Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

prayer_to_saints

35 Entries

...the Christian, approaching God with a prayer to Him, or to His most pure Mother, or to the angels and saints, in order to insure the success of his prayer, ought to try to resemble as far as possible the Lord Himself, or His most-pure Mother, or the angels and saints. In this lies the secret of drawing near to God, and of His speedily hearing our prayers. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 19-20)



God's saints are near to believing hearts and, like the truest and kindest friends, are ready in a moment to help the faithful and pious who call upon them with faith and love. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery; pg. 31)

Let us then honor the Saints and invoke their help, in order that they might strengthen us in our prayer. And we may rest assured that our prayer will be listened to by God. Modern Orthodox Saints Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos., by Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., 1990., pp. 145-155

On days when a Saint is celebrated, Christians ought to pray more ardently, with contrition and love, and entreat the Saint to intercede with God for the salvation of their soul. The feast day of every Saint is for Christians a serious reminder of the great sufferings which the Saints experienced for the sake of Christ's faith. They were glorified by God and with glory they received a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Modern Orthodox Saints Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos., by Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., 1990., pp. 145-155

On days when a Saint is celebrated, Christians ought to pray more ardently, with contrition and love, and entreat the Saint to intercede with God for the salvation of their soul. The feast day of every Saint is for Christians a serious reminder of the great sufferings which the Saints experienced for the sake of Christ's faith. They were glorified by God and with glory they received a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us then honor the Saints and invoke their help, in order that they might strengthen us in our prayer. And we may rest assured that our prayer will be listened to by God. St. Raphael of Lesvos

Q: A thought instigates me not to ask the Saints so as to understand what is profitable, lest, having disdained this in my infirmity, I should sin.

A: This thought is very harmful; in no way listen to it. For one who, having understood what is profitable, sins, condemns himself in every way; but he who sins without having understood what is profitable, never condemns himself, and his passions remain unhealed. And this is why the devil instills in him (such a thought), so that his passions will remain unhealed. But when the thought instills into you that you cannot fulfill the answer (of the Elder) out of infirmity, then ask in this way: "My Father! I desire to do such and such; tell me what is profitable, although I know that even if you tell me I cannot fulfill and keep what is said; but I wish to learn only so as to condemn myself for having disdained what is profitable." This will lead you to humility. May the Lord preserve your heart by the prayers of the Saints. Amen. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day. St. Ephrem of Syria (ca. 306-373), 'The Fear at the End of Life'

We ought to have the most lively spiritual union with the heavenly inhabitants, with all the saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs, prelates, venerable and righteous men, as they are all members of one single body, The Church of Christ, to which we sinners also belong, and the living Head of which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. This is why we call upon them in prayer, converse with them, thank and praise them, It is urgently necessary for all Christians to be in union with them, if they desire to make Christian progress; for the saints are our friends, our guides to salvation, who pray and intercede for us. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord Himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love. Him. St. Ephrem of Syria (ca. 306-373), Commentary on Mark

And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful, do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with thee, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, Thou art the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God. St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

At the Lord's table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps St. Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]

Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins. funerary inscription near St. Sabina's in Rome [A.D. 300], DOCUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 2nd edn., ed. Henry Bettenson

Gregory of Nazianzen presided over those who maintain the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, and assembled them together in a little dwelling, which had been altered into the form of a house of prayer, by those who held the same opinions and had a like form of worship. It subsequently became one of the most conspicuous in the city, and is so now, not only for the beauty and number of its structures, but also for the advantages accruing to it from the visible manifestations of God. For the power of God was there manifested, and was helpful both in waking visions and in dreams, often for the relief of many diseases and for those afflicted by some sudden transmutation in their affairs. The power was accredited to Mary, the Mother Of God, the holy virgin, for she does manifest herself in this way. Sozomen, Church History 7:5 [A.D. 444]NPNF II 2:378-379

Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto thee do I again return. Thou are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs unto the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son's love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing mother, of the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of thee.making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father--the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness. St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

He that wears the purple [i.e. a royal man].stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tent-maker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead. St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392] NPNF I 12:402-403

It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them, and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. No one officiating at the altar in the saint's burying place ever says, we bring an offering to thee O Peter!, or O Paul!, or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned. St. Augustine of Hippo, Reply to Faustus the Manichaen bk. 20 ch. 21, NPNF I 4:262

May my mother sleep well, I pray thee, Light of the dead. Aschandius my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember thy Pectorius in the peace of the Fish. funerary inscription, Third century, Autun, France, DOCUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 2nd edn., ed. Henry Bettenson

May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock.gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand. St. Gregory the Theologian Nazianzen Orations 17[24] [A.D. 380]

Pray for thy parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days. funerary inscription near St. Sabina's in Rome [A.D. 300], DOCUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 2nd edn., ed. Henry Bettenson

Still we honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. WE HONOR the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says: "he that receiveth you receiveth me". St. Jerome, Epistle 109:1, NPNF II, 6:212

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]

Therefore, we pray thee, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in thee, and who in hymns august celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away. St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

Those who behold them embrace, as it were, a living body in full flower: they bring eye, mouth, ear, all the senses into play, and then, shedding tears of reverence and passion, they address to the martyr their prayers of intercession as though he were present. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Enconium on St. Theodore, PG 46:740B, quoted in: "The Cult of the Saints", Page 11, Peter Brown, Chicago University Press

We then commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, that God, by their prayers and intercessions, may receive our petitions. St Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Myst. v. n. 9, ca. 356 AD.

"Still we honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. WE HONOR the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says: "he that receiveth you receiveth me"." St. Jerome, Epistle 109:1, NPNF II, 6:212

"At the Lord's table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps" St. Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]

"There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended" St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]

"It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them, and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. No one officiating at the altar in the saint's burying place ever says, we bring an offering to thee O Peter!, or O Paul!, or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned." St. Augustine of Hippo, Reply to Faustus the Manichaen bk. 20 ch. 21, NPNF I 4:262

"Hail to thee for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto thee do I again return. Thou art the beginning of our feast; thou art its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs unto the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, thou treasure of the love of God. Hail, thou fount of the Son's love for man. . . . thou gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing mother, of the light of the sun; thou gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of thee.making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father -- the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness." St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

"Therefore, we pray thee, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in thee, and who in hymns august celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away." St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

"And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful, do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with thee, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, Thou art the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God." St. Methodius, Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305] ANF 6:393

"May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock.gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand." St. Gregory the Theologian Nazianzen Orations 17[24] [A.D. 380]

"He that wears the purple [i.e. a royal man].stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tent-maker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead." St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392] NPNF I 12:402-403

"Gregory of Nazianzen presided over those who maintain the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, and assembled them together in a little dwelling, which had been altered into the form of a house of prayer, by those who held the same opinions and had a like form of worship. It subsequently became one of the most conspicuous in the city, and is so now, not only for the beauty and number of its structures, but also for the advantages accruing to it from the visible manifestations of God. For the power of God was there manifested, and was helpful both in waking visions and in dreams, often for the relief of many diseases and for those afflicted by some sudden transmutation in their affairs. The power was accredited to Mary, the mother of god, the holy virgin, for she does manifest herself in this way." Sozomen, Church History 7:5 [A.D. 444]NPNF II 2:378-379

"Those who behold them embrace, as it were, a living body in full flower: they bring eye, mouth, ear, all the senses into play, and then, shedding tears of reverence and passion, they address to the martyr their prayers of intercession as though he were present." St. Gregory of Nyssa, Enconium on St. Theodore, PG 46:740B, quoted in: "The Cult of the Saints", Page 11, Peter Brown, Chicago University Press)





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