Approaching Christ: No Intercessor Necessary


Although in Orthodox Christian piety, much is made of the intercession of the Theotokos and the saints, St John Chrysostom pointed out that because Christ loves us, He is willing to receive our petitions directly and so we don’t have to have an intercessor to approach Him in prayer. Using the Canaanite woman as an example, Chrysostom points out that she doesn’t approach the apostles and ask them to intercede for her, rather she approaches the Lord Jesus directly and Christ answers her petition. In fact, the apostles not only don’t intercede for the woman, instead they attempted to interfere and prevent not only her request from being answered but from the woman even having opportunity to petition Christ.  They urged Christ to send her away without answering her cry!  Not a great model of Christian behavior on their part, but a great example of faithfulness and persistence on the woman’s part.  Christ doesn’t let the apostle’s failure prevent Him from showing mercy to this woman who also is a stranger/foreigner.

‘Observe the woman’s prudence.  She does not beseech James, she does not petition John, she does not approach Peter… She thinks: “I have no need of an intermediary.  I am taking repentance as my advocate and going to the very source.  This is why Christ descended to earth, this is why He took flesh, so that even I might be able to speak with Him”


In Christ’s coming to earth He made Himself accessible to all, including sinners and those not from the household of faith.  We only need to approach Him in humility or repentance.  Hiermonk Gregorios comments:

“Like the Canaanite woman (cf. Matt 15:21-8), we run to Christ and ceaselessly implore His mercy: ‘Have mercy on me.  My way of life does not permit me to speak to You.  I seek refuge in mercy, in the haven which accepts all sinners.  I seek refuge in mercy, where there is no court of judgement, where salvation is offered without examination.’  (THE DIVINE LITURGY, pp 171-172)

Christ accepts our prayers and petitions, even though we are sinners. He hears us because He loves us and demands no price before granting us His great mercy. “Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).


For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)