The medieval collection of Lives of the Saints, the well-known Golden Legend (The Legenda Aurea by Jacobus de Voragine) contains the familiar story of St. George and the Dragon.
The town of Silene in Libya was plagued by a great dragon. The people offered it two sheep daily, then a man and a sheep, and finally their children, chosen by lottery. Then one day the king's daughter was chosen. The king offered all his gold to spare his daughter spared, but no one would take her place. The princess was sent out, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Then, providentially, St. George arrived. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to save her. St. George made the Sign of the Cross and charged the dragon on horseback, seriously wounding it. The princess and St. George led the dragon back to the city. He offered to kill the dragon if the people of the city would be baptized and become Christians. They consented and St. George killed the dragon. The king built a church on the spot and a miraculous spring flowed from its altar.
For centuries this story was believed and handed down by the faithful. Countless paintings and statues memorialize it. The country of Georgia and several other nations, states, cities, universities, professions and organizations all claim St. George as their patron. Only in modern times has the story of St. George and the Dragon come to be doubted, along with those of St. Christopher and St. Philomena. It is now considered by most people to be nothing more than a symbolic pious tale; there was no dragon. Pope Pius XII warned against this spirit, which begins by doubting that there was a serpent in the Garden of Eden, and ends by denying that Christ died on the Cross and arose from the dead.
St. George, pray for us.