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Monday, September 2, 2019

"My Own Crowned Champion, the Famous Mamas" (St. Gregory the Theologian)


In the 370s or early 380s, Saint Gregory the Theologian in his Oration 44: On the New Lord's Day refers to the festival of the martyr Mamas, in whose church this oration was delivered, in Caesarea of Cappadocia, which fell on the first Sunday after Easter that year. This is what he says of Saint Mamas at the close of his oration:

What else is there to say? Now the martyrs go outside and lead the procession, and, with their shrines splendid, they summon together Christ’s faithful people, and proclaim their victorious contests. One of them is also my own crowned champion (mine indeed, even though he does not dwell at my home; let grudging subside; those I am referring to know what I mean), the famous Mamas, both shepherd and martyr. Once he used to milk deer which jostled one another, in order to nourish the righteous man with unfamiliar milk. But now he tends the flock of a capital city, and today, with the many thousands thronging from all around, he inaugurates a springtime distinguished by the beauties of virtue, one worthy both of shepherds and victory orations. To put it more briefly, this is a Spring of the world, a Spring of the spirit, a Spring for the souls, a Spring for the bodies, a Spring visible, a Spring invisible. May we, who have been rewarded with the bounty of it in this life, also partake of it in the other as well, and be escorted new to the new life, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be all glory, honor, and power together with the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.



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