Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

Symbol

Saint George links my past in England with my present in Georgia. The flag of England has one cross of St George, the flag of Georgia has five. St George is patron saint of both countries.

St George reflected

St George reflected

Georgian flags

Georgian flags

The “real” George may have been born in Palestine in about 270 AD, to a Roman father and a mother from Cappadocia, in what is now eastern Turkey. He served the army of the pagan Emperor Diocletian until the order came to persecute fellow Christians. George would not deny his faith, so he was tortured, buried in the sand and finally beheaded, in the town of Lydda on 23 April 303. Historians disagree about many of the facts.

George is a man with a complex heritage, born as cultures and empires were colliding. George is a foreigner to both England and Georgia, although he lived considerably nearer to Georgia and his mother came from Cappadocia like the other major Georgian Saint: Nino, who is said to have brought Christianity to Georgia.

St George in Islamic Culture

Saint George is somewhat of an exception among saints and legends, in that he is known and respected by Muslims as well as by Christians, his  stature in the Middle East derives from the fact that his figure has become somewhat of a composite character mixing elements from Biblical, Quranic and folkloric sources, at times being partially identified with Al-Khidr, a righteous servant of Allah, who  possessed great wisdom or mystic knowledge.  He is said to have killed a dragon near the sea in Beirut and at the beginning of the 20th century, Muslim women used to visit his shrine in the area to pray for him.

Image of ST George fighting the dragon.

Image of St George fighting the dragon.

“Advance our standards, set upon our foes Our ancient world of courage fair
St. George Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons
….. “Richard III. act v, sc.3

St George atop his steed in Liberty Square

St George atop his steed in Liberty Square

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