Thursday, April 24, 2014


… at least, not in 2014 for this year his Feast Day falls in Easter Week when the Church,  the community of faith, is focused on celebrating Easter – Christ’s triumph over sin and death.   No matter what the Royal Society of St. George, the Daily Mail or anyone else says, this year his Feast is moved to Monday, April 28th.  In the same way, the Feast of St. Mark (April 25th) this year is transferred to April 29th.  Of course, if one is celebrating April 23rd as England’s national day rather than a saint’s day then it might be reasonable to keep to the same date.  But if we are celebrating the Feast of St. George then he gives way to his Lord, for St. George is a Christian martyr-saint and a martyr is one who witnesses to Christ.

St. George is widely venerated in the Middle East by both Christians and Muslims and there is a tradition in the Holy Land of Christians and Muslims worshiping at the Greek Orthodox shrine of St. George at Beit Jala.  Whilst there is no historical evidence for his existence, he represents that large number of Christian soldiers who were killed under various Roman emperors in the early Christian era.  Although the Roman Catholic Church relegated his observance the Church of England continues to celebrate his feast as a Principal Holy Day.  The Eastern Orthodox celebration of the feast (who refer to him as the 'Great Martyr') is also normally observed on April 23rd (May 9th in theJulian Calendar)  and this is similarly moved to the first Monday after Easter week when necessary.

Whilst noting that secular society still wants to celebrate a Saints' Day, thereby tacitly acknowledging the Christian basis of such a celebration, it seems important to point out that St. George would never want his day to overshadow the celebration of his Lord's resurrection and so it remains important to maintain the practice of moving his Feast Day when necessary.

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