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Few saints have been as widely popular as the martyr named George, a Roman soldier who suffered for the faith in the early fourth century. The circumstances of his martyrdom are obscure, but we know that the Roman authorities were worried by the number of soldiers who were secret Christians and took harsh measures against them. The situation was all the more remarkable because at that time soldiering was still one of the careers which the Church did not allow its members to follow — so that George was not baptized when he died. It was not unusual for people in his circumstances to delay baptism until they had retired from active service. But the Church believed that, by his martyrdom, George had (if anything) a better kind of baptism, because he shared in the suffering and death of Christ himself.

In later centuries, as his cult spread westwards, George became the model of a perfect Christian warrior — just the sort of figure that appealed to medieval English kings when they placed their wars of conquest under his protection. That is how St. George came to be invoked as the patron saint of England. But another and far more widespread tradition has seen him as the pattern of what it means to be a Christian in the world — as an image of every Christian’s daily warfare against the forces of sin, ignorance, fear, and injustice.


Draw the sword, O God, and bar the way against those who
pursue me; say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalm 35.3


Almighty God,
who called your holy martyr George
to bear before the rulers of this world
the banner of the cross,
grant that we may be strong
in every battle against sin,
and attain to the crown of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


Freedom Monument - St. George Statue, memorial in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. ID:1222209762

Although best known to Canadians as the Patron Saint of England with a holiday on April 23 which is also celebrated in Newfoundland/Labrador, the Roman warrior saint is Patron Saint of other cities and countries including: Bulgaria, Georgia, Portugal, Romania, Cáceres, Alcoy, Aragon and Catalonia.