Celebrating Saint George’s Day in Romania

Saint George's Day

Saint George’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint George, is celebrated every year on April 23. It is one of the most important feasts in the Christian Orthodox calendar. Several countries and localities such as England, Milan, Bologna and Genoa (Italy), Catalonia, Aragon and Barcelona (Spain), Podgorica (Montenegro), Beirut (Lebanon), share Saint George’s patronage and honour him by holding various celebrations and ceremonies. Saint George is a particularly loved and venerated Saint in Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Syria (Antiochian Church), Russia and Brazil. In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria calls St. George the „Prince of Martyrs”

Saint George – Christinanity’s defender

Born in Cappadocia (Turkey) in a Christian family, by his late 20’s, George became a Tribunus and served as an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia. During Emperor Diocletian’s persecutions, refusing to make a sacrifice in honour of the pagan gods, Saint George announced his Christian beliefs before his peers. Diocletian attempted to convert him to believe in the Roman gods and went to great length to make sure this will happen. He offered him land, money and slaves in exchange for offering a sacrifice to the Roman gods. He also made several other offers that George refused. Finally, Diocletian ordered George’s execution. In preparation for his death, George gave his money to the poor and was sent for several torture sessions. He was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303AD. After his martyrdom, Saint George became recognized as a holy saint in the Orthodox Christian Church.

Protector of all

Saint GeorgeThroughout history, stories persist of the life of Saint George, including his service as a Roman soldier and his slaying of a fearsome dragon. In Christian artworks, Saint George is depicted wearing armour and holding a lance or fighting a dragon, which represents Christ’s enemies.

Saint George represents the epitome of knightly virtue and chivalry, so it is no wonder that he is a Patron saint of soldiers and „all people protecting the nation”. To this day St George’s cross still appears on the Garter badge and his image is the pendant of the Garter chain. Founded by Edward III in 1348, The Order of the Garter is the highest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. Also, in 1940 King George VI created a new award for acts of the greatest heroism or courage in circumstances of extreme danger. The George Cross, named after the king, bears the image of St George vanquishing the dragon. The image of St George also adorns many of the memorials built to honour those killed during World War One.

Saint George is also the patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers. He helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. 

Lord Baden-Powell, the British Army lieutenant-general and writer, who founded the Scout Movement in 1922, designated St. George as the Patron Saint of Scouts. He felt the qualities of the legendary Roman soldier; were the same qualities that reflect a good Scout.

Since 1880, St. George’s Day is also the Day of the Bulgarian Army. Also, as of 1920, Saint George is the saint patron of the Romanian Army, protecting the soldiers defending the country. Over one million Romanians celebrate today their name day.  

Celebrating Saint George’s Day in Romania

Saint GeorgeOn April 23, over one million Romanians celebrate their name day. This is the day Romanians decorate their houses with green branches or plants. To be more specific, they hang weeping willow branches at their doors, gates and windows. It is said that the green plants keep the households safe. In some parts of the country, before sunrise, people bathe in running water to be healthy all year long and to wash away all evils.

Superstitions and traditions

According to local superstitions, those who sleep on this day will be sleepy all year. Also, the garbage collected on this day should be put at the root of the fruit trees, as it is said that this way the trees will bear lots of fruits.


Saint George’s Churches in Bucharest

Visiting the most loved church of Saint George in Bucharest

New Saint George’s Church is a must place to visit while being in Bucharest and for several reasons. Consecrated on June 29, 1707, during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu

This church was decorated by the great Romanian maestros of the times, the Byzantine style painter Pârvu Mutu.

Once buried underneath the church, Brancoveanu’s remains are now found on display inside.


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