Lighting up the library for St. George's Day

Tuesday 23 April 2024

On Tuesday evening the exterior facade of the Library of Birmingham will be lit up red and white to mark St. George's Day.

St George's Day falls each year on 23 April, the anniversary of St George's death. St. George is the patron saint of England.

St George’s Day is a Christian feast day commemorating Saint George of Lydda. According to legend, St George was born in Cappadocia, in what is now modern day Turkey. Once a soldier in the Roman army, he rose up the ranks to become a member of the Praetorian Guard for the Emperor Diocletian. However, the tale goes that St George was tortured and later executed by the Romans for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.

St George became a martyr for early Christians, who later highly respected him as a saint.

St George is England’s patron saint, shared with other places such as Ethiopia, Catalonia, Aragon, Bulgaria, Russia and Portugal. According to the hagiography (saint story), George heroically slayed a dragon and rescued a princess from being eaten. In their gratitude, the people of the town converted to Christianity.

Even though St George never stepped foot on English soil, he officially became the patron saint of England around 1348, after King Edward III established the Order of the Garter in his name. From the 14th Century, St George was regarded as a special protector of the English. Following England's victory at Agincourt in 1415, Archbishop Chichele raised the celebration of St George to a Double Feast.

Article posted 18 April 2024

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