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Author Topic: Praying to the Saints.  (Read 10746 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2010, 02:17:45 AM »

If you ask a friend to pray for your illness, and that prayer is answered, you most likely would thank your friend for their prayers and glorify God for answering it.  Surely you wouldn't come up to that person later and say, "thanks for healing me!"

Well, if St. Peter the Apostle healed me then I would certainly thank him, and I'm sure he would pass all the glory onto God.  The saints do the same thing.  God is glorified in his saints.  There is no designation between a saint receiving glory and the Lord Jesus Christ receiving glory.  Every praise they receive passes to Christ, as he is the fountain of grace from which all of this life and healing spring.  They are united to the spring, and abundant graces flow from Christ to them to us.
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« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2010, 02:20:40 AM »

I've never heard of that criticism before. Interesting. I have to be honest, In a way it almost seems like the person who can remember the most saint names and their appropriate intercession strenghts will have a leg up over the simple person who just prays to Jesus for help.

Not to pray to the Saints would be a serious wound and a serious gap in my prayer life.   Those who have never prayed to the Saints would not feel this loss.

For example tonight is Friday night and I always pray the Akathist to Saint Anastasia of Rome because she has a special interest in delivering people from potions and poisons and, these days, we pray to her to deliver those we love from alcohol and drug addiction.   Since my son is a solvent abuser and also many of his friends, this Saint and I have a special relationship and I am sure, although he may not be aware of it, she has a relationship with him too.  I love her very much and I know that she helps in many ways in dealing with this problem.

I am sure that other people here can speak of their similar love and relationships with other Saints.
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GregoryLA
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« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2010, 02:22:27 AM »

The thread is really getting sidetracked with icons!

Prayer to the saints is what goes on with any simple and pious Orthodox Christian in any traditional setting.  There are regional saints which are enshrined and seen as patrons and protectors of that temple and even that city.  People come and ask those saints for their help. 

"Saint So-And-So, please help my brother to find a job, my daughter to get pregnant, and so on and so forth."

Whether or not some PhD wants to argue about Orthodoxy on paper, in the real world this is how it works.  I remember someone either on here or in a book I read recounting a moving story about a mother who's child's life was on danger.  She ran with him in her arms as quickly as she could to the local church and laid him in front of the icon of the Mother of God on the iconostasis and cried out for her to save her son, who couldn't breathe.  Shortly thereafter, his breathing returned to normal, and ever since then she has had the most fierce devotion to the Mother of God.  Mary saved the kid.  Orthodox Christians do this all of the time with their own patrons, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Don't listen to the "hypothesizers" on here.  People are praying to the deified saints, and they are acting as conduits for the divine energies of Christ.  If they are glorified by their works, then Christ is glorified.

To be fair though, I usually say things like "save me by your powerful prayers" or "pray to God for us."  Usually I am sending up a request for them to pray for me, not asking them to help me get a high score on an exam.  And even if I was, I would probably ask them to help me get a high score by their powerful prayers.  I've just programed myself to address them that way, because I had no innate sense of how to go about it as a Catholic/Protestant convert (I never prayed to a saint once in my Catholic upbringing; I was never taught to).  But that sort of nuance seems uncommon based on my small amount of interactions with the culturally Orthodox.

Well then if this is really the practical application of praying to the saints, as you say, then old familiar analogy to intercessory prayer: "It's no different than asking your friend to pray for you!" doesn't hold water. If it is as you say it is, then there really is a difference; a substantial one. If you ask a friend to pray for your illness, and that prayer is answered, you most likely would thank your friend for their prayers and glorify God for answering it.  Surely you wouldn't come up to that person later and say, "thanks for healing me!"

I wouldn't say it doesn't hold water, but I guess it's only half the truth.  Sometimes Orthodox do ask for the prayers of the saints, at such times the analogy would still hold up.
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« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2010, 02:24:15 AM »

For example tonight is Friday night and I always pray the Akathist to Saint Anastasia of Rome because she has a special interest in delivering people from potions and poisons and, these days, we pray to her to deliver those we love from alcohol and drug addiction.   Since my son is a solvent abuser and also many of his friends, this Saint and I have a special relationship and I am sure, although he may not be aware of it, she has a relationship with him too.  I love her very much and I know that she helps in many ways in dealing with this problem.

And this is the true devotion to the saints that I was speaking of.  Thank you for sharing this very personal and heartwarming story.  Alleluia.
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« Reply #49 on: January 15, 2010, 02:52:36 AM »

The two main lynchpins that I've used to hold this belief together in my mind up to this point are: firstly, the proper use of intercessory prayer is essentially asking God-pleasers to pray to God for you; and secondly, that intercessory prayer shouldn't dominate your prayer life or replace your primary prayers; that is, they should be used to supplement your primary prayers to God. (This last piece of helpful information was provided to me by my priest.) If what Alveus and Irish Hermit describe is the true interpretation of intercessory prayer, and the "holy friends that pray for you" line is just a comforting "nonsense" phrase that out of touch academics like to use to lull protestant converts until they are "mature" enough to embrace the real meaning of intercessory prayer, then I'd still prefer to be lulled for the time being.

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« Reply #50 on: January 15, 2010, 02:59:12 AM »

The two main lynchpins that I've used to hold this belief together in my mind up until this point are: firstly, the proper use of intercessory prayer is essentially asking God-pleasers to pray to God for you;

Yes, this is a totally valid and praiseworthy type of prayer but it is not the only way.

For example, if your daughter is getting involved with neo-paganism and witchcraft, you may turn in prayer to Saints Cyprian and Justina asking their direct intervention to free her from this involvement.

I suppose that really I am only a simple man who did not learn his faith in the halls of academia but from simple monks and nuns and from the peasants of the villages around the monastery.    Forgive me, my brothers and sisters, that my faith is so primitive and I have this love of prayer not just to the Holy Trinity but to the Mother of God and the Saints.
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« Reply #51 on: January 15, 2010, 03:26:13 AM »

, and the "holy friends that pray for you" line is just a comforting "nonsense" phrase that out of touch academics like to use to lull protestant converts until they are "mature" enough to embrace the real meaning of intercessory prayer,

Perhaps that is indeed the way of it in the beginning.  I recall the Anglican minister who was received and the receiving priest had not picked up on a small oddity - that the man could not bring himself to kiss an icon.  So for maybe 4 or 5 years when the rest of the church would kiss icons he would not or could not.  Even at a Vigil when the whole Church is expected to come up and kiss the feast day icon and be anointed he would stay at the back of the church and refuse.   In the end though there was some kind of breakthrough and he did begin to kiss and venerate the holy icons.
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« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2010, 03:29:00 AM »

The two main lynchpins that I've used to hold this belief together in my mind up to this point are: firstly, the proper use of intercessory prayer is essentially asking God-pleasers to pray to God for you; and secondly, that intercessory prayer shouldn't dominate your prayer life or replace your primary prayers; that is, they should be used to supplement your primary prayers to God. (This last piece of helpful information was provided to me by my priest.) If what Alveus and Irish Hermit describe is the true interpretation of intercessory prayer, and the "holy friends that pray for you" line is just a comforting "nonsense" phrase that out of touch academics like to use to lull protestant converts until they are "mature" enough to embrace the real meaning of intercessory prayer, then I'd still prefer to be lulled for the time being.

Well, you should just know what you're getting into ahead of time, like it or not.  Imagine if you happened to be like many neophytes that find out things that bother them after they join the Church, like the Mother of God being raised from the dead.  Information like that is not in all of the catechism material!

In my inquirer's class last year when we were discussing this issue about prayer to the saints I asked my priest point blank how this worked out in reality.  I asked if the faithful are only seeking prayers, or if they are asking for direct action on the part of the saints.  He seemingly reluctantly told me that yes, the faithful pray for the saints to act in their lives directly, not merely to petition God for them.  It wasn't the answer I was looking for, but at least I knew the reality of the situation.
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GregoryLA
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« Reply #53 on: January 15, 2010, 03:52:13 AM »

The two main lynchpins that I've used to hold this belief together in my mind up to this point are: firstly, the proper use of intercessory prayer is essentially asking God-pleasers to pray to God for you; and secondly, that intercessory prayer shouldn't dominate your prayer life or replace your primary prayers; that is, they should be used to supplement your primary prayers to God. (This last piece of helpful information was provided to me by my priest.) If what Alveus and Irish Hermit describe is the true interpretation of intercessory prayer, and the "holy friends that pray for you" line is just a comforting "nonsense" phrase that out of touch academics like to use to lull protestant converts until they are "mature" enough to embrace the real meaning of intercessory prayer, then I'd still prefer to be lulled for the time being.

Well, you should just know what you're getting into ahead of time, like it or not.  Imagine if you happened to be like many neophytes that find out things that bother them after they join the Church, like the Mother of God being raised from the dead.  Information like that is not in all of the catechism material!

In my inquirer's class last year when we were discussing this issue about prayer to the saints I asked my priest point blank how this worked out in reality.  I asked if the faithful are only seeking prayers, or if they are asking for direct action on the part of the saints.  He seemingly reluctantly told me that yes, the faithful pray for the saints to act in their lives directly, not merely to petition God for them.  It wasn't the answer I was looking for, but at least I knew the reality of the situation.

Yeah, I'm really glad for having an Orthodox Church in my city (that's a rarity in Japan) and having this forum to learn from.  I feel like I'm getting a fairly clear picture of Orthodoxy "worts and all."  I too would not want to be sorely surprised by something after I convert.
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« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2010, 03:57:36 AM »

I feel like I'm getting a fairly clear picture of Orthodoxy "worts and all."  I too would not want to be sorely surprised by something after I convert.

I'm not familiar with this phrase.  Can you explain it?
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« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2010, 04:34:26 AM »

I feel like I'm getting a fairly clear picture of Orthodoxy "worts and all."  I too would not want to be sorely surprised by something after I convert.

I'm not familiar with this phrase.  Can you explain it?

It means both the good and the bad or with all its imperfections.  And I don't mean to say that the topic in question (praying to saints as opposed to through saints) is an imperfection.  But there are some not-quite-ideal things about Holy Orthodoxy and I'm glad that I'm seeing them before I formally join myself to the Church.  And there are other things that can't be called imperfections but are somewhat difficult pills to swallow for some of us at first- like the topic in question.
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« Reply #56 on: January 15, 2010, 07:40:49 AM »

Here is something to knock the socks off everybody  ~  the Worship of the Saints!!

Semantics come into it.  Speakers of British English can still speak of the worship of the Saints without falling into the error of adoring them.

"Worship"?

Cached by The Wayback Machine at
http://web.archive.org/web/20001203142000/orthodox.co.uk/worship.htm

Christian communities formed in the Reformation rejected the worship of the Mother of God, of the saints and angels and of icons and relics. Indeed, the Reformation was accompanied in many places by a widespread outbreak of iconoclasm. Sculptures, paintings, relics all made their way to the flames. Sacred images which had been worshipped for centuries by devout Christians came to be seen as idols. They were not merely removed, they were treated as abominations, shattered, hacked in pieces, or burned. Not surprisingly, communities which resisted the Reformation often hid their sacred images, and restored them to use when the opportunity arose, as it did, for example, during the reign of Mary Tudor in England.

The Reformers deployed the same biblical texts to justify their destruction of images as the Eastern iconoclasts had done centuries before.

The Reformation rejection of worship of the Theotokos, the saints and angels, the icons and relics, had an odd consequence for the Protestant use of the English language. Since God was now for Protestants the sole object of Christian worship, the word "worship" gradually began to be treated as a synonym of "adore."

The English word "adoration" translates the Greek word "latreia" or the Latin "adoratio" or "adoratio latriae". Adoration is due to God and to God alone. Adoration is a mode of worship that springs from the acknowledgement of our absolute dependency on God and on our mere contingency as created beings.

Adoration is a mode of worship.

The Reformation rejection of the cult of the saints and of their relics and of the sacred images left no other mode of worship in Protestant and Reformed communities. No distinction came to be made by Protestants between adoration and the other lesser, relative modes of worship, since none of them survived in their religious practice. Nonetheless, the older, broader concept of worship still survived and survives. In England we call the mayor "your Worship," without any suggestion we are acknowledging her or him as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. In the old version of the Marriage service the bridegroom said to his bride "with my body I thee worship," the pledge of allegiance made by a lord declared himself the monarch's "man of earthly worship." Neither monarch nor bride was expected to interpret this as an act of adoration, of latreia. And whatever objections there may be to Christians joining Masonic lodges, it would be utter silliness to argue that reference to a senior officer of the Lodge as the "Worshipful Master" is idolatrous.

Roman Catholic communities in Great Britain both retained the pre-Reformation cult of the Blessed Virgin, the saints, their relics and the sacred images, and kept alive the older use of the word "worship" as the generic term of which adoration is the supreme mode, but not the only mode.

Worship has a variety of modes. All forms of worship have a cognitive aspect - a recognition that reverence and honour are due to the object of our worship by reason of its relation to God - as well as a practical aspect, the words, gestures and postures that represent the honour and reverence we pay to the object of our worship.

Adoration is the unique mode of worship offered to God alone. We adore none other. Adoration involves acknowledgement of God as Creator and Sustainer of all that is, as our ruler and shepherd and as the sole source of our salvation. It involves more than mere acknowledgement of the reality of our relation to the Almighty: adoration involves praise and thanksgiving, celebration and petition.

A unique degree of veneration and reverence is due to the Theotokos. We worship her as the Mother of God, as uniquely close to him and as sharing in the work of God in a unique way and to a unique degree. Whenever we think of her we are drawn to think of her Son. Worship of the Mother of God, far from being an obstacle to worship of God, places us before the Signpost that points the way to Him who is the way, the truth and the life. It is her unique relation to God as the Theotokos that makes her the worthy object of our worship. It is her relation to God as His creature that absolutely forbids us to adore her.

We worship the Mother of God, but we do not adore her. We prostrate ourselves before her in prayer, kiss her icon, offer incense, flowers and lights, celebrate festivals and sing offices in her honour, but we do not adore her, since she is no less a creature than are we. She shows us human nature as fully deified as is possible to us, but she remains a creature. We love, venerate, celebrate, reverence, honour and serve her, but we do not adore her.

We worship the angels as beings above us in the order of nature, as servants and messengers of God and as our powerful protectors and helpers. Our worship begins from acknowledgement of what they are in relation to Him and in relation to us.

We worship the saints as members of our own human family who have truly "put on Christ," as icons of Christ, as exemplars of deified humanity. We worship them with profound reverence and respect.

We worship the saints and angels not for their own sake, but in virtue of their relationship to God.

We worship icons and relics not as painted wood, skilfully assembled chips of stone, and collections of ancient bones. Far from it. Even the wood of the Cross and the Life-Receiving Tomb are worshipped only because of their role in Christ's saving work. The images and the relics of the saints are worshipped as modes of their presence to us and ours to them. They are worshipped not for their own sake, but as a means of worshipping the person whose icon or relic each is, and that holy person in turn is worshipped because of her or his relationship to God.

All acts of worship draw us ultimately to the worship of God. We begin by venerating the icon of a saint, and are drawn eventually to the adoration of the God whose work the saint is, and in Whom the saint is glorified.

We revere and venerate a dead parent's photograph, we bring flowers to the grave. We treat the photographs of those we love with reverence and respect. We may place them in a special place, even put flowers before them. But the worship we offer the sacred images is rather different.
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« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2010, 12:02:33 PM »

Perhaps related to this, but perhaps not, I remember reading that in (I think) the 39 Articles the Anglicans rejected the "papal excesses" of praying to the saints but retained the "apostolic" version of the practice.  I've oft wondered what the distinction is.  I also read in that same place that the Council of Trent supposedly dealt with those "papal excesses".  Anybody know about that?  Might it have to do with this issue of praying to vs. praying through?
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« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2010, 02:24:19 PM »

Adore - Latin adorare, from ad- + orare to speak (orate), pray

Should we understand the origins of this word to be related to praying to (speaking toward) as the designating sign between veneration and adoration?

Cannot we honor and revere the depictions of the saints: kiss them and down before them; without praying to the saints; without orating adoration toward them?

Obviously there is a thin line here.
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« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2010, 05:49:42 PM »

The two main lynchpins that I've used to hold this belief together in my mind up to this point are: firstly, the proper use of intercessory prayer is essentially asking God-pleasers to pray to God for you; and secondly, that intercessory prayer shouldn't dominate your prayer life or replace your primary prayers; that is, they should be used to supplement your primary prayers to God. (This last piece of helpful information was provided to me by my priest.) If what Alveus and Irish Hermit describe is the true interpretation of intercessory prayer, and the "holy friends that pray for you" line is just a comforting "nonsense" phrase that out of touch academics like to use to lull protestant converts until they are "mature" enough to embrace the real meaning of intercessory prayer, then I'd still prefer to be lulled for the time being.

Well, you should just know what you're getting into ahead of time, like it or not.  Imagine if you happened to be like many neophytes that find out things that bother them after they join the Church, like the Mother of God being raised from the dead.  Information like that is not in all of the catechism material!

In my inquirer's class last year when we were discussing this issue about prayer to the saints I asked my priest point blank how this worked out in reality.  I asked if the faithful are only seeking prayers, or if they are asking for direct action on the part of the saints.  He seemingly reluctantly told me that yes, the faithful pray for the saints to act in their lives directly, not merely to petition God for them.  It wasn't the answer I was looking for, but at least I knew the reality of the situation.

Thanks for your honesty. The reality of the situation is that I'm simply not ready to embrace this particular aspect of this teaching.
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« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2010, 06:07:47 PM »

Adore - Latin adorare, from ad- + orare to speak (orate), pray

Should we understand the origins of this word to be related to praying to (speaking toward) as the designating sign between veneration and adoration?

Cannot we honor and revere the depictions of the saints: kiss them and down before them; without praying to the saints; without orating adoration toward them?

Obviously there is a thin line here.

I remember some of us discussing this before. Indeed there a fine line between worship and adoration. The distinction seems primarily to be of an intellectual nature. Only we can judge the purpose of our own intentions and whether we are worshipping and praying to God's creatures as ends in themselves or as conduits to His grace.

Just thought I'd add this verse as food for thought:

Quote
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 19:9

It is interesting to note that here that the greek word for worship in this passage, proskuneó, has primarly a physical aspect to it. From pros and a probable derivative of kuon (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) -- worship. (1) Strong's Greek

*edit* added verse and explanation
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« Reply #61 on: January 15, 2010, 07:50:00 PM »

mispost.
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« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2010, 08:47:48 PM »

Quote
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 19:9

It is interesting to note that here that the greek word for worship in this passage, proskuneó, has primarly a physical aspect to it. From pros and a probable derivative of kuon (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) -- worship. (1) Strong's Greek

Yes, I recall reading this several weeks ago as I was doing a study on the Apocalypse.  I paused when I read it, as it seems to contradict the Church's teachings.
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« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2010, 02:40:40 AM »

It means both the good and the bad or with all its imperfections.

Yes, but what is a wort?
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« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2010, 01:54:48 PM »

I think he meant "wart" :p
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« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2010, 02:02:36 PM »

It means both the good and the bad or with all its imperfections.

Yes, but what is a wort?

What you get when you take too much St. John's Wort, of course!

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« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2010, 02:14:05 PM »

Well, I knew he couldn't have meant beer wort.  That is a very good thing!  laugh
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« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2010, 06:23:17 PM »

Quote
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 19:9

It is interesting to note that here that the greek word for worship in this passage, proskuneó, has primarly a physical aspect to it. From pros and a probable derivative of kuon (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) -- worship. (1) Strong's Greek

Is there any reply to this passage?
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« Reply #68 on: January 17, 2010, 05:16:30 PM »

Due to the overwhelming response, I'll throw my two cents in.  I have thought about this for a couple of days, and here is the best explanation I can come up with.

When I venerate icons of saints, I venerate them because the saints possess the uncreated light of God, and were made in the image and likeness of Him. I like to think of them as vessels of God's grace, and I am venerating the presence of God within them. Angels, on the other hand, were not created in God's image and likeness (as least as far as we know) and they do not participate in deification. This could be a possible explanation of why the angel rejected such worship/veneration. Angels were created as messengers of God's grace, not participants thereof.

On the other hand, this does not answer the question why we in the Orthodox Church venerate angels similarly as we do saints. (Or perhaps we don't, I could use some clarification on this?)

Perhaps this explanation raises more questions than it does provide answers, but I thought I'd at least share what I came up with.
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« Reply #69 on: January 18, 2010, 01:44:44 PM »

I didn't think this would be an issue for me after I converted to Orthodoxy a couple years ago, but it has been an ongoing one, and I feel as if it's causing me to feel spiritually 'divorced'. It sounds terrible, and sad, I know... but I guess I can't accept how if, given the opportunity to spend a couple hours glorifying God, our creator, we can choose instead to spend that time praying an Akathist, etc. It feels so basic a concept - maybe I'm totally out of touch. I know you all have your explanations as to why you pray to saints, and don't take me as disrespecting anyone. I just keep going back to how Jesus taught the apostles to pray... why did He have no other instructions except 'Our Father'.
I remember being in a Paraklesis service, this was probably about 1-1/2 years ago now... and I just had this feeling like I might not belong. I couldn't keep saying the prayers but I just sort of kept quiet. I don't know what I will do from here. I have been doing a little investigation of other belief systems. This has been a hard couple of years. I don't even know who I would speak with or if there is a point to doing so. I feel so alone.
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« Reply #70 on: January 18, 2010, 03:36:30 PM »

Just thought I'd add this verse as food for thought:

Quote
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 19:9

It is interesting to note that here that the greek word for worship in this passage, proskuneó, has primarly a physical aspect to it. From pros and a probable derivative of kuon (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) -- worship. (1) Strong's Greek

*edit* added verse and explanation

Is proskuneo the same word used in the following bible verse?

Quote
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Rev 3:9

If it is, why would Jesus cause those of the synagogue of Satan to worship the Church in Philadelphia if worship was due to God alone?  Or maybe I'm not reading the verse correctly?

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« Reply #71 on: January 18, 2010, 04:02:58 PM »

Yes, it does appear to be of the same word origin.  Again, the best explanation I can come up with is that humans (those who comprise the Church of Philadelphia) were made in the image and likeness of God, and angels are not.
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« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2010, 04:06:04 PM »

I didn't think this would be an issue for me after I converted to Orthodoxy a couple years ago, but it has been an ongoing one, and I feel as if it's causing me to feel spiritually 'divorced'. It sounds terrible, and sad, I know... but I guess I can't accept how if, given the opportunity to spend a couple hours glorifying God, our creator, we can choose instead to spend that time praying an Akathist, etc. It feels so basic a concept - maybe I'm totally out of touch. I know you all have your explanations as to why you pray to saints, and don't take me as disrespecting anyone. I just keep going back to how Jesus taught the apostles to pray... why did He have no other instructions except 'Our Father'.
I remember being in a Paraklesis service, this was probably about 1-1/2 years ago now... and I just had this feeling like I might not belong. I couldn't keep saying the prayers but I just sort of kept quiet. I don't know what I will do from here. I have been doing a little investigation of other belief systems. This has been a hard couple of years. I don't even know who I would speak with or if there is a point to doing so. I feel so alone.

Here's my question in light of believer74's comments: is prayer to the saints essential to the Orthodox faith?
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« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2010, 04:17:14 PM »

Yes, it does appear to be of the same word origin.  

Well, then, doesn't the Rev 3:9 verse qualify as a perfectly legitimate example of worship of Saints, because it is caused by Christ himself?  Or is the issue the fact that they're not bodily alive?
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« Reply #74 on: January 18, 2010, 04:17:27 PM »

Yes, it does appear to be of the same word origin.  Again, the best explanation I can come up with is that humans (those who comprise the Church of Philadelphia) were made in the image and likeness of God, and angels are not.

Fwiw, here are some quotes, which (if accurate) seem to indicate that the angels are also made in the image and likeness of God, but to a different extent or in a different way...

"The soul is very closely connected with the body. The Fathers say that it happens with the soul what happens with an iron in a brazier; it becomes fire through remaining iron by nature. The soul is everywhere in man's body. The fact that the soul gives life to the body joined to it proves that man was made in God's image to a greater degree than were the angels." - Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, The Illness And Cure of The Soul

"We have so far explained that man's soul is in the image of God, and since the soul gives life to the attached body, the image in man is stronger than the image in the angels. Since the soul is all through the body, both the whole man and the body itself can be regarded as in the image of God. The hymn by St. John of Damascus sung in the funeral service is characteristic. 'I weep and I wail when I think upon death, and behold our beauty, fashioned after the image of God, lying in the tomb disfigured, dishonoured, bereft of form.' It is plain that in this hymn the image refers to the body which is in the tomb." -  Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, Orthodox Psychotherapy: The Science of the Fathers, (Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 1994), p. 118-119

"Among many other things one would say that the triadic nature of our knowledge shows that we are more in the image of God than are the angels. For not only is it triadic, but it includes every type of knolwedge. Among all created things only man possesses an intellective, a rational, and a sensory faculty" - St. Gregory Palamas, Natural Chapters, 63

"Palamas, comparing men and angels on the basis of 'image' and 'likeness,' finds that as far as the 'image' is concerned man surpasses the angels, while in the matter of 'likeness' he is patently inferior." - Georgios I. Mantzaridis, The Deification of Man: Saint Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Tradition, (Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984), p. 23

"God formed Adam with His holy hands, in His own Image and Likeness and when the angels saw Adam's glorious appearance they were greatly moved by the beauty thereof. For they saw the image of his face burning with glorious splendour like the orb of the sun, and the light of his eyes was like the light of the sun, and the image of his body was like unto the sparkling of crystal. " - St. Ephraim the Syrian, Cave of Treasures: The Creation of Adam
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« Reply #75 on: January 18, 2010, 04:20:57 PM »

I didn't think this would be an issue for me after I converted to Orthodoxy a couple years ago, but it has been an ongoing one, and I feel as if it's causing me to feel spiritually 'divorced'. It sounds terrible, and sad, I know... but I guess I can't accept how if, given the opportunity to spend a couple hours glorifying God, our creator, we can choose instead to spend that time praying an Akathist, etc. It feels so basic a concept - maybe I'm totally out of touch. I know you all have your explanations as to why you pray to saints, and don't take me as disrespecting anyone. I just keep going back to how Jesus taught the apostles to pray... why did He have no other instructions except 'Our Father'.
I remember being in a Paraklesis service, this was probably about 1-1/2 years ago now... and I just had this feeling like I might not belong. I couldn't keep saying the prayers but I just sort of kept quiet. I don't know what I will do from here. I have been doing a little investigation of other belief systems. This has been a hard couple of years. I don't even know who I would speak with or if there is a point to doing so. I feel so alone.

Here's my question in light of believer74's comments: is prayer to the saints essential to the Orthodox faith?

I think you're asking the wrong crowd.   laugh  Can you imagine going through your whole life without ever praying to the holy Mother of God or your Guardian Angel!?

Come to think of it, I guess it is mandated since Morning and Evening Prayers contain prayers to the Mother of God, to your Guardian Angel, and to your Patron Saint.


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints

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« Reply #76 on: January 18, 2010, 05:31:05 PM »

I didn't think this would be an issue for me after I converted to Orthodoxy a couple years ago, but it has been an ongoing one, and I feel as if it's causing me to feel spiritually 'divorced'. It sounds terrible, and sad, I know... but I guess I can't accept how if, given the opportunity to spend a couple hours glorifying God, our creator, we can choose instead to spend that time praying an Akathist, etc. It feels so basic a concept - maybe I'm totally out of touch. I know you all have your explanations as to why you pray to saints, and don't take me as disrespecting anyone. I just keep going back to how Jesus taught the apostles to pray... why did He have no other instructions except 'Our Father'.
I remember being in a Paraklesis service, this was probably about 1-1/2 years ago now... and I just had this feeling like I might not belong. I couldn't keep saying the prayers but I just sort of kept quiet. I don't know what I will do from here. I have been doing a little investigation of other belief systems. This has been a hard couple of years. I don't even know who I would speak with or if there is a point to doing so. I feel so alone.

Here's my question in light of believer74's comments: is prayer to the saints essential to the Orthodox faith?

I think you're asking the wrong crowd.   laugh  Can you imagine going through your whole life without ever praying to the holy Mother of God or your Guardian Angel!?

Come to think of it, I guess it is mandated since Morning and Evening Prayers contain prayers to the Mother of God, to your Guardian Angel, and to your Patron Saint.


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints



Can I imagine it? Well, I guess coming from my background, yes. Also, my prayer book doesn't include any mandatory intercessory prayers for morning, mid-day, and evening prayers. There is a section for optional intercessory prayers. 

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« Reply #77 on: January 18, 2010, 05:41:34 PM »



Quote
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Rev 3:9

If it is, why would Jesus cause those of the synagogue of Satan to worship the Church in Philadelphia if worship was due to God alone?  Or maybe I'm not reading the verse correctly?



Again, I have no qualms in particular with venerating saints. This makes sense to me. I was trying to reconcile the verse that I provided by attempting to show why the angel rejected worship by pointing out the possible distinction/nature between saints/angels. Still, it doesn't add up because <I believe> the Orthodox Church venerates angels like it does saints. (Again, if I'm wrong here, someone please point it out)
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« Reply #78 on: January 18, 2010, 05:41:58 PM »

Can I imagine it? Well, I guess coming from my background, yes. Also, my prayer book doesn't include any mandatory intercessory prayers for morning, mid-day, and evening prayers. There is a section for optional intercessory prayers. 



Here are some of the evening prayers from the Prayer Book used by Russians (in the homeland and abroad.)
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

Prayer of Intercession
to the Most Holy Mother of God
O good Mother of the good King, most pure and blessed Virgin Mary, pour out the mercy of thy Son and our God on my passionate soul and guide me in good works by thy prayers, that I may pass the rest of my life without defilement, and find paradise through thee, O Virgin Mother of God, who alone art pure and blessed.


Prayer of Intercession
to the holy Guardian Angel
O Angel of Christ, my holy Guardian and Protector of my soul and body, forgive me all my sins of today. Deliver me from all the wiles of the enemy, that I may not anger my God by any sin. Pray for me, sinful and unworthy servant, that thou mayest present me worthy of the kindness and mercy of the All-holy Trinity and the Mother of my Lord Jesus Christ, and of all the Saints. Amen.

(Here one says a prayer to one's Patron Saint.)

Queen of the Heavenly Host, Defender of our souls, we thy servants offer to thee songs of victory and thanksgiving, for thou, O Mother of God, hast delivered us from dangers. But as thou hast invincible power, free us from conflicts of all kinds that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, unwedded Bride.

Most glorious, Ever-Virgin, blessed, Mother of Christ our God, present our prayer to thy Son and our God, and pray that through thee He may save our souls.

I put all my hope in thee, O Mother of God. Guard me under thy protection. O Virgin Mother of God, despise not me, a sinner, needing thy help and protection, and have mercy on me, for my soul hopes in thee.


Today (18 January) is the commemoration of St. Dicuil of Lure
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints

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« Reply #79 on: January 18, 2010, 05:50:17 PM »

Ya, I just use a little pocket Antiochian prayer book. It does list particular intercessory prayers, but does not include them in the prescibed morning/evening prayers.

Can I imagine it? Well, I guess coming from my background, yes. Also, my prayer book doesn't include any mandatory intercessory prayers for morning, mid-day, and evening prayers. There is a section for optional intercessory prayers.  



Here are some of the evening prayers from the Prayer Book used by Russians (in the homeland and abroad.)
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

Prayer of Intercession
to the Most Holy Mother of God
O good Mother of the good King, most pure and blessed Virgin Mary, pour out the mercy of thy Son and our God on my passionate soul and guide me in good works by thy prayers, that I may pass the rest of my life without defilement, and find paradise through thee, O Virgin Mother of God, who alone art pure and blessed.


I have to say that I've never encountered this particular prayer before, and I must confess that it troubles me a great deal.

Here I see much correlation between the mediatrix and "dispenser of mercy" role ascribed to the Theotokos, found in Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, these are not the things that one might encounter during catechesis... Undecided
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« Reply #80 on: January 18, 2010, 05:54:45 PM »

Ya, I just use a little pocket Antiochian prayer book. It does list particular intercessory prayers, but does not include them in the prescibed morning/evening prayers.

Can I imagine it? Well, I guess coming from my background, yes. Also, my prayer book doesn't include any mandatory intercessory prayers for morning, mid-day, and evening prayers. There is a section for optional intercessory prayers.  



Here are some of the evening prayers from the Prayer Book used by Russians (in the homeland and abroad.)
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

Prayer of Intercession
to the Most Holy Mother of God
O good Mother of the good King, most pure and blessed Virgin Mary, pour out the mercy of thy Son and our God on my passionate soul and guide me in good works by thy prayers, that I may pass the rest of my life without defilement, and find paradise through thee, O Virgin Mother of God, who alone art pure and blessed.


I have to say that I've never encountered this particular prayer before, and I must confess that it troubles me a great deal.

Here I see much correlation between the mediatrix and "dispenser of mercy" role ascribed to the Theotokos, found in Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, these are not the things that one might encounter during catechesis... Undecided

Really?! Huh

What's objectionable about this?
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« Reply #81 on: January 18, 2010, 05:56:56 PM »

I have to say that I've never encountered this particular prayer before, and I must confess that it troubles me a great deal.

Here I see much correlation between the mediatrix and "dispenser of mercy" role ascribed to the Theotokos, found in Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, these are not the things that one might encounter during catechesis... Undecided

That's interesting. Do lines such as "Most holy Theotokos, save us" in Church services bother you?
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« Reply #82 on: January 18, 2010, 06:04:26 PM »

I have to say that I've never encountered this particular prayer before, and I must confess that it troubles me a great deal.

Here I see much correlation between the mediatrix and "dispenser of mercy" role ascribed to the Theotokos, found in Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, these are not the things that one might encounter during catechesis... Undecided

That's interesting. Do lines such as "Most holy Theotokos, save us" in Church services bother you?

I believe the phrase is vague enough that one is able to inject many different interpretations into it and come up with arguments that, while they may not please the protestant converts mind, may at least calm it. The phrases in the prayer listed above by Irish Hermit seem much more narrow-focused to me.
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« Reply #83 on: January 18, 2010, 06:07:37 PM »

Ya, I just use a little pocket Antiochian prayer book. It does list particular intercessory prayers, but does not include them in the prescibed morning/evening prayers.

Can I imagine it? Well, I guess coming from my background, yes. Also, my prayer book doesn't include any mandatory intercessory prayers for morning, mid-day, and evening prayers. There is a section for optional intercessory prayers.  



Here are some of the evening prayers from the Prayer Book used by Russians (in the homeland and abroad.)
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

Prayer of Intercession
to the Most Holy Mother of God
O good Mother of the good King, most pure and blessed Virgin Mary, pour out the mercy of thy Son and our God on my passionate soul and guide me in good works by thy prayers, that I may pass the rest of my life without defilement, and find paradise through thee, O Virgin Mother of God, who alone art pure and blessed.


I have to say that I've never encountered this particular prayer before, and I must confess that it troubles me a great deal.

Here I see much correlation between the mediatrix and "dispenser of mercy" role ascribed to the Theotokos, found in Roman Catholicism.

Indeed, these are not the things that one might encounter during catechesis... Undecided

Really?! Huh

What's objectionable about this?

I object to the Romish teachings of mediatrix. Also, I was taught during catechesis that mercy was given to us by the Holy Sprit, through Christ, Originating from the Father, and is in fact the very energies of God.
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« Reply #84 on: January 18, 2010, 06:08:47 PM »

Ok, I think that's fair. I guess in my better moments as an Orthodox Christian I just took prayers like that as a combination of two things: the idea that intercessory prayer works, and the idea that God can use people to save others (both of which seem to be biblically-based concepts). But the prayer does seem to be a bit more specific.
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« Reply #85 on: January 18, 2010, 08:00:58 PM »

Saint Gregory Palamas underwrites your worthy thoughts in his glorious
sermon in praise of the All-Holy on the festival of her Dormition...

http://web.archive.org/web/20060306224511/http://www.praiseofglory.com/dormitionpalamas.htm

"For while she alone stood between God and the whole human race, God became
the Son of Man and made men sons of God; she made earth heavenly, she
deified the human race, and she alone of all women was shown forth to be a
mother by nature and the Mother of God transcending every law of nature, and
by her ineffable childbirth-the Queen of all creation, both terrestial and
celestial. Thus she exalted those under her through herself, and, showing
while on earth an obedience to things heavenly rather than things earthly,
she partook of more excellent deserts and of superior power, and from the
ordination which she received from heaven by the Divine Spirit, she became
the most sublime of the sublime and the supremely blest Queen of a blessed
race.

"But now the Mother of God has her dwelling in Heaven whither she was today
translated, for this is meet, Heaven being a suitable place for her. She
"stands at the right of the King of all clothed in a vesture wrought with
gold and arrayed with divers colours" (cf. Ps. 44:9), as the psalmic
prophecy says concerning her. By "vesture wrought with gold" understand her
divinely radiant body arrayed with divers colours of every virtue. She alone
in her body, glorified by God, now enjoys the celestial realm together with
her Son. For, earth and grave and death did not hold forever her
life-originating and God-receiving body -the dwelling more favoured than
Heaven and the Heaven of heavens...

-oOo-


"O divine, and now heavenly, Virgin, how can I express all things which pertain to thee? How can I glorify the treasury of all glory? Merely thy memory sanctifies whoever keeps it, and a mere movement towards thee makes the mind more translucent, and thou dost exalt it straightway to the Divine. The eye of the intellect is through thee made limpid, and through thee the spirit of a man is illumined by the sojourning of the Spirit of God, since thou hast become the steward of the treasury of divine gifts and their vault, and this, not in order to keep them for thyself, but so that thou mightest make created nature replete with grace.

"Indeed, the steward of those inexhaustible treasuries watches over them so that the riches may be dispensed; and what could confine that wealth which wanes not? Richly, therefore, bestow thy mercy and thy graces upon all thy people, this thine inheritance, O Lady! Dispel the perils which menace us. See how greatly we are expended by our own and by aliens, by those without and by those within. Uplift all by thy might: mollify our fellow citizens one with another and scatter those who assault us from without-like savage beasts. Measure out thy succor and healing in proportion to our passions, apportioning abundant grace to our souls and bodies, sufficient for every necessity.

"And although we may prove incapable of containing thy bounties, augment our capacity and in this manner bestow them upon us, so that being both saved and fortified by thy grace, we may glorify the pre-eternal Word Who was incarnate of thee for our sakes, together with His unoriginate Father and the life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the endless ages. Amen."



Please see the entire sermon at
http://web.archive.org/web/20060306224511/http://www.praiseofglory.com/dormitionpalamas.htm

Also

http://www.oca.org/FSsermons-details.asp?SID=4&ID=9
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« Reply #86 on: January 18, 2010, 08:05:49 PM »

Also from Saint Gregory Palamas...

"No divine gift can reach either angels or men, save through her mediation.
As one cannot enjoy the light of a lamp … save through the medium of this lamp, so every
movement towards God, every impulse towards good coming from Him is unrealizable save
through the mediation of the Virgin. She does not cease to spread benefits on all creatures."
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« Reply #87 on: January 18, 2010, 08:27:50 PM »

If only we Orthodox would hold fast to our traditional position.  But so often when dialoguing with Catholics we are tempted to try and offer too much of an explanation.  When faced with the precision of Catholic definitions, we sometimes think that we have to respond in kind - if Catholics have their precision defintions, then we must have ours.  Well, the fact is that we don't.  And we don't have to compete with Catholics matching definition for definition.

And so, to all the catechiemsn who are starting to worry that the Orthodox over emphasise the work of the Mother of God in salvation and grace.... we don't... 

These words from Vladimir Lossly show the quiet and reticent Orthodox approach to her...


The doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation have been proclaimed as dogmas,
for they belong to the public preaching of the Church; but the glorification of Our Lady belongs
to the Church’s inner Tradition:

‘It is hard to speak and not less hard to think about the mysteries which the Church keeps
in the hidden depths of her inner consciousness ... The Mother of God was never a theme
of the public preaching of the Apostles; while Christ was preached on the housetops, and
proclaimed for all to know in an initiatory teaching addressed to the whole world,
the mystery of his Mother was revealed only to those who were within the Church … It is not so
much an object of faith as a foundation of our hope, a fruit of faith, ripened in Tradition.

Let us therefore keep silence, and let us not try to dogmatize about the supreme glory of
the Mother of God’


V. Lossky, ‘Panagia,’ in The Mother of God, edited by E. L. Mascall
Quoted in "The Orthodox Church" by Bp Kallistos Ware.


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« Reply #88 on: January 18, 2010, 08:54:35 PM »

Also from Saint Gregory Palamas...

"No divine gift can reach either angels or men, save through her mediation.
As one cannot enjoy the light of a lamp … save through the medium of this lamp, so every
movement towards God, every impulse towards good coming from Him is unrealizable save
through the mediation of the Virgin. She does not cease to spread benefits on all creatures."


Where is the apostolic or scriptural basis for this teaching? Surely we can't just rely on the fact that it was supposedly preserved within the "secret tradition" of the Church until St. Gregory decided to reveal it to us?
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« Reply #89 on: January 18, 2010, 10:52:13 PM »

Also from Saint Gregory Palamas...

"No divine gift can reach either angels or men, save through her mediation.
As one cannot enjoy the light of a lamp … save through the medium of this lamp, so every
movement towards God, every impulse towards good coming from Him is unrealizable save
through the mediation of the Virgin. She does not cease to spread benefits on all creatures."


What is this particular quote taken from?

What is the general context of the passage from which this was taken?
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
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