Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
On October 26th we celebrated the Great Righteous and Victorious Martyr Demetrios the Myrrh-Streamer. Pemtousia.com has published an excellent summation of the Martyr’s life which is available here: http://pemptousia.com/2015/10/october-26-feast-of-great-martyr-saint-demetrios-the-myrrh-streamer/
In this day in age we often times think that the Christian persecutions and martyrdoms of the Saints were so long ago, but sadly they are still happening today. Yet, instead of always seeing the horror in this, which is very present, it is good to see the victory as it was with our Great Saint Demetrios. Much of what we look for in life is contentment, something to subside the illness for a while so that we can “enjoy” what this world has to offer. As enticing as this offer sounds we must always remember what keeps us with the Holy Spirit and that is resilience and perseverance for the sake of Love and Truth. In brilliant fashion our Lord and savior Jesus Christ is always there to send His Holy Spirit when we need him most and it seems that it is those who need Him most and receive Him the most, receive the most crowns in the Kingdom of Paradise. Those who endure the great weight of His Cross for true belief in the Kingdom to come.
Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia once mentioned that we need to look at the lives of the new martyr saints of Russia in the recent centuries, because it is their example that we will need to follow and their brilliant endurance through the Holy Spirit that we will need to replicate in the years to come. Not as a “dooms-day” type idea, but rather as a glorious opportunity that the Lord will give us to be strong as the armies of darkness seem to multiply against His Faith and Light. Through Him we can rectify the peace of the Kingdom and resurrect our brethren from the clutches of death. It is good to look at the examples of the Martyrs and use their strength as our strength. Their and our strength is the Holy Spirit, as it was for the young Nestor of St. Demetrios’ time.
“Maximian arranged for games and gladiatorial combats to take place in the amphitheater of the city. He had brought with him a man of gigantic stature and Herculean strength called Lyaios, a Vandal by origin. Such was this man’s strength and skill in single combat that no one could withstand him. There was in the city a young Christian called Nestor, who observing the empty pride of the Emperor in the victories of his champion, made up his mind to show him that real power belongs to Christ alone. He ran to the baths where Demetrios was imprisoned and asked for the protection of his prayer in going to confront the giant. The Martyr made the sign of the Cross on the brow and the heart of the boy, and sent him like David before Goliath. He reached the amphitheater just as the heralds were crying out on all sides for any who would stand against Lyaios. Advancing towards the Emperor, Nestor threw his tunic to the ground and shouted, “God of Demetrios, help me!” In the first encounter, at the very moment the giant rushed upon him, Nestor slipped aside and stabbed him to the heart with his dagger. There was uproar and amazement at the marvel, and people asked themselves how a mere child, relying neither on strength nor weapons, could so suddenly have brought down the barbarian.” –Pemtousia.com
“Don’t look at what’s happening to you, but look rather to the light, Christ, just as children look to their mothers when something happens. Look at everything without anxiety, without worry, without pressure, without feeling squeezed. In this way, instead of giving in to worry, which isn’t of the Spirit of God, you’ll surrender to praising Him.” -Venerable Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia
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