Weekend The cross of St George reminds us of our duty to Jesus
St George is the patron saint of England. The anniversary of his death on 23rdApril is seen as England’s national day. According to legend, he was a member of the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. From the 15th century St George’s Day was a national holiday in England and was celebrated as widely as Christmas. This waned by the end of the 18th century but seems to be gradually regaining popularity in England although it is not a bank holiday today as many would like.
Little is really known about the life of St George. He was born around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and was executed for being a Christian in 303. The crusades spread the fame of St George and his flag with the red cross. In 1349 a law was passed to establish him as England’s patron saint. The nation put the red cross at the centre of the Union Flag when it was created in 1801.
That cross, the supreme Christian symbol, reminds English people of the cost of unshakeable faith and of courageous sacrifice. Jesus paid that price in his crucifixion. He conquered sin and death and rose again so that we might have life.
The tradition of self-sacrifice associated with St George has left its mark on the nation’s history. It is about the triumph of goodness, truth, love and peace.
Our nation urgently needs to go back to these Christian values and ideals and remember what made this nation great. With less than two weeks to the election, these are some of the principles we need to embrace.
The cross of St George reminds English people of its duty to the one who first bore that cross – Jesus Christ.
Canon Stephen Bradberry