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Author Topic: could there be more recognition of non-Orthodox saints?  (Read 1685 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: September 05, 2004, 06:44:38 AM »

It is well-known that the Orthodox church does not pray to saints of other denominations. However, there are many Roman Catholic saints that are claimed to have produced miracles or whose bodies are claimed to have been found incorrupt. The first example on my mind would be Karl I/IV, the last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. He was reportedly a very devoted monarch who loved his people, but was compelled to leave power when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy lost World War I and died in 1922 in relative hardship. A nun claims she was healed after praying for his beatification, and in 1972 his body was reportedly found incorrupt. The Pope is set to beatify him in October. Similarly, there was a few years ago a beatification or cannonization of the American nun Sister Mary Katherine Drexel, who reportedly interceded for a miraculous healing of a little girl. Does this mean that these people really are saints, even if they're not Orthodox, or is there delusion of some sort involved?
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2004, 01:26:06 AM »

i'm still a beginner in the Orthodox Church, but Jesus said that false miracles can be performed.  A miracle isn't always recognition of saintliness.  Other religions (i.e. Hinduism, Budhism, etc.) have reported many miracles.  Hope this helped.  
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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2004, 02:25:36 PM »

The most charitable answer I can give is that the Roman Catholic Church is outside the realm of Orthodoxy. Therefore, we do not seek the intercession of Roman Catholic saints whom the Orthodox Church has not canonized.  This doesn't mean Roman Catholics are bad. Nor does it mean that these people are not real saints.  It just means we don't judge those outside the visible Orthodox Church.  I know a lot of Orthodox that respect and admire Saint Francis of Assissi.  But I know of very few, if any, that seek his intercession.  I guess if one did this privately at home, it would not be that big of a deal. But don't expect an Orthodox priest PUBLICALLY to call for intercessions to a saint that the Orthodox Church has not formally canonized. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2004, 07:32:25 PM »

also, it is known that there are thousands of saints who have lived, who live now, and who will live in the future who will never be canonized.  not all saints are canonized.... many live in obscurity and are never become famous.
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Antonious Nikolas
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2004, 09:07:37 AM »

I think that there may be some legitimate saints outside of the visible Orthodox Church.  St. Isaac of Nineveh, for example, was from the Persian (i.e. Nestorian) Church, right?  And even St. Constantine the Great was baptized an Arian on his deathbed.  I would hesitate to deny the sainthood of Mother Theresa.  Or also that of St. Maria Goretti, a truly wonderful and Christ-like child.  Here is her story:

The daughter of humble sharecroppers, Maria and her family moved to the little town of Ferriere, Italy in 1899 in search of work.  Desperately seeking to support his family, Luigi Goretti struck up a bargain with Signor Serenelli, who had a son named Alessandro. The two families lived together in a building owned by Count Mazzolini.

Maria quickly matured in grace and holiness in the eyes of friends and other acquaintances. After losing her father to malaria, she developed great strength and maturity. Her charming modesty, cheerful obedience and the serious, but free acceptance of a hundred thankless home chores distinguished her from the other children who would play in the dusty streets of Ferriere. Perhaps the highlight of her life was her First Holy Communion, which she dutifully prepared for and awaited with great anticipation. She truly seemed to be advancing "in wisdom, and age and grace before God and men."

Lured by the passions of his day and nurturing the dark side of his soul with impious reading and thoughts, Alessandro Serenelli had been a thorn in lovely Maria's side. He propositioned her on several occasions and harassed her with impure suggestions. On July 5, 1902, he would be denied no longer. As she once again rebuffed his sexual advance, shouting, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!", Alexander lunged to the deed, stabbing Maria 14 times.

Doctors in Nettuno tried to save Maria's life to no avail. After 20 painful hours of suffering during which she forgave and prayed for Alessandro, Maria entered Heaven fortified with the Last Sacraments. Her last earthly gaze rested upon a picture of the Blessed Mother. It was July 6, 1902.

Almost fifty years later on June 24, 1950, Pope Pius XII stood on the steps of St. Peter's in Rome and pronounced Maria Goretti a Saint and Martyr of the Universal Church to half a million people. He proposed her as the Patroness of Modern Youth and set July 6th as her feast Day. Her mother, and her murderer, attended the canonization ceremony together.

This was the triumph of the little girl who loved God and hated sin.

Maria Goretti had led a very ordinary life. But in spite of her simplicity, her great faith and love for God made her truly extraordinary.

Many recorded miracles, both spiritual and physical, have been worked through St. Maria Goretti's intercession. Worldwide, there are many places of devotion to St. Maria Goretti, such as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces and St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Italy, pictured here.
   
from http://www.mariagoretti.org/mariabio.htm

I'm not sure of the official stance of the Orthodox Church on this matter, and I would certainly abide by whatever the Church felt was best, but I find this wonderful young girl's story to be very inspirational.  Her greatest joy was to receive the Eucharist.  The custom in her locale was for the little children to ask for something when they received their first Communion.  The priest later asked each of them what they asked for.  Some said bikes, or other material things, or to grow up to find a good husband, etc., but St. Maria Goretti said that all she asked for was to receive the Body and Blood of Christ again so that she could be one with Him.  The priest was astounded, and allowed her to receive for three weeks straight, which apparently was very unusual for children in that part of Italy in those days.  

Moreover, she demonstrated true Christianity in her terrible suffering.  Even as she was enduring terrible torture on the operating table, with no anesthesia, the priest asked her if she forgave her attacker.  She said yes, she wanted him to be with her in Heaven.  She said that even through her terrible pain.  Also, she begged for a glass of water, but couldn't have one because of her open stomach wounds.  Thre priest told her that Our Lord Jesus didn't have any water while He was suffering, and she said, yes, I accept this, then I don't need any water either.  Such words from a child?  I don't think that I would have that holiness if I were in that situation.  To my mind, this young lady has done her best to emulate Her Master, and is certainly a saint.  I would have no problem asking for her intercession, especially for a child, unless my fathers the bishops told me it was wrong to do so.

Nick
« Last Edit: September 08, 2004, 09:18:14 AM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2004, 09:55:38 AM »

Personally,  if I was wanting to pray for intercession from a non-Orthodox saint, I would talk to my priest/spiritual father before doing so.
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Antonious Nikolas
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2004, 11:12:44 AM »

Personally,  if I was wanting to pray for intercession from a non-Orthodox saint, I would talk to my priest/spiritual father before doing so.

This seems like a wise course of action.  I would also check with my spiritual father before asking for intecession from any non-Orthodox saint, although I still feel that we can express an admiration for these figures and draw inspiration from their examples.

This discussion has me curious.  As it has been explained to me, the canonization process usually begins with the veneration of a certain figure by the laity.  I believe that this is true in all of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox tradtions.  As it says on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website:

"The Orthodox Church does not follow any official procedure for the "recognition" of saints. Initially the Church accepted as saints those who had suffered martyrdom for Christ. The saints are saints thanks to the grace of God, and they do not need official ecclesiastical recognition. The Christian people, reading their lives and witnessing their performance of miracles, accept and honor them as saints. St. John Chrysostom, persecuted and exiled by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, was accepted as a saint of the Church by popular acclaim. St. Basil the Great was accepted immediately after his death as a saint of the Church by the people. Recently, in order to avoid abuses, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has issued special encyclical letters (tomoi) in which the Holy Synod "recognizes" or accepts the popular feelings about a saint. Such an example in our days is St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (1955)."

Since this is the case, how did the people come to venerate saints who were not even Orthodox, as in the cases I mentioned in my initial post (i.e. St. Constantine and St. Isaac of Nineveh)?  It is perfectly understandable that since St. Constantine ended the official persecution of Christians that he would be remembered as a saint, even though he died as an Arian, but how did people come to venerate St. Isaac and others like him?  It is possible that these are not the only two cases.  In all of the hagiography there might be one or two more saints who died outside of the visible Church.  I use the term "visible" because obviously they are considered to be a part of the Church now because they are proclaimed as saints, whereas in their lifetimes they may have even been barred from the Eucharist.


Another question: Once the masses started to venerate these people, why did the ecclesiastical authorities not caution them against venerating those who died outside of the visible Orthodox Communion?  It is interesting to me that some of these saints could not have received Communion in an Orthodox Church during their lifetimes, but now have Churches named for them.  I am curious as to how this works.  In light of the above statement by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, what would the Church do if in some locality the laity started venerating a non-Orthodox holy person en masse.

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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2004, 01:30:57 PM »

I do not know connonically how The Church looks at it, however I do know this.  When living in France, St. John of Shanghai would go into Catholic cathedrals & say "dig here."  They would dig where he pointed, and would find relics of long forgotten or long lost saints.  I'm under the impression that the relics were from saints after the split.
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