The symbolic roots of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George are shrouded in ancient history and medieval legend. Saint George (left), a Christian born in Asia Minor around 270, became a military officer in the Imperial Army. In 303, he publicly tore down one of the Emperor Diocletian’s edicts against Christians, an act which led to his torture and eventual martyrdom. Over the centuries, many legends were told about Saint George. Early Orthodox iconography depicts him slaying a dragon, and in the Middle Ages he came to be known as the Patron of Knights. Saint George was venerated in the East from about 350.
In 312, some years after Saint George’s martyrdom, the Emperor Constantine “the Great,” on the eve of his vic torious battle at the Milvian Bridge in Rome, had a vision of the Cross and the words “In hoc signo vinces” (By this sign you shall conquer). He ordered a labarum (a square banner suspended from a horizontal bar attached to a vertical spear) constructed bearing the Greek monogram XP (for “Christos”). His armies defeated those of Maxentius and Christians were no longer persecuted in Rome. The Christianisation of Italy and the rest of Europe followed.