This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

St George

April 23rd is St George's day, so if your real name happens to be Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or if you are English, Greek, Catalan, Bulgarian (and a whole lot more), or live in Preston (yes, really), Genoa, Rio (and a whole lot more), then you will be dancing in the streets today!

St George and the dragon

Of course, if you are a dragon, you will not be celebrating.

Some people who will not be celebrating quite so enthusiastically are the good folk of Bury St Edmunds. Until the middle ages, Edmund was the patron saint of England (he blogged under the name On the side of the Angles), and like George he was a martyr. Still, there is nothing to stop you wearing a sugar-beet in your button-hole on November 20th if you do wish to honour this great Suffolkman.

St Edmund

The Vikings win this round.

Georgia, Egypt, Romania, ... but not Ireland, of course, where St Patrick is celebrated. He's known for driving all the snakes out of Ireland, which seems to be slightly easier than driving all the dragons out of England - unless there weren't very many in the first place. But we must not forget Preston.

St George's church, Preston

St George's church, Preston. Note the absence of dragons.

Ethiopia, Portugal, Iraq (???) ... Anyway, the villain of our story is the Emperor Diocletian, who for some reason didn't like Christians. "Nasty, vile, bigots!" he called them. Nothing changes much, does it? So on April 23rd 303 he tortured St George a little, just to make things more interesting, and then decapitated him. Probably a simple death from Viking arrows would have been more enjoyable.

St George stamp

St George, as seen by the Vatican.

Well, let's see the St George's flag, in its most usual manifestation - at least in England. Whenever the England football (soccer) team is in distress, which is every two years or so, the whole nation prays to St George - which is tough luck if the opponents are India, Ukraine, Serbia, ...

St George the footballer

St George, pray for us all.


  1. The "Angles" joke is about 1400 years old, by the way. Blame Pope St Gregory the Great.

  2. Talking of dragons, Eccles, have you had any news from Anti Moly?

    1. Nope, it's a grate mystery to us all. She went out to buy some gin, and has not been seen since.

    2. who says there is never any good news" xx Jess

  3. Surely there are still dragons prowling the land - Pepinster and Beattie spring to mind....

  4. It is amazing how many people assume that because there is a legend about Saint George, he himself must be a purely legendary figure. He is not.

    The Tomb of Saint George at his birthplace, which is now known as Lod and which is the location of Israel's principal airport, has become a shadow of its former self.

    It was once a major focus of unity between Christians and Muslims in devotion to the Patron Saint of Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt before, and as much as, the Patron Saint of England.

    Three quarters of those who practised that devotion were violently expelled in 1948.

    As for Ireland, on Sunday, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh was consecrated. He will succeed as Primate of All Ireland.

    No member or representative of the Government of the Irish Republic attended. Not one.