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St_Nektarios_CatechismThe Holy Scriptures instruct us to honor and respect the elderly: “Thou shalt rise up before the grey-headed, and honor the presence of an old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord thy God” (Lev. 19:32). Are we then not obligated to respect and honor the Saints and friends of God? Yes, we are obligated to do so; for the Holy Scriptures direct us not only to honor and respect but also to reverence and fear them: “Ye shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My saints” (Lev. 19:30).

God Himself attests that He bestows glory to them who glorify Him: “I will glorify them who glorify Me” (1 Kg. 2:30). Thus, we should rejoice when honoring the memory of the Saints whom God has glorified, just as the prophet and king David did: “But to me, exceedingly honorable are Thy friends, O Lord; their principalities are made exceedingly strong. I will count them, and they shall be multiplied more than the sand” (Ps. 138:17). And this is why elsewhere he orders emphatically, “Praise ye God in His Saints” (Ps. 150:1). The wise Solomon similarly admits: “The memory of the righteous is accompanied with praise, but the name of the ungodly shall be extinguished” (Pr. 10:7).

The New Testament continues to instruct and recommend that we honor the Saints. “Wherefore I also,” says the Apostle Paul, “after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:15-16). And in his epistle to the Collosians he repeats, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints” (Col. 1:3-4). The apostle repeats the same thing in his epistle to Philemon: “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints” (Phm. 1:4-6).

Unquestionably, the word “saints” in the above verses refers to all the devout faithful who preserve a fervent love for Christ within their hearts. If, therefore, we are obligated to honor, respect, and love every fervent and devout Christian, how much more are we obligated to reverence the Saints whom God Himself has honored and glorified?

—from the book Nothing is Incurable for St. Nektarios

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