The Church exists to save souls. To make saints. If you take saints out of its life, its theology and its worship, it ceases to be the Church. You could call it what you like, but it wouldn’t be the Church. And Christ Himself indicates that the Orthodox Church is His Church, the one of which He is the Head, and it holds the treasure of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, Who leads it to ‘all the truth’. He does so, in accordance with His incontrovertible promise, by granting Grace, by manifesting and glorifying His saints in this Church through a host of signs and wonders. It is a consequence of this empirical truth that any Orthodox cleric or lay person who, in word or deed, belittles the saints is lagging behind as far as the faith is concerned. And if I may use the Pauline expression, they ‘condemn themselves’ before God and His saints. On the other hand, empirical truth within the life of the Church shows that those who love the saints and honor them in various ways, particularly by following the Church in the honor it pays them through divine worship, are strong in the faith. If we struggle against our personal passions with the reinforcement of the intercessions of the saints, we may hope in our salvation. The conclusion? Loving the saints is a criterion of genuine Orthodox spiritual life.
“Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papadakis”
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