St George the Patron Saint of Scouting
Who is St George?
The legend goes that George was a son of a nobleman in the Roman army, and became a cavalry officer. George became a Christian and decided to leave the army and travel to the palace of the Emperor, Diocletian, to plead with him to stop his cruel persecution of Christians. As he rode on his horse through Sylene (in present-day Libya), he found that one of the cities was plagued by an evil dragon that lurked in a swamp. This terrifying creature could only be pacified by feeding it with human bodies, and every day one of the citizens was chosen by drawing lots and was sacrificed.
The King’s own daughter, Cleolinda, was going to be the victim on the day that George arrived. He hurried to help her, even though his only weapon was a spear. With awesome courage he charged on his horse, knowing that he had only one shot at killing the fire-breathing dragon. He succeeded and saved the princess’s life.
After talking to George, the grateful King, the princess, and many of the people decided to become Christians. George continued to the Emperor’s palace, but Diocletian had him put to death on 23rd April AD303 for his Christian faith.
Why St George?
Baden Powell choose St George to be the movements Patron Saint because he felt the qualities of the legendary Roman soldier; were the same qualities that reflect a good Scout
When he was faced by a difficulty or danger, however great it appeared, even in the shape of a dragon – he did not avoid it or fear it but went at it with all the power he could… That is exactly the way a Scout should face a difficulty or danger no matter how great or how terrifying it may appear. They should go at it boldly and confidently, using every power that they can to try and overcome it, and the probability is that they will succeed.
This can be broken down into the following points
- Devotion to duty
- A brave heart
- A noble spirit
- Dedication to helping others
When is St Georges Day?
St George’s Day is April 23, and on that day, Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and Scout Law. Not that a Scout ever forgets either but, on St George’s Day, they make a special point of thinking about them