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Who Is The Patron Saint of England? Why?

Updated on April 23, 2016
Saint Christopher
Saint Christopher | Source

What are Patron Saints?

The origins of having patron saints can be seen to be found in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches hundreds of years ago. The idea is that a Patron Saint is a heavenly advocate for the place or activity to which they are attributed. In such communities, prayers will be said to the Patron Saint and that they in turn will look after the person that prayed to them.

One of the most famous examples of a Patron Saint can be seen in St Christopher, who is taken to be the Patron Saint of travellers. In recognition of this, you will find that some religious people will wear chains or items which represent St Christopher in the hope that they will be watched over when they are travelling.

However, not all Christians will believe in Patron Saints and hold them in such high regard. Most branches and offshoots of Protestantism, for example, reject the idea of having Patron Saints as being an idolatry form of worship. Anglicanism is perhaps one big example of a Christian denomination that still uphold this idea despite rejecting many other Catholic traditions.

Under King Henry VIII of England, the Catholic Church was outlawed in great Britain and received large amounts of persecution from the British public. The idea of Patron Saints was still followed though despite all of this.

By the time that Anglicanism started to gain momentum in the United Kingdom, the idea of worshipping Patron Saints was already firmly entrenched as part of British church worship. Therefore it has continued to be observed by many Anglicans (even up until today). Perhaps the main difference between the Catholic and Anglican faiths is that Anglican communities will tend not to celebrate their Patron Saints in the same way that traditional Catholic societies do. In Ireland (a Catholic country), St Patricks Day is celebrated with huge parties and parades with all the local communities coming together in celebration. England on the other hand (a majority Anglican country), chooses not to mark their saints day in this respect.

Who is the Patron Saint of England?

Despite the lack of celebration on their Saints day in England, St George is still held in extremely high regard. The flag commonly associated with St George is in fact the national flag of England and is a common sight if you are to visit England.

The designated Saints day for St George is the 23rd of April each year. This was the day that St George was said to have died over 1500 years ago. You will often find that Saints days will correspond to either when the Saint was said to have been born or died.

Another interesting fact about St George is that he is the patron Saint of multiple countries and provinces around the world. Georgia is a perfect example of one who also incorporate the St George cross into their national flag.

Barcelona (in Spain) is another great example of a province that chooses St George to represent them. The Catalonian flag (of that region) has the St George cross within it's flag.

Saint George Portrait by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510
Saint George Portrait by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510 | Source

What is the history of St George?

Born in around 270-280AD, St George was a Roman Christian who was said to have been a fierce warrior and member of the Roman army. He followed in the footsteps of his father in choosing this career.

According to legend he was one who managed to fight and win against a dragon. This is why you may see images of this Saint alongside images of dragons.

During his time in the Roman army, the emperor was said to have given a decree that all Christian soldiers in the army were to be arrested. This included George unfortunately and, despite being offered the chance to convert and move away from his Christian roots; he refused.

Therefore, on the 23rd April 303AD, St George was put to death for his beliefs. Thus, St Georges day is on the 23rd April every year. It is celebrated by many different people around the world and it is said that St George is the most celebrated Saint worldwide.


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