Today, 23 April, we celebrate the Feast of Saint George, soldier, dragon-slayer and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Saint George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Beirut, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Milan, Preston, Barcelona and Moscow. He is the patron of the Romani people in Eastern Europe, and the patron of sufferers of skin diseases.
George is also the Patron Saint of Boy Scouts. Robert Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, included this essay in the original Scouting book Scouting for Boys:
The Knights of the Round Table had as their patron saint St. George, because he was the only one of all the saints who was a horseman. He is the Patron Saint of cavalry from which the word Chivalry is derived, and the special saint of England.
Therefore, all Scouts should know his story.
St. George was born in Cappadocia in the year AD 303. He enlisted as a cavalry soldier when he was seventeen, and soon became renowned for his bravery.
St. George’s Day is April 23rd, and on that day all Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and of the Scout Law. Not that a Scout every forgets either, but on St. George’s Day he makes a special point of thinking about them. Remember this when April 23rd comes round again.
Baden-Powell had a favorite rhyme about Saint George that he also included in Scouting for Boys:
My warmest good wishes I am sending to you
And hoping that the winter is through
You will start out afresh to follow the lead
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed;
Not only to tackle what ever my befall,
But also successfully to win through it all
And then may you have an enjoyable spell
Of hiking, and jolly good camping as well.