Monday, July 12, 2010

Statue of Saint George slaying the dragon

A statue of St. George slaying the dragon can be seen in front of the Reformed Church on the Wolf Street (Kogalniceanu Street). The statue is a copy made in 1904 by Kalman Lux. The original statue, from 1373, designed by two metalworkers Martin and George from Cluj, is in Prague.

St George was a Roman soldier and priest in the Guard of Diocletian. In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But George objected and loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation on April 23, 303.

The story St George slaying the dragon
In the fully-developed Western version of the story, a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of Silene. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

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