Saint George,
Sculpture by Donatello (1386-1466),
Sculpted between 1415-1417,
White marble
© Bargello Museum, Florence

Saint George,
Sculpture by Donatello (1386-1466),
Sculpted between 1415-1417,
White marble
© Bargello Museum, Florence

Gospel of 23 April 2024

Solemnity of Saint George, Martyr

John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me.’

Reflection on the Sculpture

Saint George, widely venerated as a Christian martyr and the patron saint of various entities including England, soldiers, and scouts, was a historical figure who lived during the late 3rd century AD in the Roman province of Cappadocia, which is now modern-day Turkey. Little is known about his early life, but according to tradition, George was a Roman soldier who courageously professed his Christian faith and refused to renounce it, even in the face of persecution. The most famous legend about him recounts how he heroically defeated a fearsome dragon that was terrorizing the city of Silene, rescued a princess and converted the city's inhabitants to Christianity. Despite the mythical elements surrounding his story, Saint George's steadfast devotion to his faith and his unwavering courage in the face of adversity have made him a beloved and revered figure in Christian tradition, celebrated for his virtues of bravery, chivalry, and selflessness.

Our Saint George sculpture is by Donatello. It is one of fourteen commissioned by the guilds of Florence to decorate the external niches of the Orsanmichele church in Florence. St. George was commissioned by the guild of the armorers and sword makers (the Arte dei Corazzai e Spadai). Saint George is sculptured as a young, brave, determined and strong man in armour. He is not standing in contrapposto, although his right leg is turned to the same angle as his shield, visibly his weight is on both legs. Even though he is fully clothed, there is still the sense of a muscular body underneath, typically Renaissance sculpture. His right hand originally probably held some sort of a blade. Drill marks on his head indicate that he probably also wore some kind of (bronze) helmet or (gold) wreath. St George's eyes are looking up and his face indicates some kind of anxiety and emotionality before attacking the dragon.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

I think there’s something wrong with my phone, thought I’d risk a short reply, and the whole thing slipped away again. Will try “God for Harry, England and St. George!” and leave it at that – except to wish Prince George a very happy birthday. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. GEORGE

O GOD, who didst grant to St. George strength and constancy in the various torments which he sustained for our holy faith;
we beseech Thee to preserve, through his intercession, our faith from wavering and doubt,
so that we may serve Thee with a sincere heart faithfully unto death.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INVOCATION OF ST. GEORGE

FAITHFUL servant of God and invincible martyr, St. George;
favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ,
thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit.
Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ.
I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me,
and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me;
and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end.

St. George pray for us.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.
Advance our standards. Set upon our foes.
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons.
Upon them! Victory sits on our helms.
Richard III – Act 5, Scene 3

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Well Jamie, you are thus celebrating St George AND Shakespeare – today being the date of his birth and death.
Latest theories doing the rounds, variously – he was Italian, or a woman, – or someone else entirely, of course.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Miguel de Cervantes also died on this day.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Well, as in all dates of antiquity, there is discussion … , we also have the differences between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar… But it is very evocative to celebrate “the day of the book” remembering these two great authors….

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago

Meditating on today’s Gospel, which is not what my diocese proposes… Let us think about the reasons why many Christians are persecuted all over the world today (many countries do not consent to differences within their borders), let us pray for these people who defend our creed in an environment that does not accept them. And we.. Do we know how to defend our faith before a group that considers us retrograde, “carcas” and obsolete? With what people within our Christianity do I not want to compare myself?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Quite a question Elvira. I will have to ponder.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Well, I could name some – but maybe that would be unChristian 😁

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago

I wonder if Donatello also produced the marble structure that surrounds the statue. The base depicts Saint George upon his steed skewering the dragon. The distressed damsel looks on.

Chivalry. Not a commonly heard word these days.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

True, but a noble quality.

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

It is is a lovely word isn’t it , polite, kind, and unselfish behaviour, especially by men towards women.. it will probably be considered non-PC nowadays. 😂

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Not by me 😊

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

Just lost an entire post, ggrrrr. No time to re-do, but I think it a very handsome and thought-provoking work, very “Roman”, very idealistic, very prepared to face trouble – though not without taking thought. 🌻

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Ooooh, I’m sorry Noelle. I hope you get over the disgust and you can and you want to write again….😖😊🌷

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Dear Noelle, What I get the “red flag” when I try to post:
I copy the post, log out, log back in, and the paste. It usually works. Peace, Mark

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

I know, Mark, and I neglected to take that precaution, so mea culpa.

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Hmmmm … Noelle
Yes … when we make the investment of ourselves to ‘Mr Internet’ … and he blinks … and we’re gone.
Sooooo frustrating.

AND … Please! don’t let it/him have a word of it (grin)

“Happy Patron Day all you Brits”

Such a wonderful stony gaze of St. George today … I wonder if it were Ireland would he have been skewering leprechauns ?

What we do Know is that ‘The Tempter’ in all his guises is apt and ready with his persecutions everyday … all day. And, apparently, not only is allowed – By God – but as Jesus is telling us today: it is a forgoing order of things.

The issue of ‘evil’s allowance’ is a topic of Faith, in the top ten for me.

I’ve just wikipedia-ed ST George and the dragon … and want to get a li’l handle before I proceed to comment further – it looks like a rich investigation.

Look for my post later if you like Noelle … as I use your incident as a bit of a springboard – giving it ‘wings’ so to speak (girn).

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

But the tempter doesn’t have to have any disguises Will, it’s greatest asset is that nobody thinks it exists. (I don’t like to give the devil or god masculine or feminine you understand, as far as i’m aware there’s no Mrs Devil or Mrs God) 🫢. Do they best deserve capitals i’m not quite sure.

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

Ok … in terms of the St. G.’s Dragon, Sir Budge’s offered in 1857 some of the most germane commentary: “I doubt much of the whole story of Saint George is anything more than one of the many versions of the old-world story of the conflict between Light and Darkness, or Ra and Apepi, and Marduk and Tiamat, woven upon a few slender threads of historical fact.”
(…But, I still haven’t been able to make the link to ‘Patron of the British Isles’. …? )

And for me:
Anything re: ‘dragon’ must default back to my ‘Judaeo Christian Genesis roots’ – even stemming from Mesopotamian Egyptian archetypes. And why? Because, I’ve come to use the Pauline “Christ Crucified” as the central motif of my spirituality > … my ‘healing from sin, emanates
From the Incarnate God, lifted up “on a tree”, accursed, …undoing the serpent-entwined around the tree of of death … through my own personal dying … as in “Unless you take up your Cross”. … I need only but , ’Look to Him’.

Indeed, it is ‘US’, who are the seed of Mary “who crush the serpent’s head” (Or, in our Saints case, uses his horse to do so – his spear/sword at hand)… as we bare up, by our Faith, ‘daily’, under the cross-arms of sin, suffering and death… as we we ‘work’, make good use of, ‘The Tempters’s suggestion of evil’ … to paradigmatically identify and ‘Live’ The Good/Love; as all the great Saint martyrs show us with their very blood – Like Saint George.

To extrapolate St. G’s legend/myth: ‘ … the missing arm/sword/spear, re: our statue, is, ‘I now have it’ – by “My” putting persecution to Good use today – ‘as my Lord was so persecuted.’

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

Father – St George is the patron saint of England, St Andrew of Scotland, St David of Wales and St Patrick of Ireland. Great Britain is a political construct of four separate countries under one flag and one monarch. 🫅

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

Hmm..very static for a Donatello.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Saint George – patron saint of England, take care of our country which is going through some tribulation at present. Existential angst rules the public sphere and it is necessary to brace yourself before reading the news in the morning.

When we were in the Holy Land local Christians seemed to have great affection for this figure whose life seems to have been embellished somewhat. They said that the dragon represented evil and that it was evil that George took on and attempted to kill.

First thoughts this morning…. Later on today we are going to an event to raise money for ‘Médecins sans Frontières’. An excellent organisation that has no religious impetus behind it but delivers goodness and care where it is needed.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Yes, we had a parish event for MsF last as well,but let’s face it, with so many tribulations around the globe just now, they need every penny – and pair of hands!
Funny how St George is patron in so many diverse places 🤔 He is the patron of Catalunya and they celebrate the feast day in a big way – tradition being a lady gives a man a book and a man gives a lady a red🌹But then, it’s the saint that’s being celebrated, being a (nominally) Catholic country, whereas here…
Odd isn’t it – it’s only our church that canonises saints but despite splits, the Church of England still retain and honour some. I wonder if they recognise any of the post reformation saints 🤔 just a passing thought. Morning Chazbo.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago

Yes Patricia, Saint Jorge is indeed the patron saint of Cataluña and Barcelona. Strict observance of tradition says that on April 23, Sant Jordi Day, men give roses to their lovers and they correspond with a book. But this tradition has evolved to the rhythm of society and now everyone can receive and give either. Although the tradition of giving roses comes from far away, the gift of books is quite recent. It was from the year 1929, (during the Barcelona International Exhibition), and in Cataluña was acquiring connotations of national vindication and defense of the language… The reasons that led to opt for April 23 are commemorative: it is the date on which the writers Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died. In 1995 Unesco declared 23 April as World Book and Copyright Day.

Last edited 1 month ago by Elvira
Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

How interesting.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Yes, so interesting!

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

On the figure of St George, there is an endless series of fairy tales and fantasy stories. For want of certain news about her life, the Church “degraded” the liturgical feast of St George to an optional memory without touching the worship dedicated to him. Saint George is a saint who is accompanied by the legend, today we can say that his courage is to remind the world of the fundamental idea, that good always conquers evil. The fight against evil is a dimension always present in human history, but this battle is not won alone; St George kills the dragon because it is God who acts in him. With Christ evil will never have the last word.
Saint George, pray for us
PD. All the invented additions that have been made to the historical life of Saint George have reminded me of the movie “The Lost King” about the life and death of King Richard III…
🙏🏻 I hope you have a good fundraiser.👌🏻💪🏻

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

What a comforting thought you mention Elvira: With Christ, evil will never have the last word. Amen.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Good stuff, Elvira, thank you!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Muchísimas gracias!

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