Author Topic: Legendary Saints  (Read 1764 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ironchapman

  • A bull of truth in a china shop of falsehoods.
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 825
  • I see you.
  • Faith: Serious inquirer.
Legendary Saints
« on: September 23, 2012, 06:07:32 AM »
This is something that I've been turning over in my head for a while.

I'm not really quite sure how to put this, but how do we handle Saints whose lives seem more legendary than real? The ones whose historicity is doubtful? Perhaps the most famous of these are Sts. Christopher and Barbara--the latter of whom doesn't even show up in near-contemporary martyrologies (like that by St. Jerome). I know the Roman Catholics have "demoted" both of them.

What's the Orthodox stance on this? Has a Saint venerated in Orthodoxy ever been conclusively proven by Orthodox Christians to not exist?
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." --Bertrand Russell

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,579
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: Legendary Saints
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 06:30:11 AM »
Both St Christopher and St Barbara are Orthodox saints. The western St Christopher, the strong man who ferried people on his back over a river, is not found in Orthodox tradition. Christopher of Lycia suffered under the emperor Decius in about AD 250, and St Ambrose of Milan (340-397) wrote of the many thousands of pagans who were converted to Christianity by St Christopher.

Great-martyr Barbara is commemorated not only at her feastday, but also at the Prayer of Intercession at Vespers and Matins, in which a large number of important and prominent saints are invoked. The particular saints commemorated in this prayer varies between Orthodox jurisdictions, but, in my observation, St Barbara is always in the list, along with Sts George the Great Martyr and Panteleimon the Unmercenary.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 06:49:01 AM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline mabsoota

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,859
  • Kyrie eleison
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox (Coptic)
Re: Legendary Saints
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 04:41:06 PM »
are you discussing this saint barabara?

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: Legendary Saints
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 05:00:16 PM »
There are plenty of saints that have legendary elements surrounding them.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Shanghaiski

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,980
  • Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia
Re: Legendary Saints
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 08:37:42 PM »
"Lack of historical evidence" for the Orthodox has never been a hang-up.

Consider what historical evidence we have for anything happening. It is only what has managed to survive--something written down or an artifact. Consider that, for most things, there is no hisotrical record. So, nothing has managed to survive for most of what has happened in history. Does that mean it never happened? You're here, even if you have no idea who your ancestors were because there were no historical records kept.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline NicholasMyra

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,754
    • Hyperdox Herman
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Partially-overlapping
Re: Legendary Saints
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 12:59:24 AM »
A saint is venerated for the way God works through the saint.

If a saint turned out not to have lived the particular earthly life we thought they had, this would not be much affected.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.