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The three other patron saints

Now what does this have to do with England? Nothing, directly. However during the crusades nearly a millennium later, English soldiers serving in the Eastern Mediterranean learned of his valor, and adopted him as their patron. Also, the red cross on a white field, is considered to be St. George’s cross and his flag, which was used to identify English ships seeking protection offered by Genoa (named after George), as they sailed east on their way to the crusades.

Not only is George quite popular as a saint throughout Europe, Russia and the Mediterranean, the site of his shrine in Nicomedia, where he was slain, is visited by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, orthodox and unorthodox. This is so is very complex, but is quite unusual to say the least. St. George’s Day is usually celebrated on April 23 in England.

The adoption of Scotland’s patron saint, Andrew, was the result in part of a calculated move by clergymen in Scotland to gain favor and protection from the papacy in Rome against unrelenting threats from the English. This occurred in 1323. The Scots are said to have reasoned that since Andrew was the brother of Peter, who founded the Roman papacy, and both were the first to give up their lives and livelihoods to follow Jesus, that adopting Andrew would buy them favor with Rome against the English. It had nothing to do with golf, which was founded at St. Andrews, centuries later.

In truth, Andrew was a leading saint in Scotland for centuries prior to 1323, and there are many stories which link Andrew, who lived and died in the far eastern end of the Mediterranean, to Scotland and its battles with England. One prominent story has the leader of the Picts (aborigine inhabitants of Scotland who painted themselves with tattoos, ‘picts’), King Angus, having a vision of St. Andrew’s cross in the sky prior to his victory over the Saxon king, Athelstan. Such a story parallels the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to Christianity attributed to his vision of the Christian cross prior to his victory in 312 AD.

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