Monday, April 23, 2012

England’s National Day

Today is St George’s Day: the feast day of St George; a day the English do not celebrate; a day which most of England would rather forget; a day the British Government refuses to acknowledge.

The Scots have a holiday on St Andrew’s Day: his bones are supposedly in Fife. The Irish have a jolly knees-up for St Patrick: they baptise the three-leaved shamrock in gallons of Guinness. The Welsh don’t have a day off on St David’s Day, but at least they remember the Celtic monk Dewi. And the English?

St George was not one of us. But that should be of no consequence: the Scots seem happy with their Jewish patron; the Irish with their Welsh one. George was born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) and was martyred in Israel (now Israel, despite the efforts of some). Born of Christian parents during the late third century, he became a soldier – a loyal and successful one – in the army of Emperor Diocletian. When in AD302 the Emperor issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier forced to offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods, George refused. He was neither going to bow the knee to false idols nor honour religious tyranny. Just as the English were eventually to do, George rejected the notion of Divine Right and king worship. He renounced the Emperor’s edict and declared before his fellow soldiers that he was a Christian and would worship only Jesus Christ. Diocletian had George tortured by laceration on a wheel of swords. He was eventually beheaded for his faith, a witness which caused others to convert to Christianity, who were then in turn martyred for their faith in Christ.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared 23rd April to be St George’s Day and he replaced St Edmund the Martyr as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, 23rd April was made a national feast day. It is perhaps no surprise that his story should inspire the English, who endured centuries of persecution at the hands of their own religious fanatics. And His Grace surely knows. It is a messy and murky history. But the settlement came at the beginning of the 18th century, since which time England has been a nation of liberty, increasing incrementally with each generation, and that liberty has been a beacon of light to the modern free world.

As far as His Grace is concerned, St George’s Day should be a national holiday in honour of all that England has bequeathed to the world (including Shakespeare, whose birthday [and death-day] is also remembered [at least in Stratford-upon-Avon]). And while His Grace is in a patriotic mood, he wishes it to be known that all public buildings ought to display prominently and permanently a portrait of Her Majesty. All schools, hospitals and town halls ought to make a very public display of affection for and allegiance to the Sovereign Head of State, especially in her Jubilee year. Civic pride must be restored: ‘citizenship’ must be supplanted by an appreciation of such notions as loyalty, allegiance and respect for liberty and the traditions of liberal democracy. In addition, the BBC, as the State broadcaster, financed by a compulsory tithe of Her Majesty’s subjects, ought to reinstate the daily rendition of the National Anthem.

 Let us declare a national holy-day and thank God for this sceptr’d isle – its past, its present, and the glorious future that awaits it under God’s good providence. Let us celebrate England’s great constitutional statutes: Magna Carta 1215, the Petition of Right 1628, the Bill of Rights 1689, and the Act of Settlement 1701. Let us wear red roses, and proudly display our crosses. St George is a fitting symbol for the freedom – including religious freedom – for which England has stood since pre-Reformation times. And, lest we forget, many in the world are still paying for their witness to the gospel with torture and death, and by their witness others are being saved daily. So, as we celebrate St George, let us pray for the unsung saints who are still giving their all for Christ, and for the ultimate victory of the gospel of salvation for all people humility, truth and grace.

Cry “God for Elizabeth, England and St George!”

50 Comments:

Blogger James Reade said...

I'm glad you advertise yet again why this is a blog about politics and nationalism first and foremost rather than Christianity and the Gospel.

23 April 2012 at 09:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you, Your Grace. Today I wear my St. George's cross - because to me it represents all you have said.

In addition I will derive some entertainment: some (mostly foreigners) will think I'm advertising the Red Cross; atheist bosses will take it as a personal insult :)

23 April 2012 at 09:22  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

Saint Edmund is the patron saint of the English and 20th November is his day.

http://bit.ly/IyuFuP

We'll have no Norman imposed interlopers here....

23 April 2012 at 09:24  
Blogger Eaglet2 said...

Maybe we need a different patron saint. Choosing St Alban or St Cuthbert would bring 3 benefits - obvious Godliness, connection with England, and they actually existed.

23 April 2012 at 09:27  
Blogger Jon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 April 2012 at 10:01  
Blogger Jon said...

Non Mouse, I don't wish to deprive you of all your enjoyment, but I don't think they'll take it as an insult!

Since the CoE has recently failed to embrace St George, he's rather taken on a life of his own, most commonly celebrated now, I would guess, on sports fields by English supporters fed up with not having their own national anthem to counter the nationalist celts.

23 April 2012 at 10:01  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

St. Patrick wasn't Welsh. He was British - Cwmbran, to use the vernacular of the time - but he was born at Ravenglass in Cumbria.

23 April 2012 at 10:24  
Blogger subrosa said...

Although St Andrew's Day is officially a Bank Holiday in Scotland it is not in addition to other holidays but a substitute for an existing local holiday.

Few people take the holiday on 30 November, owing to its closeness to the long Christmas break.

Seems a sensible compromise really and perhaps the English government (if you had one) would offer England such a solution for St George's Day.

23 April 2012 at 10:43  
Blogger Noble Knight said...

"And while His Grace is in a patriotic mood, he wishes it to be known that all public buildings ought to display prominently and permanently a portrait of Her Majesty. All schools, hospitals and town halls ought to make a very public display of affection for and allegiance to the Sovereign Head of State, especially in her Jubilee year."

I could not agree more !

23 April 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Very Patriotic Your Grace,
Since our present self-appointed deputy leader thinks he can change centuries of tradition in the Upper Chamber without reference to those who didn't vote for him, I'm sure he could make himself the Patron Saint of England and all Gays. St.Clegg could have the rainbow flag as his emblem and a song from Sir Elton John as his Anthem. St Clegg would be as obscure in years to come as most other Saints, yet somehow I can’t see him being willing to be Martyred for anything.

23 April 2012 at 11:31  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Steady on - you don't want to be publically burned at the stake again.

23 April 2012 at 11:34  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"...this is a blog about politics and nationalism first and foremost..."
Even if that were true, what does it matter? The blogger can blog about anything he chooses.

23 April 2012 at 12:01  
Blogger David B said...

I like holidays, and I'd be happy to have one on March 1st, if England get 23rd April.

Not too happy about the National Anthem idea though. Isn't it about time that got changed?

Not everyone is Christian, and verse two doesn't even seem very Christian.

What could I suggest as a substitute?

The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again' has a nice sentiment, but is possibly rather over-optimistic.

David B

23 April 2012 at 12:23  
Blogger Hereward said...

...this is a blog about politics and nationalism first and foremost..."


His Grace has always been upfront about his religio-political political-religiosity.

The blog "does what it says on the tin", well actually the banner in this case.

23 April 2012 at 12:24  
Blogger IanCad said...

Amen! and Amen! YG.
A small point perhaps, but the National Anthem is played every day on Radio 4 after the Shipping Forecast. Well worth staying up for.

23 April 2012 at 13:12  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

" It is perhaps no surprise that his story should inspire the English, who endured centuries of persecution at the hands of their own religious fanatics."

I suppose, 'bish, you are thinking of the forced conversion of an entire nation, the Penal Years and prejudice/discrimination against faithful Catholic Englishmen that exists to this day.

This blog included.

23 April 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger David B said...

I see that my memory did not serve me wrong, and there is indeed a 6th verse to God Save the Queen, which the earlier site I looked at had, perhaps understandably, omitted.

'Lord grant that Marshal Wade

May by thy mighty aid

Victory bring.

May he sedition hush,

And like a torrent rush,

Rebellious Scots to crush.

God save the Queen!'

Hardly inclusive, is it?

David B

23 April 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger Preacher said...

David B.
New National Anthem? With our Pick & mix Government, how about "We are the self preservation society".

23 April 2012 at 13:52  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

David B

Isn't the Scottish anthem anti-English then?

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

0 Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

23 April 2012 at 14:58  
Blogger Damian said...

You state;

he wishes it to be known that all public buildings ought to display prominently and permanently a portrait of Her Majesty. All schools, hospitals and town halls ought to make a very public display of affection for and allegiance to the Sovereign Head of State, especially in her Jubilee year.

I will repeat, still fawning over a traitor, shame on you.

23 April 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger non mouse said...

It's the supposed 'representatives' of the people who are traitors. She did what they told her the people want. Certainly we ourselves should have realised and stopped them sooner. All our best writers, throughout the 20th century, told us what was happening.

The politicians are a ruthless, unprinicipled set of thugs; that's what HM's dealing with directly. So will anyone have to who takes them on. Who's qualified to try? It'll have to be someone with nothing to lose.

23 April 2012 at 16:47  
Blogger David B said...

@Nowhere Man

I wasn't familiar with the Scottish anthem, but yes, it does appear to be anti-English.

Maybe, for consistency, we should change the Welsh one to 'Men of Harlech' http://www.metrolyrics.com/men-of-harlech-lyrics-charlotte-church.html

And of course reintroduce verse 6 to GSTQ.

David B

23 April 2012 at 17:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

That’s the spirit Your Grace, wave that flag around. Don’t worry about upsetting the civil liberties people, or the immigrants. If some choose not to throw their lot in with England, that’s their problem, not ours. Or the International Socialists or the Secularists or Europhiles or the BBC. Rotters the lot of them, what !

Now, what about an English parliament. The muslims have one, and so should we. Pension off the Lords and use their place. Makes sense, don’t you think. That should get pride in the nation back; it’s there in the people, you know, just below the surface. Pity we need the support of those self serving wretches in the commons to do it. A rum lot, not to be trusted…

News from the Inspectorate. Found out today the ENTIRE office cleaning team are Polish. And jolly efficient they are too. Meanwhile, you types who are wondering why you are paying top dollar for a litre of petrol might find it re-assuring to know it is to save feckless English idlers from involvement in this important task, and without doubt others like it. Tally ho !

23 April 2012 at 17:41  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

According to Gibbon St George was a bent supply-contractor - nut he may have got the "wrong" St George (I think there rae at least two?)

Maenwhile, I will be out dancing this eveningm hoping not to get too wet, same as I will be on May Day - another traditional holiday.

23 April 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

He renounced the Emperor’s edict and declared before his fellow soldiers that he was a Christian and would worship only Jesus Christ. Diocletian had George tortured by laceration on a wheel of swords.

What must an atheist think of such a story? Does he think this man mad? Foolish? Deluded? Does he wonder "Why not just say the words and live?" If this life is all a man really possesses, how foolish is the man who would spend it cheaply on a principle?

If this life is all a man possesses...

carl

23 April 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

Your Grace,

I celebrated your national folk day with the traditional English national dish of Chicken Balti, egg fried rice and Nann bread!

23 April 2012 at 21:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Alpha old chap. It has to be Lamb ghosh every time. Heavenly succulent. There is a God – how else did lamb arrive ?

23 April 2012 at 21:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm too English to bother with St Georges Day!

23 April 2012 at 23:14  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

David B.

I agree.

http://bit.ly/I5xUdk

I must also say that Men of Harlech was one of my favourite songs when at Junior School - together with The British Grenadiers. http://bit.ly/I5yrMm

Always have had a soft spot for the Welsh. Perhaps it was all those visits to pristine rivers on fishing trips as a kid.

24 April 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger David B said...

@Carl who said

"What must an atheist think of such a story? Does he think this man mad? Foolish? Deluded? Does he wonder "Why not just say the words and live?" If this life is all a man really possesses, how foolish is the man who would spend it cheaply on a principle?

If this life is all a man possesses..."

I can only speak for this atheist.

I remember reading about Heaven's Gate and Jonestown.

I remember reading about the Iranian kids sent out to, and apparently embracing, martyrdom by clearing minefields for the troops by running across them back in the times when the west supported Saddam.

And I think I remember reading that back in Nero's time some Christians actively sought out martyrdom.

Put those together and I certainly don't get a picture in which the fact that some people are ready to die for what they have been misled into thinking is pie in the sky when you die has anything to do with the truth of what they are suffering for.

Rather, to me, it is sad tale about lives wasted and the evils of faith.

David B

24 April 2012 at 09:20  
Blogger David B said...

Forgot to mention - Islamic suicide bombers

David B

24 April 2012 at 10:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Also, the various people during the religious wars in England who were willing to die simply for one flavour or the other of Christianity.

24 April 2012 at 17:27  
Blogger len said...

Well the Atheists have pointed their fingers at what is bad about Christianity and thrown in Islam as well for good measure!.
Many who follow' religion'do it for their own ends.And many who lead religious groups are doing so because they like the power this gives them over others..... so what`s new?.When fallen corrupt men get hold of' religion' guess what they turn religion into?.

Are Atheists doing any better?.Was Joe Stalin a' good ' role model to follow or Mao?.They both killed millions .

There is only One role model worthy of following..... the lord Jesus Christ all else is just' puffed up' men following their own Un- Godly agendas.

24 April 2012 at 19:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Tingey @ 18.00/23 reports 'I will be out dancing this evening'.

Which begs the question, are you a Cloggie? If so, would you favour communicants with a youtube clip?

24 April 2012 at 20:47  
Blogger David B said...

@Len 1917

Len it must have been rightly pointed out to you a hundred times that Mao and Stalin did what they did in the name of political ideology, not in the name of atheism.

In contrast, the Spanish massacres of pre-Columbian American populations, was, I think, done with mixed motives, but with spreading Christianity among them.

It is strange that when I quote some of the alleged sayings of Jesus, I get castigated sometimes for taking a literal view of them.

You, on the other hand, seem to take the whole Bible as literal, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary in many areas.

Do you think the sayings and actions of Jesus were actually written down by eye witnesses?

David B

24 April 2012 at 21:06  
Blogger len said...

David B , your answer is a bit of a 'cop out'.Perhaps all the problems you state with Christians are due to political ideals as religion/ state are often united as are atheist/States.
You seem to want it' both ways' Atheist political leaders totally divorced from' Atheist ideals'..... come on!

To answer your last question the disciples were certainly with Jesus and there are Historians who wrote concerning Jesus also.

24 April 2012 at 21:19  
Blogger David B said...

I simply suggest that Mao and Stalin were not motivated by atheism. but by communism and self aggrandisement.

If you could point to a historian who wrote about Jesus during his supposed lifetime, or who was around at the time of Jesus, please point me to him.

Josephus attests to the existence of Christianity, but was not in a position to observe Jesus.

Do you think the Gospels were written down by eye witnesses? I think not.

David

24 April 2012 at 22:13  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

David B

Christians believe the Gospels were written by eye witnesses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Men who spent time with Jesus and who met the risen Christ.

len, I'm surprised and disappointed your earlier answer was so vague and equivocal.

24 April 2012 at 23:45  
Blogger David B said...

Dodo, on what grounds do you think Christians believe that?

I'm under the impression that some who self-identify as Christians don't believe that.

David

25 April 2012 at 00:33  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

David B

Because the Bible tells us and I for one accept this as the Word of God! I can't prove it; I believe it.

I cannot answer for heretical 'Christians'.

25 April 2012 at 00:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David B: "I'm under the impression that some who self-identify as Christians don't believe that."

Me too.

It's one thing to die for a dry principle e.g. verbally denying one's god hypothesis at the point of a sword, and another to die for better overall consequences. Atheism and altruism can happy hold hands despite what some people might like to think.

For instance, I could have another 30 years of productive life left. If I was put in a dilemma where I could choose to die today, or live for the remaining 30 years with the related consequence that the world also dies at the end of my life too then I'd choose to die today.

Of course, the world does die at the same time as me, subjectively speaking, but I know, as far as it is possible to know, that the world will objectively carry on in reality when I die. That is, I know my actions have consequences for others and I care about that.

So, why did George choose to die? Perhaps he thought the consequence would be inspiration for others to choose a Christian belief and that that is a Good Thing? Perhaps he thought political expediency would lose him his 'soul'? If mostly the latter then I dare say an atheist who chooses death in the hypothetical situation I describe is more morally good and worthy by a country mile.

25 April 2012 at 06:18  
Blogger len said...

Dodo... your answer is meaningless to an Atheist(,24 April 2012 23:45)

What an atheist wants is facts!.The Holy Spirit is a fact but the World cannot see Him or hear Him.

The Facts which will convince an atheist (who has an open mind) is Bible prophesy(if they can be bothered to study it)

The Atheist is so because of ignorance not because of the lack of proof!.

25 April 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I celebrated St George's day with some friends from the Morris dance team and the vuillage church at my house reading favourite English poems including Kipling, Housman, Lear, Betjeman, Belloc and Spike Milligan. AND I flew a large St George's flag trussed to the conifer hedge in the front garden.

25 April 2012 at 08:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Did Spike ever get his passport ? Disgusting the way he was treated, and him an ex Eight Army man too...

25 April 2012 at 17:55  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

There should be a public holiday throughout the United Kingdom on Saint George's Day, and on Saint David's Day, Saint Andrew's Day and Saint Patrick's Day. Three fall in these Islands' incomparable Spring and early Summer, while the fourth would preclude any Christmas anything until it was out of the way. Away with pointless celebrations of the mere fact that the banks are on holiday. If we had proper holidays, as in other countries, then everyone, even shop workers and distribution drivers, would have those days off, as in other countries.

On Monday evening, I watched a Scouts' Saint George's Day Parade, led by the Union and Saint George's Flags, march away from a Medieval village green to the edge of the village and into a little Victorian Catholic church. Where, of course, the National Anthem and Jerusalem were sung. Dignum et justum est.

Even if the Tomb of Saint George at his birthplace, which is now known as Lod and which is the location of Israel's principal airport, has become a shadow of its former self as a major focus of unity between Christians and Muslims in devotion to the Patron Saint of Palestine and Egypt before, and as much as, the Patron Saint of England. Three quarters of those who practised that devotion were violently expelled in 1948.

25 April 2012 at 18:13  
Blogger Brian said...

England doesn't really need a patron saint because we all know God is English, isn't She?

25 April 2012 at 22:19  
Blogger fr dougal said...

Incidentally, St Andrew's bones are no longer if Fife since the destruction of the medieval Cathedral in St Andrews by Mr Knox and his pals in about 1560. There are some relics in the RC Cathedral at the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh!

26 April 2012 at 12:48  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Brian
Britain needs a patron saint- Saint Alban.

27 April 2012 at 11:14  
Blogger len said...

Fr Dougal,

There are also some Catholic relics on this blog!.

28 April 2012 at 07:05  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

And some walking dead under the illusion they have been "born again".

5 May 2012 at 00:41  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older