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The Royal Society of Saint George

www.royalsocietyofstgeorge.com

St George's Day Banquet
April 2019, Guildhall, City of London

St George's Day Banquet April 2019, Guildhall,  London St George's Day Banquet April 2019, Guildhall,  London

St George's Day Banquet April 2019, Guildhall,  London St George's Day Banquet April 2019, Guildhall,  London

St George's Day Banquet April 2019, Guildhall,  London

Saint George

Saint George is the Patron Saint of England, as well as several other countries, and 23rd April is his Saint's day, as well as Shakespeare's birthday and near to the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the Society should celebrate with a banquet on,or near, this day each year.

It is now accepted from the Eastern Church tradition that George (Georgius (Latin)) or Gergios (Greek), meaning "worker of the land", was born between 275 and 285 AD in Lod, Syria Palaestrina, the Roman Province covering much of which is now the Near Middle East. His parents were Gerontius, a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother, Polychronia, from Palestine. They were both Christian and therefore George was raised as such. At the age of 14 George lost his father and a few years after his mother. At this time George went to the city of Nicomedia to ask the Emperor Diocletian to allow him to join the Roman army. Diocletian was delighted as his father, Gerontius, had been one of his favourite soldiers and officials. By his late 20s George was a tribunus stationed with the Imperial Guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.

In 302AD Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the Roman Army should be arrested and join with all other soldiers in making a sacrifice to the Roman gods. George strongly objected and pleaded with the Emperor who did not want to lose one of his best officers. In the end, after George had publicly declared his worship of Jesus Christ, Diocletian had no option but to order his execution. On 23rd April 303 AD George was decapitated after torture outside the walls of Nicomedia. His body was then sent to Lydda in Palestine for burial. Ben Gurion International Airport is believed to stand on this site.

The legend of George and the dragon was brought back to Europe by the Crusaders. A dragon, or a crocodile, makes its home in a spring near, possibly, Lydda. The citizens have to dislodge this "dragon" from its hide to obtain water. To do this they offer it a sheep, but if no sheep can be found, a maiden instead. The victim is drawn by lot and, one day, this falls upon a princess. She is therefore offered to the dragon just as George rides past. Protecting himself with the sign of the cross, he slays the dragon and saves the princess. In gratitude the citizens convert to Christianity.

At the siege of Antioch in 1098, preceding the defeat of the Saracens and the fall of the town on the first Crusade, a vision of SS George and Demetrius appeared. Richard I placed himself and his army under George's protection. By now he was the special patron of soldiers. George was probably first made well known in England by Arculpus and Adamnan in the early eighth century. The Acts of St George, which recounted his visits to Caerleon and Glastonbury while on service in England, were translated into Anglo-Saxon. Among churches dedicated to St George was one
at Doncaster in 1061.

Following the Crusades the cult of St George began to grow throughout Western Europe with the earliest mention being by Bede. The St George's flag of a red cross on a white background was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 partially to gain protection from Genoa for ships entering the Mediterranean. There are several examples of his name being invoked as a battle cry during the Hundred Years War as evidenced by Shakespeare's Henry V. In 1348 Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St George. St George's Day survived the Reformation and gradually St George is becoming the better English equivalent to St Andrew in Scotland and St Patrick in Ireland as a day to celebrate all things English.

St George is the patron saint of some 13 countries worldwide including Russia, India, Romania, Iraq and Portugal. Many cities also use his patronage ranging from Genoa, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Moscow, and in England to Preston and Tamworth.

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St George's Day Banquet
April 2015, The Old Library, Guildhall, City of London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 2015 at Guildhall, London

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City of London Branch AGM Dinner
May 2014, Armourers' Hall

The Royal Society of Saint George, City of London Branch AGM Dinner - Armourers' Hal, lMay 2014   The Royal Society of Saint George, City of London Branch AGM Dinner - Armourers' Hal, lMay 2014

The Royal Society of Saint George, City of London Branch AGM Dinner - Armourers' Hal, lMay 2014   The Royal Society of Saint George, City of London Branch AGM Dinner - Armourers' Hal, lMay 2014

Armorial Bearings

Shield of Arms: The Cross of St. George and a wreath of Roses, Red and White, have been combined to form the Armorial Bearings of the Royal Society of St. George. Red and White Roses combined and called “Tudor” Roses have been associated as the “plant badge” of England since the end of the War of the Roses and well summarised by Shakespeare’s line:

“We will unite the White Rose and the Red, smile heaven upon this fair conjunction.”

Crest: This is pretty self-explanatory. St. George is depicted as a Knight on foot in combat with the Dragon and thrusting his spear into the jaws of the monster, protecting himself all the while by his Shield of Arms charged with the Cross of St. George, still part of the insignia, standing for England, of the United Kingdom, being incorporated in the Union Flag.

Supporters: Two Lions have been chosen as typically English symbols to support and protect the Shield of the Society. The Lions being made particularly relevant to the said Royal Society of St. George, in having roses, both Red and White, scattered upon their bodies, the Supporters standing on a grassy mount from which Roses are shown growing. This combination of Lions and Roses being designed to emphasise the Englishness of the Royal Society of Saint George

Saint George

It is likely that St George was born in Cappadocia, in what is now Turkey, in about the year 280 AD. From his physical description, he was probably of Darian origin, because of his tall stature and fair hair. He enlisted into the Cavalry of the Roman Army at the age of 17, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and quickly established a reputation amongst his peers, for his virtuous behaviour and physical strength, achieving the rank of Miltenary or Tribunus Militum, an officer’s rank roughly equivalent to a full Colonel, in charge of a regiment of 1,000 men and became a particular favourite of his Emperor.

Diocletian, a skilled military tactician and strict disciplinarian, set himself the task of rejuvenating the morale of the citizens of Rome by reviving the prevailing traditions and paganism of the city. His second in command was Galerius, the conqueror of Persia and an avid supporter of the Pagan religion. As a result of a rumour that the Christians were plotting the death of Galerius, an edict was issued that all Christian Churches were to be destroyed and all scriptures were to be burned. Anyone admitting to being a Christian, would lose his rights as a citizen, if not his life.

Many Christians feared to be loyal to their God; but, having become a convert to Christianity, St. George acted to limit the excesses of Diocletian's actions against the Christians. He went to the city of Nicomedia where, upon entering, he tore down the notice of the Emperor’s edict and gained great respect for his compassion towards Diocletian’s victims. As news spread of his rebellion against the persecutions, St George realised that as both Diocletian and Galerius were in the city, it would not be long before he was arrested. He prepared for the event by disposing of his property to the poor and freed his slaves.

Diocletian refused to acknowledge or accede to St George’s reasoned, reproachful condemnation of his actions and consigned him to prison with instructions that he be tortured until he denied his faith in Christ. St George, having defended his faith was beheaded at Nicomedia near Lyddia in Palestine on the 23rd of April in the year 303 AD. Stories of St. George's courage soon spread and his reputation grew very quickly. He soon became known in Russia and the Ukraine as the Trophy Bearer and his remains are said to have been buried in the Church that bears his name in Lydda. However, his head was carried to Rome, where it was preserved in the Church that is also dedicated to him.

St. George became the Patron Saint of England in 1415 AD, when English Soldiers under Henry V won the battle of Agincourt.

The City of London Branch

The inaugural meeting of the City of London Branch of The Royal Society of Saint George, was held at The Mansion House on 18th April 1921 under the Chairmanship of Mr Stanley Machin JP. The Lord Mayor, Sir James Roll, was elected as the first President.

The first luncheon of the new branch was held on 22nd June 1921 in Salters’ Hall, St Swithin’s Lane with the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Birkenhead, as the guest speaker. On 30th January 1922 over 500 people attended a Reception at the Mansion House. The Branch was clearly becoming strong and active. During the banquet, the Band of the Honourable Artillery Company played a selection of music, including “Land of Hope and Glory”, which has become a tradition in the City of London Branch.

After the Second World War the Branch was revitalised by the enthusiasm of the late President, Bernard L Morgan CBE, JP, KStJ, FCIOB and George Gibbs. The Patron of the Branch is The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor. The City of London Branch is by far the largest branch of the Society in the country Saint George

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Saint George's Day Banquet
April 23rd  2010, Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London
Table Setting


Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London
Presentation of the English Beef


Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London
The Chairman approves the Beef and drinks Jean's health

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London
Return to Serve


Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London

Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London   Saint George's Day Banquet, April 23rd 2010 at Guildhall, London

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