Bumping this thread for another question (and thank you all for your answers to my previous question)
This one might tend towards the more mysterious side of eschatology, but... If we all wait in Hades/Purgatory/whatever you want to call it before the Last Judgement, and pray for ourselves, the other dead, those on earth, and vice-versa, then are the Saints already in Heaven due to how far they've come along in theosis, or are they still waiting like the rest of us to "get in," and praying for us all in Hades?
It's important to remember that the word "saint" is derived from the Latin "Santus", and is equivalent to the Greek "Hagios." This simply means "holy" or "consecrated," being "set apart" in service to God. In the Scriptures, we hear talk of the "saints" residing in a specific city (Corinth, Antioch, Ephesus, Rome, Jerusalem, etc.) This simply means "those who are set apart for God's service in [whichever city]" -- The Christians residing there.
However, "saint" took up a different meaning as the cult of martyrs grew. As God raised up witnesses, they were killed by the pagan Emperor (the word martyr is of Greek origin, and simply means "witness") for their Christian faith. God showed His love for these saints in the miracles wrought by them, either in their life (healing, clairvoyence, levitation, emerging from torture/death penalties miraculously unharmed etc.) or after death (their relics becoming healing, gushing with myrrh or milk and honey, sometimes the saints would even appear to people after their death etc.). These signs became a witness not only to the pagans, but to the Christians. They were a sign and promise the resurrection. Due to this, the tradition arose to pray to these holy martyrs, and the Eucharist was prepared on the tombs of the marytrs and to this day, Holy Tables and antimensia (the cloth on which the Eucharist is prepared) are consecrated with the relics of saints.
Now, this idea expanded again after Christianity was legalized, then became the state religion of the Roman Empire. People where no longer dying for the faith. At this time, other types of saints were recognized. Monastics, hierarchs and theologians, fools for christ, etc. And so, "saint" now means those who have finished their race (died) and now have entered the Kingdom of God in forestaste in Paradise (the Bosom of Arbaham) in anticipation of the glorious resurrection. All of those who await the resurrection in Paradise, all of those who are "saved" are truly saints. For example, it is a pious custom for some to pray to beloved relatives (such as parents) who have reposed.
That said, God sometimes shows forth certain persons as examples of saintly lives. A cult of veneration forms around the person, and over time the Church officially glorifies the person, commissioning hymns and icons for the saint in order to acknowledge the work already wrought by God. These people are THE saints, as we often speak of them. Those with feasts days, icons and hymns, that are particular examples to us on how to live out our Christian faith and piety. All who are saved partake of the foretaste of the Kingdom in Paradise, but not all of them are known to us here. Some saints remain unknown to the Church at large, and instead are known only to God Himself. The saints which have been made manifest to us, as well as those who remain unseen, inhabit Paradise together, and await the resurrection of all.
I hope this is helpful, and ask anyone to correct me where I have erred.