The Orthodox Church does not worship Saints. The worship of Saints is definitely forbidden by the Church. Intercession to the Saints is practiced and encouraged by the Orthodox Church because physical death is not a defeat for a Christian. It is a glorious passage into Heaven. Our Church believes in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Angels and the Saints. The Church is composed of all Christians who lived, who are living and who are yet to be born!
Christians are asked to pray for each other all throughout Scripture. We pray for our family, blood relatives, friends etc. We pray for the well-being of all Creation in our Orthodoxy liturgy and prayers. This is known as Intercession. a�?I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;a�?-1 Timothy 2:1.
Mediation and Intercession.
MEDIATION and INTERCESSION are different.
Christians intercede for each other. (Intercession)
a�?I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;a�?a��1 Timothy 2:1
Christ Mediates for each of us. (Mediation)
a�? For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesusa�?a��1 Timothy 2:5
Christ is the Only Mediator. But that does not mean we dona��t pray for each other (Intercession).
St. Paul who asks Christians to pray for each other, tells just one sentence later that Christ is the Only Mediator. That means Intercession and Mediation and two different things. Otherwise St. Paul is contradicting himself in the same breath.
The Orthodox Church honours the saints to express their love and gratitude to God, who has a�?perfecteda�? the saints. As St. Symeon the New Theologian writes, a�?God is the teacher of the Prophets, the co-traveller with the Apostles, the power of the Martyrs, the inspiration of the Fathers and Teachers, the perfection of all Saints a�� a�?
Throughout early Christianity, Christians customarily met in the places where the martyrs had died, to build churches in their honour, venerate their relics and memory, and present their example for imitation by others.
Interesting information on this subject derives from the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, according to which the early Christians reverently collected the remains of the saints and honoured them a�?more than precious stones.a�? They also met on the day of their death to commemorate a�?their new birthday, the day they entered into their new life, in Heaven.a�?
To this day the Orthodox Church has preserved the liturgical tradition of celebrating Holy Eucharist on the day of the sainta��s death, and of building churches honouring their names, and of paying special respect to their relics.