I was driving past the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem today and — well, I was driving, so I couldn't look too closely, but there appeared to be both a Greek and an English flag flying from it. A Greek flag I understand (it's a Greek Orthodox monastery), but I was befuddled by the English flag. I tried a Web search later, and couldn't find any information.

(I did find a picture of what appears to be another Greek Orthodox site in Israel which is also flying Greek and English flags. But I'm not sure what site this is — searching for the image gets me conflicting answers — nor that it's Greek Orthodox.)

Why does the Monastery of the Cross (and possibly other Greek Orthodox sites) fly the English flag?

Stock photo of Monastery of the Cross: enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The red cross on a white background is the Cross of St George. St George is the patron saint of England and his flag is the flag of England.

(The Union Flag, which many outside the British Isles may think of as the English flag, contains the Crosses of St George, St Andrew (for Scotland) and St Patrick (for Ireland).)

Saint George is also patron saint of Palestinian Christians and others in the Middle East. This is the reason his flag is flown on many Christian sites in the Holy Land.

  • 2
    I'll add something to this excellent response. According to the Wikipedia article on the Greek Flag, the white on blue cross is the Greek Cross, but there are reference throughout the article to the Cross of St George, including a Spanish atlas of the 14the century that references a Byzantine flag with that cross. St. George is important in countries other than England.
    – user59106
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 19:41
  • 2
    If you read the Wikipedia article on that flag (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George%27s_Cross), you'll see that the St. George's Cross flag dates from the time of the crusades but was only adopted in England during the 14th century.
    – Flydog57
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 23:37
  • @Flydog57 "Saint George rose to the position of "patron saint of England" in a process beginning in 1348...". Interesting. The Hundred Years War started in 1337, and England invaded France in the 1340s. Until then a soldier's loyalty was to his lord, and he would follow his lord's banner. I guess that the English didn't need a national flag until they were at war with foreigners, rather then their neighbours. But what about Edward the first's invasion of Scotland?
    – user59106
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 5:52

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