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Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
Orthodox dogmatic theology

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From all that has been said, we may draw several conclusions. Essentially, according to the

understanding of the Church and according to the principles of the glorification of saints, the glorification

of saints has always been the same in the Orthodox Church. In these questions, the

Eastern Orthodox Churches of the second millennium have followed the tradition of the Church

of the first millennium and its ancient period. The Russian Church of the pre-Petrine era followed

the path of the Greek Church; while the Russian Church of the post-Petrine era remained faithful

to the customs of the pre-Petrine era. The glorification of the saints consisted and consists of a

general statement of faith by the Church that God Himself has united the departed one to the assembly

of His saints. This faith is founded on the facts of a death by martyrdom, or upon a righteous

life which is apparent to the whole Church, or upon the glorification of the saint of God by

instances of wonderworking during his lifetime or at his tomb. Glorification is usually an expression

of the voice of the people of the Church, to whom the higher ecclesiastical authority, after

due verification, gives synodally the final word, establishment, recognition, confirmation and the

sanction of the Church.

The glorification of the saints is among the most important activities of the Church. In its

basic, elementary aspect, glorification consists of turning from prayers “for the dead” to requests

for a saint's intercession before God, and in his prayerful glorification by services from the general

menaion or with specially composed services. The glorification of a saint and the uncovering

of his relics do not constitute a single, inseparable act, although they often are performed together.

The Orthodox Church does not maintain that it is essential that a fixed period of time pass

between the repose of a righteous man and his numbering among the choir of the saints, as is accepted

in the Roman confession, which has instituted a period of several decades (usually fifty

years from the date of death for “beatification,” a process which corresponds roughly to local

veneration, and eighty years for canonization).

In the miracles worked through the prayers or at the tombs of the righteous of God, the Orthodox

Church sees the will of God in the glorification of these strugglers. When no such signsexist, the Church does not see the will of God in their solemn glorification, as one of the resolutions

of Patriarch Adrian of Moscow (reigned 1690-1700) expresses in regard to a certain request

for glorification: “If our Lord God, the Creator of all, glorifieth anyone in this life, and after his

death declareth this to His people through many miracles, then the miracles of this person become

clearly known, for many holy wonderworkers were found in the Holy Church, whose

memories the Church always hymns and their relics it contains. They that are not known, whom

God Almighty Himself hath not been well pleased to glorify with signs and wonders, even if

such lived righteously and in a holy manner, are not such as the Church glorifieth. The names of

many are not remembered, and the whole world cannot contain the books of their names that

could be written.”

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