is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word,
which means more to me than any other.
That word is ENGLAND.” – Sir Winston Churchill
If England ever wanted to search for a common
National symbol in our multicultural society, then St George would surely fit
Saint George –
The Saint who killed the Dragon (ca. 275-281–April 23, 303) was a soldier of
the Roman Empire, from Anatolia, now modern day Turkey, who was venerated as an Islamic and
grew up to serve as an officer in the Roman army, like his father before him.
When ordered by a pagan ruler, the Emperor Diocletian, to pay tribute to Roman
gods, he refused and faced prolonged periods of torture – in some stories as
long as seven years, ending with a gruesome death: sliced in half and beheaded.
Saint George is
the most venerated saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Immortalised in the tale of George and
the Dragon, he is the patron saint of Canada, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, the cities of Istanbul, Ljubljana and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions,
organisations and disease sufferers.
On June 2
1893, Pope Leo
XIII demoted St George as Patron Saint for the English, relegating him to the
secondary rank of 'national protector' and replaced him with St Peter as the
Patron Saint of England. The change was solemnly announced by Cardinal Herbert
Vaughan in the Brompton Oratory.
pronouncement served to exclude the Catholic Church in England from a day which is part of English
tradition. In 1963, in the Roman Catholic Church, St George was further demoted
to a third class minor saint and removed him from the Universal Calendar, with
the proviso that he could be honoured in local calendars.
Pope John Paul
II, in 2000, restored St George to the Calendar, and he appears in Missals as
the English Patron Saint, with Pope Leo’s pronouncement ignored.
Saint George is
also the patron saint of Beirut. The Bay of Saint George in Beirut is believed to be the place where the
dragon lived and where it was slain.
cultures, the Prophet or Saint al-Khidr or Khizar; according to the Quran a
companion of the Prophet Muwsa Moses, is associated with Mar Girgis (St.
George), who is also venerated under that name by Christians among mainly
Muslim people, especially Palestinian people, and mainly around Jerusalem,
where according to tradition he lived and often prayed near the Temple Mount,
and is venerated as a protector in times of crisis.
His main monument
is the elongated mosque Qubbat al-Khidr ('The Dome of al-Khidr') which stands
isolated from any close neighbours on the northwest corner of the Dome of the
Rock terrace in Jerusalem.
St. George killed
the dragon in this country [Palestine]; and the place is shown close to
Beyroot. Many churches and convents are named after him. The church at Lydda is
dedicated to St. George: so is a convent near Bethlehem, and another small one just opposite the Jaffa gate; and others beside. The Arabs
believe that St. George can restore mad people to their senses; and to say a
person has been sent to St. George’s, is equivalent to saying he has been sent
to a madhouse.
death occurred around the fourth century AD, some 300 years before the last
prophet of Islam completed the Message of God to His creation with the Qur’an.
as a true follower of monotheism Muslims regard him as dying in a state of
submission to the One Creator. Or in Arabic – of dying in a state of Islam.
such, George has acquired status as a Muslim martyr. Muslims across the Middle East have traditionally
associated George with Al Khadr, literally ‘the Green One’, signifying wisdom
that is ever fresh and imperishable. Al Khadr is described in the Qur’an as a
mystical boat companion of Moses, and even though Moses’ time was centuries
earlier, the linking of George to this Qur’anic personality has held the
imagination, and the similarity of title has meant the two figures have become
ever wanted to search for a common symbol in our multicultural society, then St
George would surely fit the bill. A symbol that would sit proudly above an
English parliament, for ALL who live in this land.
God for Harry,
and St George.
Website of The
Royal Society of St George.