Ted Malloch: The Significance of St. George’s Day
Yesterday was April 23rd, St. George’s Day!
St. George is the one who slayed the dragon, you recall.
He is also the patron saint of England, so April 23rd is a big day over there on the British Isles; a national holiday.
England makes up 82 % of the United Kingdom, its largest part.
Very little is known about St. George’s actual life, but it is thought he was a high ranking officer in the Roman army who was killed in AD 303.
It seems that the Emperor Diocletian had the future St. George tortured to make him deny his faith in Christ.
He would not.
First mentioned by the historian, the Venerable Bede in 735, Saint George rose in popularity as a warrior saint during the times of the Crusades.
In 1348, King Edward II gave St. George a special place as patron saint of the Order of the Garter.
In recent years a revival of sorts has been taking place.
English Heritage, football fans, May dancers, and mummers, among others, all fly the Red Cross flag of Saint George and of England rallying round the cause of their homeland.
You see that English flag most everywhere now.
Such provincialism, the voice of the past made present, is a good thing.
Increasingly, in a globalized world of anonymity and disconnection from the real physical world, human beings everywhere, not just in England, are looking for their rootedness.
This is the idea of place.
This takes two forms. The first is an interest in ancestry, history, family lines and where you came from.
The second, with profound political and economic repercussions, asks who do I want to be looking ahead?
People, by definition, want to be part of a knowable, tangible, live community. They want to be from somewhere. They want to put down deep roots. They seek attachment.
Families matter; extended relations even more so. Ties to community are needed.
Local production and supply lines are the economic corollary.
That is why farm to table food lines are so esteemed. The place you live is part of who you are.
The nation has been, is, and will be, the defining political sphere for allegiance.
It is especially valued in the period of Brexit denied, when the forces of nationalism are engaged with the dominance of globalism.
The question for people everywhere on this day, not just in Merrie Olde England, is: which dragon do you need to kill?
A dragon is not just an ugly, primitive, reptilian beast. It is metaphorically anything that is killing you, stopping you from reaching your goals and ideals: of being faithful.
It might be gold or vice or a secret deep in the past.
This week, with the help and example of Saint George, why not make a promise to yourself and those who mean the most to you in life, to your country.
Slay the dragon.