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Thursday, 23 April 2009
ST GEORGE'S DAY
"The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future." - Oscar Wilde
Today is Saint George’s Day. He is the patron saint of England and Greece and remarkably little is known about his life. Other countries and cities that claim him as patron saint include: Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany, Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice. He is also the patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. In recent years he has been adopted as patron saint of Scouts.
He is popularly identified with the knightly ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry. Pope Gelasius said that George is one of the saints “whose names are rightly reverenced among us, but whose actions are known only to God.” What we know about him is confined to the following few bits and pieces.
Saint George was born in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey, and he lived in 3rd century AD. His parents were Christian and the family later lived in Palestine. George became a Roman soldier, but protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians. Although he was imprisoned and tortured for these ideals, he stayed true to his faith. He was beheaded at Lydda in Palestine.
His life story has been embroidered with chivalrous and valorous deeds, including the slaying of a dragon and the rescue of a princess. This is a remarkably similar tale to the ancient Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda. He was martyred and died on this day in 303 AD. He became the patron saint of England after the Crusades, upstaging St Edmund in this role. He was reportedly always rushing to England’s aid whenever he was needed in battle and as late as in World War I, soldiers reported seeing him on his horse on the battlefield.
On St George’s Day, when blue is worn, The blue harebells the fields adorn.
Word of the day: patron saint (noun) A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, or person. ORIGIN Middle English: From Old French, from Latin patronus ‘protector of clients, defender,’ from pater, patr- ‘father.’ Middle English, from Old French seint, from Latin sanctus ‘holy,’ past participle of sancire ‘consecrate.’
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