Thursday, February 26, 2009

Porphyry of Gaza

Was it Ray Bradbury who wrote in a short story that the person most suited to be leader was the one who needed to be dragged into office, kicking & screaming?

Porphyry was born in Greece & lived largely in isolation until, in his 40s (a ripe old age for the fourth century) he was ordained as a priest in Jerusalem. Things went quickly downhill from there.

Previously, he had been happy working among the poor & disenfranchised (when he spent anytime with people at all). After becoming a priest, though he started to mix with a different class of people. They ultimately kidnapped him & forced him to become the Bishop of Gaza (that's his story, anyhow). Among his first tasks in office was to explain what he was going to do about the drought he was accused of causing by the local, majority pagans. Then weather patterns changed, it rained & everyone settled down until next time.

I do not know what else to say except I cannot see that much has changed in Gaza. & there is not much else about Porphyry either. He was canonized for driving the pagans into the minority, by whatever means necessary. After taking office however reluctantly, he served with zeal. He has the distinction of being a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church (it helps, being canonized before the split) & the Oriental Orthodox Church, which I know nothing about.

He is also invoked against nothing, for nothing & by no profession or class of people so far as I can discover. I think this frees us to make him the patron of whatever we want. His story has a weather element & a reluctant super hero quality. I say we call him Patron of Rainmakers, that improbable group of not-exactly-do-gooders Americans in particular cannot seem to surrender.

No comments:

Post a Comment