Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greek Neo-Martyrs (Hippolyte Delehaye, S.J.)

A non-Catholic cannot be a martyr. Cf. my post, "Heretical and schismatic false martyrs (Fr. René Hedde, O.P.)," a very rough translation of a section of the article "Martyre" by Fr. René Hedde, O.P. in the 1928 Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 10.1:233.

I found Fr. Delehaye's article from a citation in Yves Congar, "A propos des saints canonisés dans les Eglises orthodoxes," Revue des sciences religieuses, 22 (1948), 240 n. 2, who says, "On a déjà posé plusieurs fois la question de savoir comment pourrait être réglée, dans le cas d’une réunion des Eglises orthodoxes à Rome, la question du culte rendu, dans ces Eglises, aux saints morts ou canonisés depuis le schisme. L’existence de saints comparables aux nôtres dans les Eglises orthodoxes est en effet une réalité de fait et qui n’entre en conflit avec aucun principe dogmatique. Nombre de moines et d’évêques orientaux ont mené, depuis la séparation comme avant elle, une vie héroïquement sainte, et Dieu a manifesté cette sainteté par des signes. D’autres, et aussi bien des laïcs, d’humbles et candides chrétiens, sont tombés victimes de l’Islam, des Tatars ou des Turcs et sont de vrais martyrs, témoins des vérités qui sont l’essence même de la foi chrétienne."

These are the words of Hippolyte Delehaye, "Greek Neo-Martyrs," The Constructive Quarterly, IX (1921), 712:
In reading an author who has elsewhere spoken well of these neo-martyrs, I admit having been painfully impressed by the words: "It is evident that for us, Catholics, they are neither saints nor martyrs." If this simply means that the Roman Church does not celebrate them, there is nothing further to be said. But what is lacking to constitute them true martyrs? Did they die for the differences which divide us? For the errors and subtleties of their theologians? Did they even suspect that they existed? Did they not shed their blood for the truths which are the essence of our faith and for which the most illustrious martyrs of the early centuries fought? The neo-martyrs are the purest glory of the Greek Church, and before these generous witnesses to the faith which we hold in common every Christian should bow.
Above: Ahmed the Calligrapher (†5/3/1682), layman convert from Islam and new martyr under the Turkish yoke, "a favorite saint of" the Society of St. John Chrysostom of Ayatriada Rum Katoliki Kilise in Istanbul, Turkey. Ahmed the Calligrapher is not on any Catholic calendar of saints (cf. Delehaye's comment above: "the Roman Church does not celebrate them").

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