May 10, 2021

The Editor Speaks: St George & the Dragon & Shakespeare, too.

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Colin Wilsonweb2If you ask the majority of English people when is St George’s Day, the majority will not know.

It is April 23rd and even the media are frequently shy about reminding people of it.

Unlike Scotland and Wales there strangely is no National Holiday and that is to blame for relative few celebrations.

And as the day often falls in Lent and close to Easter the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches often have to move it to the first Monday after Easter.

And there of course is the myth of St George. He killed a dragon to save a princess. Very romantic but hardly a speck of truth in it.

But actually there is more than a speck of truth.

St George did actually live. He was a Roman soldier and the English crusaders who went abroad to preach Christianity and convert the so called heathens say they saw him on his white horse and he led them to victory against the persecutors of the Byzantine Empire that was Christian and being savaged by the Muslims amongst others. This was in the 11th century and the Pope was Urban II. That is how George became the Patron Saint of England.

George was born in Cappadocia Eastern Turkey and was a Christian and a Roman soldier who never forgot his Christianity. His parents were Christian and he protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians. George was a famed, fierce and brave soldier and was once Emperor Diocletian’s favourite soldier.

However when Diocletian started persecuting Christians by burning them alive in their homes he rebelled. And this is where the dragon comes in.

The Christian persecutors used flame throwers to burn their houses down and the head of the flame thrower was shaped like the head of a Dragon sending fear into the hearts of anyone who saw these horrifying weapons.

When George saw this he ordered it to be stopped and when his orders were ignored he killed the wielders of the flame throwers with his sword.

At that same time he was betrothed to be wed to a Christian lady, whether she was a princess is doubtful but most writers say she was of noble birth. It is not known what became of her but they never married as Diocletian had George arrested as soon as he heard what George had done. He ordered George to renounce his Christianity and he would forgive him but George refused and was put to death.

St George stood his ground and was appalled at what his masters were doing to the innocent.

All of us have our own personal dragons. And I find comfort in George. My other Christian name is George and it was my father’s name. Perhaps that’s why I want to celebrate him more.

My father was an engineer and worked at Vickers in Weybidge, Surrey, England during Word War II. He designed and made the coupling that fired the bouncing bomb of the Dam Buster’s from the Avro Lancaster aircraft that were modified to carry the bomb. The coupling put the spin on the bomb when it was dropped. My father got no recognition for his part, and my sister threw away the sketches he had drawn and were kept proudly in a chest of drawers in his garden shed after he died. She didn’t know what they were! When I got angry at his non-recognition he just smiled and said, “It worked. And that was my blessing.”

If we turn to St. George and ask him to slay our own dragons I firmly believe, like those Crusaders did, he will come to our rescue, it might not be on a white horse, but he will slay them for us. That is his blessing.

A very happy and blessed St. George’s Day to all our readers…

Oh, and what about Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was born on April 23rd , 400 years ago! And Stratford-on- Avon, England, his birthplace are having a huge parade and elsewhere in England he has been commemorated in theatres, parties, etc. across the country all week. See separate story in today’s iNews Cayman.

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