Happy Saint George’s Day!

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Above is the gift we received today from our Eagle’s Nest garden.

There never seems to be an end of feasts and special days this spring. Today, April 23, is Saint George’s Day. Yes, that’s the guy slaying the dragon in the above Raphael painting.St George flag

April 23 is the feast day of Saint George, the saint-protector of England, and thus the National Day for England.  The red cross you can see in the left images is actually the flag of England, a part of the British Union Jack.  St George’s emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king’s soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

St George was a brave Roman soldier who distinguished himself in many battles with his bravery.  When Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians, St George pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives.  Instead, the Emperor tried to make St George deny his faith in Christ by torturing him. St George showed incredible courage by staying true to his faith.  He was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on April 23, 303.  He was 33 at the time.

St George icon

St George is also another saint-protector of the Djurdjevic family (besides St Nicholas). The surname Djurdjevic would translate roughly into MacGeorge in English. An icon of St George I brought home from Belgrade in 2008 now hangs in our Hawaiian home (right).

April 23 is the traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death in AD 303. For Eastern Orthodox Churches, which use the Julian calendar St George’s Day falls on May 6 on the Gregorian calendar. Which is known as Djurdjevdan in the Serbian church calendar.

You can see yours truly with Archbishop Atanasije during the St George’s Day celebration in Belgrade on May 6, 2008.


So what’s with St George slaying the dragon story? It’s most likely a myth. But this myth has lasted for more than a millennium. Like the ancient Greek King Theseus and Crete’s Minotaur monster story after which the St George’s myth was probably modeled.

Theseus_Minotaur_Ramey_TuileriesTheseus slaying Minotaur (left)

By the way, today is also Shakespeare’s birthday.  He would be 450 today.  Maybe. That’s also not for certain. Check out this TIME story.


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