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Kazan Cathedral in St.Petersburg, Russia 🇷🇺 Казанский Кафедральный Собор
Kazan Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, is a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, probably the most venerated icon in Russia.
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Happy Saint George's Day to everybody! Last question in this Saint George week: What happened to the princess actually, after Saint George saved her from the dragon? Well, she turned into a nation! At least, that is was they believe in Sweden, were images of Saint George are always accompanied by an image of the princess – as a symbol for Sweden. These two bronze statues in the Gamla stan, the old town of Stockholm, are copies of the magnificent medieval, painted wooden originals in the Storkyrkan church, also in Gamla stan. When I was there, they were being renovated. For a picture see @kyrkospaningar.

Saint George might have been a Roman soldier of Greek and Palestinian origin, serving as a guard to the Roman emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century. The legend tells he was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith: he was beheaded after a series of gruesome torments.

His fight with a dragon is usually situated near Silene in Libya, were he saved the king’s daughter from being offered to a venom-spewing dragon. Saint George attacked the dragon on horseback with his spear, but the hard scales of the monster broke the spear into thousands of pieces. He was flung from his horse and then killed the beast with his sword by finding a place under the wing where the scales did not protect it. Out of gratitude, the entire of population of Silene then converted to Christianity. And the princess he saved became the symbol of a nation.
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Question 5 in Saint George’s week: Why didn’t Saint George just use his fists to slay the dragon? This sculpture, part of the Liberty monument on Gellért Hill outside Budapest (Hungary), refers to Saint George’s legendary fight with the dragon, but sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl clearly gives it a different twist.

The legend of Saint George’s fight with a dragon is usually situated near Silene in Libya, were he saved the king’s daughter from being offered to a venom-spewing dragon. First, Saint George attacked the dragon on horseback with his spear, which is the way he is often depicted. But that did not work, the hard scales of the monster broke the spear into thousands of pieces. He was flung from his horse but fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree against which poison could not prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him.
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Within a few minutes Saint George had recovered his strength and was able to fight again. He then rushed, with his sword in his hand, at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet. But who knows, maybe this didn’t work either and the saint had to continue the fight with his bare fists.

Via the Crusades, Saint George became the emblem of the Christian triumph over evil forces. Or in this case: the victory of the Soviet troops over the Nazi forces, as this statue was erected in 1947 in the period of communist control. After 1989, when Hungary broke free from Soviet domination, the inscription became dedicated to “all who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary". Let’s hope the statue’s message can be reframed again, now freedom in Hungary is again threatened these days.
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Question 4 in Saint George’s week: How to slay a dragon? Nobody knows exactly, as scientific sources are lacking. The legend of Saint George’s fight with a dragon is usually situated near Silene in Libya, were he saved the king’s daughter from being offered to a venom-spewing dragon.
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First, Saint George attacked the dragon on horseback with his spear, which is the way he is often depicted. But that did not work, the hard scales of the monster broke the spear into thousands of pieces. He was flung from his horse but fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree against which poison could not prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him.

Within a few minutes Saint George had recovered his strength and was able to fight again. He smote the beast with his sword, but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet.
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The victorious, but humble saint is here depicted with his sword in hand in the Santa María del Mar (Saint Mary of the Sea) church in Barcelona (Spain). The dragon under his feet seems a bit too small to swallow sheep though – let alone a princess.

Saint George’s cult as a legendary warrior saint spread to western Europe via the Crusades. He became the emblem of the Christian triumph over evil forces, making him particularly popular in Spain during the seven centuries of the Reconquista (reconquest) of the peninsula from its Islamic rulers (711-1492). Which makes it very interesting to know that Saint George figures in several Muslim texts as a respected, prophetic figure.
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La stupenda Visione di San Benedetto di Francesco de Mura degli anni trenta del XVIII secolo. Nel 1731, in seguito ad un violento terremoto, la volta della chiesa, che ospitava affreschi di Belisario Corenzio, crollò. De Mura fu chiamato a ripristinare il soffitto, dipingendo però sullo stesso tema delle precedenti opere.

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Girolamo Macchietti, La Liberalità (o Proserpina), 1565, Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca' d'Oro, Venezia

The Liberality (or Persephone) by Girolamo Macchietti, 1565. Art Gallery Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca' d'Oro, Venice, Italy

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Question 3 in Saint George’s week: why is the saint so popular in Catalonia? In Barcelona you see Sant Jordi almost on every corner of the street, such as here in the Barri Gòtic.

In the first half of the 8th century, most of the Iberian peninsula had come under control of muslim rulers from Northern Africa. Only a few Christian kingdoms, including Aragon to which Catalonia belonged, remained independent. Over the course of more than seven centuries the Christian kingdoms were gradually able to regain control over the entire peninsula.

One crucial battle in the Reconquista took place in 1096 at Alcoraz, outside Huesca. The forces of King Pedro I of Aragon defeated the muslim forces, but only after Saint George appeared above the head of Pedro I. The saint did not engage in the battle himself, but sitting on his horse clad as a knight with a white robe with a red cross he strongly inspired the Aragonese forces.
Saint George’s cult as a legendary warrior, which originated in the eastern Church had just spread to western Europe via the Crusades. He became the emblem of the Christian triumph over muslim forces, not just in Spain.

Since then in Aragon and Catalonia he was adopted enthusiastically. The myth of Saint George’s fight with the dragon, originally situated in Libya, was relocated to Montblanc in Spain. And a romantic element was added: when the saint had saved the princess by stabbing the dragon to death, a rose grew from the dragon’s blood flowing on the ground. Saint George picked the rose and handed it to the princess.
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Therefore, in Catalonia and some other regions, it is customary on Saint George’s day (this Monday 23 April) for men to give away roses to women. In return, women give men a book to remember the death and burial of some famous Spanish authors on this day. Not a bad deal ;-)
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