SAINTS – WHO ARE THEY?
We frequently hear about saints in church, especially on Sundays and Feast Days, or we sometimes reading about them. It is good to understand why they are so honored and called saints and learn more about them, because it directly concerns us. We should understand why we offer them reverence and recognition in the Church, and place their icons where they can be kissed and honored.
First, it is important to understand the meaning of the word “saints”. It means the same as the word holy, except that saints is a noun and holy is adjective of the same word. Our Creator and God is continually glorified as being holy. So to become holy is to become like God.saint. It means ridding ourselves of every blemish and moral defect, and to acquire every virtue and purity of thought, word and deed. The more holy we become the more we reflect the image and likeness of God, which is the purpose of Orthodoxy in this present life.
In the Orthodox Church we offer homage to the one who is far above all the saints being who is the holiest of them all. Her names describes her exceptionally high standing above all the saints and heavenly powers. She is the All undefiled, All-holy and Ever-blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, the Theotokos and Mother of God. We honor her because she is the purest woman that ever existed being being filled with holiness and truth, and so holy and pure that God chose her to bear His Son in the flesh. The holy sinless flesh that the Son of God wrapped himself, He took from this holy woman. She is honored as being exceedingly higher than the highest and we Orthodox praise her saying: “More honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim . . .”
However, in our Orthodox Faith the word saint or holy is not meant to be used only for certain exceptional and outstanding saints and heavenly creatures, but to denote all those who hear the Gospel, believe in Jesus Christ, and become part of His holy Body – the Church. Jesus sternly commands that we all must become holy saints, saying: “Be holy for I am holy,” and “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”