One of the most important characteristics of our faith, is the relationship we are called to have with those who have died. Whether it be our family, friends or complete strangers, we are given every opportunity to pray and intercede for their souls. Our services, our memorials, and our prayers for them, commend them to the timeless love and mercy of the Lord who is the “God of the Living” (Mt. 22:33).
And it is through these relationships with the departed, that the Lord reveals to us, certain men and women as Saints. Whose lives bare witness to the love of God for humanity, in His incarnate Son Jesus Christ, through their life of ministering to every man, woman and child, as if too the Lord Himself, and suffering unto death, for He who is the “Way the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14:6). These same saints continue their mercy and work for humanity, unhindered by death. Not as intermediaries between us and the Lord, but rather as intercessors with us, helping us, strengthening us, supporting us, consoling us, as we carry our cross.
With St. Demetrios having being imprisoned for his confession as a Christian, the Emperor Maximian set up a circus in which to watch the death of Christians at the hands of his champion, a Vandal giant named Lyaeos. Setting up a stage surrounded by sharpened stakes and spears, many were beaten and thrown to their death. A young man named Nestor cut to the heart by this evil came to St. Demetrios, his father in the faith, and asked for a blessing to challenge Lyaeos. With the sign of the cross, St. Demitirous blessed him for victory and martyrdom.
Although, we no longer live in a world where it is a national sport and spectacle to kill Christians (at least in this part of the world), we do live in a world, where being a Christian is a spectacle, elevated as if on a stage where mercy, peace, love, generosity, charity, abstinence, and restraint are too be beaten out of us. Where are children are made numb to violence and intolerance, our marriages are sullied and twisted by an over stimulated and sexualized culture, and our lives are reduced to 140 character tweets and selfies. It is a world that if we have half a conscience and soul, revolts us, and cuts us to the heart. That compels us to combat and fight our passions, and sin.
But how ever noble the fight might be, if we do not have Christ in us, and the communion of the saints with us, we are doomed to failure. If we do not have the sign of the cross on us, our effort is in vain and we are thrown to our spiritual death.
Victory over sin and evil can only be had in Christ, and the intercession of the Saints, who rally to our defence and fight against the prince of this world. Each of us is blessed by St. Demetrios as he blessed St. Nestor, for victory. The victory of life over death, the eternal Victory of Christ.
But we are also blessed for the crown of martyrdom. Not a crown that fades, and rots away with the passing glory of this age, but for eternal and everlasting life.
Great Vespers for the altar feast of St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church 2255 Grant Ave. will be served at 7:00 pm tomorrow, followed by refreshments, and a talk. Matins and Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning 9:00 am
Pray to God for us Holy martyr Demetrios as we fight against our passions, and sin.