ST George’s Day 2021 is today, April 23 – an annual event that celebrates the Patron Saint of England.
But how much do you actually know about Saint George and is the famous dragon slayer legend true?
St George may be the patron saint of England but he wasn’t actually EnglishCredit: PA:Press Association
Who was Saint George and when was he born?
Saint George would likely have been a soldier somewhere in the eastern Roman Empire perhaps in what is now Turkey.
He is also the patron saint of Ethiopia, Georgia and Portugal, and cities such as Freiburg, Moscow and Beirut.
Saint George was born between 256-285 AD and he died on April 23, 303.
Since his exact birth date was never determined it is unclear how old the saint was when he died.
Saint George was born between 256-285 AD and he died on April 23, 303Credit: Getty – Contributor
Why is he the patron saint of England?
Despite the fact he probably never even visited the country, stories of his courage and bravery managed to get back to those who lived in England.
According to the historian Ian Mortimer, a patron saint of a country did not have to be born there.
They simply had to share the characteristics the kingdom wanted to show to the rest of the world.
King Edward III made him the Patron Saint of England when he created the Order of the Garter in his name in 1350.
In England, St George’s Day is celebrated on April 23.
In England St George’s Day is celebrated on April 23Credit: Corbis – Getty
What’s true about the famous legend of St George and the dragon?
The tale may have started simply as a way to symbolise the triumph of good over evil.
But, the well-known story mainly comes down to the Golden Legend – a popular collection of saints’ lives written in the 13th century.
According to one version of the story, a town in Libya had a small lake inhabited by a dragon infected with the plague.
Many of the townsfolk were being killed by the dragon so they started feeding it two sheep a day to appease it.
When the town ran out of sheep, legend has it that the king devised a lottery system to feed the hungry dragon local children instead.
But, one day his own daughter was chosen and as she was being led down to the lake Saint George happened to ride past.
The story goes that George offered to slay the dragon but only if the people converted to Christianity.
They did, and the king later built a church where the dragon was slain.
However the famous story is just a myth.