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St George's Day

Saturday, 23rd April 2005

St George's Day

Representations of St George and his dragon can be seen in Westminster Abbey on Henry VIIs tomb and grille, in the Lady Chapel statue series, in stained glass windows to the YMCA and Sir Benjamin Baker in the nave, and in the window in St Benedicts chapel.

The south west tower chapel in the nave was dedicated to St George in 1944.

Who was St George?

He was probably a soldier in Palestine and suffered persecution for his faith under Emperor Diocletian. He died in about AD 303 and his cult was known in England by the 8th century. The story of his slaying the dragon was popularised at the time of the Crusades and later through the Golden Legend published by William Caxton in the late 1400s. When Edward III founded the Order of the Garter in 1348, St George was chosen as its patron and the first formal celebration of St Georges Day was at Windsor in the following year. By Tudor times George had displaced Edward the Confessor as patron saint of England. The coronations of Charles II, James II, and Queen Anne all took place on 23rd April.

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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