Friday, April 23, 2010

Feast Day of St. George

St. George is England's patron saint, as well Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice . He's also patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. In recent years he has been adopted as patron saint of Scouts.

"He was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and he was one of the Emperor's favorite soldiers. Now Diocletian was a pagan and a bitter enemy to the Christians. He put to death every Christian he could find. George was a brave Christian, a real soldier of Christ. Without fear, he went to the Emperor and sternly scolded him for being so cruel. Then he gave up his position in the Roman army. For this he was tortured in many terrible ways and finally beheaded.

We all have some "dragon" we have to conquer. It might be pride, or anger, or laziness, or greediness, or something else. Let us make sure we fight against these "dragons", with God's help. Then we can call ourselves real soldiers of Christ." ~ Catholic Online.

A few interesting free ebooks referencing Saint George in public domain over at Google books and the Baldwin Project:

St. George for England By George Alfred Henty, Gordon Browne, main page here, high school reading level.

Saint George By Elizabeth Oke Gordon, main page here, high school and above.

Heroic Legends By Agnes Grozier Herbertson(Saint George and the Dragon), main page, middle school-high school.

The Book of Saints and Heroes By Andrew Lang. late elementary(The Patron Saint of England) - middle school

The Seven Champions of Christendom By William Henry Giles Kingston, see Table of Contents for several references, middle school and up.

Children's Stories in English Literature from Taliesin to Shakespeare(EDMUND SPENSER AND THE FAERY QUEENE

"...the cross of St. George has in a manner become identified with the idea of knighthood, and even in Elizabeth's days, Spenser, at the beginning of his Faerie Queene, tells us of his hero, the Red Cross Knight:
But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore
And dead (as living) ever he adored." ~ Catholic Encyclopedia

The Book of Legends Told Over Again(Saint George and the Dragon), elementary school, about fourth or fifth grade level.

Saint George and the Dragon, elementary school.

Saint George and the Dragon, third grade reader

For the Children's Hour By Carolyn Sherwin Bailey(Stories of Heroism, Saint George and the Dragon), elementary school

In God's Garden by Amy Steadman, Saint George and the Dragon, elementary school(zip file at Librivox)

English Fairy Tales By Flora Annie Webster Steel(St. George of Merrie England), elementary school.

Navigation Tip: If you ever want to get to the main page, click on, "About this book" at the links.

Also search Librivox for these books in free audio form.

Bumped up from last year.


Dorothy said...

Mmmmm....this is, as you probably expected, a complicated issue.{g}

We don't actually have a National Day, unlike pretty much every other country in the world. St George's Day has never been celebrated with enthusiasm or even usually marked. I did know it was in April but as no one celebrates it or marks it, it's easy to forget.

The day, and the flag, has often been associated with extreme nationalism (neo-nazi groups appropriated it). The flag is mainly only flown at football matches when the national team is playing.

Our reluctance to celebrate Englishness, though St George's Day, is sort of in deference to our Sots, Irish and Welsh compatriots.

Their identities were preserved in the hostile climate of oppression by England. The English have never had anyone to rebel against in the same way, so lack that sense of heroic, defiant identity.

Also, our reluctance is connected with a kind of post-colonial hand-wringing. The British in general, and the English in particular, feel guilt about the patriotism of the past which drove the building of empire and led to the oppression of other people groups.

Hope that helps a little to explain the lack of enthusiasm about St George's Day in England.{g}

Alexandra said...

Thank you Dorothy, as always a good fill in.