Dear Dames and Knights,
dear brothers and sisters in the Lord!
April 23 is the feast of Saint George, our patron saint. We celebrate him in this Easter time. The life of Saint George is filled with legends. First and foremost he is known as the dragon slayer. The dragon of Saint George was perhaps only a symbolic figure. But what this tradition wants to express is very clear. The fight of Saint George against the dragon is an ancient symbol of the fight between good and evil, and Saint George is a true model of this fight. He fought against sin and temptation and came out victorious.
Saint George is venerated as a martyr. He died as one of the first martyrs in the persecution of Christians under the rule of the Emperor Diocletian. Legend has it many times that he survived cruel torture. The more terrible the torture, the more comfort George found in it. His wounds were healing in an incredible way because God in the night kept sending the Archangel Michael to him to help him fight. He survived a thousand deaths in a row and because of this he is called a megalomartyr (Megalos = great). I believe that his ability to brave death was linked to the resurrection of Christ, it is directly linked to the paschal mystery.
He drank the cup of venom and he survived. He was kicked, molten lead was poured over his body, a white-hot helmet was put on his head. Sixty nails were driven into his skull. He was hung by the hair. But nothing could hurt him. He should have died «a thousand deaths» and yet he survived.
The meaning of his martyrdom would be as follows: he who is rooted in Christ will never die, but he will be resurrected. His fight ends in eternity. Each victory of Saint George in the cruel tortures was a burst of the resurrection. Finally after all this torture he was beheaded for his refusal to renounce the Christian faith and obtained the crown of glory into eternity. The veneration of Saint George by Christians dates back to very ancient times. He is a courageous fighter against evil.
Our brotherhood of Knights and Dames, founded in Burgundy in 1390, is placed under the protection of Saint George. So we too want to take up this fight against evil again and again and hopefully emerge victorious. This is our mission, this is our goal, despite all the challenges of our time.
Fr. Anton Heinz,