St. George – The Palestinian patron saint of England
That St George was a Palestinian is often a surprise to people. So here is a prayer/meditation to use around this time to remind us of the lessons we learn from St. George.
He is known as ‘the healer’– we can be thinking of those involved in healing in our own communities and around the world in these difficult days.
This comment of the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir Ali is helpful. He pointed out in a letter to The Guardian some years back that “There is often a perpetuating of Edward Gibbon’s error of identifying the patron saint of England with the “grasping or violent” “George of Cappadocia” …… but the patron saint of England, is, rather, George of Lydda in Palestine. This Palestinian is known in the Eastern Church as the Great Martyr and is also the patron saint of Christians in Syria, India and other places in the East.”
So St.George is an international figure and a figure with a message and a spirituality which I hope will be reflected in this prayer.
A Prayer / meditation for St George’s Day
God, the distant memory of the martyr St George
Can still inspire and challenge us.
This saint from Palestine is still remembered across the Middle East –
As the Healer, and as “the Green One” who protects the environment –
He brings the faiths together
Because he is respected across the faiths,
So in England where he is our Patron Saint
This encourages us – especially in this time when we need healing –
To support one another,
To respect different viewpoints and faiths,
And to look after this wonderful world we have been given.
It reminds us to love humanity and love our world.
God, let the witness of a martyr
Who stands for the values of your community,
Against the powerful empire of domination,
Remind us of the journey we must take –
A journey showing compassion, mercy and justice to all
So that our world might be healed in these difficult times And brought back from the ways of violence
To the ways of wholeness.
May any ideas of excluding the other be removed
From our minds and lives,
As we realise that in you, giving God,
There is no scarcity of blessing.
We do not have to try and own you or define you –
You have already defined us
By making us in your image
And by showing us the example of your vulnerable love.