Friday, April 23, 2010

St. George? Here Be Dragons, I'm with Aidan.

this is a repost from a couple of years ago, and still stands:

Theologian Ian Bradley called 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."

I guess the fact that Aidan actually did some of the things he's said to have done might count in his favour as well.
Update: as RevEv notes in the comments, the idea of Aidan for the UK ignores the fact that the Welsh have a decent patron saint already in St. David. I'm struck by the irony of the BNP launching their election campaign with a dressed up 'St. George', someone who'd not be allowed into the country if they had anything to do with it.


  1. Not very interested in the UK. It seems to me a way to let Scotland and Wales be proud of themselves, while the English get clobbered if they dare to be patriotic.
    My nomination for Patron Saint of Northamptonshire would be St Cadoc. Born in Wales, evangelised the Bretons, murdered in Weedon near Northampton by the Angles. Oops.

  2. I'm with the Alban for England party, although I think George might be ready for a rethink (as I said on my blog)

  3. Don't know if you have seen or read this from Ecclessia, about reclaiming the original meaning of St George as a dissenter against abuse of power, in contrast to the religious crusades. Make up your own minds...!

  4. Great

    Aidan for UK! But why would the Welsh want him? We have our own home grown Saint who truly defines the spiritual heart of the nation - St. David. He was neither Soldier or slave, but Priest and Bishop. Why should we want to replace him with someone who, as far as I know, never set foot in Wales.

    All this hand ringing about St. George is simply a response to the embarrassment that, increasingly, St. George has been hi-jacked by the far right.