Today, April 23, marks the Saint’s Day of one of Christianity’s most celebrated saints, St. George, slayer of dragons and patron saint of countries as diverse as England and Ethiopia. According to the Golden Legend, the name of this 3rd century soldier was derived from geos, which means earth, and orge, which means to work; hence, one who works on the earth. April 23, 303 is the traditionally accepted date of his death according to the Roman Catholic calendar.
But why celebrate the anniversary of someone’s death rather than his or her birth? In George’s case, at least, the two are considered one and the same for the date of a saint’s death is the same as the date of their heavenly birth.