St George...or St Alban?
Apr 23 2021
Today is St. George's day. While Dorset has a unique link to the dragon slaying martyr of the 3rd/4th Century (Fordington in Dorset has the first English depiction of him leading crusaders into battle, above their door), there has been interest in swapping our patron saint with St. Alban. Why?
Well, St George was not English, never went to England, and most likely could not point to it on a map. All his great deeds happened in the Middle East. He was born in Cappadocia (a stunning part of Turkey, but not England). St Alban, however, was. He brought about the city of St Albans and his miracle and sainthood were the first in England.
St George is also patron saint of Portugal, Ethiopia, Brazil, Georgia, Bulgaria and Serbia, among others. He is the patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. In recent years he has been adopted as patron saint of Scouts. St Alban has yet to be honoured with a country.
While there is speculation about how accurate George's dragon slaying stories are, in the same way that people have questioned the springs that St Alban created and his haste in being executed for blasphemy, one could pose the question: would you rather have a saint who definitely did not slay a dragon as your saint, as opposed to one who definitely did die for their beliefs, harbouring a Christian refugee from the Roman invaders and ultimately being sacrificed in his place?
Regardless, happy St George's day!