The Legend of St. George

 

Montrose Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Montrose Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

This metal applique to a gravestone in the Montrose Cemetery at Chicago, Illinois, depicts St. George, one of the most popular saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church, in glorious victory over the dragon. In this case, the dragon represents Satan.

In the legend of St. George, a dragon situated himself at the head of the source of water for a village. Every day the villagers had to distract the dragon with an offering—sometimes a sheep, sometimes a maiden. The maiden was chosen by drawing lots. When the King’s daughter was chosen, the King begged for her release and substitution but to no avail. St. George appeared, proclaimed his Christianity by making the sign of the cross before he went to battle the dragon. When St. George heroically slayed the dragon, the villagers rejected Roman gods and professed their belief in Christ.

Saint George Killing the Dragon painted by Catalonian artist Bernat Martorell circa 1434

Saint George Killing the Dragon painted by Catalonian artist Bernat Martorell circa 1434

In early representations of this icon, there is often a maiden in the background watching the victorious St. George. In those paintings, the maiden represents the wife of Diocletian, who converted to Christianity, when her husband tortured and eventually had St. George beheaded for not renouncing Christianity and paying tribute to the Roman gods.

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One Response to The Legend of St. George

  1. ravere7461 says:

    Very interesting!! Thank you for your posts!

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