First of all, St. George is one of the main and most venerated saints in the Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. As a Christian, I was raised to value and give recognition to his martyrdom and contribution to the spread of Christianity.
He is also the patron saint of England. For those of you who like a bit of history, let me share a few interesting facts I learnt at school or dug up at the library.
St. George’s flag, a red cross on a white background, was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 and, in the year 1222, the Synod of Oxford declared St. George’s Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. King Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George around the year 1348. For hundreds of years, St. George’s Cross has been flying high as part of the Union Jack flag, alongside St. Andrew’s Cross (for Scotland) and St. Patrick’s Cross (for Ireland).
The establishment of George as a popular and protective warrior saint in the West, which had captured the medieval imagination – see the legend of St. George and the Dragon – was reinforced by the official elevation of his feast to a festum duplex at a church council in 1415, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April. When the Reformation in England severely reduced the saints’ days in the calendar, St. George’s Day was among the holidays that continued to be celebrated.
The way St. George’s Day is celebrated in England varies from one community to another, as there are no set rules for this event. Some, more traditional communities may choose to organise street processions, whilst others may settle for parties or stage productions of the above mentioned legend. There is, however, one unifying element in this diversity of celebration: the proud display of St. George’s flag across the country, outside shops and businesses, in people’s windows and gardens, on children’s T-shirts and dogs’ collars.
The second, more personal reason for celebrating this day is, of course, the fact that George bears the name of the saint, which is quite appropriate for an English-born-and-bred dog. N0t that we thought of this when we named him, we just went a long with Brianna’s choice.
However, George is very proud of his name and country, and more than happy to have his very own ‘Saint day’. Therefore, he dressed up in his saint’s colours and volunteered for a photo shoot to celebrate the event. Then he asked me to put the photo on the blog, for all his friends to see.
We hope you like it!