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Re: [orthodox-synod] Six Martyrs of Melitene

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  • Felipe Ortiz
    Dear friends, Thank you for all the informations you sent -- and forgive me for my delay in answering. ... Saint Expeditus is Santo Expedito in Portuguese
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 30, 2005
      Dear friends,

      Thank you for all the informations you sent -- and forgive me for my
      delay in answering.

      Stephanos wrote:

      >How does one say Expeditus in Portuguese and Spanish?
      Saint Expeditus is "Santo Expedito" in Portuguese and "San Expedito" in

      Jéan-Claude wrote:

      > I heard the story of this saint about 30 years ago. The old man who
      > told me about it was a very pious gentleman. Seems the relics of the
      > saint were in a box of sorts to be shipped. When the relics arrived at
      > their destination the only reference on the box were the sending
      > address and the receiving address and the word whose English
      > equivalent was, "Expedite."

      According to the italian site mentioned in this thread, this story seems
      to be false.

      Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:

      >I suppose such phenomena can be found in all countries, especially
      >when and where the clergy lacks rigor, education or authority, or
      >when the people evades control.
      This is certainly a fair description of Brazilian Roman Catholic clergy,
      though it seems to be not the only reason to the veneration of Saint
      Expeditus here; there is evidence of veneration to him in Italy since
      the Middle Ages.

      And thank you very much for the useful sites you found!

      Fr German wrote:

      >When I read this message, I suspected the reason why St Expeditus is so
      >highly venerated in Brazil might have to do with the admixture of
      >paganism that is often found in Latin American Roman Catholicism. When I
      >went to the Italian web site so kindly referenced by V. Kozyreff, I
      >found, amidst much other information, the following paragraph:
      >"In many Afro-American cults there exists a syncretism between Catholic
      >saints and the ancient African deities which were imported during the
      >period of the slave trade. In this way the ancient traditions of their
      >homelands were brought over to their white owners in a hidden form. In
      >Brazil St Expeditus came to be identified with a deity named Logum Ede,
      >the protector of fishing and hunting. (...)"
      Bless, Fr. German.

      This identification between Roman Catholic saints and Yoruba "orishas"
      (i.e., deities) in Brazil and in other countries deeply influenced by
      African culture is real. Its root was a sort of simulation: in order to
      worship their native orishas in a discrete way, as such a worship was
      repressed (though not too strictly) by Portuguese colonists, the slaves
      of African origin pretended to venerate Roman Catholic saints. So they
      usually called the orishas by names of Christian saints who shared some
      similarities with them.

      This usage became traditional among followers of Candomble (the
      Yoruba-Brazilian religion) and was kept also after the abolition of
      slavery, even in our days. There is indeed an identification between the
      Roman Catholic Saint Expeditus and the Yoruba orisha Logun Ede.

      Nevertheless it seems not to be a key explanation to the high esteem in
      which Saint Expeditus is held in Brazil, both because Candomble is no
      longer a major religion here, its force being restricted to some parts
      of the country (while the devotion to Saint Expeditus in general and
      widespread), and because Logun Ede is not a too important orisha in the
      Yoruba pantheon; a number of followers of Candomble do not worship him
      at all. Actually it seems to me that this association was made in order
      to promote Logun Ede´s popularity, rather than Saint Expeditus´ one.

      >Among people who speak any language which draws upon Latin, there is an
      >obvious correspondence between the saint's name and the idea of speed,
      >as if his name in English were Saint Speedy. But then we also have the
      >icon of the Mother of God, called Quick to hear ....
      This is a very good suggestion, Father. If we are unable to find an
      Orthodox ground to the devotion of Saint Expeditus, we can replace the
      Mother of God "Quick to Hear" for it. The most important source of Saint
      Expeditus popularity among Brazilians seems to be his fame of
      promptitude in hearing the requests of those ones who ask for his prayers.

      Ray Gadke wrote:

      >His popularity is based
      >largely on the belief that Saint Expeditus helps people find jobs in an
      >time of heavy unemployment. The devotion to Saint Expeditus has been
      >pushed as a means by some Roman Catholic clergy to counteract the
      >popularity of what is sometimes called "prosperity Protestantism." In
      >many of the new evangelical Protestant churches, much of the appeal
      >arises from the promise of prosperity and success - if one stops drinking
      >and stops smoking stops whoring and becomes neat and disciplined and so
      >forth. The devotion to Saint Expeditus is promoted as a means for people to
      >obtain prosperity - by prayers to the saint - without necessarily having to
      >give up drinking and smoking and womanizing, etc. In Argentina, Roman
      >Catholics have long prayed to Saint Cajetan (Cayetano) for work and
      >prosperity. The Brazilians seem to have put Saint Expeditus in the place
      >that in Argentina is held by Saint Cajetan. The devotion to Saint Expeditus,
      >according to the Wall Street Journal article, was originally promoted by
      >a religious order (I forget which one) that had a statue of Saint Expeditus
      >in their church as a means of raising revenue for the poor, rundown church.
      >The devotion to Saint Expeditus has grown by leaps and bounds as the
      >economic situation in Brazil has deteriorated.

      For me it seems to be the most reasonable hypothesis.

      As an interesting coincidence, I can add that I live in a city called
      São Caetano do Sul. This name could be translated as "South Saint
      Cajetan" -- the same Saint Cajetan so highly esteemed by Argentinian
      Roman Catholics.

      While my main question regarding the existence of a devotion to Saint
      Expeditus in the Orthodox Church remains unanswered, the feedback all of
      you have provided me was very interesting. Thank you for all! And
      please, contact me if you find some additional info about the Six
      Martyrs of Melitene.

      Kissing Fr. German´s right hand,

      Felipe Ortiz
      an unworthy catechumen
      Holy Trinity Church (ROCOR) -- São Paulo, Brazil
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