Thought for the Day – 23 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St George
Saint George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life. That he was willing to pay the supreme price to follow Christ is what the Church believes. And it is enough.
But deny it as much as we will, human nature seems to crave more than cold historical data. The life of Saint Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of Saint Nicholas. The legends about Saint George are part of this yearning. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide
“Speaking of Love, Life & Virtue”
“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.”
St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace
“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
“The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common labourer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant.”
St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor
“Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in, has passed.”
St Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)
“You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it.”
G K Chesterton (1874-1936)
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
C S Lewis (1898-1963)
“The whole point of life is to learn to be a gift.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St George
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.…2 Corinthians 7:1
REFLECTION – “Saint George was a man who abandoned one army for another, he gave up the rank of tribune to enlist as a soldier for Christ. Eager to encounter the enemy, he first stripped away his worldly wealth by giving all he had to he poor. Then, free and unencumbered, bearing the shield of faith, he plunged into the thick of the battle, an ardent soldier for Christ. Clearly what he did, serves to teach us a valuable lesson, if we are afraid to strip ourselves of out worldly possessions, then we are unfit to make a strong defence of the faith. Dear brothers, let us not only admire the courage of this fighter in heaven’s army but follow his example. Let us be inspired to strive for the reward of heavenly glory. We must now cleanse ourselves, as Saint Paul tells us, from all defilement of body and spirit, so that one day we too may deserve to enter that temple of blessedness to which we now aspire.” – from a sermon by St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty, everliving God, we confidently call You Father, as well as Lord. Renew Your Spirit in our hearts, make us ever more perfectly Your children. Grant that all who have received the grace of Baptism may strive to be worthy of their Christian calling and reject everything opposed to it. St George, in strength and love, you rejected false Gods, gave all you had to the poor and bravely went to your death in complete trust, please pray for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide
Act of Abandonment By St Francis De Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
O my God, I thank You
and I praise You
for accomplishing Your holy
and all-lovable will
without any regard for mine.
With my whole heart,
in spite of my heart,
do I receive this cross I feared so much!
It is the cross of Your choice,
the cross of Your love.
I venerate it;
nor for anything in the world
would I wish that it had not come,
since You willed it.
I keep it with gratitude and with joy,
as I do everything that comes from Your hand;
and I shall strive to carry it without letting it drag,
with all the respect
and all the affection which Your works deserve.
Saint of the Day – 23 April – St George (died c 303) also known as St George of Lydda, Jirí, Jordi, Zorzo, Victory Bringer – Martyr and Soldier. St George was born c 256-285 in Palestine and was tortured and beheaded to death in c 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia, Roman Empire. Patronages – • against herpes • against leprosy • against plague • against skin diseases • against skin rashes • against syphilis • agricultural workers • Aragon • archers • armourers • Boy Scouts • butchers • Canada • Cappadocia • Catalonia • cavalry • chivalry • Crusaders • England • equestrians • Ethiopia • farmers • field hands • field workers • Georgia • Germany • Greece • halberdiers • horsemen • horses • husbandmen • knights • lepers • Lithuania • Malta • Montenegro • Order of the Garter • Palestine • Palestinian Christians • Portugal • riders • Romanian Army • saddle makers • saddlers • Serbia • sheep • shepherds • soldiers • Teutonic Knights • 2 dioceses • 181 cities.
St George was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity and was especially venerated by the Crusaders. George’s parents were Christians of Greek background, his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was a Christian and a Greek native from Lydda in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina.
St George is commemorated and remembered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon. Due to his chivalrous behaviour (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, largesse to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe after the 10th century. In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas. Many of his areas of patronage have to do with life as a knight on horseback. The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries.
There is little information on the early life of Saint George. Herbert Thurston in The Catholic Encyclopedia states that based upon an ancient cultus, narratives of the early pilgrims and the early dedications of churches to Saint George, going back to the fourth century, “there seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George”. According to Donald Attwater, “No historical particulars of his life have survived, … The widespread veneration for St George as a soldier saint from early times had its centre in Palestine at Diospolis, now Lydda. St George was apparently martyred there, at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century; that is all that can be reasonably surmised about him.”
On 24 February 303, Diocletian, who hated Christians, announced that every Christian the army passed would be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George refused to abide by the order and told Diocletian, who was angry but greatly valued his friendship with George’s father. When George announced his beliefs before his peers, Diocletian was unable to keep the news to himself. In an effort to save George, Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods, offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods and made several other offers that George refused.
Finally, after exhausting all other options, Diocletian ordered George’s execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions. He was lacerated on a wheel of swords and required resuscitation three times but still George did not turn from God.
George was decapitated before Nicomedia’s outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial and other Christians went to honour George as a martyr.
Saint George and the Dragon
There are several stories about George fighting dragons but in the Western version, a dragon or crocodile made its nest at a spring that provided water to Silene, believed to be modern-day Lcyrene in Libya. The people were unable to collect water and so attempted to remove the dragon from its nest on several occasions. It would temporarily leave its nest when they offered it a sheep each day, until the sheep disappeared and the people were distraught. This was when they decided that a maiden would be just as effective as sending a sheep. The townspeople chose the victim by drawing straws. This continued until one day the princess’ straw was drawn. The monarch begged for her to be spared but the people would not have it. She was offered to the dragon but before she could be devoured, George appeared. He faced the dragon, protected himself with the sign of the Cross and slayed the dragon. After saving the town, the citizens abandoned their paganism and were all converted to Christianity.
Saint George stands out among other saints and legends because he is known and revered by both Muslims and Christians.
It is said Saint George killed the dragon near the sea in Beirut, thus Saint George Bay was named in his honour.
Saint George’s feast day is celebrated on 23 April but if it falls before Easter, it is celebrated Easter Monday.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates three St George feast days each year -23 April, 3 November, to commemorate the consecration of a cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda, and on 26 November for when a church in Kiev was dedicated to him.
In Bulgaria, his feast day is celebrated 6 May with the slaughter and roasting of a lamb.
In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria calls St George the “Prince of Martyrs” and celebrates on 1 May. There is a second celebration 17 November in honour of the first church dedicated to him.
Saint George is the patron saint of England and Catalonia and his cross can be found throughout England including on the English and other Commonwealth flags.
In older works, Saint George is depicted wearing armour and holding a lance or fighting a dragon, which represents Christ’s enemies.
St Adalbert of Prague (c 957-997) (Optional Memorial)
St George (died c 303) (Optional Memorial)
St Achilleus of Vienne
Bl Adalbert III of Salzburg
St Felix of Vienne
St Fortunatus of Vienna
St George of San Giorio
St Gerard of Orchimont
Bl Gerard of Toul
Bl Giles of Assisi
Bl Giles of Saumur
Bl Giorgio di Suelli
Bl Helen del Cavalanti
St Ibar of Meath
Bl Maria Gabriela Sagheddu
St Marolus of Milan
St Pusinna of Champagne
Bl Teresa Maria of the Cross
French Mercedarian Martyrs: No info yet.
Martyrs of Rome: No info yet.
Martyrs of Africa: A group of Christians murdered for their faith in northern Africa. Little information has survived but their names. The ones we know are – Catulinus, Chorus, Faustinus, Felicis, Felix, Nabors, Plenus, Salunus, Saturninus, Silvius, Solutus, Theodora, Theodorus, Theon, Ursus, Valerius, Venustus, Victorinus, Victurus, Vitalis