Saint George and the Dragon Textile — 2016
by Michelle L Hofer
Fabric mixed media collage
The image of Saint George and the Dragon is one said to have been regarded by Christians over many centuries as a symbol of hope – a reminder of the ultimate victory won by our Savior through his death and resurrection
It is one of Christianity’s most prominent images – the many grand and dramatic depictions of a powerful soldier upon a majestic stallion slaying a hideous devilish beast give testimony to a visual theme that will perhaps forever inspire artists.
This icon is actually a mix of truth, fairy tale and symbolism…
Truth – Saint George was a real person… A soldier of the Roman army at the turn of the 4th century, George is said to have boldly proclaimed his faith upon hearing a royal decree to persecute Christians. Having distributed his wealth to the poor and freed his servants in anticipation of his own death, George stood bravely and professed before the Emperor and the Roman Senate: “I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting in Him, I have come among you voluntarily, to bear witness concerning the Truth.” Unable to persuade this accomplished soldier, Emperor Diocletian, who had great respect and love for George, ordered he be taken out and tortured until he retracted his statement. Enduring one torture method after another including having chunks of flesh ripped from his body, George continued to survive, his wounds being healed in the power of God. During his prison stays, people in need of healing came to George and received restoration. The drama (which is said to have brought about the conversion of numerous individuals including Empress Alexandra) escalated until George was finally beheaded on April 23, AD 303.
Fairy Tale – the legend of Saint George… An event with little historical documentation, the legend says that George rose from the dead to deliver the people of his native city in modern-day Beruit, from a dragon who had been terrorizing them. To keep the dragon at bay, the ruler declared that each day a child would be sacrificed after being chosen by drawing lots. On the day the ruler’s own daughter had been selected, as she stood weeping on the shore of the lake were the monster resided, valiant George, riding a gorgeous white steed rushed in and gave the dragon a crushing blow, piercing it with his spear and trampling it with his horse.
Symbolism – This image is also symbolic of John’s vision of Christ in Revelation 19 riding upon a white horse into battle against the beast:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war…”