I have decided to share this message with the rest of our community
concerning the Position of the Saints and their relationship with
God in heaven, and also the position of the Church with us here in
the world. Before leaving you to read this message, I'd like to define
a Saint. A Saint is a person, who professing Jesus Christ as his Lord
and Saviour, and who properly becomes a member of the Mystical Body of
Christ, ends the earthly life and enters the Kingdom of Heaven. The
Church officially recognizes a certain subset of all the Saints because
of their specific example or because they died for their faith in Christ.
Certain of these official 'Saints' are remembered only for their example
to us of how we might grow. Each has a different way, but certain examples
serve to inspire us to the next rung in the giant Ladder of Spiritual
Growth in Christ, our Lord.

Thu Oct 27 22:49:09 EDT 1988
Dear Brother Gary,
I have seen references and scanned diverse messages concerning the
Saints and their position relative to Christ, and the Holy Trinity. These
refer to the purported teaching that Saints are 'exalted' in the Orthodox
Church. This is not the case. Not one person; not one thing is to be
worshipped by a Christian but the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, along with
God, the Holy Spirit and God, the Father Almighty. To exalt the Saints is
to come dangerously close to worship of the Saints. Therefore, the
position of the Saints in our Church is one of honour and veneration. What
is meant by veneration is that we are to admire the examples that the
Saints have set for us, and to take up their examples into our daily lives
in Christ, our Lord.

God's work is ever-Living in His Church. God, the Father and
His Son Jesus Christ, sent the Life Giving Holy Spirit to guide the Church
into all TRUTH, and to protect the Church through the Life Force of the
Spirit of God, which is living in the lives of each Member of the Body of
Christ. Christ is the head of His Church. The reason we call ourselves,
Orthodox, is for the reason that it is our calling to protect the Faith
from any deviations and to keep it pure. The Orthodox Church proclaims her
Faith through the Traditions handed down to her from Jesus Christ, and by
His 12 Apostles. In St. John's Gospel, he writes in Chapter 21, Verse 25:

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if
they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself
could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

In 33 AD, when the Church was born, the New Testament did not yet exist in
written form. It was not until circa 70 AD that the New Testament was in a
form to be used by the Church. So, when we speak of verifying everything
by Scripture, this is good, but also we ought to consult Holy Tradition as
well. Without Holy Tradition, the Bible is a mystery. But with Tradition,
it is less of a Mystery. This means that we place a VERY HIGH PLACE for
the BIBLE in our interpretations, and at the same time, the Bible is part
of Tradition. To us, it is also equally important to consult the writings
of the Early Church Fathers, to see what their views might have been of the
Faith. Although we may not agree with them, and although they are not
always without error, we gain insights into the life of the Church and also
we gain a new dimension of understanding of the Christian Faith when we
read the Church Fathers in conjunction with our Bibles.

In most of our Christian upbringing, we have been admonished to follow
after the Word of God. For many of us, all we have ever known is to reap
the Word of God through our Bibles alone. However, the dimension of the
Church is often overlooked for her contribution to the dissemination of the
Word of God. We overlook the fact that the Word of God is not the physical
pages of the Bible but is the Window of Phrases, Actions, and Body of our
Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, many may not realize that the Word of God is
not a book at all: It is Jesus Himself who is the Incarnate Word of God,
because He is God, and His Mouth and Body Speak to us through the pages of
the Bible, and Jesus speaks to us through the writings of the Church
Fathers as well.

How is it that the Church Fathers, mere mortal men, can become
accurate bearers of the Word of God? Firstly, we do not accept the
writings of the Church Fathers without question, but we acknowledge that
the Holy Spirit guides these Servants of God into TRUTH as much as
possible. Of course the fall of man since Adam and Eve prevents this
avenue from being 100% without error. Even so, these writings have great
value for us in strengthening our Faith, and in inspiring us to a fuller
relationship with God. The error of man has been to categorize, stamp,
index, file, and reduce the Faith into a superficial simplicity causing
division amongst men, and error amongst Churches which chase after these

Whereas, what God requires of us is communion with Him and obedience
to His commandments. The way to know the Faith is to experience God and
His Power. The Orthodox Church has until the present day fought off the
Scholasticism and Legalism of Western Religious Theology, in favor of the
Mystical Experience of God through the Sacraments. It is important to
realize that the Church is a body of Believers gathered around the Bishop
(today's living Apostle of our Lord) celebrating the Holy Eucharist. The
Church is the Life of God, the Power of God, and the Glory of God here on
Earth. The Church is heaven on Earth. The Church is representative of
God's Love of man and His creation. The Church is the resurrected Jesus
Christ. The Church is our Salvation, because within is the Grace of Jesus
Christ. The Church is not a physical building but a community of believers
in communion with God, through the Grace bestowed by Him through His Son,
Jesus Christ.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, now and for ever, and
from all Ages to all Ages. Amen.

Love 'ya in Christ,
Brother Petros