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St George – A saint for a violent world

April 22, 2017

Some years ago, when visiting the British Museum, I took two pictures of an Ethiopian Christian icon from the early 20th Century showing St. George protecting the Emperor (second picture, below), complete with traditional spear. But there is something different about this St. George, he is also carrying a rifle.  Generally if saints or angels are shown to be warlike they are shown in romantic armour, with swords and lances.  This hides the real sense of brooding violence that these images should convey.  We see the weapons and think of gentle knights from a Pre-Raphaelite painting like The Vigil by John Pettie. But in reality they are ready to fight, ready to explode into the sort of violence that we, thankfully, are unlikely to be able to even imagine!

This image of St. George, complete with rifle, reminds me of the uncomfortable reality of violence, in this world and beyond. This is something that, when abandoned by the Christian faith, makes that faith unreal. This refusal to accept reality as it is diminishes true faith, relegating a noble religion to the realm of fantasy. When all around me is dark with terror and violence, I for one am not looking to have some simpering saint by my side! No, I call upon the Spirit of power, Yahweh Armies, Gabriel the Archangel and a saint like George.

I pray for peace in England, …. and keep the powder dry!

God bless.

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2 Comments
  1. Samdy permalink

    Very pleased to note your appraisal that whimpish saints aren’t useful. I believe Jesus also referred to being like a sword which would cause families to be divided. Unfortunately where evil is concerned, turning the other cheek doesn’t ‘cut the mustard’.
    Have a great day!

    • Jean black permalink

      If you want to help protect the accused, misused, confused, refused, strung out ones and worse. It is important to know, when to kick arse.

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