Here’s why St George’s Day isn’t actually today – for this year at least
IF you have spend the day merrily wishing ‘Happy St George’s Day’ to your friends and co-workers we have got bad news for you.
Today is not actually the feast day for our patron saint – for this year at least.
Before you start typing ‘Fake News’ into the comments, yes April 23 is traditionally St George’s Day.
However because of the lateness of Easter this year it is not the case in 2019.
The Church of England and the Catholic Church have confirmed that St George’s Day has been moved back a week, for one year only.
If a saints patrol date falls the same week as Easter then the churches will push them back by seven days.
So in 2019, the Church of England will celebrate St George’s Day on Monday, April 29 and the Catholic Church will have his feast day a week today on Tuesday, April 30.
Which is very confusing we know.
Matthew Salisbury, the Church of England’s national liturgy and worship adviser, told The Times: ‘St George’s Day is translated to April 29 as nothing other than a principal feast would take place during Easter week.’
Who was St George?
Saint George of Lydda was born in Cappadocia and died in Nicomedia, an ancient Greek city in what is now Turkey, on April 23, 303AD.
According to legend he was a Roman officer who became a martyr for his faith.
In the Greek version of St George's life, he was executed by decapitation before the city walls in Nicomedia on April 23 after being tortured by Emperor Diocletian.
His torture and suffering is said to have made Empress Alexandra of Rome convert to Christianity and she was executed several days before him on April 21, 303AD.
But what about the dragon?
The legend of Saint George and the Dragon did not start cropping up until many years after his death – with the first recorded version dating to the 11th century.
In this story, he tamed and slayed a dragon who was demanding human sacrifices in Cappadocia, which is in modern day Turkey. Although later versions have transferred the story to Libya.
Why is he our patron saint?
St George as made the patron saint of England in 1350 by King Edward III when he formed the Order of the Garter.
Shakespeare helped immortalise St George's association with England, when he had King Henry V finish his famous pre-Agincourt battle speech with ‘Cry God for Harry, England and St George!’