St. George’s feast becomes Vatican holiday this year

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2013 / 01:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- St. George's feast day falling on April 23 means Vatican employees will have the day off to celebrate the saint their boss, Pope Francis, is named after.

But the Holy Father, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge (George) Bergoglio, will continue with his practice of presiding over daily Mass.

Instead of holding it at Saint Martha’s as he has been since being elected Pope, the Eucharistic celebration will take place at the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, alongside the cardinals who live in Rome.

Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Solemnity of St. Joseph was a Vatican holiday, since his baptismal name is Joseph Ratzinger.

Pope Francis will celebrate the feast of Saint George, a martyr who lived around the year 300 in what is now Turkey.

St. George, the patron saint of England, was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

Diocletian beheaded him in Palestine for protesting against the Emperor's persecution of Christians and refusing to take part.

Christians rapidly began venerating the saint for his bravery in protecting the poor, the defenseless and Christians.

His banner, the red cross of a martyr on a white background, was adopted for the uniform of English soldiers and later became the flag of England.

St. George’s fame grew after James of Voragine published a book in 1265 called “Legenda Sanctorum,” which later became known as the “Legenda Aurea” (The Golden Legend).

The medieval legend goes that he slew a dragon and rescued an innocent maiden from death.

The Church now commemorates St. George, and although his existence is certain, little is known about him.

It is believed that he was killed in 303 on April 23, the day his feast is now observed on.

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