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1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Luke 10:16 16 The one who heareth you heareth Me, and the one who rejecteth you rejecteth me Me, and the one who rejecteth Me rejecteth the One Who sent Me fourth. SAINTS: What is a saint? A saint is not simply a man/woman who has a good, private relationship with God. A relationship with God works also within the Clergy and Laity in the BODY of CHRIST which is the EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH. The saint is the divinized godly (Christ-like) one who intercedes in the bringing down the Holy Spirit and gathers souls together without calling attention to his own presence but yields the room for Christ to be present. The saint manages to be invisible, transparent, and he retires into the background. His presence spreads the rays of the Spirit everywhere, and people feel the listing of the Spirit, but he remains unseen. The only people who clash with such a person are those who place obstacles before others in order to bolster their own tyrannical ego. The Saints in the Christian Church are considered those men and women who in one way or another incarnate Church Doctrine. They are the ones whom are obedient to Gods Word and Holy Tradition, do HIS Will and are all of 1 mind, 1 body, 1 spirit, 1 heart, 1 faith, 1 voice and they never contradict Orthodox dogma. Proclaimed saints include evangelists, prophets, confessors, martyrs, \"Holy Ones\" and \"righteous\" Christ-like out of this world citizens and ascetics whom are very pleasing in Gods eyes! The word Saint in Hellenic/Greek means Holy, and the Church has been blessed throughout the ages with an abundance of Holies. The Saints are shining examples of the Life in Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit. They perpetuate the ministry of Christ by their lives, prayers, and self-sacrifice. This is also verified by the incorruption of their remains/flesh and golden tinge of their bones. Most remains of flesh are miraculous and heal people and are venerated as incorrupt Holy relics of Saints, which even release a great fragrant smell and sometimes even make sounds. The Church\'s catholicity, i.e. its universality, refers not only to all its faithful throughout the world, but also to the communion \"with all the saints who throughout the ages were pleasing unto the Lord\". Orthodox Christians believe that which St. Paul declares: \"Love never ends\" (I Cor. 13,8); it will never cease to join with a close bond all the members of the Body of Christ, i.e. the entire Church Militant with all the saints, i.e. the Church Triumphant. For the Orthodox Church both the Christians who carry on their spiritual struggle on earth (the Church Militant), as well as those who with God\'s grace completed this struggle victoriously (the Church Triumphant), belong to, and together constitute, along with the angels, the One Catholic Church. Holy Fathers (Church Fathers & Mothers of Orthodoxy) The writings of the Holy Fathers, who often became Church saints, are called patristic teachings. Some Holy Fathers were apologists because they defended pure Christian teachings from various heretical teachings. Their contribution to the Church had enormous value particularly in the early Church. Other Holy Fathers were engaged in writing about their individual spiritual life which contributed clear understanding of Christian life. One such collection of Christian Writings is called the \"Philokalia. GOD AND HOLINESS It must be stated at the beginning that the only true \"saint\" or holy one (Hagios) is God Himself. The Bible states \"For I am the Lord your God; you shall name yourselves holy and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy ... \" (Levit. 11:44; 19:2 and 20:7). Man becomes holy and \"sainted\" by participation in the holiness of God. Holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) given by God to man, through the Holy Spirit. Man\'s effort to become a participant in the life of divine holiness is indispensable, but sanctification itself is the work of the Holy Trinity, especially through the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ, who was incarnate, suffered crucifixion, and rose from the dead, in order to lead us to the life of holiness, through the communion with the Holy Spirit. In the Second Letter to the Thessalonians St. Paul suggests: \"But we are bound to thank God always for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because from the beginning of time God chose you to find salvation in the Spirit that consecrates you, (en agiasmo Pneumatos) and in the truth that you believe. It was for this that He called you through the Gospel we brought, so that you might possess for your own the splendor of our Lord Jesus Christ\" (2: 1314). CATEGORIES OF SAINTS Through the work of the Holy Trinity all Christians could be called saints; especially in the early Church as long as they were baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, they received the Seal of the Spirit in chrismation and frequently participated in the Eucharist. In the same spirit St. Paul, when writing to the Churches he had visited, calls all the faithful \"saints.\" Writing to the Ephesians, he addresses \"the saints who live in Ephesus\" (1:1); writing to the Corinthians he uses the same expressions (2 Cor. 1:11). St. Basil, commenting on this point, writes that Paul refers to all those who are united with God, who is the Being, the Life and the Truth (Against Eunomius, II, 19). Furthermore, St. Paul writes to the Colossians that God has reconciled men by Christ\'s death, \"so that He may present you before Himself holy, without blemish and innocent in His sight\" (1:22). In our society, however, who can be addressed as a saint? Who are those men and women and children who may be called saints by the Church today? Many Orthodox theologians classify the saints in six categories: 1. The Apostles, who were the first ones to spread the message of the Incarnation of the Word of God and of salvation through Christ. 2. The Prophets, because they predicted and prophesied the coming of the Messiah. 3. The Martyrs, for sacrificing their lives and fearlessly confessing Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. 4. The Fathers and Hierarchs of the Church, who excelled in explaining and in defending, by word and deed, the Christian faith. 5. The Monastics, who lived in the desert and dedicated themselves to spiritual exercise (askesis), reaching, as far as possible, perfection in Christ. 6. The Just, those who lived in the world, leading exemplary lives as clergy or laity with their families, becoming examples for imitation in society. Each and every one among all these saints has his or her own calling and characteristics: they all fought the \"good fight for the faith\" (1 Tim. 6:12 and 2 Tim. 4:7). All of them applied in their lives the scriptural virtues of \"justice, piety, fidelity, love, fortitude, and gentleness\" (1 Tim. 6:11). THE CONCEPT OF THEOSIS The ultimate goal of the saint is to imitate God and live the life of deification (theosis). St. Maximos the Confessor (seventh century) writes that the saints are men who have reached theosis; they have avoided unnatural development of the soul, that is, sin, and tried to live the natural way of life (i.e., living according to created nature), turning and looking always towards God, thus achieving total unity with God through the Holy Spirit (On Theology, 7.73). It may be stated here that the Saints are first of all \"friends\" of God. Secondly, through their genuine piety and absolute obedience to God, they pleased Him and have therefore been \"sanctified\" both in soul and body, and subsequently glorified in this world. Third, they have been accepted in God\'s bosom after their passing from the world into eternal life. Fourth, many of them have been given special \"grace\" or \"favor\" to perform miracles either before their departure from this world or after. Fifth, they have been granted the special gift to pray and intercede for those still living in this world and fighting the \"good fight\" for the glory of God and their own perfection in Christ. This intercession springs from the fact that they also are part of the \"Communion of Saints\". They share prayers and good works with Christians on earth and there is a constant interaction and unity between the glorified saints in Heaven and Christians who still live in the world. THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS The fact that Christians ask the prayers of saints and their intercession is prefigured in the New Testament. St. Paul asks the Christian Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians and Romans to pray for him (Ephes. 6:19, 1 Thesal. 5:25; Colos. 4:3, and Rom. 15:30-31). In every Liturgy, we ask God the Father to accept, on our behalf, \"the prayers and the intercession\" of all the Saints who now live in heaven. The Fathers of the Church also accept as a matter of course the prayers and the intercession of all the saints. In one of his letters, St. Basil explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God (Letter 360). Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that \"they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers\" (Chapter 8). St. Gregory of Nyssa asks St. Theodore the Martyr \"to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people\" (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian in his encomium to St. Cyprian. St. John Chrysostom says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special \"boldness\" (parresia), before God. (Gen. 44:2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3). THE VENERATION OF THE SAINTS In the Orthodox Church the worship (latreia) given to God is completely different from the honor (tim) of love (agape) and respect, or even veneration (proskynesis), \"paid to all those endowed with some dignity\" (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. III, 40). The Orthodox honor the saints to express their love and gratitude to God, who has \"perfected\" the saints. As St. Symeon the New Theologian writes, \"God is the teacher of the Prophets, the co-traveller with the Apostles, the power of the Martyrs, the inspiration of the Fathers and Teachers, the perfection of all Saints ... \" (Catechesis, I). Throughout early Christianity, Christians customarily met in the places where the martyrs had died, to build churches in their honor, venerate their relics and memory, and present their example for imitation by others. Interesting information on this subject derives from the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp (ch. 17-18), according to which the early Christians reverently collected the remains of the saints and honored them \"more than precious stones.\" They also met on the day of their death to commemorate \"their new birthday, the day they entered into their new life, in Heaven.\" To this day the Orthodox have maintained the liturgical custom of meeting on the day of the saint\'s death, of building churches honoring their names, and of paying special respect to their relics and icons. The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 A.D.), in summarizing this practice of the Church, declares that \"we adore and respect God our Lord; and those who have been genuine servants of our common Lord we honor and venerate because they have the power to make us friends with God the King of all.\" The feast days and the celebrations honoring the saints had become a common practice by the fourth century. The twentieth canon of the Council of Gangra in Asia Minor (between the years 325 and 381) anathematizes those who reject the feast days of the saints. So great was the esteem in which the Apostles, prophets, and martyrs were held in the Church, that many writings appeared describing their spiritual achievements, love and devotion to God. Together with the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp , information on the veneration of the Saints derives from the Martyrdom of the Martyrs of Scilli, a small town in North Africa (end of the second century). The list of sources indudes St. Athanasius\' Life of St. Anthony; St. Basil\'s Homily honoring the \"Forty Martyrs\"; Gregory of Nyssa\'s Homily honoring St. Theodore; St. John Chrysostom also delivered a considerable number of sermons dedicated to the Martyrs of the Church. The Fathers, and all early Christians in general, paid especially great respect to the relics of the martyrs. In addition to the sources already mentioned, Eusebius of Caesarea, the Church historian, says that \"those who suffered for the glory of Christ always have fellowship with the living God\" (Church History, 5:1). In the Apostolic Constitutions (5:1) the martyrs are called \"brothers of the Lord\" and \"vessels of the Holy Spirit.\" This helps to explains the special honor and respect which the Church paid to the relics of the martyrs. St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. John Chrysostom remind us that the relics of the martyrs \"are filled with spiritual grace,\" that even their tombs are filled with a special \"blessing.\" This Patristic practice still continues today, and people from all over the world visit churches that possess the relics of martyrs and saints. Also, according to the ancient tradition, the consecration of new churches takes place with the deposition of holy relics in the Holy Table of the sanctuary. Great controversies have occured in the past over the special honor due to the icons of Christ as well as those of the saints of the Church. The Iconclastic controversies which began in Byzantium in the seventh century shook the entire church. The Fathers of the Church, however, declared quite clearly that the honor belongs to the \"prototype\" and not to the material image of Christ or the Saints. The Acts of the Fourth session of the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicaea (787 A.D.) illuminate this particular point: \"We accept (aspazometha) the word of the Lord and his Apostles through which we have been taught to honor (timan) and magnify (megalynein) in the first place Her who is properly and truly the Mother of God (Theotokos) and exalted above all the heavenly Powers; also the holy and angelic Powers; the blessed and all-lauded Apostles; and the glorious Prophets and the triumphant Martyrs who fought for Christ; holy and God fearing Doctors, and all holy men; to seek their intercession (presveies), to make us at home with the all-royal God of all, so long as we keep his commandments and strive to live virtuously. Moreover we accept (aspazometha) the image of the honorable and life-giving Cross, and the holy relics of the saints; and we receive the holy and venerable images; we accept them and we embrace them, according to the ancient traditions of the Holy Catholic Church of God, that is to say our holy Fathers, who also received these things and established them in all the most holy Churches of God and in every place of His dominion. These honorable and venerable images, as has been said, we honor, accept and reverently venerate (timitikosproskynoumen): the image of the incarnation of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, and that of our immaculate Lady, the all-holy Mother of God, from whom he pleased to take flesh and to save and deliver us from all impious idolatry; also the images of the holy and incorporeal Angels, who appeared to the just as men. Likewise we also venerate the figures and the effigies (morphas, eikonismata) of the divine and all-lauded Apostles, the God-speaking Prophets, and the suffering martyrs and holy men, so that through their representations (anazografiseos) we may be able to be led back in memory and recollections to the prototype, and participate in their holiness\" (Nicene and PostNicene Fathers , Vol 14, p. 541). THE FEAST DAYS OF THE SAINTS The early Christians used to meet on the name-day of a saint, which in practice usually was the day of his death. These gatherings took place either around the tomb of the saint or in the church, which kept and preserved his holy relics, or in churches with great historical and theological significance. Such a gathering, called a feast-day or festival (Panegyris), commemorates the memory of the saint. The faithful participate in these feasts to listen to an encomiastic speech praising the deeds or the martyrdom of the venerated saint, and in general to derive spiritual profit. An interesting description is that of the panegris of St. Thekla of Seleucia in Asia Minor (mid-fifth century), and of St. Demetrios in Thessalonica, Greece (twelfth century). The Church Fathers and the canons of the Church accepted this type of gathering, which still takes place, but they strongly warn against the \"commercialization of such festivals\" (Speros Vryonis, Jr., \"The Panegyris of the Byzantine Saint,\" The Byzantine Saint, 1981). The Orthodox Church gives a special place to the honor and veneration of the Virgin Mary the Mother of God, the Angels, and St. John the Baptist. Concerning the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God, suffice it to say that the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus (431 A.D.) officially adopted the term Theotokos in her honor. There is a period of fasting (the first 14 days of August) and numerous feasts and hymns dedicated to her. Her image is traditionally painted above the Sanctuary and called \"more spacious than the heavens\" (Platytera). The Virgin Mary, being the mother of God, earnestly intercedes for us, for she gave her flesh to Christ in all humility and obedience, so that the Word of God could become man. ARCHANGEL MICHAEL The Orthodox believe the angels to be incorporeal beings, created by God before the actual creation. They are immortal, not by nature but by the grace of God, and are called \"second lights,\" the first light being God Himself. Their nature was originally changeable, but after the Incarnation of Christ, the angels were considered as saved (sesosmenoi) and, therefore, unaltered. The Fathers believed that every believer has his own \"guardian angel\"; the angels pray for us, sing, and unceasingly glorify the Holy Trinity. They also serve as examples that people should follow. St. John the Baptist, whose icon is found on the Iconostasis of all Orthodox churches, was the prophet who baptized Christ and prepared His coming on earth; yet he suffered martyrdom for his holiness and obedience to the will of God. The Church has five feasts in honor of St. John the Baptist. CANONIZATION OF SAINTS The Orthodox Church does not follow any official procedure for the \"recognition\" of saints. Initially the Church accepted as saints those who had suffered martyrdom for Christ. The saints are saints thanks to the grace of God, and they do not need official ecclesiastical recognition. The Christian people, reading their lives and witnessing their performance of miracles, accept and honor them as saints. St. John Chrysostom, persecuted and exiled by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, was accepted as a saint of the Church by popular acclaim. St. Basil the Great was accepted immediately after his death as a saint of the Church by the people. Recently, in order to avoid abuses, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has issued special encyclical letters (tomoi) in which the Holy Synod \"recognizes\" or accepts the popular feelings about a saint. Such an example in our days is St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (1955). Since the early Christian period there have been preserved many moving descriptions of the lives and martyrdoms and the miracles of the saints. They were (and still are) called synaxaria (from the Greek word Synaxis, meaning a meeting in the church for liturgical purposes, where the lives of the Saints were read). St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain composed synaxaria of the saints during the eighteenth century; and, most recently, Fr. George Poulos and Dr. Constantine Cavarnos have written lives of the saints in English. ________________________________________ SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING H. Delahaye, The Legends of the Saints, Trans. by D. Attwatter, Fordham University Press, New York, 1962. S. Hackel, ed. , The Byzantine Saint, University of Birmingham 14th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies. A special number of Sobornost and Eastern Churches Review. 1981, No. 3. Ephesians 4 Spiritual Gifts ESPECIALLY TO SAINTS! 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christs gift. 8 Therefore He says: When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men. 9 (Now this, He ascendedwhat does it mean but that He also first[c] descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the headChrist 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Corinthians 16:1 [ Collection for the Saints ] Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. Daniel 7:21-22 I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. Daniel 7:25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. Daniel 7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Daniel 7:21 Revelation 5:8 [ Worthy Is the Lamb ] Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 8:3-4 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. 4And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angels hand. Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth. Revelation 13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 15:3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due. Revelation 17:6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Revelation 18:24 And in her (Babylon) was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth. Revelation 19:8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Zechariah 14:5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. Jude 1:14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, Jude 1:3 [ Contend for the Faith ] Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Matthew 27:52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; Proverbs 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. 1 Corinthians 6:1-2 [ Do Not Sue the Brethren ] Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 16:2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. Psalm 149:9 To execute on them the written judgmentThis honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD! Psalm 16:3 As for the saints who are on the earth,They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,And to be held in reverence by all those around Him. Psalm 37:28 For the LORD loves justice,And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. Psalm 97:10 You who love the LORD, hate evil!He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints. Psalm 132:9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,And let Your saints shout for joy. Psalm 145:10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,And Your saints shall bless You. Psalm 148:14 And He has exalted the horn of His people,The praise of all His saints Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the LORD! Psalm 149:1 [ Praise to God for His Salvation and Judgment ] Praise the LORD!Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints. Psalm 149:5 Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. Psalm 85:8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak,For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly. Psalm 89:5 And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. Psalm 31:23 Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Psalm 34:9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. Psalm 50:5 Gather My saints together to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. Psalm 52:9 I will praise You forever,Because You have done it;And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good. 1 Samuel 2:9 He will guard the feet of His saints,But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. Job 15:14-15 15 If God puts no trust in His saints, And the heavens are not pure in His sight, 16 How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water! Ephesians 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 2:19 [Christ Our Cornerstone] Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (CHURCH the BODY OF CHRIST is THE ONE and ONLY HOUSEHOLD) Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. Thessalonians 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. Chronicles 6:41 Now therefore,Arise, O LORD God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, And let Your saints rejoice in goodness. Why would so many Christian martyrs willingly die, mostly in terrible agony, in order to proclaim one of the many alternative ways to God? It is patently obvious that Christianity does not accept religious syncretism, simply because of the many exclusive statements made by its founder such as, I am the way, the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me (John 14,6). Liar, Lunatic or Lord YOU CHOOSE, because it doesnt get much clearer than that! Spiritual truth is not, nor ever has been a matter of both-and (both Christianity and other religions) but rather one of, either-or. World religions simply cannot all be equally true. This is deception at its best! MARTYRS: A martyr is a faithful person who is put to death or endures suffering because of a belief, principle or cause and confesses this faith till death. The death of a martyr or the value attributed to it is called martyrdom. Martyrs must have the correct-faith. That is faith in the unperverted Gospel, true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A martyr is an innocent person who, without seeking death, is persecuted, tortured & murdered or put to death for his or her religious faith or convictions. An example is the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire. Also many martyrs of the Ottomoan Empire, World War 1-2, Communism and many others till this day. Christian martyrs sometimes decline to defend themselves at all, in what they see as an imitation of Jesus\' willing sacrifice. They show no signs of pain or fear while being tortured and killed and actually humbly pray and love the people whom are killing them. While they are being tortured and killed, it has been witnessed, testified and documented by believers and non-believers that miraculous unexplained things would occur. After trying 8 different methods of trying to kill someone (which naturally after the first they should have died) who without fear or pain accepts each one as a blessing; many witnesses and even the killers end up converting by the grace of GOD. In the last 100 years (only) more than 200 million Christians died as martyrs to their faith in Christ. More than 99% of them were Orthodox (right-believing, truly spiritual) CHRISTIANS. \"Preaching the Lamb of God, ye were also slain as lambs...\" There is also martyrdom in a mental, emotional and spiritual torture level. It is a martyrdom of this struggle to maintain in the new age. A lot of this is our modern day method of martyrdom. Satan has seen that martyrs didnt care if they were tortured to the worst degree and than killed so now he also has developed other methods. These methods produce stress, mental illness, pain of heart, spiritual illness and unfairness. It is satan using the system and media and new age to try and drive a person away from God. It is satan trying to break families up, have single mothers or fathers suffer, use the crooked world and law to drive people insane, create confusion within families or have friends turn on each other etc Many times mental & emotional abuse can be a lot harder to defeat and cure than physical. This is martyrdom is without murderous blood-shed, without the violent taking of life. Although many lives suffer and end up becoming ill or die as a result to these methods of mental, emotional & spiritual torture. Martyrdom is a total offering to God, a \'dying\' to the world and its allurements. A martyr willingly gives up worldly concerns and makes his or her life a perpetual pilgrimage. A martyr lives a life of heroic devotion for JESUS CHRIST alone, eagerly uniting that devotion with Christs sufferings. Christ calls blessed those who patiently bear disgrace, persecution, malice, defamation, mockery, privation, and even death. Christian martyrs must be distinguished from fanaticism, which is irrational zeal not according to reason. Numberless Christian martyrs rejoiced during unspeakable torture. -The Law of God The First Persecutions and Martyrs There were many others in the first three centuries of the Church who like Cyprian and Ignatius ended their lives as martyrs. The persecutions, it is true, were often local in character and usually limited in duration. Yet although there were long periods when the Roman authorities extended to Christianity a large measure of toleration, the threat of persecution was always there, and Christians knew that at any time this threat could become a reality. The idea of martyrdom had a central place in the spiritual outlook of the early Christians. They saw their Church as founded upon blood - not only the blood of Christ but the blood of those \'other Christs\', the martyrs. In later centuries when the Church became \'established\' and no longer suffered persecution, the idea of martyrdom did not disappear, but it took other forms: the monastic life, for example, is often regarded by Greek writers as an equivalent to martyrdom. The same approach is found also in the west: take, for instance, a Celtic text - an Irish homily of the seventh century - which likens the ascetic life to the way of the martyr: Now there are three kinds of martyrdom which are accounted as a Cross to a man, white martyrdom, green martyrdom, and red martyrdom. White martyrdom consists in a man\'s abandoning everything he loves for God\'s sake ... (Green martyrdom consists in this, that by means of fasting and labour he frees himself from his evil desires, or suffers toil in penance and repentance. Red martyrdom consists in the endurance of a Cross or death for Christ\'s sake.\' At many periods in Orthodox history the prospect of red martyrdom has been fairly remote, and the green and white forms prevail. Yet there have also been times, above all in this present century, when Orthodox and other Christians have once again been called to undergo martyrdom of blood. 1ST CHRISTIAN MARTYR, ST. STEPHEN THE APOSTLE Acts 6:8-15 - Stephen Accused of Blasphemy, seized and MARTYRED (1st Christian MARTYR) 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us. 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel. Acts 7:54 [ Stephen the Martyr ] When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. Acts 22:20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. Acts 12:2 - 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; Revelation 2:13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satans throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. Revelation 6:9 [ Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs ] 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. Revelation 17:6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due. Revelation 18:24 And in her (Babylon) was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth. Revelations 20:4 - The Saints Reign with Christ for eternity in Heavan Beheading Execution of MARTYRS! 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. PROPHETS Martyrs (Jeremiah 2:30; Matthew 23:37; Mark 12:5; Luke 13:34 PERSECUTION INSTANCES OF Of prophets martyred by Jezebel (1 Kings 18:4) MARTYDOM topical INDEX: 1. General scriptures concerning (Psalms 44:22; Matthew 10:21,22,39;16:25;23:34,35;24:9;) 2. See PERSECUTION 3. INSTANCES OF Abel (Genesis 4:3-8) 4. INSTANCES OF Prophets killed by Jezebel (1 Kings 18:4,13) 5. INSTANCES OF Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:21,22) 6. INSTANCES OF John the Baptist (Mark 6:18-28) 7. INSTANCES OF See JESUS 8. INSTANCES OF Stephen (Acts 7:58-60) 9. INSTANCES OF James the apostle (Acts 12:2) INSTANCES OF The prophets (Matthew 22:6;23:35; Romans 11:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 11:32-37) FRUITS OF THE MARTYRS Written by Fr. Christopher Metropulos Brothers and sisters, I want to speak to you about martyrdom. In this fallen, broken world, we can never know what the future holds for us. We can never know what trials we will face as we follow the path God has placed before us. Death comes for us in a moment. We can never know when God will say to us, This night your soul will be required of you. We must be ready. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. It is so easy for us to think that martyrdom is not relevant for us today, that it is a relic of the past. This is a lie; it is a lie that can lead us to laziness and a shallow obsession with our positions and possessions, our prestige and properties, our pleasures and privileges. Why do we shy away from the idea of martyrdom? Ill tell you why - because we dont truly understand what martyrdom means. Christian martyrdom is not masochism. It is not a denial of life or a senseless wallowing in pain. It is not a rejection of hope and joy. No. Consider the final words of one of the Churchs early martyrs, St. Dorothea: I thank you, O Christ, lover of souls, that you call me to your Paradise and lead me to your most holy court! I thank you. Had Dorothea lost hope? Was she desperate? Was she deluded? No - she was in love. This is the meaning of martyrdom - love. Love and martyrdom come together at the very heart of our faith. Christ teaches us that the Son of Man must be lifted up - He must be crucified. Why? Why must He suffer, why must He die? Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. The death of Jesus Christ is the most profound act of love, of sacrificial love, the world has ever seen and will ever see. Christ willingly, lovingly embraces crucifixion so that the world through Him might be saved. The blessed martyrs are those called by God to follow His example through the greatest trial imaginable - the sacrifice of their lives. Martyrdom literally means witness. These martyrs, these witnesses, are shining examples of the sacrificial love of Christ. Like our Lord, they have given their lives in love for the sake of others. And their sacrifices have not been in vain. We call St. Stephen, the first Christian deacon whose story we find in the book of Acts, the protomartyr. His witness gave strength not only to his fellows, but to countless others who have cried out for courage in the face of certain death. And like Dorothea, Stephens final words were words of love: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and do not charge them with this sin. There are things I want you to do: First, I want you to understand. Reflect on the meaning of martyrdom. Learn the history of martyrdom in our Church, the names and stories of our holy martyrs. And discover the reality of martyrdom today. It is not a relic of bygone days. Every century, martyrs have sacrificed their lives for Christ and His Kingdom. Throughout our modern era, Christian witnesses have given their lives for the sake of their neighbors. From Nazi concentration camps to the Soviet gulag, from Ottoman prisons to Chinese killing fields, Orthodox Christian martyrs have surrendered their lives in love. Understand their sacrifice, and the sacrifices being made every day by our brothers and sisters around the world. Second, I want you to pray. Pray for those facing martyrdom today. And pray to the martyred saints who stand now before the face of our Lord. Because of their holiness, ask them to intercede for us with Christ. Yes, we can and should pray directly to Jesus Christ Himself. But He has raised up the saints as sacred representatives and intercessors, as living members of His Body with which we have communion. Let us turn to them in love, because they stand with us. Contemplate their icons; learn their stories; call them by name: Ancient names like Stephen, Dorothea, Demetrios and Katherine. And modern names like Maria Skobtsova, Dmitry Klepinin, Kosmas Aitolos, and Mitrophan Tsi-Chung. Third and finally, I want you to prepare. I want you to prepare for martyrdom. Because none of us can know when we may be called to give up our life for God. Like any great spiritual undertaking, martyrdom requires great preparation. So build yourself up. Build yourself up by opening your heart to the love of Christ. By embracing lifes daily trials for the sake of others. By sacrificing your time, treasure, and talent. We are all given opportunities every day to begin on the path of martyrdom. Many of us have even entered in to one of the ultimate preparations for martyrdom - holy marriage. Our marriage crowns are crowns of joy; and they are crowns of thorns. In marriage, we can embrace every day sacrificial love. Do so. Let me share with you one final story. It comes from the darkest days of the Soviet oppression of the Orthodox Christians of Russia. At a small, remote church, on a cold Sunday, a group of Christians gathered to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Just as the service was beginning, the doors of the church opened - and in walked three soldiers of the Red Army, wearing their heavy uniform coats and carrying rifles. One of the soldiers stepped forward, and barked out a chilling order. He demanded that everyone present who was not a Christian should leave, immediately. A hush fell, and the worshippers exchanged fearful glances. After a few moments, a man quietly ducked his head and made for the exit. As he left, others began to follow, alone, in pairs, and in groups. But a handful of people stood their ground. Men and women, children and the elderly. They were afraid; but they also found in their hearts the courage of their love of Christ. As the last person departed, they faced the leader of the soldiers. He looked at them all, and his face broke in to a broad smile. He told them his name, and said Thank God, we are also Orthodox Christians. Now that we know that any who might betray us to our superiors have departed, let us pray together! Would you have stayed? Will you stay? Stay. Be ready. Be steadfast. And you too will enter Christs holy court. What\'s wrong with risking our lives for the Truth, for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, He who gave us life and can raise us from the dead? He who suffered for us and conquered death and the devil by death? When one knows the truth and has faith, is there anything to be afraid of? Are there any doubts? Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Revelation 2:10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 1 Peter 3:13-22 Suffering for Right and Wrong 13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Christs Suffering and Ours 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves usbaptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. 2 Corinthians 4 The Light of Christs Gospel 1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Cast Down but Unconquered 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Seeing the Invisible 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Romans 8 Free from Indwelling Sin 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Sonship Through the Spirit 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtorsnot to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirsheirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. From Suffering to Glory 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Gods Everlasting Love 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against Gods elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Philippians 1:19-30 To Live Is Christ 19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Striving and Suffering for Christ 27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. Galatians 2:19-21 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 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. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. *** If we cant trust the CREATOR and PERFECT-GOD, then how can we trust ourselves or other creatures? Eternal life is what we should focus on. This life in the flesh is temporal, mundane and full of suffering and could be finished at anytime. If we remain faithful and Orthodox through the suffering, we past the test! Should we be afraid of physical death? Why be afraid if we are disciples of truth and live by the spirit? Shouldnt are MIND/HEART be free from a bad conscience or negative REACTION? In Memory Of The 50 Million Victims Of The Orthodox Christian Holocaust New Martyr Monk-Soldier Roman & New Martyr Evgeny Rodionov Evgeny
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