Tuesday 23 April 2024

England and St George's day

 The red cross on a white background, national flag of England  has recently come under abuse by the British Olympic Association  and Nike's design for the England football team shirt, while English Heritage are falling over backwards to tell us that St George wasn't actually English.

Unlike some of our neighbors we English don't seem to celebrate our patron saint much, and I confess the last time I went to the St George's day parade was with the Sea Scouts some 50 years ago.

Does it actually matter that our patron saint was born and died in the middle east? There's also some division over his origin some claiming it was Cappadocia in modern day Turkey, others that he was born in Joppa of Christian parents. The biblical city of Joppa is now understood to be Jaffa part of Tel Aviv.

Did he really kill a dragon and rescue a princess? It seems likely that he did die, executed for defending Christians against persecution by Roman Emperor Dicocietian in AD 303. His actions speak of bravery and integrity which are worthy of a patron saint. 

It's suggested that George's exploits were made known to England by Arculphus and Adamnan on return from the holy lands in circa AD 700 and was made patron saint of England in 1098 after appearing to the starving and outnumbered crusaders at Battle of Antioch in the same year, who went on to defeat the attacking regimens under Kerbogha.

So whether you can trace your ancestors back though the generations or if you have chosen this land as home, St George an adopted patron saint seems to be a good representative of the values of our island nation and worth celebrating

" All our past acclaims our future: Shakespeare's voice and Nelson's hand

Milton's faith and Wordsworth's trust in this our chosen and chain-less land"

Swinburne - England an Ode

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