This is something I have been pondering for a while now. Most Orthodox Christians portray martyrdom as being like the highest honor or responsibility ever that some Christians are faced with. And that if we or anyone for that matter were ever in a position like that, martyrdom is always the route that we must take.
But this does not make sense to me entirely. What if it would be more beneficial for people in the long run if that person in question remained alive opposed to being martyred at that moment? Like, for example, what if that person was a really intelligent, gifted theologian or something who would benefit the Church more by continuing to live so that he could devote himself to writing and theology, or if the person in question was a really important Bishop or Priest whose flock really depended on him and needed him to shephard them. How is it that martyrdom is really the correct path for them? Wouldn't it be better for them to deny Christ in words only, that way they could be freed and continue to serve Him rather than just end it all right there and never reach their true potential for the Church?
Anyone can be martyred and I do not understand why people who have been gifted in other ways should throw their godly gifts and potential away just to make a statement with their death. I mean, take St. Athanasius or St. Gregory of Nyssa for example. Both were some of the most intelligent, theologically gifted and influencial figures in the Church of all time. But if they had been martyred early on in their lives, then we never would have understood the Incarnation or distinction between God's essence and energies in the way that we do now because of them. Our whole Christology could have been a mess and millions of people could have been led astray with false teachings about Christ if these people (At least Athanasius) had been martyred early on. Is it really worth sacrificing all of this just to make a statement with your death and maybe convert a couple people who happened to be present opposed to the millions of people who would have been aided and saved from false teachings if they had denied martyrdom?
Martyrdom does not always seem like the best solution in my eyes. I think that we should always go with whatever will benefit the Church and save/convert more souls in the long run opposed to always choosing martyrdom. Indeed, there are probably many times when martyrdom will do precisely that, but I think that there may also be times when it would be better for a person not to be martyred so they could benefit the world more through living.