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Patron Saint

Warrior of God, man's friend and tyrant's foe,

This earth has never borne a nobler man.

Let his great example stand

Colossal seen of every land,

And keep the soldier firm the statesman pure.

 

Seeing that the shield of our own 'Sunny Alberta' proudly carries the blood red cross of good St. George above a miniature picture of the green rolling prairie, a few facts about the life and death of England's patron saint should be of some lasting interest.

There has, unfortunately, been much confusion about the life and character of our hero, caused by some prominent writers, who had not troubled to give the subject the attention it observed. Introducing accounts of St. George's career, incidents in the life of another and infamous George of Cappadocia; in which place our hero's family had been long and honorably connected. Suffice it to say that St. George the Martyr, of whom I write, lived and died, long before the other George, by nefarious methods, rose in favor and prominence at the court of the Roman empire.

Father a Martyr

Of the early years of St. George little is known, excepting that, in a patrician home, amid the beautiful scenes and associations just mentioned, he was lovingly brought up to manhood, fully embued with a noble Christian spirit, under the care of an affectionate mother. This occurred despite the fact that her husband, the father of our hero, had suffered a martyr's death.

Having reached man's estate, George joined the army of the Roman empire, and so distinguished himself by his tact, courage and endurance, that his imperial master raised him to the rank of Tribune - a very important civil position in those days.

In the year 295, he accompanied the Emperor Diocletian through a short and brilliant campaign in Egypt. While there, he distinguished himself in many ways, notably winning for himself a name as defender of the fair sex. Passing along a lonely street of one of the cities, he met, one day, a young woman in distress at being importuned by a strange man. In spite of her resentment, he persisted, George, seeing the predicament the defenseless one was in, called upon the vile creature (who is represented as a dragon) to desist; as he still persisted in his ungallant behavior, George attacked him and slew him on the spot. This is the just one instance of his many acts of gallantry.

An Ideal Knight

 From the early days when England was part of the great Roman empire, through all the time when King Arthur's gallant knights were righting human wrongs, to the days of that other noble monarch, King Alfred. Through all the changing years, the people of England, in song and legend, held up St. George as an ideal warrior and knight, as their patron saint, carried the famous blood red cross on shield and banner in pageant and war.

 It was Edward III who revived the old order of knighthood in "The Most Noble Order of the Garter," exceeding in majesty, honor and fame, all chivalrous orders of the world; as an old writer described it. So it has remained to this day; with St. George as patron saint, confirming the will of the people, and giving an official stamp to their wish, for long before that time. "St. George for England," "God and St. George for England," had been their battle cries. The armies of England, through crusade and war, proudly carried the banner of St. George to the onslaught. While in the peaceful encounters of the knights of old "St. George for Merry England" was the cry.

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