Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Patron Saints of the Armed Forces II

A contact advises me that the 1944 booklet omits some other important saints. And always say the Rosary for those that put themselves in harm's way for us.

St. Theodore Stratelates – the Recruit

St. Theodore was a Roman commander in Emperor Licinius' army and governor of Heraclea. He was tall, strong, good-looking, wealthy and a friend of the Emperor. He considered the Kingdom of God to be more valuable than all of his advantages on earth. He smashed the pagan idols of silver and gold and gave the pieces to the poor. This so enraged Licinius that he had Theodore brutally tortured. He received 600 lashes on his back and 500 on his stomach. Then he was crucified while they shot arrows into him. Finally, he was beheaded with a sword. All during this, Theodore repeated: "Glory to Thee, my God, glory to Thee." His suffering ended at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, February 8, 319. He is regarded as the protector of soldiers. His relics were later taken to the Blachernae Church at Constantinople.

St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki (Άγιος Δημήτριος της Θεσσαλονίκης in Greek) and St Nestor of Pamphylia

They were Christian martyrs who lived in the 4th century. St Demetrios is also referred to as "the Megalomartyr" (Great Martyr) by the Greeks.

Demetrius was a general in the Roman army and a high official in Thessaloniki. He was arrested for preaching the gospel and converting pagans even after an edict was issued prohibiting Christians from doing so. While imprisoned, a young Roman soldier named Nestor, who was a Christian disciple of his, visited him in his cell. Nestor asked Demetrius to bless him as he had made up his mind to duel against a pagan named Lyaeus, who was challenging any Christian to fight him. Demetrius blessed young Nestor with the words: "You will defeat Lyaeus and win a crown of martyrdom". Nestor then proceeded to challenge Lyaeus and with the words "God of Demetrius, help me!" attacked and killed his pagan opponent.

At this, emperor Maximian order the execution of both Nestor and Demetrius. Saint Nestor was beheaded while Saint Demetrius was run through with spears ca 306. Demetrius was extremely popular in the Middle Ages and, along with Saint George, he was the patron of the Crusades.

And St. Michael the Archangel! Click on the link for the full prayer of Pope Leo XIII.

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