Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Communion with the Saints - Fr Michael Pomazansky

Expand Messages
  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Communion with  the Saints + By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky THE CHURCH PRAYS for all who have died in the faith, and asks forgiveness for their sins,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Communion with  the Saints
      By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

      THE CHURCH PRAYS for all who have died in the faith, and asks forgiveness
      for their sins, for there is no man without sin, "if he have lived even a
      single day upon earth" (Job 14:5, Septuagint). "If we say that we have no
      sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).
      Therefore, no matter how righteous a man might be, when he departs from
      this world, the Church accompanies his departure with prayer for him to the
      "Brethren, pray for us," the holy Apostle Paul asks his spiritual children
      (1 Thes. 5:25).

      At the same time, when the common voice of the Church testifies to the
      righteousness of the reposed person, Christians, apart from prayer for him,
      are taught by the good example of his life and place him as an example to
      be imitated.

      And when, further, the common conviction of the sanctity of the reposed
      person is confirmed by special testimonies such as martyrdom, fearless
      confession, self-sacrificing service to the Church, and the gift of
      healing, and especially when the Lord confirms the sanctity of the reposed
      person by miracles after his death when he is remembered in prayer, then
      the Church glorifies him in a special way. How can the Church not glorify
      those whom the Lord Himself calls His "friends"? "Ye are my friends ... I
      have called you friends" (John 15:14-15), whom He has received in His
      heavenly mansions in fulfillment of the words, "Where I am, there ye may be
      also" (John 14:3). When this happens, prayers for the forgiveness of the
      sins of the departed one and for his repose cease; they give way to other
      forms of Church communion with him, namely: first, the praising of his
      struggles in Christ, "since neither do men light a candle and put it under
      a bushel, but on a ca! ndlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in
      the house" (Matt. 5:15); second, petitions to him that he might pray for
      us, for the remission of our sins, and for our moral advancement, and that
      he might help us in our spiritual needs and in our sorrows.

      It is said: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth"
      (Rev. 14:13) and we indeed bless them. It is said: "The glory which Thou
      gavest Me, I have given them" (John 17:22), and we indeed give to them this
      glory according to the Savior's commandment.

      Likewise the Savior said: "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a
      prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous
      man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward"
      (Matt. 10:41). "Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in
      heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother" (Matt. 12:50).
      Therefore, we also should receive a righteous man as a righteous man. If he
      is a brother for the Lord, then he should be such for us also. The saints
      are our spiritual brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers, and our love for
      them is expressed by communion in prayer with them.

      The Apostle John wrote to his fellow Christians: "That which we have seen
      and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us:
      and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ"
      (I John 1:3). And in the Church this fellowship with the Apostles is not
      interrupted; it goes over with them into the other realm of their
      existence, the heavenly realm.

      The nearness of the saints to the Throne of the Lamb and the raising up by
      them of prayers for the Church on earth are depicted in the book of
      Revelation of St. John the Theologian: "And I beheld, and I heard the voice
      of many angels round about the Throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and
      the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand," who praised the
      Lord (Rev. 5:11).

      Communion in prayer with the saints is the realization in actual fact of
      the bond between Christians on earth and the Heavenly Church of which the
      Apostle speaks: "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the
      Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of
      angels, to the general assembly and the Church of the firstborn, which are
      written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just
      men made perfect" (Heb. 12:22-23).

      Sacred Scripture presents numerous examples of the fact that, while still
      living on earth, the righteous can see and hear and know much that is
      inaccessible to ordinary understanding. All the more these gifts are
      present with them when they have put off the flesh and are in heaven. The
      holy Apostle Peter saw into the heart of Ananias, according to the book of
      Acts (5:3). To Elisha was revealed the lawless act of the servant Gehazi (4
      Kings, ch. 4; 2 Kings in KJV), and what is even more remarkable, to him was
      revealed all the secret intentions of the Syrian court, which he then
      communicated to the King of Israel (4 Kings 6:12). When still on earth, the
      saints penetrated in spirit into the world above; some of them saw choirs
      of angels, others were vouchsafed to behold the image of God (Isaiah and
      Ezekiel), and still others were exalted to the third heaven and heard there
      mystical, unutterable words. All the more when they are in heaven are they
      capable of knowing what is happen! ing on earth and of hearing those who
      appeal to them because the saints in heaven are equal unto the angels (Luke

      From the parable of the Lord about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
      we know that Abraham, being in heaven, could hear the cry of the rich man
      who was suffering in hell, despite the "great gulf" that separates them.
      The words of Abraham about the rich man's brethren, "They have Moses and
      the prophets; let them hear them" (Luke 16:29), clearly indicate that
      Abraham knows the life of the Hebrew people which has occurred after his
      death; he knows of Moses and the Law, of the prophets and their writings.
      The spiritual vision of the souls of the righteous in heaven, without any
      doubt, is greater than it was on earth. The Apostle writes: "Now we see
      through a glass, darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but
      then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor. 13:12).

      The holy Church has always held the teaching of the invocation of the
      saints, being fully convinced that they intercede for us before God in
      heaven. This we see from the ancient Liturgies. In the Liturgy of the holy
      Apostle James it is said: "Especially we perform the memorial of the Holy
      and Glorious Ever-Virgin, the Blessed Theotokos. Remember Her, 0 Lord God,
      and by Her pure and holy prayers spare and have mercy on us." St. Cyril of
      Jerusalem, explaining the Liturgy of the Church of Jerusalem, remarks,
      "Then we also commemorate (in offering the Bloodless Sacrifice) those who
      have previously departed: first of all, patriarchs, prophets, apostles,
      martyrs, so that by their prayers and intercession God might receive our

      Numerous are the testimonies of the Father and teachers of the Church,
      especially from the fourth century onwards, concerning the Church's
      veneration of the saints. But already from the beginning of the second
      century there are direct indications in ancient Christian literature
      concerning faith in prayer by the saints in heaven for their earthly
      brethren. The witnesses of the martyric death of St. Ignatius the
      God-Bearer (in the beginning of the second century) said: "Having returned
      home with tears, we had the all-night vigil ... Then, after sleeping a
      little, some of us suddenly saw blessed Ignatius standing and embracing us,
      and others likewise saw him praying for us." Similar records, mentioning
      the prayers and intercession for us of the martyrs, are to be found in
      other accounts from the epoch of persecutions against Christians.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.