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Must one hold the same views as the Church towards specific saints?


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#1 Jake A.

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 05:19 AM

Hi, I was wondering..and this might not be worded the way I want it to be worded, and hopefully you'll understand what I was trying to say...

When an Orthodox Church recognizes/canonizes a Saint, are the members of that Church, by Doctrine, required/obligated to venerate, and/or think of those people as the Church views them?

For example, I do not consider the royal family of Russia (Czar Nicholas II) as Saints, the way that the Russian Orthodox Church does.. am I somehow in conflict with the Church's dogma?

Another example of this would be Fr. Seraphim Rose, I, as well as many other Orthodox Christians, consider him as a Saint, but he is not formally canonized by the Church. Am I, and those who also venerate him, in conflict with the Church?

This question being because of a discussion with my brother, him saying that if a Church recognizes someone as a Saint, then I, and anyone who considers themselves part of the Church, should also recognize and view them as a Saint. On the other hand I do not think that this is somehow in conflict with the Church, or it's Doctrine, unless someone on this site tells me otherwise.

This of course doesn't concern people like St. Mark and St. John the Baptist, because we can all agree on their status and holiness, but the lines of the subject itself are very shaky and I hope someone can give me a clearer understanding on the Church's position on this.

Thank you.

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 06:02 AM

I think it not too easy for ALL Orthodox churches to always agree on who is and who is not a saint. It is also local custom for potential saints to be venerated by the locals before the church takes a look at their lives to see if they should be canonized.

Whether they are "official" saints or not, does it really matter? They have moved on to the afterlife and are in a much better place to pray for us than we are here ourselves. Does the church even have dogma concerning saints other than that we have them? I don't think they say "if we canonize them, you have to venerate them." though I would suggest this a good idea. Many people like Seraphim Rose and many don't. Not that many saints are canonized within their own century anyway. So local veneration of him in particular is important if the church is to regard him as such.

I think there are already threads on both the royal family and Serpahim Rose speaking towards this.

Paul

#3 Olga

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 12:44 AM

I think it not too easy for ALL Orthodox churches to always agree on who is and who is not a saint. It is also local custom for potential saints to be venerated by the locals before the church takes a look at their lives to see if they should be canonized.

Whether they are "official" saints or not, does it really matter? They have moved on to the afterlife and are in a much better place to pray for us than we are here ourselves. Does the church even have dogma concerning saints other than that we have them? I don't think they say "if we canonize them, you have to venerate them." though I would suggest this a good idea. Many people like Seraphim Rose and many don't. Not that many saints are canonized within their own century anyway. So local veneration of him in particular is important if the church is to regard him as such.

I think there are already threads on both the royal family and Serpahim Rose speaking towards this.

Paul


Perhaps where one has to consider the "correctness" (my apologies for such a crude term) of the proclamation to sainthood of any individual or group is the presence of that saint or group of saints in an Orthodox church calendar, and any liturgical commemoration of them. In the case of Tsar Nicholas, he, and his family were glorified as passion-bearers, as they met their deaths with submission and equanimity, and because their assassination was as much a political repudiation of Orthodox Christianity on the part of the Bolshevik regime, the same mentality which led to the public destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 1931, under Stalin's personal orders, even to commissioning a film crew to document the demolition.

I quite agree that many have questioned whether the Romanovs should have even been considered for sainthood at all, but the Church has spoken. In addition, there is a full Vigil service fully approved by both the Moscow Patriarchate and by ROCOR, which, I believe, has also been translated into other liturgical languages other than Slavonic and English.

Regarding Fr Seraphim of Platina, while he may be venerated as a saint in many people's private devotions, he has not yet been proclaimed as a saint by any Orthodox church.

#4 Nina

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 03:58 AM

You know... I wish that all the people around me (living, or departed) were Saints and I was the only sinner (since I am an incorrigible sinner) in the world, and I would be so happy because so many people will intercede to God for me and help me to be saved too.

#5 D. W. Dickens

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 03:43 PM

We may not know what the Church knows about some Saints.

Some saints may be venerated for our good as much as for the own righteousness, or because prayers requested of them were answered showing God's approval of them as icons of Him though we cannot understand this.

Political figures are sure to have mixed lives and even more mixed reports about their lives. St Athanasius was clearly a controversial figure. St Cyril of Alexandria (what is it about Alexandria?!) also had many detractors. Some saints didn't "like" each other.

It really doesn't seem to be fruitful to try to stare into the chaos and try to figure this out.

However, I would not stop you from praying and venerating those in your own life who were critical to your spiritual formation and have reposed. In fact, many people doing that is what leads to the Church making a recognition of the ministry of such a Saint. Should I question your experience with Seraphim Rose as you question those who have prayed to the royal family?

#6 Mary

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 12:47 AM

When an Orthodox Church recognizes/canonizes a Saint, are the members of that Church, by Doctrine, required/obligated to venerate, and/or think of those people as the Church views them?

This question being because of a discussion with my brother, him saying that if a Church recognizes someone as a Saint, then I, and anyone who considers themselves part of the Church, should also recognize and view them as a Saint. On the other hand I do not think that this is somehow in conflict with the Church, or it's Doctrine, unless someone on this site tells me otherwise.


I can't answer your question from the view point of what the Church teaches, and I don't even know if there's any teaching about this. Here's my thoughts about this - there isn't anything wrong with recognizing anyone as a saint. There will be many surprises in the Last Day. There's so much about each other that we don't know. So, if the Church recognizes someone, we too can recognize them. As for venerating them and praying to them - There's nothing wrong with venerating everyone, regardless of what your personal feelings about them, because, you're basically giving them the honor due them. And everybody deserves to be treated with honor, even the sinner.

I don't think the Church forces anyone to pray to anyone. And in my short time in the Church, I've noticed that I'm more drawn to some saints and not to others. So I pray a lot to some saints, and not at all to others. And no one has accused me of praying to a saint who is not my patron saint. Neither has my patron saint given me any sort of indication that she's displeased with my lack of attention. =)

in Christ,
Mary

#7 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 01:46 AM

My understanding is that the Romanovs are considered martyrs/confessors, not because the Czar lived a perfectly saintly life, but that he was murdered by atheists still confessing his faith. In some way he is representative of and emblematic of all of the nameless martyrs of communism.

#8 Jake A.

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 08:39 AM

I can't answer your question from the view point of what the Church teaches, and I don't even know if there's any teaching about this. Here's my thoughts about this - there isn't anything wrong with recognizing anyone as a saint. There will be many surprises in the Last Day. There's so much about each other that we don't know. So, if the Church recognizes someone, we too can recognize them. As for venerating them and praying to them - There's nothing wrong with venerating everyone, regardless of what your personal feelings about them, because, you're basically giving them the honor due them. And everybody deserves to be treated with honor, even the sinner.

I don't think the Church forces anyone to pray to anyone. And in my short time in the Church, I've noticed that I'm more drawn to some saints and not to others. So I pray a lot to some saints, and not at all to others. And no one has accused me of praying to a saint who is not my patron saint. Neither has my patron saint given me any sort of indication that she's displeased with my lack of attention. =)

in Christ,
Mary


Thats true, I agree. Certain Saints look after and intercede for certain kids of people, its just another mystery of the Orthodox faith, and the life ahead.




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