“The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn’t non-denominational; it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago.” Steven Robinson

Communion of the Saints:
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. (Luke 20:38)
icon all saintsOne aspect of Orthodoxy I have come to greatly appreciate is the Communion of the Saints. While “saint” is often applied, even within Orthodoxy, in a generic sense to mean any believer in Christ, this is not the sense in which I write here. I refer to those that so exemplified the holiness of God during their temporal lives that they have been bestowed with the title “Saint”. The Church does not create Saints by the bestowing of the title. The bestowing of the title is the recognition & acknowledgement of the holiness they displayed. Saints are respected, honored & venerated in Orthodoxy. However, Saints are never worshipped as worship is rendered to God alone.

The Body of Christ, the Church, admits to no division or separation between living & dead believers; of saints from Saints, if you will. All are considered to be alive & part of the Body of Christ. Through Christ’s Incarnation, Crucifixion & Resurrection death was transformed into a passage from temporal life to non-temporal life. Therefore the departed remain alive & retain consciousness (Luke 16:19-31). They are also active & thus capable of interaction as shown in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-31). In Revelation chapters 4-8 is shown the Heavenly worship in which the departed faithful are revealed to be talking, praying, singing, worshipping & rendering intercessory prayers.

Both of my parents are departed from this bodily life as are other relatives & friends. Many are commemorated in liturgical memorial services throughout the year & during prayer at home daily. I do this because they did not cease being my parents, relatives or friends upon their bodily death. Those commemorated all contributed my development as a person in some way; & thus they contributed to my eternal salvation, a contribution the Church teaches, & I firmly believe, they continue.

So too did the Saints contribute to our eternal salvation in the examples of their earthly lives from which we may learn. They continue to be our fellow co-workers in Christ & they continue to contribute to our eternal salvation. Therefore we can & do ask for their prayers & intercessions just as we, the bodily living saints can & do ask other bodily living saints for prayers & intercessions. Many people think nothing of asking for prayers & intercessions from their parents, relatives & friends still bodily live; & few would refuse to do so if requested by another. And yet, many staunchly balk at the thought of doing so from the Saints. If we cannot ask for prayers & intercessions of our fellow departed Saints, then we cannot ask for such of our fellow un-departed saints.

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother & our holy & G0d-bearing Fathers & of all the Saints, have mercy on us & save us. Amen.


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