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Σάββατο, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2013

On Sainthood



 
I. What Makes a Saint? 

A. The incorruptibility of the body: St. Nikodemos of Athos: "The Comforter and the Spirit of Truth preserves the bodies of the martyrs and his chosen ones in a state of fragrant incorruption, when they should have been overcome by corruption and decomposition." Examples of this include St. Athanasious 1323; St. Arsenios 625; Meletios the Confessor 617; St. Nicodemos 1321; and St. Dyonisios of Zakinthos 1621.

B. Healing miracles: The most commonly way is to be anointed with oil from the vigil lamp, which hangs over the relics or coffin of a saint. Incubation or the spending of an entire night inside a church in prayer. "The Church building itself, in practice of incubation, becomes a hospital" (Magoulios, Lives of the Saints 136). 

C. Writings on the Christian life: 

1. Theological: The Immortality of the Soul; The Sacred Memorials; On the Mother of our Lord, the Most Holy Theotokos; On the Saints of God On the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist; Concerning Repentance and Confession; The Sacred Catechism; The History of the Reasons Behind the Schism: About its Perpetration and About Whether There Exist a Possibility of Uniting the Churches of the East and West; Christology; On True and False Education; On Pastoral Theology. 

2. Pastoral letters: (35) 

3. Hymns: 500 

D. Works: An Organizer of Monasticism 

E. The process of canonization: Popular veneration precedes the official recognition by the Church. The early Church first venerated martyrs (witnesses). By the fourth century, confessors and martyrs were venerated as saints. After the death of a saint, a biography is written and their memory is celebrated on the anniversary of their death. Only in the fourteenth century did official canonization occur within Orthodoxy. 

F. An approved saint: A Liturgical service is composed in his or her honor. A Day is set aside in the year for the veneration of his or her relics. An Icon is made depicting the saint for local use in the Churches. 

II. Biblical Foundation for Sainthood 

A. Our adoption as children of God: "That you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:44 ). "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father!' So through God you are no longer a slave, but a son and if a son then a heir" (Gal. 4:4-7). 

B. The Church Militant: 

1. The Holy Life of Christians: "As he who called you is Holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, You shall be Holy for I am Holy" (I Peter1:15). "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people" (I Peter 2:9). 

2. Our bodies are Holy Temples: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells within you? If anyone destroys God's temple God will destroy him. For God's temple is Holy and that temple you are" (I Cor. 3:16-17). "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Rom. 12:1). 

3. We belong to a community of holiness: "You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being himself the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Eph 2:19-21). 

C. Why ask Mary to pray for us? She is the most perfect of all members in the family of the Church. She is the best icon of what it means to live in obedience to God. Our Prayer for each other extends beyond the grave -so we ask her to pray for us. We do not pray to Mary, we pray to God alone. We ask her for her prayers. 

D. There is One Mediator: "There is one God, and there is one mediator or reconciler between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself for a ransom for all, the testimony to which was born at the proper time" (I Tim. 2:5). 

1. Elijah interceded between man and God. "Do you not know what the scriptures say of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel" (Romans 11:2). 

2. "First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all men" (I Tim. 2:1).


source :  Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

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