Tomorrow is St George’s Day

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Tomorrow is St George’s Day

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St George’s Day is a special day for people in many different countries. In Brazil, Italy, China, Portugal, Greece, India, Canada, Lebanon, Ethiopia and Malta, Saint George is remembered. St George is special to England like St Patrick is special to Ireland.

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Why is Saint George Special? What did he do? Some of the things we know are true and some is made up. First the true story.

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George was born in a country that is now called Turkey nearly two thousand years ago. His parents were Christians and his father was a soldier. When George was old enough he joined the Roman army.

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George was a very good soldier and he was put in charge of many other soldiers. He was sent to a place called Nicomedia as a special guard to the Emperor Diocletian.

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Diocletian was not a kind emperor. He did not like Christians (people who prayed to Jesus) and made an order that they were all to be killed.

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George was ordered to kill Christians but he would not do it. He told the emperor that he was wrong to order him to and that he was a Christian too.

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The Emperor was very angry and ordered George to be killed. He died on 23rd April. Many people heard how brave George was, they became Christians too. For hundreds of years people in different countries all over the world heard about George.

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After he died, George was called Saint George, which is a name given to some Christians to show they are special. All over the world churches were built and named after him. When English soldiers went to fight in different countries they heard about Saint George. They wore red crosses on their clothes and shields and called it the cross of Saint George.

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Over a thousand years ago The King of England, Edward the third ordered that Saint George should be the special Saint for England. He had a church built near his castle. The Queen still uses it today.

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Stories began to be told about Saint George. These stories were not true but some people believed them. Do you know what the stories were about? The stories told of something that George did.

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Artists painted pictures to tell the story of how George killed a dragon.

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The most famous picture of George and the dragon was painted by an Italian artist called Uccello. You can see it in the National Gallery in London. Uccello’s painting shows the whole story of Saint George and the dragon but you have to look carefully to work it out.

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Eve Batten April 2008