A belated tribute to St George
Kerris reminded me that yesterday was St George’s Day. Did others remember? Pretty muted celebrations, I would imagine. Ironic that slaying a dragon is not a problem, but slaying a virus, just a trillionth the size, is proving so challenging.
Here’s another irony. England’s patron saint is most unlikely to have set foot on English soil. He definitely couldn’t speak English! It is highly doubtful whether he had any interest in this place whatsoever. And yet since 1348 he has been our Patron Saint.
Here’s another irony. In modern secular post-Christian England (I don’t really believe this is a fair description, but it is the sort of thing people say and write) his great claim to fame was his Christian faith. He was a Roman soldier who protested against the persecution of Christians by his emperor, and was imprisoned and tortured but stayed true to his faith. For this defiance he was beheaded.
And isn’t it a bit patronising to women that a male has to rescue a female from the dragon? Isn’t that the sort of image of male superiority which makes many people wince these days?
So what is the appeal today of the life and character of a man who died around 1700 years ago?
I would say that we admire a person who stays true to his/her colours, who is brave, and who defends those who cannot defend themselves. Also, we can readily see in the story of the slaying of the dragon a parable about how bad things can gain the upper hand and need to be rooted out. So the dragon could be selfishness or greed or lust for power or so many other things which are forces for evil. Any dragons you would like George help you kill?