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The veneration of saints in the Orthodox Church

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The definitions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council of 631 state: “We seal the doctrine with our consent by preaching the one Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

The seventh-century father, St. John of Damascus, said in his exposition of the Orthodox faith: God incarnated. “

St. Theodotus preaches that “if someone considers himself a Christian, and by the way does not accept in the Divine Virgin the dignity and the name of the Mother of God, this person, contradicting the dogmas, in vain flaunts this holy name.”

The veneration of the saints in the Orthodox Church is expressed in different ways: reverent remembrance of their feat in order to generate in us a desire to imitate them according to the measure of our strength; liturgical celebration of their memory; erecting temples in their honor; painting icons and murals in temples; worship before them; lighting candles in front of their images – candles whose light is a symbol of the spiritual light emitted by the saints.

In calling for such reverence, the Orthodox Church in no way teaches us to worship them as deities (there is only one God), but only as faithful servants and friends of God, who became saints by personal effort and with the help of God’s grace received in and through the sacraments. Honor to the saints is, on the one hand, a glorification of God, whose greatness they have reflected in their earthly life, and on the other – a glorification of themselves as living images of God (Prot. N. Malinovsky. Essay on Orthodox dogmatic theology, Second half , S. Posad, 1908, pp. 262).

Another dimension of reverence for the saints includes our prayer call to them. Unlike national heroes and intellectual artists, to whom we pay only homage and praise for their work and strive to imitate them according to the needs and specifics of the time, in the Church Orthodox Christians pray to the saints and have their intercession before God. This also has its psychological justification. Believers in Jesus Christ are connected to each other not only through common faith, but also through mutual love.

The veneration of the saints also consists in the veneration of their relics. The reason for this is the miracles that happen through the incorruptible relics of the saints. According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, the relics of saints should be venerated as well as icons, but neither them nor the icons should be given a service that is given only to God.

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