St George

 

Hyde Park Corner,London, is famous for being the location of No 1 London, Apsley House, which was home to the Duke of Wellington.  It was also home toSt George’sHospital(now sited at Tooting) until 1980.

 

I was intrigued by this reminiscence of the matron in charge, at the height of theLondon‘blitz’. A friend of hers had come to see her for tea, when an urgent matter called her briefly away.  On her return she was aware of a curious atmosphere and noticed that her friend looked rather bewildered.  Matron asked her if anything was the matter and received the answer that St George had appeared to her.  She described how in ‘appearance he was rather different from how he is depicted in stained glass windows. True, he was in armour; not very tall and rather thick-set, one might say stocky in build.  He conveyed to her who he was and that he was watching over and guarding the hospital from enemy attack.’St George’sdid indeed go on to have some miraculous escapes from very serious damage.

 

That story, whatever we make of it, reminds us that there is a long tradition of St George standing up for those in need.  The historic George was a Christian Roman soldier, who gave away all his wealth to the poor and stood up to the Roman Emperor, who was persecuting the Christians.  The famous dragon probably has its origins in some wild best that George had to fight in a Roman amphitheatre, as part of his punishment for refusing to deny Jesus Christ.

 

The cross of St George, which gives us our English flag, reminds us that as Christ laid down his life for the whole world, so George gave his too in the service of his faith. Service, duty and care for others are not popular maxims today, butSt George’sDay, celebrated this month, reminds us that they are at the heart of the Christian faith.

 

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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