Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 15 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. César de Bus
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

She-wolf or dragon? The church of San Giorgio in Velabro

mikluha_maklai | Shutterstock

Marinella Bandini - published on 02/18/21

Station Church Day 2: This church is associated with the saintly dragon-slayer and the legend of Rome's founding.

Aleteia invites you to a virtual Lenten pilgrimage through Rome’s 42 station churches: one church per day, from February 17 to April 11.

The basilica of San Giorgio in Velabro owes its name to the area in which it stands, at a short distance from the Tiber, which was once marshy or at least subject to flooding. Here, centuries earlier, is said to have run aground the basket in which Romulus and Remus, the twins at the origin of the founding of Rome, were abandoned. The she-wolf that suckled them is still today the symbol of the city.

The basilica was built in the 6th century and modified several times, although the presence of a diaconia, or a center for works of charity and assistance to the poor, is attested from even earlier. The Romanesque bell tower and the portico were added in the 13th century.

Originally the church was dedicated to St. Sebastian, but devotion to St. George took hold when Pope Zacharias (741-752) brought there the relic of the saint’s head, which is still preserved under the altar. Later the church was named after both, although the veneration of the warrior saint, who fights against the devil in the guise of a dragon, became prevalent.


Read more:
These saints were professional dragon-slayers

St. George is invoked against poisonous snakes, plague, leprosy and syphilis.

See, I have set before you todaylife and prosperity, death and adversity. Choose life so that youand your descendants may live.Dt 30: 15.19

Read about the tradition of the station churches here. And see previous churches in the pilgrimage here.

Station Churches
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
St. Faustina’s coffee cup and lessons for Divine Mercy Sund...
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
Fr Robert McTeigue, SJ
A simple test to see if you really believe Christ is risen
Here’s how to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at home
Cerith Gardiner
11 Interesting facts about the late Prince Philip
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.