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An Orthodox Handbook

by Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos


Chapter 22 - The Saints of our Church

1. The Saints' lives as miniatures of Christ's life

«I am the light of the world», Christ - as we know - had said; and «whosoever followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life» (John 8:12; cmp.12:46). In another place in the Holy Bible Christ is characterized as «the brightness of His glory», as the radiance of the Father's glory (Hebr.1:3).

The person that has been illuminated by the uncreated Divine Energies arrives at the «knowledge of the glory of God in the Person of Jesus Christ» (2 Cor.4:6). He is rendered a communicant of the divine glory (John 17:22), a participant «of His holiness» (Hebr.12:10), the «light of the world» (Matth.5:14), the «glory of Christ» (2 Cor.8:23).  «But we all», says the Apostle, «with unveiled face, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory...» (2 Cor.3:18).

Consequently, every Christian who lives inside the grace of God becomes "together in body" with Christ (Eph.3:6) - that is, a member of his God-human Body; he lives that very life of Christ Himself (Gal.2:20) and radiates the divine light (2 Cor.4:6).

«God is He Who acts within you», says the Apostle Paul, adding that: «Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world». (Phil.2:14-15; cmp.Hebr. 13:21).

The Saints of our Church had responded to this calling and lived Christ's life. «I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me», the Apostle Paul characteristically says (Gal.2:20). And addressing the Corinthians he says: «Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ» (1 Cor.11:1).

They are the «the faithful witnesses of Christ» (Rev.2:13); they are the ones who stand «before the throne and before the Lamb» (Rev.7:9).

The life of all Saints is that same life of Christ, which is repeated in a different manner by each Saint. They are the persons who had lived «by the Spirit» and walked «according to the Spirit» (Gal.5:25). They were "the epistle of Christ... written not in ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; not on stone tablets, but on the tablets of fleshy hearts» (2 Cor.3:3).

When we study the lives of the Saints, that is when we realize that the dogmas of our Church are not mere intellectual truths; they are the true life of man - the source of the eternal life. Being unites with Christ and bathed in the light of the Holy Spirit, the Saints lived in a miniature scale the very life of Christ. Their thoughts, their words, their works, were all thoughts, words and works if Christ.  Their entire life was the fruition of the energies of the Holy Spirit inside their soul.

In this way, the Saints are the «in-Christ new creation» (1 Cor.5:17) - God's new creation, God's works in the spiritual life of man. The life of the Saints of our Church is worthy of the human nature the way it was fashioned by God. This is what allowed them to show us what man truly is, and how he should live.


2. The light of Christ in the life of the Saints

The glory of God is expressed in the Holy Bible with the Uncreatd Light, which reveals the presence and the activity of the Triune God within the world. It is the "flame of fire" that emanates from the throne of God (Dan.7:0) and the light from the burning bush (Exod.3:2 and Acts 7:30-33). It is the glory of God, which like a fire emanates flames atop the summit of the mountain (Exod. 24:17) and is transmitted to Moses, so that no-one is able to look upon his face thereafter (Exod.34:29-30 and 2 Cor.3:7).

The same glory enfolds the Prophet Elijah, who ascends to the heavens «in a storm of fire and in a chariot with fiery horses» (Wisd.Sirach 48:9; 1 Kings 2:11), as well as all of God's people (Isaiah 60:19-20). It is the Uncreated Light, which "shone"  later on, upon the shepherds of Bethlehem (Luke 2:9), the Disciples of Christ at the Mount of Transfiguration and had even permeated Christ's very garments (Luke 9:29, Matth.17:2).  Later, it flooded with light the Angels that were near the Lord's empty Tomb (Matth.28:3, Mark 16:5, Luke 24:4); it appeared to the first martyr Stephen (Acts 7:55), to the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:3, 22:6-11) and is also imparted to Christ's people (Matth.5:14, John 17:22, 2 Cor.3:18).

This glory of God is presently apparent «through a mirror, dimly», as though looking at a reflection, but faintly; however, in the life to come the people of God will behold the full grandeur of divine glory, because they will be seeing God «face to face» (1 Cor.13:12), «the way He is» (1 John 3:2) and they «shall shine like the sun» (Matth.13:43; cmp. Revel.21:9, 22:5; Isaiah 60:19-20).

This glory is foretasted by the Christian within this lifetime. The Apostle Paul reassures the Philippians that Christ «...will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body...» (Philip.3:21) and urges the Corinthians to glorify God, also «in their body» (1 Cor.6:20).

The Saints of our Church had foretasted that reality, both during their lifetime, as well as after their in-Christ departure. This of course is not yet the «unfading crown of glory» that they will receive when the Chief Shepherd Christ makes His appearance (1 Pet.5:4); however it is a glimmer of that final glory. «But the ways of the righteous shine like a light; they proceed and give light until the day is fully dawned», as the Holy Bible characteristically says (Proverbs 4:18).

Our sacred Books of Saints often tell us of the light which envelops a saint during his lifetime, which innocent children as well as other people were able to see. These instances were the energies of God - the Uncreated Light, as Saint Gregory Palamas tells us - which transforms everything in the Saints' lives.

In the sacred Book of Saints, the Bios of Saint Arsenios mentions: «A certain Elder had come to visit him one day, in order to benefit from the words of the saintly elder. However, on finding the door of his cell closed, he did not knock for fear of disturbing him. Instead, he tried to see through a crack in the door. He then saw the blessed Arsenios transforming into a glowing fire, a sight which left him for a long while wholly terrified».

In the sacred Book of Saints, the Bios of Saint Nectarios mentions: «A certain nun suffering from paralysis of the head approached the Saint as he was officiating during the moment of distribution of the Holy Eucharist, but on noticing that he was glowing with a divine light, she hesitated to go nearer».

When the soul of a person is replete with the Spirit of God - that is, when he actually becomes «a domicile of God in the Spirit» (Eph.2:22), then everything around him becomes bright - even his body and his garments; everything partakes of the glory of God and everything becomes a source of blessings.

The Prophet Elijah was swept up - as we mentioned, in a - «chariot of fire», bathed in the Uncreated Light, while his cape, which he left to Elisha became a true source of blessings.  (2 Âáóéë. 2,11 ęáé ĺîŢň).

Also characteristic is the following excerpt from the conversation between Saint Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov, according to which, the light that engulfed the Saint is transmitted to his interlocutor:

«How can I know - I asked dear father Seraphim - if I too am in the grace of the Holy Spirit?  That is very simple, Filotheos, he replied, because the Lord said that everything is simple for the one who attains knowledge.  By remaining in the knowledge, the Apostles could always see if the Spirit of God was with them or not. Thus, by being permeated by the Spirit of God, and having seen His co-presence with them, they proclaim with certainty that their opus is in every way holy and pleasing to God.  This explains why the Apostles used to write 'For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us' (Acts 15:28)

It was therefore on this basis alone that they recommended their Epistles as an unfailing truth, for the benefit of all the faithful.  That was how the Holy Apostles could discern within their hearts in a palpable way the presence of the divine Spirit.  So behold, Filotheos, can you see that this is simple?

In spite of all these things, I cannot understand how I can still be wholly certain that I am in the Holy Spirit. How can I detect His actual presence inside me?

The good father Seraphim replied:

I told you Philotheos, that it is quite simple and I narrated in detail how people can be in the Holy Spirit and in what way we can feel His presence inside us.  So what do you want my child?

I wanted to understand it more fully, I replied.

Then father Seraphim took hold of me firmly by the shoulders and said:

Both of us my child are in the Holy Spirit right now; why don't you look me in the face?

I cannot look upon your face dear father, I replied, because flames are coming out of your eyes and your face is shining even brighter than the sun! My eyes are hurting me!

Do not be afraid, Philotheos, you too are shining now, just like me, and you too have the fullness of the Holy Spirit, because otherwise, you would not have been able to see me like that... ».


3. The virtue of the Saints is transmitted to a-logical nature

«And it shall be, if by hearing you hear the voice of the Lord your God, to be watchful and to perform all his commandments that I command you today,[...] 3 Blessed be you in the city, and blessed be you in the field. 4 Blessed be the progeny of your belly and the produce of your land, the herds of your cows and the flocks of your sheep. 5 Blessed be your storehouses and your reserves.  (Deuter.28:1-5).

When a person remains faithful to the love of God by expressing it with his own love - that is, by fulfilling all the commandments - then the grace of God remains within that person; it even overflows towards his entire surroundings and renders them blessed. Man then feels most profoundly the connection of love with all of creation and expresses that connection in a variety of ways in his life.

Saint Isaac the Syrian used to say that the merciful person «...prays every single moment, with tears, both for a-logical nature as well as for the enemies of the truth and for those who harm him, that they may be preserved and be forgiven. He also prays for the reptiles with his boundless mercifulness which moves inside his heart without measure, thus having resemblance to God».

The Saints feel united with the entire world. They feel that they have a personal responsibility for all of creation and they seek to transform all things, and return them to their original unity and harmony. (cmp. Job 5:22-23)

«A humble person approaches deadly beasts», says Abba Isaac, «and as soon as they spot him, their savageness is immediately tamed and they approach him as if he were their master and they wag their head and lick his hands and feet, because they can sense on him the fragrance that Adam exuded prior to his disobedience. And, that which had been taken away from us then, was given back to us by Jesus Christ thanks to His presence on earth, and the scenting of the human race with that fragrance...   But even when the demons - with all their audacity and bitterness and all their arrogance - approach the humble person, they become like soil and all of their malice withers and all of their tricks and cunning have no longer any power».

Very touching are the examples of the Saints who experienced the union of oneness and love even with wild animals.

When the ruler of Cappadocia had sent some horsemen to arrest Saint Mamas, he foresaw this event with God's grace, and went out to meet them. Upon meeting, and without the soldiers recognizing that it was the saint, they asked him if he could tell them where to find Mamas. The blessed witness replied: "For the time being my friends you must rest. Therefore come down off your horses and come with me, and we shall have some food first, then I shall show you Mamas."  Thus they were offered hospitality by the saint, with cheese and bread, and they ate with a hearty appetite whatever that kind man offered them.  Then, as was the custom, some wild animals came along to be treated by the saint; whereupon, as soon as the soldiers saw them they were greatly terrified and, abandoning their meal, they ran to the blessed Mamas for his help, but the saint reassured them. Then, in order to relieve them of all concerns, he said to the soldiers: "I am Mamas whom you seek. Therefore I beseech you to return to Caesaria and I too shall come there right away."

Then there was Saint Gerasimos (of the Jordan), who had a lion as his faithful companion - to which he had in fact assigned the care of his donkey.

Similar events are not only found in the sacred Books of Saints; we can find them in the Holy Bible as well.

For example, it is mentioned that David, in his young years, "played with lions as with young goats and with bears as with lambs of the flocks." (Wisd.Sirach 47:3; cmp. 1 Kings 17:34-37)

Equally characteristic is the story of Daniel, who was thrown into the lion pit and remained entirely untouched by them, for one whole night. However, those same beasts instantly devoured his sycophants, before they could even reach the bottom of that pit. Below is how the Old Testament describes that event:

As is known, in spite of the prohibition by King Darius of the Persians, Daniel prayed to the Lord daily. The wicked advisors, who had contrived to make the King issue an edict with that command in order to eliminate Daniel, betrayed that trusted servant of God to Darius.

The King was sincerely grieved and strived all day to find a way to relieve Daniel of that sentence.

"14And grieving, the king said that Daniel be cast into the lions’ pit according to the interdict, [which he established against him]. Then the king grieved exceedingly for Daniel, and he kept assisting to deliver him until sunset from the hands of the satraps.

 But those wicked advisors said to the king:

“We adjure you; swear by the decrees of the Medes and Persians that you not change the matter nor that you respect the person nor that you reduce anything of the things said, and you punish the person who did not abide by this interdict.” 15And he was unable to deliver him from them.

So the king ordered that Daniel be brought before him, and be thrown into the lion pit. Then the king said to Daniel:

16Now Darius the king cried out and said to Daniel, “Your God, whom you continually serve thrice a day, he will deliver you from the power of lions! Have courage until morning.”  17Then Daniel was thrown into the lions’ pit, and a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the pit, and the king sealed it with his signet and with the signets of his nobles so that Daniel might not be removed by them or the king pull him up from the pit. [...] 19 And King Darius rose early in the morning and took the satraps with him. And he went and stood at the opening of the lions’ pit. 20Then the king called Daniel in a loud voice with wailing, saying, “O Daniel, are you still alive, and has your God whom you continually serve saved you from the lions, and have they not injured you?” 21Then Daniel heeded the loud voice and said, 22“O king, I am still alive, and the Lord has saved me from the lions, because righteousness was found in me in his presence, and also in your presence, O king, neither ignorance nor sin was found in me. But you listened to people who deceive kings, and you cast me into the lions’ pit for destruction.” 23Then all the authorities gathered and saw Daniel, how the lions had not bothered him. 24Then these two men who testified falsely against Daniel—they and their wives and their children were cast to the lions. And the lions killed them and shattered their bones, and Daniel was appointed over the whole kingdom of Darius.  (Daniel 6:14-24).

These examples, taken from the lives of Holy men, reveal to us that the virtue and love of God's true children is imparted and will find reciprocation in all their environment - even in those very savage beasts. This is the manner in which holy people live reconciliation with the entirety of creation, even from this lifetime of theirs.

This unity of God's creation will be completed in the end times, when " wolves and lambs shall feed together, and a lion shall eat straw like an ox, but a snake bshall eatb earth as bread! They shall not do wrong or destroy on my holy mountain, says the Lord." (Isaiah 65:25).


4. The opposite situation in the lives of wicked people

The exemplary punishment of Daniel's sycophants - that is, the lions' aggressive stance - is in complete harmony with the Spirit of the Old Testament:

"15 And it shall be, if you do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God to keep and to do all his commandments, which I command you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you: 16 Cursed be you in the city, and cursed be you in the field. 17 Cursed be your storehouses and your reserves. 18 Cursed be the progeny of your belly and the produce of your land, the herds of your cows and the flocks of your sheep" (Deut.28:15-18; cmp.Isaiah 24:3-7, Jerem.7:20).

Wicked people relay their wickedness and their malice to their entire environment - even to lifeless objects. (Jud.23)

When Kores revolted against the hieratic class that God had instituted, the Israelites received the command from God to remove themselves from the camps and the belongings of the mutineers, so that they would not be destroyed. "26And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Be separated from the tents of these stubborn men, and do not touch anything of all that is theirs, lest you too perish in all their sin."  (Num.16:26).

In the life of the blessed Hilarion the Great is mentioned the case of an avaricious man, who had transmitted his wickedness to the chick-peas in his garden.

This greedy man sought the forgiveness of the Saint and so he asked for the intercession of the Saint's disciples - and in fact his most beloved one, Hesychios.  In order to extract even greater sympathy, he also brought the Saint a small quantity of chick-peas in view of their friendship. "As for Hesychios", says the sacred Book of Saints, "being a prudent man, did not tell the Saint who had brought them, but merely placed them on the table. But he, (because he had the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart, who revealed hidden things to him), discerned the whole situation and looking at Hesychios sternly, said to him: "Do you not sense that these have the stench of avarice, but have brought them to the table?"   Hesychios humbly replied: "I did not perceive any stench whatsoever, my precious father." To which the Saint replied: "Give them to the cattle, so that you may see I am not lying". So, as soon as he placed the chick-peas before the cattle, they turned their heads away and bellowed as though they had seen something terrible and a big monstrosity."


5. The prayers of the Saints

"How am I to deal with you, O Ephraim? Shall I shield you, O Israel? How am I to deal with you? Shall I make you like Adama and like Seboim?" (cmp.Deut.29:22 ). My heart was changed together; my sense of regret was disturbed. 9 I will not do according to the anger of my wrath; I will not abandon Ephraim to be wiped out; for I am divine and not human, holy in your midst, and I will not enter into a city." (Hosee 11:8-9).

In these words by God we notice how His divine love, which enfolds the Saints, saves an entire city (also cmp.Gen.18:23, 32; Judith 8:31); that is, the entire population of the city is spared, thanks to the tender bond of brotherly love between Holy people.

And yet, "love never fails" - it will never cease to exist (1 Cor.13:8). A tender bond of brotherly love is what unites us "with all the Saints" - with the entire Triumphant Church.

The Apostle Paul characteristically says that "39 And all they, even after giving good witness for their faith, did not receive the promise; 40 for God had provided something better for us, so that they should not reach perfection without us."  (Hebr.11:39-40).

And here is a beautiful picture from John's Book of Revelation, which testifies about the close ties between the Saints and the struggling Church:

«When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.» (Rev. 6:9-11).

This moving picture in Revelation shows us just how united the Saints are with us, and how much they participate in our joy and our sorrow (cmp.also Luke 15:7), by interceding for us before the throne of God. 

Each Orthodox Christian can address his personal prayers to any member of the Church in heaven, be it a recognized saint or not. As observed by a contemporary Orthodox theologian, it would be very natural for an orphan child to invoke not only the intercession of the Lord's Mother and the Saints', but also the intercessions of its own parents.  However, during common worship, the Church normally addresses Her supplications only to those who are recognized as Saints.


6. Does God heed the prayers of the Saints?

When we study the Holy Bible, we are especially impressed by God's familiarity with saintly people, as well as God's sensitivity - one could say - towards His devoted children. For example, we see Abraham negotiating with God for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah, to such an extent that he kept making suggestions to God and God accepting them (Gen.18:23-33).

God said to Moses: "9‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ 10And now allow me, and, enraged with anger against them, I will destroy them and make you into a great nation.”

And that holy man replies to Him with those charming words, which reveal to us all the familiarity and the simplicity of his relationship with God:

11 And Moyses prayed before the Lord his God and said, “Why, Lord, are you enraged with anger against your people, whom You brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and an uplifted arm?" (Exod.32:9-11).  the Holy Bible tells us that God heeded that supplication by Moses and did not punish the people. (Exod.32:14; cmp. Psalm.105:23).  The will, therefore, of "all who fear Him He will do, and to their petition he will hearken and will save them." (Psalm 144:19; cmp.: Job 42:7-8; Gen.20:17).

In Jeremiah is mentioned that God will forgive the entire city of Jerusalem, if there were even one righteous person in it: "Go about in the streets of Ierousalem, and see, and take note, and search in its squares, if there be found one who practices justice and seeks faithfulness, and I will be gracious to them, says the Lord." (Jerem.5:1; cmp. Ezek.22:30).

But, is it possible that God only heeds the prayers of Saintly people, if they are living in this lifetime?  The Holy Bible tells us that the Saints in heaven also pray to God for their brethren and that through their intercessions, miracles are wrought. In this way, we see that Elisha - in spite of having received a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit (2 Kings 2:9), he did not succeed in dividing the water of the Jordan river by striking it with Elijah's mantle. However, the water did part, when he struck it again and invoked the name of Elijah (2 Kings 2:14)

Judas the Maccabee sees the high priest Onias with his arms uplifted towards heaven, praying fervently for the entire Judean race.  Then in the similar manner he happened upon another - a very well-respected elder, of whom Onias reassures us: "“This man is the one who loves his brothers, who prays much for the people and the holy city—Ieremias, the prophet of God.”" (2 Macc.15"12-14). However, examples such as these we do not only encounter in the Old Testament. John the Apostle "sees" the prayers of the Saints in the form of golden vials filled with incense - that is, as something valuable in the eyes of God. (Rev.5:8)  He furthermore "sees" God fulfilling His promise to the Saints and also fulfilling their petition to avenge their brethren. But before that, with the "sealing" of the righteous the protection of their brethren who are struggling on earth is secured, so that they too might receive the crown of victory:

«3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake» (Rev.8:3-5).

We observe therefore that through the prayers of the Saints, the response comes directly from the altar and the throne of God for the punishment of evil and the instruments of evil, and for the restoration of God's order in the world. One could in fact say that the fate of the entire world rests in the hands of the Saints, as also the salvation of the struggling terrestrial Church (cmp.Matth.19:28, 1 Cor.6:2).

In this passage, we also notice that the prayers of the Saints are carried by angels to the throne of God, and are offered as a spiritual form of sacrifice upon the celestial altar (cmp.Tobit 12:12-15; Zechar.1:12).

Certain people encounter difficulties in this matter and deny the intercession of the Saints of our Church. How - they ask - is it possible that the Saints actually hear us?  Are they omnipresent?

We do not know in what manner the Saints are informed of the events in our lives. What we do know with certainty however, is that they pray for us and that their prayers reach the throne of God.

On the basis of the aforementioned verses of Revelation, we could say - using a more human expression - that God is especially "sensitive" to the prayers of the Saints. All of us can also be sure that "with all the Saints" we too are joined together in the Body of Christ; that each one of us comprises an living cell of that Body, and subsequently that each of us belongs to the other and is able and obliged to express that fact of brotherly bonding in a variety of ways.

This is expressed in the life of the Church, and especially in the divine Liturgy, where the fullness of the Church is actualized in the best manner.

«Moreover, we offer You this logical worship for the entire universe», prays the priest after the sanctification of the Precious Gifts; «for the Holy, catholic (=overall) and Apostolic Church… ».  And elsewhere he adds: «… Having commemorated all of the Saints, let us appose ourselves and each other and our entire life to Christ the Lord...».  After commemorating all of the Saints, let us entrust our selves, let us entrust one another and our entire life to Christ, Who is our true God...


7. The feast-days of the Saints

«Lord, with the commemoration of Your Saints, all of creation celebrates. The heavens rejoice together with the angels, and the earth delights together with the people».

On the day of their death the Saints participate "in the first resurrection". Over these, the second death has no power, which is why they are characterized as "blessed" and "Saints"  (Rev.20:6)

Consequently the death of a Saint is a huge event; that is why it is not celebrated only by people but also by the angels and "all of creation".

From the very first centuries our Church has characterized the date of a Saint's demise as the Saint's "Birthday" and commemorates it "with joy and jubilation", "in memory of those who had struggled before our time, as well as the ascesis and preparation of those who in the future are going to struggle"  (Book of Martyrs by Saint Polycarp †156)

This proto-Christian tradition continues to be observed by the Orthodox Church up to this day, by honouring the memory of the Saints with celebrations and festivals, as well as many other events linked to their lives and God's grace, which acts through His Saints  (the translation of Saints' holy relics, the anniversary of a miracle etc..)


8. Christ, the only Saviour

When we honour the Saints, when we beseech them to intercede to God for our sake in the same manner that we would intercede for a living brother of ours, accordingto the example of the Apostles (Colos.4:3, 1 Thess.5:25, 2 Thess.3:1, Hebr.13:18), it does not mean that our salvation is dependent on them. The One Who shows mercy and saves man is Christ, "Who rose from the dead, the true God, Who is benevolent and merciful and loves mankind".

The Holy Mother, the angels and the Saints do not save man; they "intercede" for him, they "give him strength", they "protect" him, and they relay their prayers and supplications to God, for the sake of their brethren and co-servants.

This, therefore, is the faith of the Orthodox. Faith in the one and only Saviour Christ and faith in the love of Christ's people - the Saints - who are the living images of Christ and the Holy Trinity.

This is excellently expressed in the prayer of our Church: "Glory to You, o Christ our God, our hope, glory to You, Who have risen from the dead, our true God, by the intercessions of His Most Immaculate and Most Pure Holy Mother, by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, and the protection of the precious, heavenly, incorporeal powers, the supplications of the precious, glorious, prophet and forerunner and Baptist, John.... and all the Saints, have mercy and save us, as the benevolent and philanthropist and merciful God."


9. The Holy angels

«By Your Cross, Christ, Angels and people have become one flock, and the Heavens and earth one Church, and are rejoicing, Lord; glory to You».

This hymn of Wednesday laudations of the First Tone presents the unity of angels and people, on the basis of the Lord's Body.

So the Holy Angels therefore also belong to our family, "in Christ". Through Christ's crucifixional sacrifice, they became stabilized in virtue and remain faithful to their original Mission, which is glorification (Isaiah 6:3 and Luke 2:14) and functional-liturgical.

The Apostle Paul characteristically says that they are «ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation" (Hebr.1:14).

Thus, because of the Angels' participation in the one Body of Christ - that is, in the Church - but also because of their special ministry of serving the mystery of our salvation, they are closely linked to us and they rejoice whenever a person returns to Christ and lives the life of piety. (Luke 15:10).

«They - the Angels - are sent forth in the world to those who are to believe in You, as guardians of the salvation of the pious, looking after Your servants, o Saviour" says a Monday hymn of the Third Tone.

The Holy Bible informs us that every Christian has his own angel (Gen.48:16, Exod.23:20; Tobit 5:4, Psalms 33:8, Daniel10:13 & 20, Matth.18:10, Acts 12:15), whom he can - consequently - call upon in his prayer:

«Holy Angel, who stands by my wretched soul and afflicted life, do not abandon me the sinner, nor stay away from me because of my intemperance… ».


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Article published in English on: 15-12-2013.

Last update: 15-12-2013.