Slain St George's Day is reduced to a movable feast
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 22 April 2000
What does a guy have to do? He slew the dragon, saved the damsel, became the country's patron saint and they can't even set aside a day to celebrate his achievements.
St George's Day falls on 23 April, but this year has been moved because no saint's day can be celebrated in the week either side of Easter Day.
Unfortunately, the Church of England and the Roman Catholics cannot agree which day it should be instead. The Church of England has moved it to Tuesday, 2 May, the first free day after Easter but the Catholic Church has decreed it should be Friday, 5 May.
To add to the confusion, the Scout Association has chosen Sunday, 30 April, when it will hold its national celebration at St George's Chapel in Windsor, but has approved local events during three weeks. This is despite a theological law forbidding the commemoration of saints on Sundays, apart from St Patrick, whose day is never moved from 17 March.
The Ven John Barton, Archdeacon of Birmingham, said: "You cannot celebrate the passion of Jesus Christ and the resurrection if a saint's day gets in the way. A saint's day is of much less importance."
Chris McGovern, a member of the Royal Society of St George, said there was no reason to move the day. "It's another sign that St George is no longer commemorated as he should be," he said.
"I have been to several St George's lunches in the last couple of weeks, but I will still be celebrating St George on Sunday," he said. "Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar but I don't think it is incompatible with St George."
All this for a man who was not English and probably never even set foot on these shores. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says there is no evidence that he ever left the Middle East.
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