SAINTS OF MY HEART
What is the meaning of the Orthodox reverence
of the holy servants of God?
During baptism, a person is given a name in honor of one of the saints, who from that moment becomes his heavenly patron. Each Orthodox Christian should know the “life” — the history — of his heavenly patron and turn to him in prayer for help and guidance. Our devout ancestors tried to commemorate the day of their saint’s memory—their “angel’s day”—by partaking of the Holy Communion and celebrating this day more festively than their birthday.
What is the meaning of the Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God? Do the saints in Heaven know our needs and difficulties and are they interested in us? Do they hear our prayers to them and do they try to help us? Indeed should we turn to saints for help, or is it enough to pray only to the Lord God? Sectarians, who have lost the apostolic traditions, do not understand the essence and purpose of Christ’s Church and thus deny the necessity of prayers to the saints in Heaven. We will briefly outline herein the Orthodox teaching concerning this.
Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God comes from the conviction that all of us, those seeking salvation or those already saved, living and dead, form a single family of God. The Church is a great society, encompassing the visible and invisible world. It is a huge, universal organization, built on the principle of love, in which each member must care not only about himself, but about the well-being and salvation of others. Saints are those people who during their life more than others expressed love to others.
We orthodox believe that when a righteous person dies, he does not sever his ties with the Church, but crosses over to its higher, heavenly domain—into the Church triumphant. Once in the spiritual world, the soul of the righteous person does not stop thinking, wanting, feeling. Just the opposite, these characteristics are revealed more fully and completely.
Modern non-Orthodox Christians, having lost the active connection with the heavenly-earthly Church, have the most vague and contradicting ideas concerning the afterlife. Some of them think that after death the soul of the person falls asleep and is as though shut off from everything; others—that the Continue reading “What is the meaning of the Orthodox reverence of the holy servants of God?”