Friday, April 23, 2010

Should St Aidan be new patron saint of UK?

Today is Saint George's Day and I'm reminded of leading theologian Ian Bradley's suggestion that St Aidan would make a better patron saint of the UK than St Goerge. What are your thoughts? Here are some of his reasons:

"St George had nothing to do with Britain and his legend was brought back here with the Crusades. St Andrew similarly had no links with Scotland and St Patrick was born in Scotland or England and put into slavery by the Irish. On the other hand, St Aidan unites three of the countries by having lived there and is, I believe, a better symbol for Britishness.

"Aidan was the sort of hybrid Briton that sums up the overlapping spiritual identities of Britain.

"He also makes a good patron saint of Britain because of his character. He was particularly humble and believed in talking directly to people. When he was given a horse by King Oswald of Northumbria, he immediately gave it away because he was worried that he would not be able to communicate properly.

"He was also not shy of reprimanding the mighty and powerful about their failings. He saw it as part of his job to remind secular rulers not to get above themselves.... he had a sense of openness and diversity for his time that I think makes him a good candidate as the patron saint of Britain."


  1. I don't think that it would go down well with the Scots, Irish or Welsh!! They are extremely proud of their patron Saints- wherever they came from.
    I also think that most English people- unless they are Christians won't have a clue who St Aidan was.
    In addition to this, every country in the UK -apart from England- appear to be fervently patriotic and I feel would object to losing what they might consider- their identity.
    Scotland and Ireland were Kingdoms in their own right when England was till a mixture of smaller Kingdoms. Wales has always been a Principality so is not included in the Union flag.
    I think with the fervour of patriotism that is rising up in England, it would not go down very well changing the flag of St George. It's only in recent years that it's actually been recognised! Maybe best to leave things as they are-- as long as they don't use the EU flag!!!

  2. The Patron of England should be St Alban, the first martyr. Aidan was Irish and was only in England (which of course didn't exist really for another three hundred years)for less than 20 years.

    Illtud would even be better - a Breton (Briton) who founded Britain's first university and was responsible for the reconversion of Cornwall.

    But then, Celtic Cornwall isn't England, is it?


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