Image: LITTLE ST. GEORGE. Mixed Media Assemblage. 2013.
When times get rough we rely on those who protect us, be they actual, traditional or religious. We all remember ‘God for Harry, England and St George’, but St Georges net is spread wider than these Shakespearean shores. St George is the National Saint of: Georgia, England, Ethiopia, Iberia, Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia, Portugal, Brazil, Serbia and Montenegro: with thousands of Christian churches, basilicas and monasteries in Eastern and Western countries bearing his name; whilst also having the Topical Patronage of scouting, the military, eg. The United States Cavalry, and all skin diseases and syphilis. The earliest claims on St George come from Georgia in 4AD, whereas England had to wait till the 9th Century, and a Durham Cathedral liturgy to install him in the English hierarchy of saints. His tomb in Lod, Israel and the Addis Ababa have St Georges Cathedral, St Georges S.C. football team, and a local St Georges beer. Given this extensive worldwide list he obviously has his work cut out for him keeping his devotees protected, fit and watered.
One likely outcome of the current pandemic is that it will shed light new light on the increasing reliance on the globalisation of goods and services. With no assurity of absolute eradication, the workshops and sweatshops of third world countries could give way to increasingly home grown production. This change would leave the meagre livelihoods of the poor of the third world even more precarious, with desperate need for international aid at a time when impending worldwide recession is not improbable. If St George gets his act together his extensive religious overview will extend to include economics; and despite increasing national introspection, the spirit of community and compassion for others, seen so frequently during this lockdown, will aid his mission to protect us all.