The origins of the Order

Original foundation document

Our past Grand Master

The symbols of our Order

About St George

Another dragon bites the dust...

About St. George

Stories of the patron saint of chivalry have been recounted in many cultures for seventeen centuries. Legends have grown up about this early Christian martyr in less critical times through affection and honour of the man born in Cappadocia (present-day Turkey) around AD 280.

Insofar as the life of an individual from that period can be known with any certainty, George enlisted in the Roman army under the emperor Diocletian and soon exhibited skills sufficient to warrant promotion to the command a regiment of 1,000 men.

The emperor and his eventual successor Galerius were convinced that enforcement of the pagan traditions of Rome would facilitate their rule, and the resultant insubordination of Christians led to great persecutions. As a Christian convert, George took courage from his convictions and tore down an edict of the emperor, publicly denouncing him for his cruelty and injustice. For this action he was imprisoned and tortured. Tradition states that, refusing to recant, George was beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on 23 April 303.

The fame of this martyr (‘witness’) quickly spread and churches were built in his honour across Asia and Europe in the succeeding centuries. Somewhat later, inspired by his legends, the Crusader knights adopted him as a patron, which further spread his cult when they returned to their homelands. Art, literature and ongoing chivalric fraternities then took up the cause – and the colourful myth of his slaying of a dragon appeared.

The purported tomb of St.George, in Syria.