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The life of "San Jorge"

Very little and confused is the information we have of Jorge de Capadocia´s life. We know he was born in this region in Asia Minor probably in 279 A.N. He received the Baptism and was given the name of Jorge, which means man of the country. His mother, a very religious person taught him the Christian doctrine and encouraged him to study Theology, Greek and Latin. His father called Geroncio was a military man. When he died, Jorge and his mother went to Palestina to live and there he joined the military service following his paternal vocation. Very young he acceded to the comicial tribune degree, that is chosen by the people.

At that time the East Roman Empire had Diocleciano as an Emperor and the capital was Nicomedia, where Jorge lived. When his mother died, he sold his personal property and gave the money to the poor.


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Patron of Alcoy

The devotion to `San Jorge´ would reach Alcoy in 1245 with its reconquest for the Christian world and the repopulation by the king James I.

In the Reconquest `Sant Jordi, firam firam´ was the war cry of the ancient Crown of Aragon and the Kingdoms which compose it. The devotion and the cult to the Saint were very spread out in his territory since 1096 after his participation in the Alcoraz battle which caused the conquest of Huesca. So, when the moor leader Al-Azraq, ancient lord of the `Vall d´Alcalà´, expatriated to Granada after his rebellion in 1258, tried to recuperate his territories and attacked Alcoy in the spring 1276, it is a tradition the defence made by the `alcoyanos´ with Mossén Torregrossa invoking the Divine protection and the celestial intercession of `San Jorge´ who the Saracen knew as `Wali´, who riding a white horse went through the rampart routing Al-Azraq´s army who died in the battle.


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Legend, beleives and patronages

In the life and facts of `San Jorge´, the legend and the reality can be the same although seen from different angles. There is no doubt he is Diocleciano´s martyr for professing his faith as well as the legendary gentleman defender of the Christianity.

The Golden Legend relates the martyr as well as the beautiful miracles of the Saint. But, perhaps the thing that has probed deeply into the people all over the world is the legend in which the Saint Gentleman beat the dragon saving the princess from its fauces and Berito city from the terrible beast.

The `alcoyanos´, who describe him as a faithful protector in the hymn dedicated to him as a gratitude for his help that 23rd April 1276 when he gave us our identity, our ancestors named him Patron of the town and promised to build him a temple and celebrate his festivity annually.


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Without any doubt San Jorge is one of the ones of a Roman official standing with garments characteristic of that militia, adolescent face represented many times in scenes of his martyrdom, specially on medieval gothic reredos.


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