I grew up in a culture with many patron saints, Volodymyr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise being the ones that spring to mind. They, unlike George, may not be THE patron saints, but they were hallowed figures from church and national history – and as such models for what was esteemed and aspired to as I was growing up. I am talking about being Ukrainian.
And there were contemporary figures – like Joseph Slipyj – who were esteemed alongside the heroes of the past.
Like with St George, there is an element of holding to the story, whether true or false, as being something we accept and value, and are prepared to be associated with. An underlying agenda, n’est-ce pas!
The Ukrainian saints were anti-Russian, which was part of their appeal and purpose, for example.
Perhaps all ‘saints’ have a political edge, or at least used to at some stage, while the divisions they represented were current.
Jesus came to bring a sword. He said so. But it wasn’t a crusading sword, one to rally behind and be partisan. He was aware of who he belonged to by birth and tradition, but vehemently non-sectarian.
His is a sword that cuts to heal division, to bring oneness with God.
Such is the weapon in the kingdom’s call to arms – for all saints to use.