In the Orthodox Church, Saints are called “friends of God.” They were sanctified in body and soul after pleasing God and then accepted into the bosom of God, where they continue to pray for those on earth. As such, they are the ultimate role models for Orthodox Christians.
The Orthodox Church is a Christian denomination centered on the person of Christ. Founded by the apostles, it has a rich history that traces back to the life and teachings of Christ. Today, it is the second-largest church in the world, with over 225 million members. Orthodox Christians believe that the church is the living body of Christ.
In the early centuries, the orthodox church had some problems, which resulted in the persecution of Christians. Some of these persecutions took place in the Eastern Roman Empire. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Decius were known for their persecutions of Christians. Their persecutions lasted for several centuries.
There are several martyrs of the Orthodox Church. In the twentieth century, forty million Orthodox Christians gave their lives for their faith, mainly because of communism. Their commitment to Christ and His Church is so great that they are often referred to as “the Church of Martyrs.” The Orthodox Church is also home to many great Christian scholars and theologians. Saint John Chrysostom, for example, was an Orthodox church priest. And in the twentieth century, it was the Orthodox church that produced modern writers like Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Alexander Solzhenitsynitzky.
Synaxaria of the saints
The Synaxarion is a compilation of the lives of the saints in the Orthodox Church. It is a large work with seven volumes, each covering about two months in the liturgical calendar. It contains many illustrations, including icons and miniatures of the saints. Some of the illustrations are from Byzantine manuscripts. It is available from many Orthodox bookstores.
Justinian is also included in the Synaxaria. This is controversial, but some Orthodox writers consider him a Monophysite who rejected the faith and sought to establish the Roman Empire. Others disagree. The Ormylia Monastery has included him in their Synaxarion.
Another Saint in the Synaxaria of the Saints in the Orthodox Church is St. John Chrysostom. Born to a noble family in Cyprus, St. John was a successful businessman and married a number of times. He later joined the Imperial army and served with distinction in the Bulgar Wars. He later asked leave from Constantine VI and retired from military service. During his later years, he traveled extensively and lived in monasteries, committing himself to God. He eventually became an archbishop in Alexandria.
Criteria for sainthood
The first criterion for Sainthood is that an individual has joined the church through Holy Baptism. According to St. Mark’s Gospel, only baptized people can enter the kingdom of God. A person can also become a Saint by being martyred. The martyr Lucian, for example, was known for his martyrdom.
Sainthood criteria are different for each church. The Orthodox Church has its own set of criteria, and Western Christians use different ones. The criteria are based on Orthodox Tradition, which is moral, humanist, and theological. However, the criteria are often misunderstood in subtle ways.
The process of canonization began in 993 AD when Pope John IV canonized the first Saint. In the ensuing centuries, many great Saints have been recognized by the Orthodox Church.
Number of relics of orthodox saints
The veneration of the relics of orthodox saints is a central part of Orthodox Christian faith. It gives the ordinary believer a direct link to the departed and to God. The relics are not idols, but rather vessels of divine grace. In the Old Testament, the bones of the prophet Elisha are said to have brought back a dead man to life. The early Church writings also attest to the holiness and power of relics.
In Orthodox churches, relics are the physical remains of saints, including the clothing and vestments worn by the saints and even pieces of the True Cross. These relics are placed on the altar during the consecration of churches. The relics of the saints are venerated because they remain the temple of the Holy Spirit after death. By placing a holy relic of a saint on an altar, God can perform miracles through the relics. For example, Saint Nektarios of Corfu, Thessaloniki’s Agios Demetrios, Cephalonia’s Agios Gerasimos, and Athens’ Agios Gregorios are all venerated relics of Greek saints.
Throughout the Orthodox world, relics of Orthodox saints are venerated in many places, often in conjunction with icons. The veneration of relics is based on spiritual and theological principles, as well as on practical experience.