Tuesday, 23 April 2013

St George's Day

Roses come into it so I guess that it has something to do with gardening -

Since 4 June 1793, to celebrate the birthday of King George III, there has been the Eton Boating Procession, when the boys wear boaters which, since WWII, have been bedecked with real flowers - and increasingly far too many of them - far too bling (real flowers also almost always anachronistically appear in 'period dramas' in films and on the television). Before WWII there had been a special boater -

decorated with a red ribbon, bearing the gold lettering 'St George', artificial roses and the badge of St George.

Little is known about the real St George. Eusebius of Caesarea mentions a soldier of noble birth who was executed by the Emperor Diocletian on 23 April 303 AD; his head being taken to Rome and his body being buried in his native Lydda, in Syria, where a spectacular rose bloomed on  his grave. He is traditionally held to have been the defender of the poor and the weak and, besides recognition in many other countries too, he is enough of a Saint, next to St Sebastian, to warrant a holiday in Rio de Janeiro.

The legend of his slaying the dragon to save a beautiful maiden dates from the sixth century and was included in The Golden Legend by James Voragine in 1265; although placing the event in the Lebanon; whereas English tradition places it on Dragon Hill, Uffington (where the dragon's blood poisoned the earth so that no grass will grow on the spot). Sainted since 900, the Synod of Oxford, sitting at Osney Abbey in 1222, decreed that 23 April should be a holiday in England (but it is no longer - at least not in the sense of a vacation). St George is supposed to have appeared to the Crusaders at the Battle of Antioch in 1098 and King Richard III (The Lionheart) adopted him as his Patron Saint during the third Crusade.

By the end of the fourteenth century, St George (displacing St Edmund), was established as the patron saint of England.

Accordingly, on this day: sursum corda:


No comments:

Post a Comment