England and St George?

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Responding to a recent speech by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Ekklesia’s co-director Jonathan Bartley welcomed the his call for a greater recognition of St George’s Day, but warned that he had still to set out how the darker side of English nationalism would be avoided.

“It is welcome that the Archbishop has joined the discussion about whether St George’s Day should be a national holiday” he said, “but he has yet to explain how he would separate St George from ideas of conquest and empire which are unhelpful and ill suited to encouraging a healthy sense of identity."

In 2007 Ekklesia produced a report arguing that "when we re-read the story of his origins and literary interpretation, St George, it turns out, was a dissenter. Starting out as an establishment figure, a military leader, his Christian faith led him to forsake his weapons and wealth in order personally to confront the Emperor Diocletian (303 AD) with the wrong he was doing in persecuting minorities."

Ekklesia’s 2007 paper on St George's Day, including proposals for its re-branding, are here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5083

More here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/2715