We turn Left into the Pakhuisstraat, then go 1st Left, crossing over to take the pedestrian path over the old town's defence dyke. In the wall on your left you will have a good view of two 17th century gateways once used by Hoorn's civic watch. The stone tablet above the first entrance shows St.Joris ( St.George) slaying the dragon.
Saint Joris gateway (patron saint of the S.Joris Bowmen ).The S.Joris club of crossbow or foot-bow men was the oldest of the two civic watch guilds.
Saint Joris , better known as Saint George, is a legendary soldier saint and martyr. He was born in Kappadocia (a region in Asia minor). In about the year 303, during the time of the persecution of the Christians in Palestine under Caesar Diocletian. S. Joris, together with other Christians, suffered death through torture.
He is renowned for the episode in his life in which he fights and kills the dragon. For the early Christians the dragon was a symbol of heathenism, and slaying the dragon with a lance symbolised the conversion of a heathen land to Christianity. In later centuries the original was no longer understood and was passed down as a legend from ancient times. S.George, like Perseus, had fought the dragon in order to save the sacrificed Princess. At that time there was a land in the grip of a dragon, the inhabitants had to sacrifice two sheep a day to keep him tranquil. When the last sheep had been devoured the dragon demanded human sacrifice, starting with the King's daughter. The Princess, dressed in bridal finery, went out to meet her death but was saved by S.George who attacked the dragon, piercing him with his lance. He then promised to kill the dragon if all would consent to being baptised by him. The King and all his subjects gratefully agreed, S.George killed the monster and 15000 people were given Christian baptism.
In 305 S.George was arrested by the state persecutors of the early Christians, he was tortured on the rack and drenched in quick lime but miraculously suffered no harm. Caesar' s wife was so impressed by this that she underwent baptism and accompanied S.George to the tower on the town wall where they were both beheaded. This is said to have taken place in the Promised Land.
S.George is usually depicted as a knight on horseback, piercing the dragon with his lance. The vanquished dragon is often shown lying at his feet. Other scenes of this medieval legend are sometimes seen.
Patron Saint of: farmers, coopers, saddlers, soldiers, prisoners,
horsemen, cattle, all types of conflict etc.
Patron Saint protecting against: threat of war, temptations, fever, pest.
Patron Saint for: the weather
Helper of those in need.
S.George's day: 23 April
Saint Sebastian's Gateway
Little is known of S.Sebastian's life, however numerous legends surround this remarkable man. Born in Milan he was brought up in a Christian family and his aim in life was to help those Christians persecuted for their belief. He served in the armies of Caesar Carinus (283-285) and Caesar Diocletian (284-305) under whose rule state persecution of the Christians flared up again. When Diocletian learnt that his exemplary soldier Sebastianus was a Christian he had him bound to a stake, pierced with arrows and finally flogged to death. In one legend Irene, a young widow, was about to take down the soldier's body and give it burial when she discovered he still lived.
Sebastianus sought out Caesar after his miraculous recovery and openly accused him of criminal persecution of the Christians. Caesar then had him arrested and ordered him to be beaten to death by his fellow soldiers in the arena. This is said to have taken place on January 20 in the year 288. His body was removed from the arena by Lucinda, a devout Christian, and buried at the Apostle Basilica on the Via Apia. In the 9th century S.Sebastian was made titular or patron saint of this church.
Patron Saint of: the dying, soldiers, war wounded, ironmongers,
potters, tinsmiths, tanners, gardeners, also of water sources.
Patron Saint protecting against: the pest, leprosy and diseases in cattle.
Helper in need.