere on this north wall, but there is nothing else left now.

There are, however, many other interesting medieval features at Astbury, including a fine stained glass panel showing St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read. The sculpted heads, especially those in the central aisle of the nave are superbly expressive (their expressions are, it must be said, exceptionally grave and serious - no amusing grotesques here). But this is the work of a remarkable craftsman creating images of what were obviously real people. The carved heads behind the altar are modern, but the medieval artist has clearly inspired the modern one.

¹St. Anietus’ church, St. Neot’s, Cornwall has a very full cycle of the Life of St. George in early 16th century stained glass (I have not seen it)

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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:35 pm

St. George, Patron Saint of Scouting
by pinetreeweb.com

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"Prepared and alert a Scout follows the lead
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed."
- Baden-Powell in "Scouting for Boys"


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Two Drawings of Scouts in the role of Saint George.
From Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys (1908)


SAINT GEORGE AND SCOUTING FOR BOYS

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote of chivalry and the knights of old. He tried to show Scouts a new path to chivalry and honor. Saint George was the Patron Saint of England, and of the Knights of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in Europe. They were familiar subjects to most English boys when B-P was writing. Here is what he wrote:

ST. GEORGE

They (the knights of the Round Table) had as their patron saint St. George, because he was the only one of all the saints who was a horseman. He is the Patron Saint of cavalry from which the word Chivalry is derived, and the special saint of England.

He is also the Patron Saint of Boy Scouts everywhere. Therefore, all Scouts should know his story.

St. George was born in Cappadocia in the year AD 303. He enlisted as a cavalry soldier when he was seventeen, and soon became renowned for his bravery.

On one occasion he came to a city named Selem, near which lived a dragon who had to be fed daily with one of the citizens, drawn by lot.

The day St. George came there, the lot had fallen upon the king's daughter, Cleolinda. St. George resolved that she should not die, and so he went out and attacked the dragon, who lived in a swamp close by, and killed him.

When he was faced by a difficulty or danger, however great it appeared—even in the shape of a dragon—he did not avoid it or fear it, but went at it with all the power he could put into himself and his horse. Although inadequately armed for such an encounter, having merely a spear, he charged in, did his best, and finally succeeded in overcoming a difficulty which nobody had dared to tackle.

That is exactly the way in which a Scout should face a difficulty or danger, no matter how great or terrifying it may appear to him or how ill-equipped he may be for the struggle.

He should go at it boldly and confidently, using every power that he can to try to overcome it, and the probability is that he will succeed.

St. George's Day is April 23rd, and on that day all Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and of the Scout Law. Not that a Scout every forgets either, but on St. George's Day he makes a special point of thinking about them. Remember this when April 23rd comes round again.


SAINT GEORGE AND UKRAINIAN SCOUTING

To this day, Saint George continues as the Patron Saint of Scouting in many lands. His place in English Scouting is part of a national tradition. But here is an example from a distant land, Ukraine in Eastern Europe.

The illustration and the story are from "Ukrainian Scouting," the newsletter of Plast-Scouting in Ukraine.

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ST. GEORGE PATRON SAINT OF UKRAINIAN SCOUTS, AND THE ANNUAL SPRING FESTIVAL

Saint George, a mythical saint from Cappadokia (in modern-day central Turkey), usually portrayed on a horse with his spear piercing a dragon, has been revered in Ukraine since the great prince of Kyiv, Volodymyr the Great, established Christianity as the official state religion of the Kyivan Empire in 988 AD. St. George churches and icons are very popular in Ukraine.

For Ukrainians, St. George symbolizes purity of spirit, selfless devotion to the protection of their country and boundless courage and valor in the service of goodness and purity.

No wonder then that Ukrainian scouts adopted St. George as their patron saint. The feast of St. George falls in May. That date is celebrated by the Ukrainian "plastuny" as both the St. George’s day and the Festival of Spring—the yearly beginning of the camping and hiking season.

A weekend in May is usually selected for the "Sviato Vesny" (the Spring Festival). Scouts go out into the nature, to their camping-sites, into woods, or mountains, where they set up their tents, hold sport events, cookouts, campfires, various competitions, exercises and various other activities.

Special events of this festival often include some very old (pre-Christian) dances (called "vesnianky" and "hahilky") — which, for many thousands of years, have been held in springtime in Ukraine, during the Christian era as part of the Easter ceremonies. They take their origin in ancient pagan worship of such deities of spring as: Lada, Yarylo, etc. Special music, songs, and various rituals accompany these dances, which underlie the essential unity of man and nature and go back to the ancient Ukrainian traditions of striving to preserve nature and natural environment.

This year, as the years past, scouts in Ukraine held their annual Spring Festival, honoring St. George, as an example to scouts of valor and good deeds.


ST. GEORGE AND HUNGARIAN SCOUTING

Magyar Cserkészszövetség, the Hungarian Scout Association (HSA), observes Saint George's Day as do Scouts of many lands. The drawing below is from their home page.

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Drawing of Sankt Gyorgy, Saint George, Patron Saint of Scouting

SAINT GEORGE IN RUSSIA

Saint George is the Patron Saint of Scouting. His feast day on April 23rd is celebrated by Scouts in many lands, including Russia. Icons of Saint George have been important in the Russian Orthodox Church since early times. These icons come from the Novgorod Icon Gallery of the Novgorod State University in Russia and date from the 12th to the 16th century.
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:59 pm

Images of St. George Throughout the Ages: Eastern Icons
by David Woods

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YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. c.1130-50

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. c.1170

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Early 15th cent.

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Early 15th cent

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Early 14th cent.

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Late 15th cent.

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Early 16th cent.

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Icon from Novgorod, Russia. Early 16th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. 14th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. 15th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. Late 15th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. Early 16th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. 15th cent.

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Icon from Ukraine. Early 16th cent.

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Late 12th-century, mosaic on wood icon (136 x 65cm), from the Xenophontos Monastery. A companion piece depicts St. Demetrius in similar fashion. See the Treasures of Mt. Athos.

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13th-century, wood-relief icon from the Byzantine Museum of Athens.

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14th-century icon from The Zograph Monastery of St. George, Mt. Athos.

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Painting of St. George, c.1500-20, at The Monastery of St. John, Patmos, Greece.

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Early 16th-century tempera icon (37" x 27 9/16"), from Russia, Novgorod School, now in The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas.

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Late 17th-century tempera icon (43 5/16" x 27 9/16"), from Greece, now in the Roger Cabal Collection, Paris.

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Icon of St. George by Constantine Adrianopolites, dating 1746, from the Patriarchal Church of St. George, Constantinople.

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Icon of St. George by Emmanuel Tzanes (1660-80), now housed in the Church of San Salvatore, Chania, Crete.

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Marble relief plaque (70 x 65cm), dated 1820, from the Monastery of St.Paul, Mt. Athos. See the Treasures of Mt. Athos.

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19th-century (?) icon from Church of St. George, Ain Bourdai, Lebanon. Now in Church of St. George, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:35 am

St. George With the Princess
by paintedchurch.org

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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St George, with the Princess: Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire (Oxford) C.14
Photo: T. Marshall


This is the church of All Saints (there is also a church dedicated to St. Nicholas in Little Kimble), and it still retains many of the paintings of saints which would once have covered the walls. All are fine paintings by an anonymous but very accomplished 14th-century artist.

The elegantly posed saint, standing with shield and lance, rather than on horseback, wears the chainmail armour of the earlier fourteenth century. His white surcoat and the shield in his left hand bear his red cross, and this is repeated in the square ailletes he wears on his shoulders. Beside his right hand is another shield, very obscure now, but once bearing the three lions passant gardant of England. Below the figure, in Lombardic capitals, is an identifying inscription reading GEORGIUS.

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There is no sign of the Dragon, although this might once have been shown somewhere near the saint’s right foot. The Princess, however, saved by George from becoming a propitiatory sacrifice to the Dragon, is painted at the upper right. Tristram described her as “holding in her right hand a ball from which hangs in festoon a long thread, its end held in her other hand.”¹. The enlarged detail shown at the right seems to bear this out, but it is much harder to be sure what the details of the ‘ball and thread’ imply. Spinning is an obvious possibility, although the posture seems wrong for that, but in any case, according to the story (more details of which are on the page for St. George at Broughton), the princess, when all had ended happily, led the Dragon by her girdle.

This is what is happening here, I think, and there may even be an element of deliberate mockery in the princess’s triumphantly graceful pose, grasping the ‘reins’ of her vanquished enemy.

The other paintings in the church, which include a St. Francis Preaching to the Birds and a Burial of St. Catherine, are equally skilled and show a similar eye for the telling details of narrative. Three hundred years after they were made, All Saints would become the parish church of the Buckinghamshire landowner John Hampden, who famously defied King Charles 1 over Ship Money.
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Re: "Saint George": The Pork Salesman Who Became England's P

Postby admin » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:45 am

The Birth of St. George
by Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). Percy's source: Richard Johnson, Seven Champions of Christendome (1597).

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Listen, lords, in bower and hall,
I sing the wonderous birth
Of brave St. George, whose valorous arm
Rid monsters from the earth:

Distressed ladies to relieve
He travell'd many a day;
In honour of the Christian faith,
Which shall endure for aye.

In Coventry sometime did dwell
A knight of worthy fame,
High steward of this noble realme;
Lord Albert was his name.

He had to wife a princely dame,
Whose beauty did excell.
This virtuous lady, being with child,
In sudden sadness fell:

For thirty nights no sooner sleep
Had clos'd her wakeful eyes,
But, lo! a foul and fearful dream
Her fancy would surprize:

She dreamt a dragon fierce and fell
Conceiv'd within her womb;
Whose mortal fangs her body rent
Ere he to life could come.


All woe-begone, and sad was she;
She nourisht constant woe:
Yet strove to hide it from her lord,
Lest he should sorrow know.

In vain she strove, her tender lord,
Who watch'd her slightest look,
Discover'd soon her secret pain,
And soon that pain partook.

And when to him the fearful cause
She weeping did impart,
With kindest speech he strove to heal
The anguish of her heart.

Be comforted, my lady dear,
Those pearly drops refrain;
Betide me weal, betide me woe,
I'll try to ease thy pain.

And for this foul and fearful dream,
That causeth all thy woe,
Trust me I'll travel far away
But I'll the meaning knowe.

Then giving many a fond embrace,
And shedding many a teare,
To the weïrd lady of the woods
He purpos'd to repaire.

To the weïrd lady of the woods,
Full long and many a day,
Thro' lonely shades, and thickets rough
He winds his weary way.


At length he reach'd a dreary dell
With dismal yews o'erhung;
Where cypress spred it's mournful boughs,
And pois'nous nightshade sprung.

No chearful gleams here pierc'd the gloom,
He hears no chearful sound;
But shrill night-ravens' yelling scream,
And serpents hissing round.

The shriek of fiends, and damned ghosts
Ran howling thro' his ear:
A chilling horror froze his heart,
Tho' all unus'd to fear.

Three times he strives to win his way,
And pierce those sickly dews:
Three times to bear his trembling corse
His knocking knees refuse.

At length upon his beating breast
He signs the holy crosse;
And, rouzing up his wonted might,
He treads th' unhallow'd mosse.

Beneath a pendant craggry cliff,
All vaulted like a grave,
And opening in the solid rock,
He found the inchanted cave.

An iron gate clos'd up the mouth,
All hideous and forlorne;
And, fasten'd by a silver chain,
Near hung a brazed horne.

Then offering up a secret prayer,
Three times he blowes amaine:
Three times a deepe and hollow sound
Did answer him againe.

"Sir knight, thy lady beares a son,
Who, like a dragon bright,
Shall prove most dreadful to his foes,
And terrible in fight.

His name advanc'd in future times
On banners shall be worn:
But lo! thy lady's life must passe
Before he can be born."


All sore opprest with fear and doubt
Long time lord Albert stood;
At length he winds his doubtful way
Back thro' the dreary wood.

Eager to clasp his lovely dame
Then fast he travels back:
But when he reach'd his castle gate,
His gate was hung with black.

In every court and hall he found
A sullen silence reigne;
Save where, amid the lonely towers,
He heard her maidens' plaine;

And bitterly lament and weep,
With many a grievous grone:
Then sore his bleeding heart misgave,
His lady's life was gone.

With faultering step he enters in,
Yet half affraid to goe;
With trembling voice asks why they grieve,
Yet fears the cause to knowe.

"Three times the sun hath rose and set;"
They said, then stopt to weep:
"Since heaven hath laid thy lady deare
In death's eternal sleep.

For, ah! in travel sore she fell,
So sore that she must dye;
Unless some shrewd and cunning leech
Could ease her presentlye.

But when a cunning leech was fet,
Too soon declared he,
She, or her babe must lose its life;
Both saved could not be.

Now take my life, thy lady said,
My little infant save:
And 0 commend me to my lord,
When I am laid in grave.


0 tell him how that precious babe
Cost him a tender wife
And teach my son to lisp her name,
Who died to save his life.

Then calling still upon thy name,
And praying still for thee;
Without repining or complaint,
Her gentle soul did flee."

What tongue can paint lord Albret's woe,
The bitter tears he shed,
The bitter pangs that wrung his heart,
To find his lady dead?

He beat his breast: he tore his hair;
And shedding many a tear,
At length he askt to see his son;
The son that cost so dear.

New sorrowe seiz'd the damsells all:
At length they faultering say;
"Alas! my lord, how shall we tell?
Thy son is stoln away.

Fair as the sweetest flower of spring,
Such was his infant mien:
And on his little body stampt
Three wonderous marks were seen:

A blood-red cross was on his arm;
A dragon on his breast:
A little garter all of gold
Was round his leg exprest.

Three carefull nurses we provide
Our little lord to keep:
One gave him sucke, one gave him food,
And one did lull to sleep.

But lo! all in the dead of night,
We heard a fearful sound:
Loud thunder clapt; the castle shook;
And lightning flasht around.

Dead with affright at first we lay;
But rousing up anon,
We ran to see our little lord:
Our little lord was gone!

But how or where we could not tell;
For lying on the ground,
In deep and magic slumbers laid,
The nurses there we found."

"0 grief on grief!" lord Albret said:
No more his tongue cou'd say,
When falling in a deadly swoone,
Long time he lifeless lay.

At length restor'd to life and sense
He nourisht endless woe,
No future joy his heart could taste,
No future comfort know.

So withers on the mountain top
A fair and stately oake,
Whose vigorous arms are torne away,
By some rude thunder-stroke.

At length his castle irksome grew,
He loathes his wonted home;
His native country he forsakes
In foreign lands to roame.

There up and downe he wandered far,
Clad in a palmer's gown;
Till his brown locks grew white as wool,
His beard as thistle down.

At length, all wearied, down in death
He laid his reverend head.
Meantime amid the lonely wilds
His litttle son was bred.

There the weïrd lady of the woods
Had borne him far away,
And train'd him up in feates of armes,
And every martial play.
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