Friday, October 26, 2007

The Great And Holy Martyr Demetrius

The Great And Holy Martyr Demetrius,
The Myrrh-Streamer.

The world has found you to be a great defense against tribulation and a vanquisher of heathens, O Passion-bearer. As you bolstered the courage of Nestor, who then humbled the arrogance of Lyaios in battle, Holy Demetrius, entreat Christ God to grant us great mercy.
God, who has given you invincible might, has tinged the Church with streams of your blood, Demetrius! He preserves your city from harm, for you are its foundation!


Rob said...

Sorry, I haven't dropped by. I actually tried to leave a note the other day but blogger (GRRRR!) ate the comment. And I have been busy trying to run a business, raise my kids, tend to my pregant wife and decide who not to pay (electric company? car people? mortgage? government?) Right now, government is losing. I figure George Bush is so busy with the war, he won't notice I am behind on my taxes (I thought this last year and they fined me, but, hey, they didn't put me in jail!)

Anyway, I don't see Demetrius on our calendar (Old or New) at this time of year. Who was (is) he?

Lucian said...

He's a fairly popular Saint. His name is as well-known and widely-used as that of his Spring counterpart, St. George.

His life is also found here.

His feast-day is obviously connected to the Armilustrium, as St. George's is to the Parilia.

Basically, human activity began in early Spring and ended late in Autumn. Back in the ancient days, this was of a twofold nature: agriculture and warfare. A token of this can be seen, for instance, in former pagan agricultural gods becoming warlike deities, as the spiritual meaning of 'ground' shifted from its primordial and peaceful 'ground-toiling' sense to one of a 'battle-ground'.

Now, George means 'agriculturer' or 'earth-toiler', and Demeter 'mother earth', both of them being military Saints.

Both of them being not just mere soldiers, but significant military leaders of their time, situated in ranks and functions close to that of the Emperor, they were symbolically sacrificed at these pagan war celebrations, as an example for what will happen to Roman soldiers, case they were to become Christians and forsake their ancient gods and pagan deities.

They show us -through their godly lives and glorious martyrdom- the Christian perspective on war as being something primarily of a spiritual nature ("the unseen war").