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Military Saints for August August 8, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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St. Marinus the Soldier-martyr

Commemorated August 7

A soldier in a Roman legion, Marinus was promoted to the position of centurion. Before he was able to assume the post, a rival claimed that before a centurion could accept the post, he was to offer a sacrifice to the emperor, according to ancient law. Marinus, who until that point was a secret Christian, professed his true faith, and explained that it prevented him from offering this sacrifice. Marinus was then given three hours to change his decision. He went to a local church to speak with the bishop, who went by the name of Theotecnus. After meditating on the Gospels, Marinus returned to the legion and refused to make the sacrifice. He was then executed.The remains of Marinus were buried by a Roman senator, Asterius of Caesarea, who suffered martyrdom for this act.


Saint Andrew Stratelates the Martyr

Commemorated August 19

Martyr Andrew Stratelates was a military commander in the Roman army during the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305 AD). They loved him in the Roman army because of his bravery, invincibility and sense of fairness. When a large Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor Antiochus entrusted St Andrew with the command of the Roman army, giving him the title of “Stratelates” (Commander). St Andrew selected a small detachment of brave soldiers and proceeded against the adversary. His soldiers were pagans, and St Andrew himself had still not accepted Baptism, but he believed in Jesus Christ. Before the conflict, he persuaded the soldiers that the pagan gods were demons and could not help them in battle. He proclaimed to them Jesus Christ, the omnipotent God of Heaven and earth, giving help to all who believe in Him.

The soldiers went into battle, calling on the help of the Saviour. The small detachment routed the numerous hosts of the Persians. St Andrew returned from the campaign in glory, having gained a total victory. However, jealous men denounced him to the governor Antiochus, saying that he was a Christian who had converted the soldiers under his command to his faith.

St Andrew was summoned to trial, and there he declared his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to torture. He laid himself upon a bed of white-hot copper, but as soon as he sought help from the Lord, the bed became cool. They crucified his soldiers on trees, but not one of them renounced Christ. Locking the saints away in prison, Antiochus sent the report of charges on to the emperor, unable to decide whether to impose the death sentence upon the acclaimed champion. The emperor knew how the army loved St Andrew, and fearing a rebellion, he gave orders to free the martyrs. Secretly, however, he ordered that each be executed on some pretext. After being freed, St Andrew went to the city of Tarsus with his fellow soldiers. There the local bishop Peter and Bishop Nonos of Beroea baptized them. Then the soldiers proceeded on to the vicinity of Taxanata. Antiochus wrote a letter to Seleucus, governor of the Cilicia region, ordering him to overtake the company of St Andrew and kill them, under the pretext that they had deserted their military standards.

Seleucus came upon the martyrs in the passes of Mount Tauros, where they were evidently soon to suffer. St Andrew, calling the soldiers his brothers and children, urged them not to fear death. He prayed for all who would honour their memory, and asked the Lord to create a curative spring on the place where their blood would be shed. At the time of this prayer the steadfast martyrs were beheaded with swords. During this time, a spring of water issued forth from the ground. Bishops Peter and Nonos, with their clergy, secretly followed the company of St Andrew, and buried their bodies. One of the clergy, suffering for a long time from an evil spirit, drank from the spring of water, and at once, he was healed. Reports of this spread among the local people and they began to come to the spring. Through the prayers of St Andrew and the 2593 Martyrs suffering with him, they received gracious help from God.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since they possessed Your strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ powerless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

Standing before the Lord in prayer, as a star before the sun, you behold the desired treasure of the Kingdom. Filled with ineffable joy, you praise the Immortal King of unending ages, Who is unceasingly lauded by the angels. O holy Andrew Stratelates, pray to Him without ceasing for all of us.

Saint Gorazd of Prague

Commemorated August 22

Saint Gorazd of Prague, given name Matěj Pavlík (May 26, 1879 – September 4, 1942), was the hierarch of the revived Orthodox Church in Moravia, the Church of Czechoslovakia, after World War I. During World War II, having provided refuge for the assassins of SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, called The Butcher of Prague, in the cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prague, Gorazd took full responsibility for protecting the patriots after the Nazi overlords found them in the crypt of the cathedral. This act guaranteed his execution, thus his martyrdom, during the reprisals that followed. His feast day is celebrated on August 22 (OC) or September 4 (NC).

Matěj Pavlík was born on May 26, 1879, in the Moravian village of Hrubá Vrbka in what would later be the Czech Republic. Born into the Roman Catholic society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Matthias entered the Catholic theological faculty in Olomouc after finishing his earlier education. He was subsequently ordained a priest. During his studies, he was interested in the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius and of Eastern Orthodoxy.

With the end of World War I and the establishment of the new country Czechoslovakia, the laws requiring Catholicism were relaxed. In this environment, many people left the Catholic Church, and many looked to Eastern Orthodoxy. Fr. Pavlík was among them. The Serbian Orthodox Church provided a shelter for those looking to Orthodoxy. As a leader in Moravia, the Church of Serbia agreed to consecrate Fr. Pavlík to the episcopate for his homeland. On September 24, 1921, he was consecrated bishop with the name of Gorazd.

Historically, his monastic name of Gorazd was significant as it was the name of the bishop who succeeded St. Methodius as Bishop of Moravia after he died in 885. Subsequently, Pope Stephen V drove the disciples of St. Methodius from Moravia as the Latin rite was imposed. Thus, by the choice of his monastic name of Gorazd, the continuity of the Orthodox Church in Moravia from some eleven hundred years before was recognized.

Archimandrite Gorazd was named Bishop of Moravia and Silesia on September 24, 1921, and consecrated bishop on the next day at the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, by Patriarch Dimitrije.

Over the next decade or so, Bp. Gorazd and his faithful followers organized parishes and built churches in Bohemia. In all they built eleven churches and two chapels. He had the essential service books translated and published in the Czech language, which was the language used in the church services. With Subcarpatho-Russia and Slovakia part of Czechoslovakia, he assisted many who had returned to their ancestral Orthodox faith.

With the conquest of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1938, the church was placed under the Metropolitan in Berlin, Germany. Reinhard Heydrich was appointed as ruler of Czechoslovakia. On May 27, 1942, a group of Czech resistance fighters attacked and killed Heydrich. In making their escape, the group found refuge in the crypt of the Cathedral. When Bp. Gorazd found out a few days later, he recognized the serious burden this placed on the Czech Orthodox Church. Before he left for the consecration to the episcopate of Fr. John (Gardner) in Berlin, he asked that the resistance fighters move elsewhere as soon as possible. However, on June 18, the Nazis found out the hiding places after a betrayal by two members of the resistance group, and all the members of the group were killed.

Reprisals came quickly. The two priests and the senior lay church officials were arrested. Bp. Gorazd, wishing to help his fellow believers and the Czech Church itself, took the blame for the actions in the Cathedral on himself, even writing letters to the Nazi authorities. On June 27, 1942, he was arrested and tortured. On September 4, 1942, Bp. Gorazd, the Cathedral priests and the lay officials were executed by firing squad.

The reprisals went much further as the Nazis conducted widespread roundups of Czechs, including the whole village of Lidice, then summarily killed the men and placed the survivors in forced labor camps. The Orthodox churches in Moravia and Bohemia were closed and the Church forbidden to operate. Metropolitan Seraphim courageously refused to issue any statement condemning Bp. Gorazd. It wasn’t until the end of the war that the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia would function again.

By these actions by the Orthodox Faithful, who, led by their bishop, proved the qualities of their little church in bravery and devotion to matters of justice and showed how firmly it was connected to the Czech nation. On May 4, 1961, the Serbian Orthodox Church recognized Bp. Gorazd as a new martyr, and on August 24, 1987, he was glorified in the Cathedral of St. Gorazd in Olomouc in Moravia.

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