saint-george.pngEkklesia has a new spin on an old story:

“When we re-read the story of his origins and literary interpretation, St George, it turns out, was a dissenter. Starting out as an establishment figure, a military leader, his Christian faith led him to forsake his weapons and wealth in order personally to confront the Emperor Diocletian (303 AD) with the wrong he was doing in persecuting a minority group.”


8 thoughts on “Saint George gets a makeover

  1. Matthew, I beg to differ.
    That one image epitomizes the fight to the death psychotic split at the root of the entire Western “cultural” project.
    This 20th Century image, from one of my very favorite books communicates the same thing.
    St George on his dragon is the male principle, always engaged in a fight to the death struggle against the female principle (the body and the natural world altogether)
    This psychotic split is also dramatized on to the world stage—and against nature and women altogether via these warring dichotomies.
    male vs female
    right vs left (the Latin word for left is Sinister –
    and why are/were left-handers
    “spirit” vs “flesh”
    light vs darkness
    “god” vs “satan” or the “devil”
    “culture” vs nature ( the techno-invaders vs the
    Navi in the Avatar film)
    and summarized in the notion that at the end of days the “righteous” will sit on the right hand of “god”–as though the Indivisible Divine Reality has either a left or a right hand, or any hands or sides at all)


  2. I did some research on St George a little while ago and was surprised to discover that other countries besides England had St George as their national saint – including China, which I thought a bit ironic in view of the power of the dragon image in their culture!
    The proponents of the rebranding may wish to consult some of the other countries who revere St George before they forge a new world awareness with their revived saint.


  3. My previous comment sounded a little inhospitable. I just want to clarify that I think the proposal is fair enough in the light of wanting to create an awareness of inclusivity in national identity, and to encourage appreciation of “the other”, the marginalised etc etc, which is more in line with the teachings of Christ than the many past examples of harmful nationalistic appropriation of the saint’s name and reputation cited in the article (accessed through the link provided).
    They’ve got a huge public relations and awareness campaign ahead of them, if they are serious about actualising their vision. Be interesting to see how it goes.


  4. John, so are you denying the historical reconstruction or denying the need for historical exploration? Is psychology everything and history nothing?


  5. Lucy, I doubt they’ve thought beyond England. I’m not sure this is about convincing others anyway. More about the story we share amongst ourselves I suspect. Stories are the language of community.


  6. Sorry, Matt, so typical of me. Always “out there” in the big wide world!
    We are moving toward the celebration of Pentecost, the clebration of the time in early church history when people from many ethnic/cultural origins had their attention thoroughly focused on a bunch of what they may have described as country “hicks” who were somewhat inexplicably empowered to speak in the listeners’ mother-tongues. I can’t see in the scriptural record of the event where it says EXACTLY what the listeners heard in terms of content, but their attention was arrested enough to hear the incredible story that Jesus’ disciples told about him being the Messiah. All of the listeners knew what the word Messiah meant, because they were either Jews or proselytes from many different parts of the then known world who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of First Fruits. They’d heard the sound of a blast of gale force winds which caused them to run to the streets to find out what was happening, and obviously some of them pinpointed the sound to the house where Jesus’ followers were gathered, and were amazed to hear the utterances in their own languages describing “the mighty works of God” (quoted from AMP Bible, Acts 2! Then they were able to listen to Peter and his friends tell them the story of their having lived the last couple of years with Jesus, who without a doubt had fulfilled prophetic Scriptures in their midst.
    My imagination runs a bit wild, but that’s a pretty darn good story. Maybe the neo-St George-ites could get a bit of that fire up ‘em in their stories to forge some good in their communities.
    Mary, I must say, that decapitated statue video clip was a bit tragi-comic. Glad nobody got injured when the statue lost its head! Great metaphorical significance…
    Be interesting to see if the neo-St George-ites can avoid going down the path of cheap trinkets and false “pedestalisation” during their campaign to inspire some valuable community identity i.e focus on the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and St George was an inspired follower of the same.


  7. Lucy, point taken on the “pedestalisation” of “Saints”. I’ve written before that canonization tends to make Christian heros less normative for Christian disciplship and thus “safer”. We need to acknowledge them as exemplary in the best sense of the world, that is, as examples for all the saints to follow. Maybe however, in seeking the historical figure behind the hagiographies, this might be a step in the right direction.


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