Saints: Understanding Holiness

This Sunday in the Orthodox Church in America we commemorate the Synaxis of All of the Saints of North America.

Archimandrite Hierotheos Vlachos reminds us what it means to refer to the Saints:

“The Holy Fathers were Saints. Sanctity does not have a moral sense, but an ontological one. They are called Saints ‘by virtue of the Holy one Whom they partake of’.  Holy God imparts His uncreated energy to people and sanctifies them. He actually dwells in man by grace and thus man becomes a dwelling place of the holy Trinite God; a living temple of God.” (The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition, p 47)

Saint Jerome  (d. 420AD) says of the relics of saints:

“We do not worship relics any more than we do the sun or moon, the angels, archangels, or seraphim. We honor them in honor of Him whose faith the saints gave witness. We honor the Master by means of his servants.”   (The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life by Jim Forest, p 46)