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England's Patron Saint

The Truth about George of Cappadocia (Turkey) The so-called St George

A short biography of St George has been written by Edward Gibbon in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

George of Cappadocia, believed by Gibbon to be St George, first came to notice having "raised himself by the talents of a parasite" as a purveyor of bacon to the Roman army. According to Gibbon: "His employment was mean; he rendered it infamous".

"He accumulated wealth by the basest arts of fraud and corruption; but his criminal activities were so notorious, that George was compelled to escape from the forces of justice".

After this inauspicious beginning, he became Archbishop of Alexandria, where "he assumed the pomp and insolence of his lofty station; but he still betrayed the vices of his base and servile extraction". After his downfall from an oppressive reign, he was imprisoned and such was the loathing of the mob, they forced open the prison, dragged him out and murdered him. His remains were thrown into the sea.

Gibbon ends by saying: "This odious stranger, disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint and Christian hero; and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St George of England, the patron saint of arms, of chivalry and the garter".

Perhaps it is not before time that St Edmund was restored to his rightful place as England's Patron Saint.

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