George was born to a Christian family during the late 3rd century. His father was from Cappadocia and served as an officer of the Roman army. His mother was from Lydda, Palestine (now Lod, Israel). She returned to her native city as a widow along with her young son, where she provided him with an education.
The youth followed his father’s example by joining the army soon after coming of age. He proved to be a good soldier and consequently rose through the military ranks of the time. By his late twenties he had gained the title of Tribune and then Count, at which time George was stationed in Nicomedia as a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian.
In 303 Diocletian issued an edict authorizing the persecution of Christians across the Empire. George was ordered to take part in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticized the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian ordered the torture of this apparent traitor, and his execution.
After various tortures, beginning with being lacerated on a wheel of swords, George was dragged through the streets and executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s defensive wall on April 23, 303. The witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they, too, joined George in martyrdom.
His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.
George & the Dragon – The Legend
A Dragon, reputedly made its nest at a spring which provided water for the City of Cyrene in Libya (though it is more likely to be Lydda in Palestine, where St George lived). It was necessary for the Citizens to pass the Dragon, to collect water, the only source for The City.
The Dragon agreed to let the townsfolk pass, on condition that there was a human sacrifice to him in return. The City had to agree and the victim was decided by drawing lots. One day, it happened that the Princess, the King’s daughter, drew the shortest lot & though the Monarch begged for her life, the Dragon refused all his pleas. As she was being offered to the Dragon, St George appeared on a white charger and all at once understood her peril. Valiantly he slays it, rescues the princess and drags the Dragon’s body to the Town, where it is decapitated!
The Citizens then readily abandoned their ancestral paganism and converted to Christianity!