What is a Christian?

What is a Saint?


The Orthodox Dogma of sanctity, by St Justin Popovich


Oct 3/16 2009 19th Friday after Pentecost



orthodox-faith-and-life-in-christ-justin-popovich-book-cover.jpg “What are Christians? Christians are Christ-bearers, and by virtue of this bearers and possessors of eternal life, and this according to the measure of faith and according to the measure of holiness which is from faith.


The Saints are the most perfect Christians, for they have been sanctified to the highest degree with the podvigs[1] of holy faith in the risen and eternally-living Lord Christ and no death has power over them. Their life is entirely from the Lord Christ, and for this reason is entirely Christ’s life; and their thought is entirely Christ’s thought; and their perception is Christ’s perception. All that they have is first Christ’s and then theirs. If the soul, it is first Christ’s and then theirs. In them is nothing of themselves but rather wholly and in everything the Lord Christ.


Therefore the Lives of the Saints are nothing else but the life of the Lord Christ, repeated in this or that form.” (St Justin Popovich, “Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, in the Chapter “Introduction to the Lives of the Saints”, pp 34,35)

Saint Justin Popovich - photograph 


How far away is our life from Fr Justin’s description of what we should be! How far away is the conception of the typical Christian of this reality!


I hope to serialize other portions of this “desert island” book by St Justin in the future.



Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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[1] The very rich Russian word is difficult to translate. It basically means an intense spiritual struggle. One cannot have a podvig without struggling AS a Christian, in other words, all intense struggles are not necessarily podvigs.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas