The traditional legends have offered a historicized narration of George's encounter with a dragon. The modern legend that follows below is synthesized from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes. Saint George likely was born to a Christian noble family in Syria Palaestina, during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD. He died in Nicomedia in Asia Minor. His father, Gerontios, was from Cappadocia, an officer in the Roman army; his mother, Polychronia, was a native of Lydda. They were both Christians from noble families so their child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgios, meaning "worker of the land" (i.e., farmer). At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste. George then decided to go to Nicomedia and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Military Tribune and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia. On 24 February AD 303, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith, approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money, and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian ordered that George be executed for his refusal. Before the execution, George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords during which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, as well, so they joined George in martyrdom.
Troops of Saint George
The Troops of Saint George (TSG) is a fraternal Catholic nonprofit apostolate for priests, men, and young men looking for a life of adventure coupled with virtue. Initially founded in 2013 by Catholic author and professor Dr. Taylor Marshall, we have become a collection of troops that do the following:
“For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appears even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”
The Church believed that Christ’s Second Coming would be revealed “from the east to the west.” The rising sun was an image of the Resurrected Christ.
So at times of prayer (for example, at the Angelus at noon), the Captain or one of the boys should shout “ad orientem” and the men and boys should turn to face East, unless there is already a suitable image or crucifix erected nearby.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”
These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others. Nonetheless, impossible as it may seem, Jesus proposes a different way of doing things: the way of meekness. This is what we see him doing with his disciples. It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem: “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey”. Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults”. Paul speaks of meekness as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He suggests that, if a wrongful action of one of our brothers or sisters troubles us, we should try to correct them, but “with a spirit of meekness”, since “you too could be tempted”. Even when we defend our faith and convictions, we are to do so “with meekness”. Our enemies too are to be treated “with meekness”. In the Church we have often erred by not embracing this demand of God’s word. Meekness is yet another expression of the interior poverty of those who put their trust in God alone. Indeed, in the Bible the same word – anawim – usually refers both to the poor and to the meek. Someone might object: “If I am that meek, they will think that I am an idiot, a fool or a weakling”. At times they may, but so be it. It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace. For his part, the Lord trusts in them: “This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word”.