Re: [orthodox-synod] Six Martyrs of Melitene
- Dear friends,
Thank you for all the informations you sent -- and forgive me for my
delay in answering.
>How does one say Expeditus in Portuguese and Spanish?Saint Expeditus is "Santo Expedito" in Portuguese and "San Expedito" in
> I heard the story of this saint about 30 years ago. The old man whoAccording to the italian site mentioned in this thread, this story seems
> 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."
to be false.
Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:
>I suppose such phenomena can be found in all countries, especiallyThis is certainly a fair description of Brazilian Roman Catholic clergy,
>when and where the clergy lacks rigor, education or authority, or
>when the people evades control.
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 soBless, Fr. German.
>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. (...)"
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 anThis is a very good suggestion, Father. If we are unable to find 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 ....
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 basedFor me it seems to be the most reasonable hypothesis.
>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.
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
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,
an unworthy catechumen
Holy Trinity Church (ROCOR) -- São Paulo, Brazil