Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saintly Saturday: St. Mammas the Martyr

Today is the Feast of St. Mammas the Martyr. He was from Gangra of Paphlagonia, which is the north-central part of modern-day Turkey. His parents (Sts. Theodotus and Rufina) were both Christian and thrown in jail during the third century persecutions. His mother was pregnant and gave birth in prison just prior to her martyrdom. Having survived this ordeal, St. Mamas was adopted by a rich Christian widow by the name of Ammia. Therefore, he grew up in the faith.

He was arrested at the age of 15 and after being tortured was rescued by an angel and sent to the wilderness. There, he built a church and attracted many wild animals as his companions. When his whereabouts were discovered, soldiers were sent to arrest him. Knowing his martyrdom was soon at hand, he voluntarily showed up at the gates of Caesaria with a lion that had been his constant companion in the wilderness.

He was tortured and eventually mortally wounded by a trident.

Note how this icon depicts St. Mammas
holding a lamb while riding the lion,
which calls to mind this passage from Isaiah:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, 
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, 
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them (11:6)

St. Mammas is a reminder that despite the popular depiction of environmental issues as outside the purview of Christianity and of nature-oriented classes as essentially pagan, one of the core missions of the Church is the sanctification of all creation. Therefore, classes like the Druid need not be understood as the pagan counterpart to the Christian cleric. Indeed, (as much as I personally don’t like the class), it makes more sense to me to have the Druid class operate under the umbrella of a fantasy version of Christianity. Arcane magic is a more natural fit for depicting the pagan counterpart of the divine magic of the Church.

It also serves as a reminder that even this can be re-skinned in Christian clothing:

Beast Master

Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: STR and WIS
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 14
Beast Masters are those gifted with a special relationship with animals. They can Speak With Animals at will, are able to identify flora and fauna on a 1-3 on a d6, have a +2 to all reaction rolls with normal animals, may take animals as henchman and have a special animal companion. This companion is an intelligent and loyal creature that always has 1/2 the HD of the beast master, can always understand the beast master and provides a +1 to all saving throws to the beast master as long as it is within 30 ft. Should the animal companion ever be killed, the beast master immediately loses a number of hit points equal to that of the companion and it cannot be replaced until the beast master gains a level.

Beast Masters fight and save as fighters, may wear chain or lighter armor may use any weapon except for two-handed melee weapons and can cast spells as a Druid of 5 levels lower.
Level…XP Needed

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