Monday, April 23, 2007

George & Diocletian: What I Learnt Today (Updated)

Though I’m Welsh, I’d like to wish my readers a happy St George’s Day.

One of the few things we know about George is that he wasn’t English. According to Wikipedia he was from Anatolia, now modern day Turkey.

He was probably a soldier martyred under the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian in c. 304 AD.

George was made Patron Saint of England in 1347 by Edward II in preference to Edward the Confessor. He is also the patron saint of Canada, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, the cities of Istanbul, Ljubljana and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organisations and disease sufferers.

George merits a Festival, not only a lesser festival in the C of E calendar.

The Collect:

God of hosts,

Who so kindled the flame of love

In the heart of your servant George

That he bore witness to the risen Lord

By his life and by his death:

Give us the same faith and power of love

That we who rejoice in his triumphs

May come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Common Worship Daily Prayer p464

Update: Thanks to LG for pointing out this alternative prayer on Revd John Richardson's blog:

Almighty God,

We have been taught by the legend of St George

to fight against dragons and to rescue the helpless.

Deliver us by the truth of the gospel

from that great dragon who leads the whole world astray.

Free us from our slavery to sin and death.

And grant that your light may dawn again on this nation of England.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,


NJ was telling me all sorts of fascinating stuff over coffee today.

Apparently Diocletian pioneered modern bureaucracy and split the Empire into East and West.

One of the new semi-HQs was in York, where the Emperor Constantine was born – so he was English, in a way.

Diocletian also divided the Empire into dioceses with a vicar representing the Emperor in each.


ros said...

But did he slay the dragon?

Anonymous said...

No. That was Jesus.

ros said...

He might have slain a mini-dragon in a typological kind of way?

Marc Lloyd said...

Yes, I'm sure your both right in a very real sense. (Anglicanly).

The old Wikiwhatnot went on about the dragon, I think.

Darch and Burns, Saints on Earth: A biographical companion to Common Worship, says of George:

"The slaying of the dragon is not connected whith his name until the 12th C, and it may be that the origin of this story is the Greek myth of Perseus slaying the sea monster." (p56)