St George's day Celebration

Wed 18th April 2018 at 18.30 - 20.00

Dave Cooksey talking about St George

Dave Cooksey told us of the origins of the St George’s Society, he told us that.

The Royal Society of St George was established in 1894 and incorporated by Royal charter in 1963, HM The Queen is the Patron of the Society.

The St George’s Cross flag has been the national flag of England since the 1300s and the Society campaigns for it to be flown prominently around the country just as happens in many countries around the world, so why not in England?

For more than 124 years, the Royal Society of St George has been England’s premier patriotic organisation, promoting and celebrating the English way of life. With thousands of members, more than 60 branches in England and over 30 around the world, the Society organises a wide variety of social and fund raising events, from marking significant moments in our history to enjoying English food and drink.

Membership of the Society is open to all people who share a love of England and Englishness.

Those joining the Society today are following in the footsteps of great Englishmen, such as Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the world-wide Scout movement, Sir Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling, the great poet, and novelist.

All members of the Royal Society are encouraged to participate in events to celebrate England's National Day, on 23rd April. It is also the birth day and death day of William Shakespeare. Festivities are organised by branches and affiliates in towns and cities worldwide. The Society also celebrates Trafalgar Day, on 21st October 1805, The Battle Of Britain and other momentous events in England's History.

Most authorities on the subject seem to agree that St George was born in Cappadocia in what is now Turkey, in 280 AD. It is probable that he was of Darian origin and he enlisted into the Cavalry of the Roman Army at the age of 17, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, quickly establishing a reputation amongst his peers, for virtuous behavior, physical strength, military bearing and valour.

Diocletian's second in Command was Galerius, the conqueror of Persia and an avid supporter of the Pagan religion. As a result of a rumour that the Christians were plotting the death of Galerius, an edict was issued that all Christian Churches were to be destroyed and all scriptures to be burnt. Anyone admitting to being a Christian, would lose his rights as a citizen, if not his life

As a consequence, Diocletian took strict action against any alternative forms of religion and the Christian faith in particular. He achieved the reputation of being the cruellest persecutor of Christians at that time. Many Christians feared to be loyal to their God; but, having become a convert to Christianity, St. George acted to limit the excesses of Diocletian's actions against the Christians. He went to the city of Nicomedia where, upon entering, he tore down the notice of the Emperor's edict. St. George gained great respect for his compassion towards Diocletian's victims.

As news spread of his rebellion against the persecutions St. George realised that it would not be long before he was arrested and prepared for the event by disposing of his property to the poor as well as freeing his slaves. When he appeared before Diocletian, it is said that St. George bravely denounced him for his cruelty and that he made an eloquent and courageous speech. He stirred the populace with his powerful and convincing rhetoric against the Imperial Decree. Diocletian refused to acknowledge or accede to St. George's reasoned, reproachful condemnation of his actions. The Emperor consigned St George to prison with instructions that he be tortured until he denied his faith in Christ

St George, having defended his faith was beheaded at Nicomedia near Lyddia in Palestine on the 23rd of April in the year 303 AD.

The medieval legend of St George and the dragon says that a dragon made it’s nest by a fresh water spring near the town of Silene in Libya. When people came to collect water, they inadvertently disturbed the dragon and so offered sheep as a distraction.

After time, there were simply no sheep left for the dragon and so the people of Silene decided to choose a maiden from the town by drawing lots. When the results were read, it was revealed that the princess was to be the dragon’s next victim. Despite the Monarch’s protest his daughter, Cleolinda, was offered to the dragon.

However, at the moment of offering, a knight from the Crusades came riding by on his white stallion. St George dismounted and drew his sword, protecting himself with the sign of the cross. He fought the dragon on foot and managed to slay the beast and saved the princess. The people of Silene were clearly very grateful and abandoned their pagan beliefs to convert to Christianity.

In closing Dave spoke of our national flag, the white and red cross of St George, he told us of the ancient battles where it had been flown and that today it may be freely flown on every day of the year from official buildings, private homes, churches etc. Indeed the society encourages it use and would like to see it used more.

Finally he asked us all to rise and join in a toast to our patron saint St George. President Gordon closed by thanking Dave for his talk and asked the club to show their appreciation in the usual way.