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Praying to the saints


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#21 Scott Pierson

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 01:57 AM

When I stopped going to Church completely for a few years, I was volunteering at a charity shop, one day out of the blue, there was an Icon of the Theotokos in amongst all the donated books. I asked the boss if I could buy it and then I remembered it was the feast day of my Saint. That started me on the chain of events that brought me back to Church.


Thats awsome. Its always amazing when things seem to just fall into place like that and you know God is watching over you .


You should ask her to pray for you too because when we have friends and relatives who are addicts we need all the strength we can get.


I do.

#22 Paul Cowan

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 07:37 PM

Alcoholism = Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup

http://www.antiochian.org/1103412970
http://www.stjohndc....InexChalice.htm

This icon is also wonderful to pray through for other addictions of all sorts.
Paul

#23 Athanasios Walter

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:04 AM

Where can I get information regarding praying to the Saints, either from the Holy Scripture or the Early Church Fathers? I can find many references to it today, but have not being able to easily find one with the early Church. I wish I had all the writings where I can do a search.

I did find one or two tho, but they speak against praying to the dead, because there is a great gulf between us, and some other reason I can't remember. I think it was Ireneaus or Justin Martyr, but again, I don't remember which one. But the reference I got this from was from a Protestant book, so it is possible it was taken out of context.

#24 Paul Cowan

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 05:22 AM

But the reference I got this from was from a Protestant book, so it is possible it was taken out of context.


Most assuredly.
We don't pray to the Dead. God is the God of the living. They won't be 'dead' until the Final judgement, and then even then they will live in eternity with or without Him.

PC

#25 Athanasios Walter

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 04:30 AM

Most assuredly.
We don't pray to the Dead. God is the God of the living.

I certainly agree with this, that they're not dead. Jesus made this quite clear.

I was interested in references from the early Church Fathers talking about praying to the Saints. Unfortunately, I don't have an easy way to search this, and was hoping others had references.

And if there are bible passages, that would be great.

When I find the other references I read some time ago, I will post it here. Hopefully the whole context, rather than a snippet of what I read, will be fully explained by someone who has full access to it.

#26 Athanasios Walter

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 04:33 AM

They won't be 'dead' until the Final judgement, and then even then they will live in eternity with or without Him.

Bold is mine. You mean the 2nd death, and only for those who rejected God?

#27 Nina

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 08:59 AM

I was interested in references from the early Church Fathers talking about praying to the Saints. Unfortunately, I don't have an easy way to search this, and was hoping others had references.
And if there are bible passages, that would be great.


Christ is Risen!

Dear walterquez,

This is something that Dr. Prof George Bebis (Professor of Patristics of Holy Cross) wrote:

"THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS


Posted Image Mosaic Icon of St. George
The fact that Christians ask the prayers of saints and their intercession is prefigured in the New Testament. St. Paul asks the Christian Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians and Romans to pray for him (Ephes. 6:19, 1 Thesal. 5:25; Colos. 4:3, and Rom. 15:30-31). In every Liturgy, we ask God the Father to accept, on our behalf, "the prayers and the intercession" of all the Saints who now live in heaven. The Fathers of the Church also accept as a matter of course the prayers and the intercession of all the saints.

In one of his letters, St. Basil explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God (Letter 360). Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that "they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers" (Chapter 8). St. Gregory of Nyssa asks St. Theodore the Martyr "to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people" (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian in his encomium to St. Cyprian. St. John Chrysostom says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special "boldness" (parresia), before God. (Gen. 44:2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).
THE VENERATION OF THE SAINTS

In the Orthodox Church the worship (latreia) given to God is completely different from the honor (tim) of love (agape) and respect, or even veneration (proskynesis), "paid to all those endowed with some dignity" (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. III, 40). The Orthodox honor the saints to express their love and gratitude to God, who has "perfected" the saints. As St. Symeon the New Theologian writes, "God is the teacher of the Prophets, the co-traveller with the Apostles, the power of the Martyrs, the inspiration of the Fathers and Teachers, the perfection of all Saints ... " (Catechesis, I).

Throughout early Christianity, Christians customarily met in the places where the martyrs had died, to build churches in their honor, venerate their relics and memory, and present their example for imitation by others. Interesting information on this subject derives from the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp (ch. 17-18), according to which the early Christians reverently collected the remains of the saints and honored them "more than precious stones." They also met on the day of their death to commemorate "their new birthday, the day they entered into their new life, in Heaven." To this day the Orthodox have maintained the liturgical custom of meeting on the day of the saint's death, of building churches honoring their names, and of paying special respect to their relics and icons. The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 A.D.), in summarizing this practice of the Church, declares that "we adore and respect God our Lord; and those who have been genuine servants of our common Lord we honor and venerate because they have the power to make us friends with God the King of all."
The feast days and the celebrations honoring the saints had become a common practice by the fourth century. The twentieth canon of the Council of Gangra in Asia Minor (between the years 325 and 381) anathematizes those who reject the feast days of the saints. So great was the esteem in which the Apostles, prophets, and martyrs were held in the Church, that many writings appeared describing their spiritual achievements, love and devotion to God.
Together with the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp , information on the veneration of the Saints derives from the Martyrdom of the Martyrs of Scilli, a small town in North Africa (end of the second century). The list of sources indudes St. Athanasius' Life of St. Anthony; St. Basil's Homily honoring the "Forty Martyrs"; Gregory of Nyssa's Homily honoring St. Theodore; St. John Chrysostom also delivered a considerable number of sermons dedicated to the Martyrs of the Church.

Posted Image RELICS OF VARIOUS SAINTS AND MARTYRS

The Fathers, and all early Christians in general, paid especially great respect to the relics of the martyrs. In addition to the sources already mentioned, Eusebius of Caesarea, the Church historian, says that "those who suffered for the glory of Christ always have fellowship with the living God" (Church History, 5:1). In the Apostolic Constitutions (5:1) the martyrs are called "brothers of the Lord" and "vessels of the Holy Spirit." This helps to explains the special honor and respect which the Church paid to the relics of the martyrs. St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. John Chrysostom remind us that the relics of the martyrs "are filled with spiritual grace," that even their tombs are filled with a special "blessing." This Patristic practice still continues today, and people from all over the world visit churches that possess the relics of martyrs and saints. Also, according to the ancient tradition, the consecration of new churches takes place with the deposition of holy relics in the Holy Table of the sanctuary."

If you would like to read the entire article please follow this link

#28 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 01:12 AM

Bold is mine. You mean the 2nd death, and only for those who rejected God?


I will be the first to back peddle to allow a corrected answer to be offered. It is my understanding when we physically die we are subject to the first or general judgement. We either go to Paradise or Hades.

At the 2nd or Final Judgement we are rewarded to Heaven or condemned to Hell. Our life here on earth is our only allottment for confession and repentence of sins. After we are dead, it's all over except for GRACE God MAY show to us. Prayers to the departed by loved ones may turn His favor towards us. But once dead we have no more say in the matter.

For some to say

only for those who rejected God

I believe is incorrect. When Christ went to Hades to set the captives free he was preceded by St. John who announced His coming. I think that was the only place there was a choice to believe in Him and get out of Jail free card. I cannot imagine any being there who when they heard He was coming did not believe. Though it is possible some did choose to stay. (possibly Pharoah?)

Now that mankind has had the opportunity to know about Christ, we do not have the luxury of sinning all we want here, die and later deciding to accept Him as God. Today is the time to accept Him. Today we must repent and be reconciled.

God will judge the earth and those in it. By His grace alone believers and unbelievers will be saved. Not by their choice during the Judgement.

In Christ
PC

#29 Mary

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 03:38 PM

Thank you, to whoever it was who 'resurrected' this thread! I particularly found post #6 to be extremely useful.

We suffer from anger in this household and a few days back, I asked St Tikhon for help, since it says in that list that he is invoked for deliverance from anger. Needless to say, his answer was swift and much deeper than I imagined it would be!

Christ is Risen!

Mary.

#30 Anthony

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 05:12 PM

Yes, that is a useful list, and thanks also to Nina for posting the article.

Is there a particular saint who it is appropriate to give thanks to after escaping from some danger? A friend of mine and her little daughter were recently fortunate to escape from a fire in their block of flats.

Anthony

#31 Athanasios Walter

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 05:33 PM

Christ is Risen!

This is something that Dr. Prof George Bebis (Professor of Patristics of Holy Cross) wrote:

Thank you. I just got back from a trip. I will read what you posted.

#32 Nina

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:35 PM

Is there a particular saint who it is appropriate to give thanks to after escaping from some danger? A friend of mine and her little daughter were recently fortunate to escape from a fire in their block of flats.
Anthony


Christ is Risen!

Thank God for your friend and her daughter!!!

Maybe someone else does know the answer to your question about a particular Saint. Since I do not, I would assume she should thank God, Panagia, guardian angels, personal Saint and any other Saint the family is fond of.

#33 Olga

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 04:55 AM

There are strong traditions, particularly in the Slavic world, invoking Prophet Elijah/Elias in protection and deliverance from fire (as well as drought).

#34 Anthony

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 06:24 AM

Thank you, Nina and Olga; these are both very valuable suggestions.

#35 Antony Solomon

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 12:53 PM

This is an interesting thread, thanks for the advice and testimonies.

Two questions if I may (feel free to point to an existing thread)

1. Does it matter if you have no idea who the saint is you are asking to help?

2. How does one find out one's patron saint, or such?

#36 Antony Solomon

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 12:54 PM

Thank you, to whoever it was who 'resurrected' this thread! I particularly found post #6 to be extremely useful.

We suffer from anger in this household and a few days back, I asked St Tikhon for help, since it says in that list that he is invoked for deliverance from anger. Needless to say, his answer was swift and much deeper than I imagined it would be!

Christ is Risen!

Mary.


I will bear this in mind, since it is one of my troublesome sins.

#37 Nina

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:14 PM

1. Does it matter if you have no idea who the saint is you are asking to help?


I do not think it does... however it is helpful spiritually to create a relationship with the Saint. In times of distress, or need you know where to run to and whom to call for help. The Theotokos is a very quick hearer and helper.

2. How does one find out one's patron saint, or such?

You receive this when baptized and the Godparent is supposed to choose your name, hence the patron Saint. If you are becoming Orthodox as an adult you may choose a Saint that you may be fond of and impressed by his/her spiritual achievements (and receive his/her name); you may choose a Saint that is celebrated on, or around your birthday etc. It is always helpful to read their lives and be inspired. Your patron Saint along with your guardian Angel intercede constantly for your salvation.

P.S Speaking of Bdays; is it your birthday today? If yes: Happy Birthday!!! :)

#38 Antony Solomon

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 03:34 PM

I do not think it does... however it is helpful spiritually to create a relationship with the Saint. In times of distress, or need you know where to run to and whom to call for help. The Theotokos is a very quick hearer and helper.
You receive this when baptized and the Godparent is supposed to choose your name, hence the patron Saint. If you are becoming Orthodox as an adult you may choose a Saint that you may be fond of and impressed by his/her spiritual achievements (and receive his/her name); you may choose a Saint that is celebrated on, or around your birthday etc. It is always helpful to read their lives and be inspired. Your patron Saint along with your guardian Angel intercede constantly for your salvation.

P.S Speaking of Bdays; is it your birthday today? If yes: Happy Birthday!!! :)



Thanks for the info, and the wish. ___ <--- assume there is a nice smilie here, as i can't see any of the graphics on this site.

#39 Mary

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 04:33 PM

This is an interesting thread, thanks for the advice and testimonies.

Two questions if I may (feel free to point to an existing thread)

1. Does it matter if you have no idea who the saint is you are asking to help?

2. How does one find out one's patron saint, or such?


The world of Saints is indeed wonderful and exciting, and I felt like I had to make up for lost time - all those years when I could've asked them to intercede for me... But I've realized that it takes time to get to know about all of them. And regardless of how many stories you read, some stick with you better than others.

Until you get to know the saints better, you can always pray to the folks in the Bible stories that you were always fond of. When I asked my friend which saint I should pray to regarding my stubborn and rebellious spirit, he suggested the Prophet Jonah! =) I had gotten so carried away with saints that I forgot about the Prophet Jonah. Every thing he did and said, is so exaclty what I would've done and said. I think my favorite verse in the Bible is:

Jonah 4:9 " But God said to Jonah, 'Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?' 'I do,' he said. 'I am angry enough to die.' " Oh, how many times I've said the same thing, believed I have the right to be angry, and been angry enough to die! =) (or kill...)

I used to meet with a bunch of other moms and we prayed for our kids. At one meeting, the mother who was leading, read the story of Daniel and his Friends, and she was impressed with Daniel's wisdom and his resolve not to defile himself with the food of the king. She wanted to pray that our children would be wise like him. This was still while we were catechumens, and I thought - "Hey, just ask Daniel to pray for our children..." I didn't want to freak them out, so I held my tongue. But it did get me thinking about all my favorite folks in the Bible. Inspite of the fact that I knew they were real, they were still just characters in a story, until I became orthodox...

So far, my favorite is St John the Baptist. My little girl was afraid of being baptised - she was 4 - old enough to resist, too young to be in charge of the final decision. And we prayed to St John to prepare her. I was so surprised when I found out that the date for the children's baptism turned out to be the nativity of St John the Baptist! (June 24). My little girl, was not afraid at all. I was sure that St John was in the water with her. =)

In Christ,

Mary.

#40 Andrew

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 07:23 PM

I do not think it does... however it is helpful spiritually to create a relationship with the Saint. In times of distress, or need you know where to run to and whom to call for help. The Theotokos is a very quick hearer and helper.
You receive this when baptized and the Godparent is supposed to choose your name, hence the patron Saint. If you are becoming Orthodox as an adult you may choose a Saint that you may be fond of and impressed by his/her spiritual achievements (and receive his/her name); you may choose a Saint that is celebrated on, or around your birthday etc. It is always helpful to read their lives and be inspired. Your patron Saint along with your guardian Angel intercede constantly for your salvation.

P.S Speaking of Bdays; is it your birthday today? If yes: Happy Birthday!!! :)


A person has a patron saint, a family patron saint (slava), and other saints one feels close to. For converts, it's a little more difficult because we sort of have to pick them out; but really, they pick us out! It's a strange dynamic, but a very blessed one. There are some saints that truly feel like family, and you know they look out for you in a very real way. Alongside the officially recognized saints are the modern saints, the reposed righteous and elders, who one can also feel an affinity for, and seek their intercession. This same sort of relationship also seems to come out of the relationship between a person and his spiritual father; when the spiritual father dies, the link is not severed. I am sure our beloved Fr. Seraphim could tell us more about this mystery.




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