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Everybody has dragons to face - Happy St George's Day

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Everybody has dragons to face. If you do, St George may be the saint for you.

Considerable hot air is blown at George, but George always retains his cool.

He likes travel, adventures, and underdogs.

He has principles. George defends a vulnerable woman and her city.

Having polished his skills with horse and sword on previous adventures, George confidently tackles the resident dragon.

These are some excellent reasons for admiring George, and even following his example, but historians say that George never arrived in England.

This is probably true if you own a material view of saints.

Howe'er, 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. By the 10th century he was 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. He 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!' Both George Orwell and a young prince bear his name.

George may only have visited England in spirit, but he made an impression.

Unsurprisingly George was a Christian. Trusting in Jesus Christ makes all the difference to George and to Britain's history of fair play and freedom .

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. He became an action hero in plays and patron saint of the Scouts.

Pub signs sometimes show George reviving with an ale after his encounter with the fiery reptile. Reptiles coming in many shapes these days, we raise our glass to George and to heroes of every age.

This is a slightly edited, previously published post

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