Saint George and the Dragon in Iconography

A Reader's Guide to Orthodox Icons

Russian Icon of St George, based on a 15th Century depiction

The wealth of images depicted in holy icons is overwhelming, yet one thing appears to unite them all. Despite not usually being painted in a naturalistic way, they are always concerned in depicting reality. In icons of the life of Christ, His Saints, or other historic events we are always presented with what happened, and the meaning behind what happened.

The image of St George killing the dragon, on the other hand, appears more like a fairy-story; indeed, it is a popular image in children’s story books.

So why are there literally thousands of holy icons surviving of St George killing a dragon, found in all parts of the Christian world, and spanning centuries?

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