The latest attempt to lay their necks on the cutting stone, comes from the movement to dethrone St. George. If the clergy has its way, St. George will be banished to mythology's rooms, where, with St. Christopher, he will come to rest.
More in keeping with historical reality — though hardly a rallying cry for manly self-defense — is St. Alban, a Christian martyr from early 4th century Hertfordshire. St. Alban is famous for having his head cut off and for being dead before Mohammed was even dreamed of. Thus is he being touted as a replacement for the beloved image of St. George, the dragon slayer, the emblem of the Crusaders, and a bright red embarrasment for dhimmis in the UK.
The clerisy have trotted forth all their good reasons as to why St. George must go and St. Alban must take his place:
…the Church of England is considering rejecting England’s patron saint St George on the grounds that his image is too warlike and may offend Muslims.
Clergy have started a campaign to replace George with St Alban, a Christian martyr in Roman Britain.
The scheme, to be considered by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, has met a cautious but sympathetic response from senior bishops.
The proposal has been put forward by the Rev Philip Chester, vicar of St Matthew’s, Westminster, who has called the use of St George as patron saint ‘dotty’.
His call for a change is based on the lack of firm historical evidence that George — said to be a Roman general from the 4th century AD who was put to death by Emperor Diocletian for professing Christianity — ever existed.
He said: ‘We are sure St Alban is a real figure. What’s more, he lived in this country.’
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams indicated support for an upgrade for Alban, although he is said to be cautious about relegation for George.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘I think St Alban is irreplaceable in the history of English Christianity. Perhaps we ought to raise his profile because it’s the beginning of the church in this country with martyrdom, wisdom and courage.’
Well, at least we know how the Archbishop got to his present place of umm, eminence. It certainly wasn’t for emulating
The new fellow, Alban, has a yellow cross, laid diagonally on the flag’s blue field. Does “yellow” have the same connotation across the pond that it does in the US? One can only hope not. As for the concern that George's "image is too warlike and may offend Muslims..."? My heavens, we can't have that. Perhaps the red cross on its field of white could be saved for burials, say for the victims of
Meanwhile, back in present-day reality, these pronouncements about St. George’s flag are being widely and loudly ignored by some. As the increasingly marginalized Church prepares to abandon its centuries’ old warriors' flag, the new faith communities — professional sports — have picked up the pennant and are running the field with it. This, despite official refusal have St. George's cross fly from public buildings on what was formerly his feast day (April 23rd). But never mind. The establishment's disdain for St. George the dragon slayer is irrelevant. He lives on in popular culture, despite the frowning elitists’ attempts to ban him from public view:
But it [the Church’s stand] clashes with the increasing popularity of the saint and his flag in England. The World Cup brought out millions of St George crosses as the symbol became increasingly mainstream and less frequently dismissed as a badge favoured only by far-Right political activists.
So you see, it’s like this: for some, there is still a sacred space, upon a green sward —
…And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
— King Henry V, Act 3, Scene I
Hat tip: Enchiridion Militis
UPDATE: a fitting quote from Roncesvalles’ blog
At orphaned altars, demons dwell.