A couple of summers ago, I went to Mt. Athos — a peninsula in northern Greece that is home to a score of monasteries and several sketes. At the very first monastery I visited, one of the very first icons I encountered was a soldier saint named Prokopios. Armed with sword and shield and clad in mail, I found myself captivated and wondering who this guy was. As I visited other monasteries and worshipped in several chapels, it seemed that I always ended up next to an icon of St. Prokopios. He became a familiar face and I ended up considering him a friend. When I came off the mountain, I vowed read his story and found out that he was a martyr.
In our modern era, the word martyr is closely associated with people who die for their faith. We forget that the word actually means witness. This begs the question: what are they witnesses to? The simple answer is to Christ and all that He has done for us. However, there is more to it than that. Prokopios, much like Paul before him, was visited by Christ as he was on his way to persecute Christians. He was confronted with the reality that Truth is not a idea, not a philosophy, but a person who is both God and man.
At the center of the Christian faith is a personal relationship between humanity and God and between humanity and itself. Prokopios, by befriending me on the Holy Mountain, reminded me that the image of God in man is not complete without a relationship with our fellow human beings.
This is one of the reasons that I write this blog, why I still love this hobby, and why I prefer old school ways. Role playing is about getting around a table with our fellow human beings, enjoying who they are, and what we become when we are together. The old school celebrates our individual quirks in the way it is so easily adapted to our particular interests and prejudices.
May this Feast of St. Prokopios be filled with many blessings, and with the fellowship of our fellow human beings (especially at the gaming table).