Why George?

How on earth did St George end up as the patron saint of England? Legend has it that he was born in the third century to Greek Christian parents. A soldier in the Roman army he rose to become a member of the Praetorian guard under Emperor Diocletian but was then martyred for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. He was, apparently, decapitated on 23rd April AD303. So, he never set foot in Britannia and could hardly claim to be British. It was only his reputation for being a warrior saint that led Edward III to give him more prominence and thus it was that Shakespeare had Henry V famously say, “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’”

All of which just goes to show that it doesn’t really matter where you begin in life, it’s how you end that really counts. George had no inkling when he lost his head that his faith in Christ would one day lead to him being named as the patron saint of a nation that took his faith around the world. For those who follow Jesus the lesson is clear – stay faithful to Christ and see what he will do!

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