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?
"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matt. 5:37)
What you say with your mouth should be what your mind and soul believes. Period. From the mouth of Christ Himself.
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?
Spoken like someone who has never had the threat of violence or pain hung over them based on something they'd say. I pray that I'm never forced to give an account for my faith on pain of death because as much as I'd like to say I'd not deny Christ, I know myself all to well. It takes far greater character to not say, "Uncle," so to speak, than to give in and say it. God will provide for His flock should an untimely death come to one of His servants.