23 April, George


Martyr and Patron Saint of England

23 April

died 303

Commemoration (Green)


Few saints have been as widely popular as the martyr named George, a Roman soldier who suffered for the faith in the early fourth century.

The circumstances of his martyrdom are obscure, but we know that the Roman authorities were worried by the number of soldiers who were secret Christians and took harsh measures against them. The situation was all the more remarkable because at that time soldiering was still one of the careers which the Church did not allow its members to follow — so that George was not baptized when he died. It was not unusual for people in his circumstances to delay baptism until they had retired from active service. But the Church believed that, by his martyrdom, George had (if anything) a better kind of baptism, because he shared in the suffering and death of Christ himself.

In later centuries, as his cult spread westwards, George became the model of a perfect Christian warrior — just the sort of figure that appealed to medieval English kings when they placed their wars of conquest under his protection. That is how St. George came to be invoked as the patron saint of England. But another and far more widespread tradition has seen him as the pattern of what it means to be a Christian in the world — as an image of every Christian’s daily warfare against the forces of sin, ignorance, fear, and injustice.


Draw the sword, O God, and bar the way against those who pursue me; say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalm 35.3


Almighty God,
who by your grace surrounds us
with so great a cloud of witnesses,
may we, encouraged by your servant George,
persevere and run the race you set before us,
until at last, through your mercy,
we with him attain to your eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Ephesians 6.10–20

The Whole Armour of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Psalm 18.1-7 

1 I love you, O Lord my strength, *
O Lord my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.

2 My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, *
my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge;
you are worthy of praise.

3 I will call upon the Lord, *
and so shall I be saved from my enemies.

4 The breakers of death rolled over me, *
and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.

5 The cords of hell entangled me, *
and the snares of death were set for me.

6 I called upon the Lord in my distress *
and cried out to my God for help.

7 He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; *
my cry of anguish came to his ears.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: * 
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Mark 8.34–38

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

Concluding Collect 

Almighty God,
who called your holy martyr George
to bear before the rulers of this world
the banner of the cross,
grant that we may be strong
in every battle against sin,
and attain to the crown of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Links for Further Reading

More info at good old wiki (especially about the dragon):  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George


Unless otherwise noted, all extracted material come from the following publications: 

Anglican Church of Canada. For all the Saints: prayers and readings for Saints’ days: a supplement to the Book of alternative services, revised, compiled by Stephen Reynolds, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 2007. 

Anglican Church of Canada. The book of alternative services of the Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 1985.  

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Edition, 1989, 1995. Accessed at http://bible.oremus.org/ 

* Readings & Prayers prepared by Gerrit Botha