April 23, 2013 by lellielieb
Today is the feast of St. George. St. George was a Greek who served the Roman Emperor Diocletian as a member of his personal military service. George’s father had been a famous soldier and friend of the Emperor. Diocletian ruled at a time when the Emperial office had lost some of its prestige. He sought to renew the honor and veneration of the Emperor by declaring himself to be a god and demanding that sacrifices be offered to himself. A part of this demand was that all men loyal to him in his service offer a sacrifice. The personal body guard of the Caesars was notoriius for turning on their masters. (Consider Nero.)
George was a Christain and, though professionally loyal to Diocletian, refused to offer the sacrifice. Diocletian sought to talk him into submission. Since the Emperor was certain of George’s loyalty, he did not want to lose him. George, however, remained adamant. Some stories say that he even ripped the declaration demanding sacrifice from the wall where it was posted. Diocletian felt he had no choice in the matter. In order to show himself strong, George must die. He was martyred by beheading after torture outside the city of Nicomedia in AD 303.
The legend of St. George and the dragon was made popular during the Middle Ages. It was brought back to Europe after the Crusades, embellished and romanticisized. There is little doubt, however, that the dragon represents Satan, and St. George certainly did battle against that evil foe, winning the victory. Appropriately, part of the scripture for this day is from Ephesians 6:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
St. George was an example for us. He put on both his physical and his spritual armor and with God’s help he defeated Satan. I am praying through the various pieces of the armor and “putting them on,” remembering St. George and preparing for the “battle” of the day.