The Vagabond



I’m reading a rather ponderous book – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

I came across reference of one, George, of Cappadocia.

Now, we can reference this via Wikipedia as well as through any Christian church site, I am sure.

This man of humble beginnings, working his way up the ladder “by the talents of a parasite”, said the above book. He wheedled his way into the confidences of influential people, obtained commissions and contracts, and “accumulated wealth by the basest arts of fraud and corruption”. He was found out now and then and had to flee justice but was always back, with another scheme.

He converted to a sect of Christianity, which he assumed would lend him a cloak of respectability. In his defence, during this time he built up a vast library of history, rhetoric, philosophy and theology. In 357 AD, he became a bishop (his extensive diocese controlled from Alexandria, Egypt), “and each moment of his reign was polluted by cruelty and avarice.” With fingers in many pies – nitre, salt, paper etc. A heavy tax was imposed which eventually led to his downfall – a great civil and military struggle, under the reign of Constantine – he, and his henchmen were dragged in chains through the streets to prison. He did not stay there long as the enraged populace broke him out, killed him, and paraded his lifeless body for all to see. Neither was he afforded a Christian burial, but his remains were thrown into the sea.

“This odious stranger assumed the mask of a martyr and a Christian hero.”

I speak of none other than, St George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry and of the garter.

Now, tell me, how did the church, and the world, come to revere such a vagabond ?


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