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
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
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
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
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
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
«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'
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
I wanted to understand it more fully, I
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
«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
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
“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:
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
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
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
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:
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.
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."
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
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?"
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
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:
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.
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.
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;
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;
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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… ».