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Moderated Forums => Convert Issues => Topic started by: Rowan on July 08, 2007, 10:56:08 PM

Title: The saints choose you?
Post by: Rowan on July 08, 2007, 10:56:08 PM
In my lurking, I've noticed that when a convert asks about choosing a patron saint, there almost always seems to be the reply "well technically, the saints choose you..." or something like that. What's that about?
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: John of the North on July 09, 2007, 01:11:00 AM
Yes, that's pretty much how it goes. Its hard to describe.

All of the Saints were so admirable, they set the bar for us to work towards. How can a person choose a saint based on merit??

For me, I had thought I had selected my Saint several times, but once I found the one, there was no doubt! Hospodi pomiluy!
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Asteriktos on July 09, 2007, 02:05:58 AM
Rowan

Quote
In my lurking, I've noticed that when a convert asks about choosing a patron saint, there almost always seems to be the reply "well technically, the saints choose you..." or something like that. What's that about?

I'd guess psychological projection, though usually of the most sincere and guileless kind. Probably in the majority of cases, people feel an attachment or attraction to a saint, or that their lives/temperament are very similar, so they project their own attraction and seeking after of the saint onto the saint him/herself, and thereafter feels that the saint must be indicating that they want the person. This was certainly true in my case, regarding my patron saint Justin Popovich. There are probably some exceptions to this, where the person is actually not attracted to the saint even when they feel chosen, though that phenomenon would involve more complicated psychological goings on than simple projection of your feelings.

It'd be interesting to see if anyone could dig up patristic sources that talk about this type of thing. There are certainly patristic documents that comment on the concept that each person has a guardian angel... but what about saints choosing to be patrons?
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: ozgeorge on July 09, 2007, 06:46:41 AM
Rowan

I'd guess psychological projection, though usually of the most sincere and guileless kind. Probably in the majority of cases, people feel an attachment or attraction to a saint, or that their lives/temperament are very similar, so they project their own attraction and seeking after of the saint onto the saint him/herself, and thereafter feels that the saint must be indicating that they want the person. This was certainly true in my case, regarding my patron saint Justin Popovich. There are probably some exceptions to this, where the person is actually not attracted to the saint even when they feel chosen, though that phenomenon would involve more complicated psychological goings on than simple projection of your feelings.

It'd be interesting to see if anyone could dig up patristic sources that talk about this type of thing. There are certainly patristic documents that comment on the concept that each person has a guardian angel... but what about saints choosing to be patrons?
Do you think Atheists are the best people to be giving advice to Converts?
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Αριστοκλής on July 09, 2007, 07:26:24 AM
Do you think Atheists are the best people to be giving advice to Converts?

Great...now I must clean spewed coffee off my keyboard  :D
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Thomas on July 09, 2007, 07:36:06 AM
Play nice now!

Thomas
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Αριστοκλής on July 09, 2007, 07:37:56 AM
Play nice now!

Thomas
Can't reply properly...keyboard's too sticky.
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Thomas on July 09, 2007, 07:53:01 AM
Rowan,

I have frequently heard the statement of your in the original question,"when a convert asks about choosing a patron saint, there almost always seems to be the reply "well technically, the saints choose you..." .  It is interesting  however that I have never found it in any patristics or actual writings in the Church and it seems to be an "Americanism" rather than a patrsitic practice. 

I have have seen just as often  people being told by their priest to take the Saint of their Birthday or their Baptismal day as their patronal saint.  In my Grandson's case, an elderly and very holy bishop changed his chosen name moments before his baptism because he reminded the Bishop of a particular saint by his physical appearance .

Thomas


Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: ozgeorge on July 09, 2007, 08:00:06 AM
The fact of the matter is that most Orthodox Christians do not choose their names, they are given them, since they are baptised as infants. Perhaps this is what is meant.
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: jmbejdl on July 09, 2007, 08:26:00 AM
The fact of the matter is that most Orthodox Christians do not choose their names, they are given them, since they are baptised as infants. Perhaps this is what is meant.

Even so, that doesn't preclude that the saint chose them, does it? In my case I felt like my patron chose me, but what I mean by that is that I felt like he had been my patron from the beginning and that my choosing him was actually discovering that fact (I'm sure I'll never convince everyone that this is the case, but I believe it is - I'd never heard of St. James the Persian when I read his life and yet felt an instant relationship to him and then found that I was born one day prior to his feast).

In the case of my daughter (obviously baptised as an infant) I had long previously said that I would name the next child after Sf. Daniil Sihastru. We'd almost forgotten about that when my wife became pregant again (neither child was planned as such) but when we were told that she was due on 18th December, his feast day, it certainly brought it back. Not sure if that's of any relevance in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly was significant to me. I do believe that the saints have a hand in the choosing, though itwould be of no great worry to me to find that I'm wrong.

James
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: ozgeorge on July 09, 2007, 08:56:11 AM
Even so, that doesn't preclude that the saint chose them, does it?
I wasn't suggesting that it paedobaptism precludes the Saint choosing them. I was suggesting that most Orthodox Christians do not choose their own name anyway, so to base the idea that their Patron is a Saint they have a personal attraction to is nonsensical.
Living in time and space as we do, we can't be sure exactly how Eternity effects our lives. We know that God has foreknowledge of everything that will ever take place in time, so to suggest that God is somehow "surprised" that a particular Saint is "picked" as someone's patron is nonsensical. God knew which Angel would be our Guardian while Adam was still deciding whether to wear fig leaves or poison ivy (thankfully, he picked the former). He also knew which Saint would be our Patron before we were even born.
We do not direct God. We do not appoint Saints and Angels to do our bidding. The Angels and Saints do God's bidding, not ours. In this sense, I would have to say that I agree that our Patron "picks us" (or more correctly, is appointed by God to protect us) rather than we deciding who's job that is.
I personally have had several experiences through my life where my Patron has come to my aid. I posted a recent one here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10897.msg147971.html#msg147971 (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10897.msg147971.html#msg147971)
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: GabrieltheCelt on July 09, 2007, 10:02:14 AM
Even so, that doesn't preclude that the saint chose them, does it? In my case I felt like my patron chose me, but what I mean by that is that I felt like he had been my patron from the beginning and that my choosing him was actually discovering that fact (I'm sure I'll never convince everyone that this is the case, but I believe it is - I'd never heard of St. James the Persian when I read his life and yet felt an instant relationship to him and then found that I was born one day prior to his feast).

In the case of my daughter (obviously baptised as an infant) I had long previously said that I would name the next child after Sf. Daniil Sihastru. We'd almost forgotten about that when my wife became pregant again (neither child was planned as such) but when we were told that she was due on 18th December, his feast day, it certainly brought it back. Not sure if that's of any relevance in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly was significant to me. I do believe that the saints have a hand in the choosing, though itwould be of no great worry to me to find that I'm wrong.

James

 Wow, that's really interesting James. In my case, I don't recall sensing that the Archangel Gabriel was choosing me, although it did seem to just feel right. I can see human saints choosing other humans, but what about Angels choosing humans? Is it possible? And what does everyone here think it could mean?
Title: Re: The saints choose you?
Post by: Rowan on July 09, 2007, 10:05:07 PM
The fact of the matter is that most Orthodox Christians do not choose their names, they are given them, since they are baptised as infants. Perhaps this is what is meant.

That's what I was thinking. I try to keep in mind that really converts have the options of choosing a patron saint, while cradles have their names chosen for them. From the experiences I have read, in this thread and elsewhere, it seems that people take even the situation with the cradles in faith as Divine Providence.

I read your posted experience as well, ozgeorge. Lord have mercy! St. George, please pray for us!

Quote from: ozgeorge
Do you think Atheists are the best people to be giving advice to Converts?

*snicker*

His response was totally tame in comparison in my experience...trust me  ;)

Quote from: Asterikos
I'd guess psychological projection, though usually of the most sincere and guileless kind. Probably in the majority of cases, people feel an attachment or attraction to a saint, or that their lives/temperament are very similar, so they project their own attraction and seeking after of the saint onto the saint him/herself, and thereafter feels that the saint must be indicating that they want the person. This was certainly true in my case, regarding my patron saint Justin Popovich. There are probably some exceptions to this, where the person is actually not attracted to the saint even when they feel chosen, though that phenomenon would involve more complicated psychological goings on than simple projection of your feelings.

It'd be interesting to see if anyone could dig up patristic sources that talk about this type of thing. There are certainly patristic documents that comment on the concept that each person has a guardian angel... but what about saints choosing to be patrons?

You did bring up something that I slapped my forehead about...patristic sources, anyone?

Quote from: Jibrail Almuhajir
Wow, that's really interesting James. In my case, I don't recall sensing that the Archangel Gabriel was choosing me, although it did seem to just feel right. I can see human saints choosing other humans, but what about Angels choosing humans? Is it possible? And what does everyone here think it could mean?

I'll have to respond to that later...I have to pick up my blown brains from off the floor. I give my mind a stretch thinking about such things!