On Monday this week we commemorate our Patron Saint St George.
Some of his life story is by necessity legendary, but he is widely honoured and venerated throughout the world and especially in the Middle East, where Jews and Muslims also venerate him. He is patron saint not only of England but also of Georgia, Malta & Gozo, Portugal, Spain, Aragon, Venice and Catalonia among several more.
St George was probably a soldier living in Palestine at the beginning of the fourth century. He was martyred at Lydda in about the year 304, the beginning of the Diocletian persecution, and became known throughout the East as ‘The Great Martyr’.
There were churches in England dedicated to St George before the Norman conquest. The legendary story of his slaying the dragon is linked to him saving a maiden princess from a monster and thus promoting the whole Kingdom of Cappadocia into Christianity.
George replaced Edward the Confessor as Patron Saint of England following the Crusades, when returning soldiers brought back with them a renewed cult of St George. Edward III made St George patron of the Order of the Garter, which seems finally to have confirmed his position.
God of hosts, who so kindled the flame of love
in the heart of your servant George that he bore witness to the risen Lord by his life and by his death:
give us the same faith and power of love that we who rejoice in his triumphs may come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
22 April 2018