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Author Topic: How does prayer to the Saints work?  (Read 1428 times) Average Rating: 0
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Super Apostolic Bros.
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« on: December 14, 2009, 03:44:31 AM »

From what I've read (The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos), 1). prayer to the Saints is effective 2). The theology of the body is not a "ghost in the machine" but that one's soul is bound to the body until the Resurrection. So how do they intercede for us?
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 05:30:06 AM »

"Do you know how the electric telegraph works? In St. Petersburg, for example, they start up a particular piece of equipment; in the same instant, that action in St. Petersburg is reflected in a similar piece of equipment in Moscow, and the very same motion occurs. Why does it happen like this? Because the equipment is of the same type, and because the wire connecting them is fitted to them. The action of the telegraph is like our prayer. We, along with the saints, are like two pieces of the same kind of equipment, and the medium in which the saints dwell and with which our souls are sourrounded-that is the wire."

St. Theophan the Recluse on "how the saints hear our prayers": from The Spiritual Life- And how to be Attuned to it.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 08:22:12 AM »

From what I've read (The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos), 1). prayer to the Saints is effective 2). The theology of the body is not a "ghost in the machine" but that one's soul is bound to the body until the Resurrection. So how do they intercede for us?

I don't know if "bound to the body" necessarily means "trapped in the body."  We have a prayer for separation of the soul from the body, used by the priest in cases of great suffering near the end of life, to pray for a peaceful passing.  Their separation doesn't imply complete independence, insofar as they will be reunited in the Resurrection of all; but their tie to one another doesn't imply an inability to separate, even if only "temporarily" upon death.

If you then proceed with the idea that soul and body can be separate between death and the Resurrection of all, then the issue of the intercession of the Saints is much easier, no?
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Michael L
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 10:14:39 AM »

You have to understand the concept of the Church triumphant and the Church Militant and that it is ONE church separated by the death of the body. With this in mind we can see the saints as our friends that are will pray for us just as one of you fellow parish members can pray for you.

From Archbishop Hilaron Alfeyev's The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=traditionalorthodoxy-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0232524726" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />:

Quote
Some people find it difficult to understand why it is necessary to pray to the saints when there is Christ. Yet the saints are not so much mediators between us and Christ: rather, they are our heavenly friends, able to hear to us and help us through their prayers. Someone who has no friends in heaven cannot properly understand this reverential veneration which surrounds the saints in the Orthodox Church. It has to be said, therefore, that those Christian communities which have no direct and living communion with the saints, cannot fully experience the completeness of the Church as the mystical Body of Christ uniting the living and the dead, saints and sinners.
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 11:13:22 AM »

You have to understand the concept of the Church triumphant and the Church Militant and that it is ONE church separated by the death of the body. With this in mind we can see the saints as our friends that are will pray for us just as one of you fellow parish members can pray for you.
"Church Triumphant" and "Church Militant"...  I've not heard these terms from an Orthodox point of view before.  Is this really an Orthodox concept?
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BoredMeeting
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 12:45:14 PM »

"Church Triumphant" and "Church Militant"...  I've not heard these terms from an Orthodox point of view before.  Is this really an Orthodox concept?
The concept has been presented to me as an Orthodox one but I've always wondered about the terminology.

Asking the departed Saints for their prayers affirms not only our belief that they are alive in Christ but our belief that Christ defeated Death and rose from the Dead as well.
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 01:03:33 PM »

You have to understand the concept of the Church triumphant and the Church Militant and that it is ONE church separated by the death of the body. With this in mind we can see the saints as our friends that are will pray for us just as one of you fellow parish members can pray for you.
"Church Triumphant" and "Church Militant"...  I've not heard these terms from an Orthodox point of view before.  Is this really an Orthodox concept?

To the best of my knowledge it's a Western import along the lines of 'transubstantion'--that is, terminology that's not inherently wrong but also not particularly native to the Orthodox tradition.
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 01:51:35 PM »

Why do you say that it's a Western import? It is a way to describe the Church and is 100% accurate so why care whether it is a Western or Eastern terminology? All we should care about is if it is Orthodox (Truth).

BTW, Many Catechisms of the Orthodox Church include these terms:

Orthodox Dogmatic Theology - http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0824/__P1V.HTM

Catechism of the Eastern Orthodox Church - http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/catechis.html

Chatechism by Bishop Alexander Mileant - http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/catechism_ext.htm

These Truths We Hold  - http://www.stots.edu/these_truths_we_hold.html

Mystery of Faith - http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/10/1.aspx
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 02:05:15 PM »

Why do you say that it's a Western import? It is a way to describe the Church and is 100% accurate so why care whether it is a Western or Eastern terminology? All we should care about is if it is Orthodox (Truth).

Because it can't be found in the older Fathers. It doesn't start showing up in Orthodox texts until relatively late and isn't part of our 'organic terminology'. As I said, I'm not aware of any problems with the terminology and see no reason not to use it--but if I ever did run across a conflict between something one of the Fathers said and implications coming from thinking in terms of 'Triumphant/Militant', I'd have no problem jettisoning the terminology rather than trying to work to preserve it or reconcile it to what I know to be authentic teaching.
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For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great
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