Today, 23rd April, is the saint’s day of the patron saint of England, St George.

<However, George is not just the patron saint of England. Other states and nations having this Cappadocian Greek who served as a Roman soldier and died in 303 CE include Ethiopia and Georgia, the Spanish regions of Catalonia and Aragon, along with the Russian capital Moscow.

Very little is known about George’s life, but he is believed to have been martyred in one of the waves of persecution that preceded the accession in 306 CE of the Roman emperor Constantine.

According to Wikipedia, the legend of St George and the dragon was first recorded in the 11th century in Georgia and arrived in Europe in the 12th.

In England specifically, St George had by the 14th century, been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family. and thus replaced Edmund the Martyr (also known as St Edmund or Edmund of East Anglia. Ed.) as England’s patron saint. Edmund, who died on 20 November 869 had been king of East Anglia from about 855 until his death at the hands of Viking invaders.

George’s dragon-slaying efforts were ultimately worthwhile, not only for the the city of Silene, Libya, which the dragon was menacing, but ultimately for the English, as was pointed out yesterday on Twitter by some wit recalling WW2-style the benefits of the good saint’s deed.

Tweet reads If it wasn't for St George we would all be speaking Dragon

If you don’t feel like celebrating the life and work of George of Lydda, the 23rd April is also recorded as the day upon which playwright William Shakespeare was baptised.