Seven Champions of Christendom
The Seven Champions of Christendom is a moniker referring to St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, St. Denis, St. James Boanerges, St. Anthony the Lesser, and St. David. They are the patron saints of, respectively, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, and Wales.
The champions have been depicted in Christian art and folklore as heroic warriors, most notably in a 1596 book by Richard Johnson titled Famous Historie of the Seaven Champions of Christendom. Richard Johnson was entirely responsible for grouping the seven together, for their moniker, and for most of their adventures in his book.
Legend often portrays God sending James to the Battle of Clavijo to fight against the Moors, while George is usually thought of as being a knightly dragon-slayer. The legend of Patrick casting all of the serpents out of Ireland is also quite famous. While the stories of the individual Seven Champions were popular in Europe during the Dark Ages, it was Johnson who was the first to group them together. Four of the Seven Champions—Andrew, George, James, and Denis—died as martyrs. Richard Johnson was the inventor of the ideas that the other three were martyrs, and that any of the Champions besides George and James were knights-errant.
- Compton's Encyclopaedia: 21 (S-Sousa).
- Encyclopædia Britannica Concise: Anthony of Padua, Saint