The name of an orthodox saint has many different meanings. For example, the God-bearer means someone who carries God within himself and is aflame with love for God. Another meaning is that of a great-martyr, who has suffered death for the faith. In addition, there are hieromartyrs, who were also clergymen and were martyred for the faith. Finally, the word merciful is used to describe a saint who has done charity or philanthropy.
Bartholomew is one of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned six times in the three Gospels, and seven times in the Gospel of Acts. His name, Bartholomeos, means “son of Talmai.” Talmai was an ancient Hebrew name for a man who preached and served the Lord. According to Christian tradition, Bartholomew preached in India, Armenia, Lycaonia, and Phrygia. In fact, there are several miracles attributed to Bartholomew and his relics.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople has a strong position on dialogue with other Christians, including Catholics. In order to promote this dialogue, Pat. Bartholomew met with representatives of the Catholic Church and Tbilisi University.
Among the most famous orthodox saints, St. Makarios the Great lived in Egypt. Born in 1383, he was of distinguished parents. He studied philosophy and rhetoric. At the age of 18, he manifested a deep desire to become a monk in the Holy Mountain. He left his friends and family and settled in the monastic community of Vatopaidi. In 1409, he was tonsured as a monk.
The Orthodox Church honors Saints as “friends of God.” They pleased God during their worldly lives, sanctified their bodies and souls, and passed into the eternal life. They also received the ability to pray for those left in the world. For these reasons, they serve as the ultimate role models for Orthodox Christians.
St. John the Baptist
In the early Christian Church, St. John the Baptist was a preacher of repentance who appeared on the banks of Jordan to prepare people for the coming Savior, the Christ. In Christian hymnology, he is called the bright morning star because he proclaims the dawn of grace and illumines the spiritual Sun.
His life is often described as ‘angelic,’ and he has large wings, a typical symbol of an angel. During his childhood, he was raised by angels. However, angelic connections are superficial and center around his piety and asceticism.
In the early Christian Church, the Saints were living models of devotion to God. As a result, individual Orthodox Christians were urged to take on a patron saint. The earliest Orthodox churches were built on the sites of Holy Martyrs and dedicated in their names. This way, the community would be able to invoke the martyr to act as an intercessor and protector.
The Orthodox believe in sanctification and imitating God through life. According to the Orthodox saints, the goal of every life is the attainment of theosis (total union with God) through a life free of sin and adorned with the virtues prescribed by the Scripture. The life of a saint is a unique expression of this goal.
As a young man, St. Athanasius, of Mount Athos, became a monk at the age of seventeen. His spiritual father, St. Basil of Tarsus, was martyred for his faith, and he sought refuge in the Church, becoming a monk. He stayed in the Great Lavra of St. Athanasius in Mount Athos in complete obedience. One day, he was told to climb Mount Athos and pray. He did so, and he saw the Mother of God and angels.
The life of St. Xenia is characterized by a lack of interest in worldly things and a commitment to following Christ. This is reflected in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which mentions Xenia’s strange life. Despite her strange life, she persevered and became rich in virtues such as self-denial, kindness, and a deep love for others. While she did not lead an easy life, she did help many people in dire circumstances.
During the building of the church, Xenia carried bricks to the top during dark hours to assist the masons. Despite the lack of clothing, Xenia was not deterred by her poverty and was grateful for it. She would proudly wear her husband’s old clothing, even though it was unsanitary, and she would sometimes wear torn shoes without stockings. She was willing to put herself through a great deal of suffering, including severe cold.
The Orthodox Church teaches that a Saint is a person who lived a life reflecting the light of Christ. They have been declared saints because they lived lives of holiness, grace, and sanctification. As such, their relics often remain untouched, work miracles, and inspire vast numbers of believers.
Orthodox Saints may be depicted holding a scroll, the words of which were taken from the mouth of God. Martyrs are usually shown with a cross, which symbolizes their martyrdom. Martyrs may also be portrayed holding instruments of execution. In addition to the cross, many Saints are depicted holding the Gospel Book, their main tool. It is commonly shown in the hands of Apostle Paul or the Holy Apostles.
The process of becoming a saint begins at the local level. The diocesan bishop requests recognition of a person in the Orthodox Church. After a committee examines the life and any certified miracles the person has committed, the Church then decides whether to declare that person a saint. Then, other Orthodox Churches are notified of the new saint.
In addition to the bishops who are mentioned in the New Testament, there are individual saints in the Church. Saints Patrobolus and Hermas are examples of this. Saint Hermas is known as the author of The Shepherd. Saint Patrobolus was the Bishop of Pozzuoli in Italy. The first Bishop of Rome, Saint Linus, was ordained by St Peter and became a martyr in AD 76. In addition, he was the successor to Saint Timothy as the Bishop of Ephesus.
The crosier is a symbol of the bishop’s role. It does not look like a shepherd’s crook, but is shaped like the Greek letter Tau, which symbolizes life, resurrection, and the Cross. It may be topped with a cross or double crook, or be in the shape of a serpent head.
The Orthodox Church venerates the life and teaching of these holy men and women. Saints like St. Gregory the Theologian, Saint Basil, and Saint Nicholas have important roles in preserving and strengthening the Orthodox Faith. They are celebrated every Sunday.
While the controversy within the Christian church has often cast a shadow over the Cross of Jesus Christ, St. Paul’s spiritual radiance has not dimmed. Most Christians will tell you that, without the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys and sacrifice, the new faith in Jesus Christ would not have gained a foothold. Paul was a dedicated disciple of the Messiah, bringing the message of Christ to Christians for over thirty years. In the process, he ensured that the truth of the Messiah would endure and not be changed.
The goal of Saints is to imitate God. In this way, we are called to live lives of sanctification, and this is what we call theosis. By avoiding sin and living in accordance with our created nature, the Saints have attained theosis, or complete unity with God. They have also been devoted to the defense of the faith, and have applied scriptural virtues to their lives.
Saint Paul, or Saul, was born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia. Born to a Jewish family, he studied the law with Gamaliel, the chief Jewish Rabbi of his day. He was involved in the stoning of Stephen. Later, the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, where he was baptized by an Apostle named Ananias. He went on to become the greatest exponent of Christ’s teachings. He subsequently wrote letters explaining these teachings.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, St. Paul is the second most revered Saint. His icon is adorned with a yellow ribbon and is often represented with a book. It represents his great mission, and the four Evangelists carry the Gospel. The apostles also carry a scroll. In the icon, St. Paul holds the Epistles.
The relics of the saints are revered by the Church today, and the early Christians gave them great respect. Eusebius, a Church historian, tells us that a martyr’s relic is “a fellowship with the living God.” The Apostolic Constitutions (5:1) calls martyrs brothers of the Lord and vessels of the Holy Spirit.