Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The other patron saints of England

According to this article by Father Andrew Phillips, England has three patron saints. The first was St. Edmund, from about 869 A.D., as a result of his resistance to Danish invaders. After the Norman invasion in 1066, Anglo-Normans began promoting Edward the Confessor as a patron.

When Richard I defeated Saladin on April 23, 1192, St.George became the patron of the English Army, and within a few centuries he was venerated throughout the land.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The dragon legend

One explanation of the dragon legend involves a large crocodile with wings. Basically the dragon would eat anyone who spent too long outside the city walls. A couple of sheep were sacrificed everyday to keep the monster satisfied. When there were no more sheep, they started on the children. But when it was time for the king's daughter to become the sacrifice, St. George steps in, does battle with the dragon and goes down in history.

It's quite plausible of course that George killed a crocodile, and the story got a little exagerated and spun out. Read the whole story and make your own mind up.

Friday, April 23, 2004

St. George's Day

April 23 is St. George's Day, Patron Saint of England, and slayer of dragons.

The Tradition of St. George's Day tells us what little is actually known about the man and the legend. He lived in the 4th century AD and was a Roman soldier. He expresssed his displeasure at the Emperor's persecution of Christians and totally lost his head on April 23, 303.

The only connection he seems to have had with England was that he spent time there during his military service. As for dragons, the only connection appears to be that the emperor was sometimes referred to as "the dragon", but the results of that fight are contrary to the legend.

St. George became Patron Saint of England in about 1344 or 1348. He is also the patron of many other countries, cities, boy scouts, sufferers of syphilis, and many others to boot.