I was born in Lydda, Palestine (today called Lod in Israel) around the year 284. I come from a well to do family. My father served in the Roman Army. Both my parents were Christian. Nevertheless as no records exist about what went on in my life a lot of what is said is based on tradition and facts that were passed on from on generation to the next.
In my youth I enlisted with the Roman Army and eventually became a high ranking officer.
The most popular event for which I am known is the one about the dragon. Although retold many times and based on popular literature this story about myself slaying the dragon and defending a young princess and her folk has a deeper meaning. The dragon is a symbol of evil that not only exists but it is continuously active - harassing all those who try to abide by what is right. The legend about me facing and killing the fierce dragon is a metaphor pointing to the fact that evil can be overcome and should be allowed to stop what is good in our lives and all around us.
As the years passed, the Roman empire became more pagan and anti-Christian. The Emperor Diocletian himself wanted all Christians to renounce their faith – something I was not ready to accept. This was a time of persecution against Christians. My life on earth came to its end when I was eventually martyred during this persecution in AD 303 at Nicomedia.
After my death more and more people got to know about some events that took place in my life and over the centuries that followed I became a popular saint in many places all around the world from Georgia to England, and many other countries. Several groups of people chose me as their protector and patron too – Scouts, soldiers and farmers included.
“The more we are persecuted, the more do others in ever increasing numbers embrace the faith and become worshippers of God through the name of Jesus.”
Dialogue with Trypho, n 110
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