Happy St George's Day
St George is a saint for those interested in freedom and looking for life models. Here are 5 reasons why:
1) Considerable hot air has been blown at George. Happily George always retains his cool.
2) George likes travel, adventures, and underdogs.
3) Following the Christian code of chivalry, George defends a vulnerable woman and her city. He has principles.
4) He's prepared and he doesn't delay. Having previously polished his skills with horse and sword, he confidently tackles the resident dragon.
5) Trusting in Jesus Christ makes all the difference to George and to the history of freedom and justice.
Some excellent reasons for admiring George, you might think, but historians say that George never arrived in England.
This depends, of course, on possessing a material view of saints.
George appeared in a stained glass window at the monastery of Jarrow in the 7th century and in the history of the Venerable Bede in the 8th century.
Then he became the patron saint of English farmers (his Greek name combines the words for land and tilling).
Not long after Magna Carta, at the synod of Oxford in AD 1222, he was given a feast day. In 1381 the farmers and artisans who marched on London seeking economic justice in the Great Revolt, marched under George's banner.
After that George became the patron saint of English knights.
George was finally recognised as patron saint of England in the 15th century, during Henry V's reign, and given Shakespeare's stamp of approval 180 years later - 'God for Harry, England and St George!'
As patron saint of England, George is 'linked by name to beneficent institutions of all kinds, to hospitals and charities as well as churches. . .' (Oxford DNB). Guilds and associations call him their champion, and he became an action hero in plays and patron saint of the Scouts.
George Orwell, the eloquent defender of freedom, took his name in admiration for the saint.
The English have thoroughly vetted George.
Pub signs sometimes show George reviving with an ale after his encounter with a fiery reptile. Reptiles coming in many shapes these days, we raise our glass to George, and heroes of our age.
A slightly edited, previously published post