Monday, April 23, 2007

St George's Day

St. George. Patron Saint of England. And quite a few other places and things, as well.

From Britannia:

"St George is still venerated in a large number of places, by followers of particular occupations and sufferers from certain diseases. George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to St Mark). He is patron of soldiers, cavalry and chivalry; of farmers and field workers, Boy Scouts and butchers; of horses, riders and saddlers; and of sufferers from leprosy, plague and syphilis. He is particularly the patron saint of archers, which gives special point to these famous lines from Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1, l. 31:

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry God for Harry, England and St George!'.

Indirectly, the spirit of George the soldier saint played a part in modern English history when Sir Laurence Olivier's film of Henry V was issued in 1944 as an encouragement to our armies fighting for the liberation of France."

The Catholic Church downgraded St. George when they did their wholesale clean up in 1969, apparently because little is known about him.

However, his story made it back to England, maybe at the time of the Crusades; indeed, Richard the Lionheart called upon St. George to protect his army when he went to the Holy Land in 1191. Of course it must be remembered that Richard didn't even set foot in Jerusalem. Except in story, St. George didn't set foot in England, either, so there's that in common.

The dragon-killing may be a Christianization of the legend of Perseus and Andromeda, according to Britannia.

Here is a link to the story.

I think you all should know that I have stood on the very spot, in England, where the Saint is purported to have slain the offending serpent. So, as the story takes place in Libya, the story must be wrong.

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