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Veneration

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by FaithfulPilgrim, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. FaithfulPilgrim

    FaithfulPilgrim Eternally Seeking

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    I was reading up Eastern Orthodox theology, and from what I've read is that saints (at least the ones that go through glorification) are venerated and people do ask for their intercession in salvation, but they aren't worshiped.

    How do the Orthodox venerate the saints and where do they draw the line between veneration, asking for intercession and actual worship and idolatry?
     
  2. Stabat Mater

    Stabat Mater Servant of Christ and his Mother Supporter Angels Team

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    The recognition that they're venerated due to their submission to Christ.
    It's their humble hearts that makes them our Christian role models.

    Christ shines through them.
     
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  3. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Hello, and welcome to TAW. :)

    This is a very good question, and it will probably take some discussion to get at the nuances.

    I would start by saying this - to venerate is to honor one who is deserving of some honor. Think of a wise grandparent, dearly beloved, highly respected, who you know very well that you can count on for good advice in any question. Especially if your culture is one that respects older people, what you feel for them could be on the order of veneration. It is very common in the Greek culture for children to kiss the hands of their grandparents, as a sign of respect (Greeks kiss a lot, lol). This is something that helped feed into my understanding of veneration. We may kiss the icon of a Saint, often on the hand, in the same way.

    Worship - is something entirely different. I can't speak for other people, but worship as I have learned and practiced is only for God, and connected to the "otherness" of God. He is unlike anything created, and nothing created can be worshipped. It's difficult for me to put into words, but all parts of the cosmos, all humans, animals, and even angels, all material things around us, are created. They are not our Creator. They are not Divine. There is absolutely no basis for worshipping them.

    I think especially the asking for intercessions has caused a confusion in English. People often shorten it to say that we "pray to the Saints" and because we are taught to pray to God, we confuse prayer with worship. Prayer is not worship. The basis, linguistically, for "pray" is simply to ask. It used to be common English usage to say "I pray thee ... do xyz" when asking another person to do something, meaning only that you are asking. (It was so common that it is basically abbreviated in the words "I prithee ... ") There is absolutely no worship implied. We ask the Saints to pray for us, just as we might ask a living person to pray for us - especially one who we see as very pious, such as our pastor or the elderly lady who is always in church and always praying for people. This is why we particularly ask prayers of the Saints. We KNOW they are holy people, and we know they are present with Christ.

    I hope this is a start ...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    the key to worship is you make an offering. it is only to God that we make our offering when we present ourselves before the Chalice. also worship involves sacrifice, and our participation in the sacraments plugs us into the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. since to no saint is any offering or sacrifice made, no saint is worshipped.

    plus, saint veneration and intercession is only possible because of Christ.
     
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  5. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I know this was addressed to the OP, but thanks for that, Matt. I can't put "worship" into words, but I know what it feels like ... and it is a presenting of self, a lifting of the heart, etc. to God. Even in replying to what you provided, I'm not much able to use words for it. Maybe the best way I could reply is that we give our very selves ... ?

    I don't know. But I know what it feels like. That just doesn't help me in talking it out with anyone - they could assume I meant a hundred other things. Thanks for something to think about in this. :)
     
  6. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    a great place to start, is read the prayers during the Anaphora during the Liturgy.
     
  7. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    Do you think that kissing bits of dead saints is true veneration or is just not right?

    I love St Padre Pio and ask him to 'intercede' for me.
     
  8. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    true veneration as it developed in the Church. because those relics are holy.
     
  9. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    So, kissing them is ok?
     
  10. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Thank you.

    I used to read all of those, but since being in the choir, we often have preparations and such. We join in the first part of the prayers, but sing a hymn of thanks at the end (while the priest is still praying) ... and since it is one of the most solemn parts of the Liturgy I try to be focused then, which means no time to keep up with the priest's part.

    I've been in the choir for over a couple of years now, so I've been missing some parts for a long time. I thank you ... I will begin reading them outside the Liturgy again. I've been meaning to revisit that for a while. :)
     
  11. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    yes
     
  12. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    For me, no.
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Is it the kissing that is of issue?

    I suppose that's all in how one takes it. If someone kisses a picture of a lost loved one, are they worshipping them? If someone kisses their Bible, are they worshipping it? Or what if someone wears a cross necklace, and they kiss the cross, are they worshipping a piece of metal? If someone kisses a grandparent's hand, or in the old-fashioned image of a man kissing the hand of his beloved, are they worshipping that person? If we kiss an icon, do we worship wood and paint?

    To be honest, worship is in the heart. Someone could own an idol, and worship it, and part of that worship could be to kiss it. But it is not the act of kissing, but the attitude of heart toward the object that constitutes worship, and no one can actually judge that in another.

    So proper teaching can be a part of it as well. But we also need to be careful in judging the heart of someone else.

    I won't argue with you if you say that kissing for you would be worship, but it strikes me as a question to wonder if kissing anything else would be worship to you as well, so you avoid kissing anything/anyone at all?
     
  14. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    In a religious sense I am referring to not family etc.

    Deliberately bowing to a relic and kissing it. This is what I disagree with myself.
     
  15. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Well ... it is precisely the fact that they ARE our spiritual family in which it makes sense to me. That was my "light-bulb moment" after I had prayed and prayed to have proper understanding.

    If they are simply "religious beings not like us" then I would have a great sense of discomfort. But when I consider us as all parts of the Body, joint-heirs with Christ and so brothers and sisters in the truest sense of all, yet them having finished the race perfectly ... it makes sense to me to love and honor them. But of course not worship.

    Thank you for your reply.
     
  16. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    okay
     
  17. Virgil the Roman

    Virgil the Roman Young Fogey & Traditional Catholic . . .

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    Why? Your Church does the same thing all the time. As do you and your coreligionists. There are relics in your altar to which you bow (even if you forget that they are there). You kiss the cross, crucifix, and icons: there's nothing wrong with veneration of relics or icons.
     
  18. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    No, I don't personally bow to the altar, or kiss any icons or relics.

    The Cross is VERY different. It is in remembrance of what Jesus went through for us.

    I just don't agree to kissing bits of dead saints that's all, or bowing to them.
     
  19. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I know you didn't ask me ... but even if I understand why it might be done, if it goes against your conscience to do so, as they say, "for you it would be sin". That's how I understand it anyway. Of course, likewise, you can't impose your understanding on someone else, but I don't see you doing that.

    Veneration of persons or things that are Holy, or asking intercessions of anyone alive or reposed, isn't required for salvation. But following your conscience by avoiding what you consider to be wrong would have more of a potential to affect your soul, I would think.
     
  20. Virgil the Roman

    Virgil the Roman Young Fogey & Traditional Catholic . . .

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    Your preference is immaterial. Your religion approves of it; as do your councils and Holy Tradition. You espouse your religion, so it is permitted therein. Hence, you agree with it in principle, even though, perhaps you personally refrain in practise. Also, everytime you genuflect, there is probably a relic in front of you. Hence, you are honouring it, even if you're forgetting that it's there. ;)
     
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