October 26, 2017

Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki, Greater than Righteous Job (St. Gregory Palamas)

By St. Gregory Palamas

What we said of Job from the land of Uz could refer to Demetrios at that time, that "there was none like him in the earth" (Job 1:8). In fact, even Job himself, of whom it is written that there was none like him among men (Job 2:3 LXX), did not resemble Demetrios, who was holy in every way.

Job, in an earlier time, had certainly been blameless, righteous and God-fearing, just as Demetrios was later shown to be. But Job could not be praised for virginity, whereas virginity marked out Demetrios as victoriously crowned from his youth, superior to human nature, and a match for the angels who surround God. And whereas Job's body was severely wounded in his fight against evil (Job 2:8, 13), Demetrios struggled with evil to the point of shedding his last drop of blood.

There is no evidence that Job was skilled with words, whereas for Demetrios this skill, combined with the Spirit's grace, was a weapon, an insuperable defense, a builder's tool, a farmer's spade and plough, a fisherman's net, and so on. At times he cultivated the Lord's vineyard, casting heavenly seed upon the earth, or writing the words of eternal life "not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3:3), such hearts as were worthy of such an inscription. In the net of his words he caught Thessaloniki, Attica, Achaea, or rather, the whole area he now embraces with his myrrh, his miracles and the universal abundance of his grace.