Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saint Swap: St. Aidan for St. George

Theologian Ian Bradley is calling for St. Aidan to be made the new patron saint of England. Not just England, but the entire UK:

He said: "St George had nothing to do with Britain and his legend was brought back here with the Crusades. St Andrew similarly had no links with Scotland and St Patrick was born in Scotland or England and put into slavery by the Irish. On the other hand, St Aidan unites three of the countries by having lived there and is, I believe, a better symbol for Britishness.

"It's like Billy Bragg says in his song 'Take Down the Union Jack' about Britain; 'It's not a proper country, it doesn't have a patron saint'. Aidan was the sort of hybrid Briton that sums up the overlapping spiritual identities of Britain.

"He also makes a good patron saint of Britain because of his character. He was particularly humble and believed in talking directly to people. When he was given a horse by King Oswald of Northumbria, he immediately gave it away because he was worried that he would not be able to communicate properly.

"He was also not shy of reprimanding the mighty and powerful about their failings. He saw it as part of his job to remind secular rulers not to get above themselves. At a time when we are thinking about what makes Britishness, he had a sense of openness and diversity for his time that I think makes him a good candidate as the patron saint of Britain."

Ht Libby Purves. Of course you know what I think already. What better patron saint for a country than a missionary monk and a Northerner?

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