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Saturday, April 23, 2005

St. George's Day Patron of England

Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
This date is observed in memory of England's patron saint, St George so, in a sense, this is England's national day, although unlike many countries there is no official recognition of this in the form of a holiday (booh!). The emblem of St. George is a red cross on a white background, and in the 12th century the emblem was adopted by Richard The Lionheart whose soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

St George has been more strongly associated with England since the reign of Edward III in the fourteenth century allegedly replacing Edward the Confessor as patron saint. Edward chose St George to be patron saint of the Order of the Garter-- the highest order of English knighthood. Historians feel his promotion as patron saint is mainly due to his popularity among English crusaders who eventually used his name as a battle cry during the Hundred Years War. Thus St George became the subject of many legends.

According to history the real St. George was a cavalryman who lived in the 4th century. Allegedly born in what is now called Turkey, he died a martyr's death in 303 A.D. for protesting against the persecution of Christians when Rome was governed by an anti-Christian emperor, Diocletian. He was buried in Lydda, Palestine (now called Lod).

The best know legend tells us that St. George killed a terrible dragon and that is how he is always depicted. Although once a very prominent holy day in the Christian calendar, St George's Day is today celebrated mainly by special parades and rallies. On this day , the flag of St George is flown from church towers and many other buildings. Also St George's symbol is the English rose and so a rose is what some English people wear in their lapels to mark their national day.

In England, there are some - notably publicans and brewers - who want to see St George's Day made into a national holiday marked with greater ceremony and, let's face it, alcohol. If Patrick is the patron saint of Guinness, why not cry St George for English bitters?
Link for the above explanation.

Collect:
Lord,
hear the prayers of those who praise Your mighty power.
As Saint George was ready to follow Christ in suffering and death,
so may he be ready to help us in our weakness.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.


Readings of the Day:
First Reading - Revelation 21:5-7
And He who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also He said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And He said to me,"It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."


Gospel Reading - Luke 9:23-26
And He[Jesus] said to all, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Antonio said...

Thank-you very much for posting this!!!

I read last year that in England there were talks about giving much more importance to St. George's Feast (and trying to do something like what Irishs do in St. Patrick's Feast).

Am I right?

4:31 pm  

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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