George, Patron Saint of Scouting
alert a Scout follows the lead
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed."
- Baden-Powell in "Scouting for Boys"
Drawings of Scouts in the role of Saint George.
From Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys (1908)
SAINT GEORGE AND
SCOUTING FOR BOYS
In Scouting for Boys,
Baden-Powell wrote of chivalry and the knights of old. He tried to show Scouts a new path
to chivalry and honor. Saint George was the Patron Saint of England, and of the Knights of
the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in Europe. They were familiar subjects to most
English boys when B-P was writing. Here is what he wrote:
They (the knights of the
Round Table) had as their patron saint St. George, because he was the only one of all the
saints who was a horseman. He is the Patron Saint of cavalry from which the word Chivalry
is derived, and the special saint of England.
He is also the Patron Saint
of Boy Scouts everywhere. Therefore, all Scouts should know his story.
St. George was born in
Cappadocia in the year AD 303. He enlisted as a cavalry soldier when he was seventeen, and
soon became renowned for his bravery.
On one occasion he came to a
city named Selem, near which lived a dragon who had to be fed daily with one of the
citizens, drawn by lot.
The day St. George came
there, the lot had fallen upon the king's daughter, Cleolinda. St. George resolved that
she should not die, and so he went out and attacked the dragon, who lived in a swamp close
by, and killed him.
When he was faced by a
difficulty or danger, however great it appearedeven in the shape of a dragonhe
did not avoid it or fear it, but went at it with all the power he could put into himself
and his horse. Although inadequately armed for such an encounter, having merely a spear,
he charged in, did his best, and finally succeeded in overcoming a difficulty which nobody
had dared to tackle.
That is exactly the way in
which a Scout should face a difficulty or danger, no matter how great or terrifying it may
appear to him or how ill-equipped he may be for the struggle.
He should go at it boldly
and confidently, using every power that he can to try to overcome it, and the probability
is that he will succeed.
St. George's Day is April
23rd, and on that day all Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and of the Scout Law.
Not that a Scout every forgets either, but on St. George's Day he makes a special point of
thinking about them. Remember this when April 23rd comes round again.
SAINT GEORGE AND
To this day, Saint George
continues as the Patron Saint of Scouting in many lands. His place in English Scouting is
part of a national tradition. But here is an example from a distant land, Ukraine in
The illustration and the
story are from "Ukrainian Scouting," the newsletter of Plast-Scouting in
SAINT OF UKRAINIAN SCOUTS, AND THE ANNUAL SPRING FESTIVAL
Saint George, a mythical
saint from Cappadokia (in modern-day central Turkey), usually portrayed on a horse with
his spear piercing a dragon, has been revered in Ukraine since the great prince of Kyiv,
Volodymyr the Great, established Christianity as the official state religion of the Kyivan
Empire in 988 AD. St. George churches and icons are very popular in Ukraine.
For Ukrainians, St.George
symbolizes purity of spirit, selfless devotion to the protection of their country and
boundless courage and valor in the service of goodness and purity.
No wonder then that
Ukrainian scouts adopted St. George as their patron saint. The feast of St. George falls
in May. That date is celebrated by the Ukrainian "plastuny" as both the St.
Georges day and the Festival of Springthe yearly beginning of the camping and
A weekend in May is usually
selected for the "Sviato Vesny" (the Spring Festival). Scouts go out into the
nature, to their camping-sites, into woods, or mountains, where they set up their tents,
hold sport events, cookouts, campfires, various competitions, exercises and various other
Special events of this
festival often include some very old (pre-Christian) dances (called "vesnianky"
and "hahilky") which, for many thousands of years, have been held in
springtime in Ukraine, during the Christian era as part of the Easter ceremonies. They
take their origin in ancient pagan worship of such deities of spring as: Lada, Yarylo,
etc. Special music, songs, and various rituals accompany these dances, which underlie the
essential unity of man and nature and go back to the ancient Ukrainian traditions of
striving to preserve nature and natural environment.
This year, as the years
past, scouts in Ukraine held their annual Spring Festival, honoring St. George, as an
example to scouts of valor and good deeds.
Cserkészszövetség, the Hungarian Scout Association (HSA), observes Saint
George's Day as do Scouts of many lands. The drawing below is from their home page.
of Sankt Gyorgy,
Patron Saint of Scouting
Saint George in
||Saint George is the Patron Saint of
Scouting. His feast day on April 23rd is celebrated by Scouts in many lands, including
Russia. Icons of Saint George have been important in the
Russian Orthodox Church since early times. These icons come from the Novgorod Icon Gallery
of the Novgorod State University in Russia and date from the 12th to the 16th century.
Links to Information
on Saint George
St. George by Michael Collins MA (Oxon) MPhil.
England's Patron Saint.
||The UK Scout Association fact sheet on St. Georgeprovides some interesting background on
his life and career.
||St. George is the patron Saint of
Scouting and of the original Russian Scouts. He appears on the emblem of the National Organization of Russian
Scouts in Australia.and ORUR, the Russian Organization of Young
||The Breviary of Martin of
Aragon, Spain, Catalonia 15th Century.From the Biblotheque Nationale de France. A beautiful illustration of St.
George slaying the dragon.
George's Church,second oldest
at Prague Castle, belongs to the most important Czech romanesque monastic basilici. It was
founded in the year 920 and in place of Slovanic services, by which Christianity was
spread over the Czech State thus far, a Latin liturgy was used.
||The life of Saint George is celebrated
in the liturgy of many Christian Churches. In the Russian Orthodox Church he is venerated
as the Great-Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington,
D.C. recounts his story in the Lives of the Saints.
||The DPSG,Deutsche Pfadfinderschaft Sankt Georg
-- German Saint George Scouting. This association is an independent group of Catholic
Scouts in Germany.
||The famous historical novel, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. One of the great stories of chivalry
in medieval England. St. George is mentioned prominently as the patron of knighthood and
||the Most Noble Order of the
Garter.This Order was founded
in 1348 by King Edward III as a noble fraternity or Chapter consisting of the King, the
Prince of Wales and 24 Knights Companion... It is the oldest order of knighthood in the
western world. The insignia consist of the Collar and Badge Appendant known as the George,
the Star, the Garter and the Sash with the Investment Badge, called the Lesser George....
The George is a gold and richly enamelled representation of St George on horseback slaying
the Dragon. As stated, it is worn suspended from the Collar.
Windsor Castle. For over 900 years
there has been a Castle at Windsor. William the Conqueror chose the site, high above the
River Thames and on the edge of a Saxon hunting ground. This page is from the official
website of the British Monarchy. It features a page on the restoration of the castle after
the disastrous fire of November 20, 1992.
||Charles Knight's Guide
to Windsor Castle published c.1861. Windsor Castle is the principal residence
of the British sovereigns, was built about 1070, and rebuilt in 1388, during the reign of
Edward III. St. George's Chapel serves as a gathering place for the knights of the Garter
whose insignia line the walls of the Chapel Choir.
||The Royal Military Order of
Saint George was created Maximilian II Emmanuel, Elector of Bavaria and established by
Papal Bull in 1728. It provided the Electors of Bavaria with "a means of honoring the
nobility and recognizing distinguished military service."
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Last Modified: 9:36 AM on April 23, 2012