Chartres, France. Photo from here
Happy St. George’s Day! In this post is a brief history of St. George and some of the many stained glass panels he is featured in.
According to legend, St. George was a Roman soldier and military officer in the Guard of Emperor Diocletian of the Roman army. His death was ordered for for failing to leave behind his Christian faith. As a Christian, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity.
In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalised in the myth of Saint George and the Dragon killing in Beirut, Lebanon.
His memorial holiday, Saint George’s Day, is traditionally celebrated on the Julian date of 23 April (interestingly, it is on May 6th according to the Gregorian calendar). Many countries, cities, professions and organisations claim Saint George as their patron.
There are many depictions of St. George killing the dragon, which is said to represent Satan. The earliest known surviving narrative text is an 11th-century Georgian text.
In one version of the story, a dragon or crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene, Libya or the city of Lydda in Syria Palaestina, depending on the source). The the citizens had to lure the dragon from its nest to collect water. To do so, each day they would offer up the dragon a sheep, then a virgin maiden if no sheep could be found. The victim was said to be chosen by drawing lots. During one of the drawings, the princess of the city gets the unlucky fate to be given to the dragon. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears in his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens then abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.
Below are the stained glass panels! I could not find out where they are all located, so if you have any information, please let me know in the comments.
St. George Stained Glass Window. Photo from here
“Tropar of the Feast of St. George” Stained Glass Great Martyr St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ontario, Canada. Photo from here.
Detail of St. George stained glass in St. Mary the Virgin Church, England
A stained glass window depicting St George’s defeat of the dragon. Photo from here.
St. George and the Dragon stained glass window
Saint Georges stained glass, church of Neris Les Bain, France
Saint George Roman Catholic Church, in New Baden, Illinois, USA
A stained glass depiction of St. George slaying the dragon by Charles J. Connick. Photo from here.
Saint George Saint George Window in Ohio, USA. Photo from here.
St Mary’s Church in Hunstanton, Norfolk
St George and the Dragon, stained glass window designed by Ernest Heaseman in England. Photo from here.