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Patronages of Saint George

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Saint George of Lydda
Icon8.jpg
Icon of St. George (Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens)
Martyr
Born between ca. AD 275 and 285, Nicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire
Died April 23, 303,
Lydda, Iudaea, Roman Empire
Venerated in Anglicanism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Lutheranism
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism
Major shrine Church of Saint George, Lod
Feast April 23
Patronage agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Bavaria, Germany; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians (Brazilian football team); Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj; Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights[1]

As a highly celebrated saint in both the Western and Eastern Christian churches, a large number of Patronages of Saint George exist throughout the world, and his iconography can be found on the flags and coat of arms of a number of cities and countries.[2][3]

Belgium

In Mons (Belgium),[4] Saint Georges is honoured each year on Trinity Sunday. In the heart of the city, a reconstitution (known as the “Combat dit Lumeçon”) of the fight between Saint Georges and the dragon is played by 46 actors.[5] According to the tradition, the inhabitants of Mons try to get a piece of the dragon during the fight. This will bring luck for one year to the ones succeeding in this challenge. This event is part of the annual Ducasse and is attended by thousands of people.

Brazil

As part of the Portuguese Empire, Brazil inherited the devotion to Saint George, as patron saint of Portugal. In the religious traditions of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda, Ogum (as this Yoruba divinity is known in the Portuguese language) is often identified with Saint George in many regions of the country, being widely celebrated by both religions' followers. Popular devotion to Saint George is very strong in Rio de Janeiro, where the saint vies in popularity with the city's official patron Saint Sebastian, both saints' feast days being local holidays.
Saint George is also the patron saint of the football club Corinthians, of São Paulo. The club stadium is also known as Parque São Jorge (Saint George's Park, in Portuguese).[6]

Bulgaria

St George and the Dragon (Sozopol)

Mural above the entrance to a church in Sozopol, Bulgaria

St. George is praised by the Bulgarians as "liberator of captives, and defender of the poor, physician of the sick". For centuries he has been considered by the Bulgarians as their protector. Possibly the most celebrated name day in the country, St George's Day (Гергьовден, Gergyovden) is a public holiday that takes place on 6 May every year. A common ritual is to prepare and eat a whole lamb. St. George is the patron saint of farmers and shepherds.[7]

St. George's Day is also the Day of the Bulgarian Army (made official with a decree of Knyaz Alexander of Bulgaria on 9 January 1880) and parades are organised in the capital Sofia to present the best of the army's equipment and manpower.

Canada

St George’s Day is a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador that is observed on the Monday closest to April 23 each year.

Saint George's Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto serves the oldest Greek Orthodox community in Canada.

England

File:SVH06 2.jpg

Traces of the cult of St George predate the Norman Conquest, in ninth-century liturgy used at Durham Cathedral, in a tenth-century Anglo-Saxon martyrology, and in dedications to Saint George at Fordingham, Dorset, at Thetford, Southwark and Doncaster. He received further impetus when the crusaders returned from the Holy Land in the 12th century. King Edward III (reigned 1327 – 1377) was known for promoting the codes of knighthood and in 1348 founded the Order of the Garter. During his reign, George came to be recognised as the patron saint of the English monarchy; prior to this, Saint Edmund had been considered the patron saint of England, although his veneration had waned since the time of the Norman conquest, and his cult was partly eclipsed by that of Edward the Confessor. Edward dedicated the chapel at Windsor Castle to the soldier saint who represented the knightly values of chivalry which he so much admired, and the Garter ceremony takes place there every year. In the 16th century, William Shakespeare firmly placed St George within the national conscience in his play Henry V in which the English troops are rallied with the cry “God for Harry, England and St George,” and Edmund Spenser included St. George (Redcross Knight) as a central figure in his epic poem The Faerie Queen.

Saint George and the Dragon alabaster sculpture

Saint George and the Dragon, tinted alabaster, English, ca 1375–1420 (National Gallery of Art, Washington).

In 1963, in the Roman Catholic Church, St George was demoted to a third class minor saint and removed from the Universal Calendar, with the proviso that he could be honoured in local calendars. Pope John Paul II, in 2000, restored St George to the Calendar, and he appears in Missals as the English Patron Saint.

With the revival of Scottish and Welsh nationalism, there has been renewed interest within England in Saint George, whose memory had been in abeyance for many years. This is most evident in the St George's flags which now have replaced Union Flags in stadiums where English sports teams compete. St George's Day is celebrated each year in London with a day of celebration run by the Greater London Authority and the London Mayor. The UK Houses of Parliament also celebrate St. George's Day each year with a reception and other events, organised by the St.George's Day All Party Parliamentary Group, including providing every MP with a red rose to wear in his/her lapel.

The City of Salisbury holds an annual St George’s Day pageant, the origins of which are believed to go back to the thirteenth century.[1][2] [3][4] [5][6] [7]

Georgia

Alaverdichurch

Alaverdi Monastery of Kakheti, in Georgia.

Saint George is a patron saint of Georgia. According to Georgian author Enriko Gabisashvili, Saint George is most venerated in the nation of Georgia. An 18th century Georgian geographer and historian Vakhushti Bagrationi wrote that there are 365 Orthodox churches in Georgia named after Saint George according to the number of days in one year. [8][9][10] There are indeed many churches in Georgia named after the Saint and Alaverdi Monastery is one of the largest.

The Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates St. George's day twice a year, on May 6 (O.C. April 23) and November 23. The feast day in November was instituted by St Nino of Cappadocia, who was credited with bringing Christianity to the land of Georgia in the fourth century. She was from Cappadocia, like Saint George, and was his relative. This feast day is unique to Georgia and it is the day of St George's martyrdom.

Greater coat of arms of Georgia

White George on the coat of arms of Georgia.

There are also many folk traditions in Georgia that vary from Georgian Orthodox Church rules, because they portray the Saint differently than the Church does and show the veneration of Saint George in common people of Georgia. Different regions of Georgia have different traditions and in most folk tales Saint George is venerated very highly, almost as much as Jesus Christ himself. In the province of Kakheti province, there is an icon of St George known as "White George". This image of White George is also seen on the current Coat of Arms of Georgia. The region of Pshavi have icons of known as the Cuppola St. George and Lashari St. George. The Khevsureti region has "Kakhmati", "Gudani", and "Sanebi" icons dedicated to the Saint. The Pshavs and Khevsurs, during the Middle Ages used to refer to Saint George almost as much as praying to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Another notable icon is known as the "Lomisi Saint George" which can be found in the Mtiuleti and Khevi provinces of Georgia.[8]

StGeorge

Statue of Saint George in the Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia

An example of folk tale about St. George: Once the Lord Jesus Christ, the prophet Elias and Saint George were going through Georgia. When they became tired and hungry they stopped to dine. They saw a Georgian shepherd man and decided to ask him to feed them. First, Elias went up to the shepherd and asked him for a sheep. After the shepherd asked his identity Elias said that, he was the one who sent him rain to get him a good profit from farming. The shepherd became angry at him and told him that he was the one who also sent thunderstorms, which destroyed the farms of poor widows.

After Elias, Jesus Christ himself went up to the shepherd and asked him for a sheep and told him that he was God, the creator of everything. The shepherd became angry at Jesus and told him that he is the one who takes the souls away of young men and grants long lives to many dishonest people.

After Elias and Christ's unsuccessful attempts, St George went up to the shepherd, asked him for a sheep and told him that he is Saint George who the shepherd calls upon every time when he has troubles and St. George protect him from all the evil and saves him from troubles. After hearing St George, the shepherd fell down on his knees and adored him and gave him everything. This folk tale shows the veneration of St George in the Middle Ages provinces of Georgia and similar tales are told in the northern mountainous parts of the country.[8]

Some interesting tales come from Georgian sources, some of which are also attested to by Persian ones, that the Georgian Army during many battles was led by a knight on a white horse who came down from Heaven. Catholicos Besarion of Georgia also testified of this.

Order of St. George, 1st class 2

Cross of St. George, Russian imperial decoration for military heroism.

India

There are numerous churches dedicated to Saint George in India (especially in Kerala) practising Oriental Orthodoxy.There are also countless shrines to St. George in Kerala, India. On the banks of the Kodoor river in the district of Kottayam in Kerala, the village of Puthupally famous for the 16th-century St. George Orthodox Syrian Church. The feast of this church, held in May 6th and May 7th, is famous and attracts a lot of pilgrims from all over Kerala. It is one of the famous pilgrim centers of Saint George, in India. Here they celebrate his feast on the first Saturday and Sunday during the month of May. [8]

A famous Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint George in Puthiyathura, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, is a pilgrim centre with an annual St George's Day celebration. In Tamilnadu-Kanyakumari District-Nagercoil Town-Thalavaipuram-a famous church for St George and the people of the town celebrates the feast of St George for ten days from the second friday of May every year.

Italy

In Italy, Saint George is one of the Patron Saints of Locorotondo, Genoa, Milan, as well as the patron saint of Ferrara and Reggio Calabria. [11] The historical bank that was the backbone of the Republic of Genoa, "Repubblica Marinara di Genova", was dedicated to St George, "Banco di San Giorgio". The power of the Repubblica passing from commerce to banking, Genoa lent money to all the European countries and sovereigns, so the power of the "Repubblica" was identified with its patron saint.[12]

Throughout the province of Ferrara the cult of Saint George is remarkable for a medieval belief that the dragon Saint George defeated inhabited the Po. Actually the dragon has to be considered as a metaphor for the fear of Po river frequent floods that threatened to completely destroy Ferrara and the small hamlets next to it. The former cathedral and the newer 12th century basilique cathedral of the city (Ferrara Cathedral) are both dedicated to the legendary Saint. Further notable churches named after the cappadocian saint are in the Province of Ragusa, in the southern part of Sicily, in the cities of Modica (whose patron is St. George) and in Ragusa. Both of them are in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

Lebanon

St George Donatello Orsanmichele n1

Saint George Donatello, Florence

Saint George is the patron saint of Beirut, Lebanon.[13] Many bays around Lebanon are named after Saint George, particularly the Saint George Bay in Beirut.

The Saint George Bay in Beirut is believed to be the place where the dragon lived and where it was slain.[14] In Lebanon, Saint George is believed to have cleaned off his spear at a massive rocky cave running into the hillside and overlooking the beautiful Jounieh Bay. Others argue it is at the Bay of Tabarja. The waters of both caves are believed to have miraculous powers for healing ailing children.[14]

An ancient gilded icon of St. George at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Beirut has been a major attraction for : Greek Orthodox, Copts, Catholics, Maronites and some Muslims, for many centuries.[14] Many churches are named in honor of the saint in Lebanon.

Malta

George Cross Malta

The George Cross appears on the flag of Malta.

Saint George is also one of the patron saints of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. In a battle between the Maltese and the Moors, Saint George was alleged to have been seen with Saint Paul and Saint Agata, protecting the Maltese. Two parishes are dedicated to Saint George in Malta and Gozo, the Parish of Qormi, Malta and the Parish of Victoria, Gozo. Besides being the patron of Victoria where a St. George's Basilica, Malta is dedicated to him, St George is the protector of the island Gozo.[15]

The George Cross was awarded to the entire island of Malta for their courage and endurance during World War II. In a letter dated 15 April 1942, King George VI, stated: "To honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history." Since that time, the George Cross has appeared on the Flag of Malta.

Ossetia

St. George is identified with the Nart Uastyrdzhi in Ossetian tradition and as such the main patron of North Ossetia.

Palestine

La tomba di San Giorgio (Lod, Israele) 01

Tomb of Saint George in Lod, Israel

St-george-monastery2

St. George's Monastery in the Wadi Qelt

The Feast of Saint George is celebrated by both the Palestinian Christians, whose patron saint is George, and many Muslims, especially in the areas around Bethlehem where he is believed to have lived in his childhood. Christian houses can be identified with a stone-engraved picture of the saint (known as Mar Jirjes) in front of their homes for his protection. In one hotel in Bethlehem, Saint George appears over the lift, as well as many other places throughout the structure.

In the town of Beit Jala, just west of Bethlehem stands a statue of Saint George carved of stone depicting the saint on his horse while fighting the dragon. The statue stands in the town's main square.

There is also a mid-sized town just west of Bethlehem named al-Khader in his honour. The town contains a 16th century monastery known as the Monastery of Saint George. In the Wadi Qelt near Jericho stands the St. George's Monastery.

Portugal

LisbonCastle

St. George Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Apparently, the English crusaders who helped King Afonso Henriques (1109–1185) in the conquest of Lisbon in 1147, introduced a devotion to Saint George to Portugal. Nevertheless, it was not until the time of King Afonso IV (1291–1357) that the use of São Jorge!! (Saint George) as a battle cry, substituted for the former Sant'Iago!! (Saint James). Nuno Álvares Pereira (1360–1431), Saint Constable of Portugal, considered Saint George the leader of the Portuguese victory in the battle of Aljubarrota. King John I (1357–1433) was also a devotee of the saint and was in his reign that Saint George replaced Saint James as the main patron saint of Portugal. In 1387, he ordered that its image on horse be carried in the Corpus Christi procession.[16]

Serbia

Đurđevi stupovi, November 2005

Đurđevi stupovi, Orthodox Church dedicated to Saint George, in the ancient city of Ras in Serbia. Built during the 12th-century by the Serbian King Stefan Nemanja

"Đurđevdan" (Serbian: Ђурђевдан – George's day) is a Serbian religious holiday, celebrated on April 23 by the Julian calendar (May 6 by Gregorian calendar), which is the feast of Saint George and a very important Slava. He is one of the most important Christian saints in Orthodox churches. This holiday is attached to the tradition of celebrating the beginning of spring. Christian synaxaria hold that St. George was a martyr who died for his faith. On icons, he is usually depicted as a man riding a horse and killing a dragon. Đurđevdan is celebrated all over the Serbian diaspora but mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Serbian Language St. George is called Sveti Đorđe (Serbian Cyrillic: Свети Ђорђе).[17]

Spain

In Spain, Saint George also came to be considered as the patron saint of the medieval Crown of Aragon, the territory of four current autonomous communities of Spain: Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Nowadays Saint George is the saint patron of both Aragon and Catalonia, as well as the saint patron of historically important Spanish towns such as Cáceres or Alcoi (Spanish language: San Jorge, Catalan language: Sant Jordi, Aragonese language: San Chorche).[18]

His feast date, April 23, is one of the most important holidays in Catalonia, where it is traditional to give a present to the loved one; red roses for women and books for men. In Aragon it is a public holiday, celebrated as the 'National Day of Aragon'. It is also a public holiday in Castile and Leon, where the day commemorates the defeat at the Revolt of the Comuneros.

United States

St George is the patron saint of the Boy Scouts of America.[19]

Organisations

Scouting

File:StGeorgeberlin.jpg

St George's Day is also celebrated with parades in those countries of which he is the patron saint. Also, St George is the patron saint of Scouting. [20] On St George's day (or the closest Sunday), Scouts in some countries choose to take part in a parade and some kind of church service in which they renew their Scout Promise. In the United States, both the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church (in both the Roman Rite and in Eastern Rites) offer a Saint George Award to adults; Orthodox Churches offer a Saint George Award to Cub Scouts.[21]

Others

He is also the patron saint of skin disease sufferers and syphilitic people.[9]

Also, Romani people in Eastern Europe consider him to be their saint patron. They celebrate his day named Ederlezi at the night from 5 to 6 May.

See also

References

  1. Saint George at Patron Saints Index
  2. Graham Seal, 2001n Encyclopedia of folk heroes ISBN 1576072169 page 85
  3. Robin Cormack, Icons, Harvard University Press, 2007 ISBN 0674026195 page 69
  4. Mons.be - Site officiel de la Ville de Mons
  5. Doudou - Mons - Le Doudou, Ducasse Rituelle de Mons - La Procession du Car d'Or et le Combat dit "Lumeçon" BLOG
  6. Brazilian legacies By Robert M. Levine Published by M.E. Sharpe, 1997 ISBN 0765600099 page 139
  7. The entry of the Slavs into Christendom By A. P. Vlasto Published by CUP Archive, 1970 ISBN 0521074592 page 300
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Gabidzashvili, Enriko. 1991. Saint George: In Ancient Georgian Literature. Armazi – 89: Tbilisi, Georgia.
  9. F. J. Foakes-Jackson, A History of the Christian Church, Published by Cosimo, Inc., 2005 ISBN 1596054522 page 556
  10. Antony Eastmond, Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia, Penn State Press, 1998 ISBN 0271016280 page 119
  11. Lewis Lockwood, Music in Renaissance Ferrara Oxford University Press, 2009 ISBN 019537827X page 26
  12. Before the industrial revolution, By Carlo M. Cipolla, Published by Routledge, 1993 ISBN 0415090059 page 38
  13. BBC News | ENGLAND | St George comes under fire
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Saudi Aramco World : St. George The Ubiquitous
  15. Arthur de Bles, 2004 How to Distinguish the Saints in Art ISBN 141790870X page 86
  16. Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages, By A. H. de Oliveira Marques, Vitor Andre, S. S. Wyatt Published by Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1971 ISBN 0299055841 page 216
  17. Historical dictionary of Kosova By Robert Elsie Published by Scarecrow Press, 2004 ISBN 0810853094, page 162
  18. Christian Roy, 2005, Traditional Festivals ISBN 9781576070895 page 408
  19. "St. George, Patron Saint of Scouting". http://pinetreeweb.com/stgeorge.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  20. Michael Freze, Patron Saints, OSV Publishing, 1992 ISBN 0879734647, page 43
  21. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/04-400.pdf

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