We all know the basic story of St George, right? English knight who slayed a dragon. Or, wait, there’s a dragon on the Welsh flag, so is that a different myth? Was the dragon Welsh? How do you get to be a saint for slaying a dragon? I thought saints tended to be suffering Christians? Or is that martyrs?
OK, so maybe we don’t know the ins and outs of St George as much as we think.
Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out why the George’s cross is George’s cross.
He’s not even English!
He was a Greek Christian, born in the third century in what was then Syria Palaestina. Yep, Saint George (or Georgios) was Middle Eastern. Don’t tell Nigel Farage.
He was a soldier
Doesn’t sound very saintly, but he’s actually one of the most prominent military saints in the Catholic and Anglican churches.
He didn’t actually slay a dragon
We all knew, deep down, that he didn’t slay a dragon – not least because they aren’t actually real.
In reality, an edict was issued to kill all Christians in the Emperor Diocletian’s army. Rather than keep schtum, George proclaimed his faith and refused to be converted. He gave away his money to the poor and was executed – or martyred – for his faith.
The image of George slaying a dragon is actually symbolic of him defeating Satan, and remaining true to his faith.