Category:Orthodox Church Saints

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An Orthodox icon depicting all the saints in heaven
A saint (from the Latin sanctus, meaning holy) is a human being who is believed to have been 'called' to holiness or has, consciously or unconsciously, fulfilled the criteria set for sainthood by a religious institution due to an extraordinary measure of holiness, likeness, or a closeness to God.

While the word saint originated in Christianity the term is used in a more general sense by historians and researchers to describe a level of holiness, or adherence to a religious life, in both Eastern and Western religions. Examples of such are the tzadik in Jewish tradition, the Islamic walī, the rishi in Hindu tradition, the Bhagat and guru in Sikhism, the Shintoist kami, Shengren in the Taoist tradition, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva are also considered to be saints to their respective adherents.

In the larger Orthodox Christian tradition, it is believed that there is only one true saint or hagios in Greek, meaning one worthy of veneration, and that is God. The earliest known occurrence of the term hagios comes from a gnostic text written in the second century BCE, titled the Shepherd of Hermas. Men and women in the Orthodox faith become sainted through participating in God’s holiness. To become canonized or glorified, added to the canon or list of saints, in the Orthodox church indicates that individual has been found worthy of the honorific and congregants are encouraged to petition that saint for intercession by God, sometimes in services composed specifically in a particular saint’s honor. The canon is read during church services and every day in the calendar year is dedicated to a particular group of saints.

Although saints are integral to the teachings of all Apostolic Churches -- Christian denominations whose theology stems from the twelve apostles who followed Jesus’ teachings -- the consideration and connotation of sainthood in the Orthodox church is not identical to that in the Roman Catholic Church. This difference in the concept of conveying sainthood, which began in the 10th century BCE and was formalized through papal decree in the 12th century BCE by Pope Alexander III, highlights an important contrast in the theology and the worldview between the denominations.

Traditionally, saints were chosen by the accepted approval of the faithful. Determining sainthood in Eastern Orthodoxy follows an early Christian church model and is congregational rather that canonical as in the Roman Catholic church. In both the Eastern and Western Christian denominations local communities of adherents praised the Apostles, martyrs, and others in their liturgies and prayers of invocation. Congregants revered the relics of these sainted individuals and believed them to be channels to the Holy Spirit. The early Church recognized six categories of saints in relation to their role in the Church, these categories being the forefathers of Christ and the Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists, Martyrs and Confessors, Founders and Hierarchs of the Church, Ascetics and Monastics, and the Just and Holy. Feeling the rigid, legalistic procedure for canonization in the Roman Catholic Church to be antithetical to Orthodox tradition, the integration of doctrine and experience, Orthodoxy continues to follow the principles and conventions present in the early Church.

Canonization in the Orthodox tradition holds the premise that the Church itself does not make saints, only God can, and from this belief the Orthodox Church does not bestow sainthood. The Church grants that one is already saintly through an understanding of the theological tenet that an individual achieves sainthood by theosis, a process of transformation to reach similarity to -- or union with -- God, and through living in accordance with God’s grace that person’s holiness is manifested.

This is not to say that everyone can become glorified within the Orthodox tradition. In today’s church, requests for recognition of a new saint are presented to the diocesan bishop. An investigative committee is formed that begins a review of the life of the person under consideration for canonization. Once the committee is assured that the person has led a worthy, God centered life, a statement is provided to the Holy Synod of the local Church with the reasons why this person should or should not be recognized as a saint. If accepted, icons are painted and liturgical services created for the glorification of the new saint. If not accepted, the person can be considered again after additional research.

Congregants of the Lutheran, Anglican Communion, and Roman Catholic traditions acknowledge the conception of saints and their veneration in the Orthodox tradition, although the list of those who have achieved sainthood differ. Churches within the Oriental Orthodox tradition ‒ the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Syriac Orthodox Church ‒ each have their own glorification practice and variations of venerable saints.

Rootworkers within the Orthodox tradition can offer the petitioning of Orthodox saints for intercession and the granting of assistance to their clients as a service in their conjure and hoodoo rootwork practices. As it is in the Roman Catholic tradition, Orthodox hoodoo practitioners frequently have built special connections to patron or favorite saints for whom they perform regular venerations and petitions on client’s behalf. This can be done from a dedicated home altar or separate altars maintained for each saint. The decision on whom to petition comes from the relationship the rootworker has developed with the saint or saints and the nature of the situation presented.

Petitioning Orthodox Church Saints

Like the Roman Catholic tradition, within the Orthodox Church a saint can be ascribed as a patron or patroness of a particular cause or profession and or be appealed to for assistance to help prevent or recover from disasters or from specific illnesses. Saints are known for their patronage of a multitude of life’s issues, such as returning lost lovers or strengthening relationships, finding lost objects, easing the afflictions of the physically or mentally ill, aiding in the real estate transactions and other property-owning matters, bringing luck and money in a hurry, as well as building and protecting a peaceful home and family life.

The following Orthodox Church saints are petitioned for aid by conjure doctors and hoodoo practitioners who are Orthodox. Some serve a primarily Orthodox base, while some are venerated in both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. Each saint has a story and a magical or spiritual specialty when it comes to the aid they provide.

Click on a saint's name to read about the saint, see a picture, and find out what kinds of prayers, petitions, and spell-craft are associated with the saint among Orthodox spiritual workers in the folk magic tradition.

Popular Orthodox Church Saints

Saint Anna

Saint Anna is the mother of the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, and grandmother to Jesus Christ. She can be petitioned for intercession by those seeking to have a child or having trouble in conceiving a child.

Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface, also known as the Holy Martyr Boniface and the Apostle of the Germans, was a missionary who spread Christianity in Germany during the 8th century. He can be petitioned for assistance in overcoming addictions.

Saint Christopher

Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travelers; many people carry St. Christopher amulets on their persons or in their vehicles. (Read More ...)

Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna helps mental health patients, victims of incest, and survivors of sexual abuse. (Read More ...)

Saint George

Saint George, a Christian Roman soldier also called Great Martyr, was killed in the 4th century BCE during a time of Christian persecution. He is the patron saint for those in captivity and those facing court cases.

Saint John

Saint John of Kronstadt was an archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He can be petitioned for protection in times of financial distress and for restoration to a comfortable life from a state of poverty.

Saint Juliana

Saint Juliana -- also known as Juliana of Murom, Juliana Lazarevskaya, and Juliana the Merciful – was a pious woman who, after marrying and starting a family, led a life of asceticism without being monastic. She is the patron saint petitioned for a peaceful home, kitchen safety, and protection of the poor and destitute.

Saint Lazarus

Saint Lazarus is called upon to help victims of stroke, AIDS, those who are in comas or suffer from other long-term, chronic health issues. (Read More ...)


Melchizedek, also known as Melchisadek, Melchisedech, or Malki Tzedek ("king of righteousness") was the Canaanite priest-king of Salem (Jerusalem) named in 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis. (Read More ...)

Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of policemen and warriors. (Read More ...)

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of merchants, sailors, archers, bakers, pawnbrokers, the Huguenots, and of course children. (Read More ...)

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and people of Irish extraction and guards against snakes. (Read More ...)

Saint Peter

Saint Peter is the patron of fishermen and of locksmiths, and was one of the apostles of Christ. (Read More ...)

Saint Seraphim

Saint Seraphim of Sarov is generally considered among the greatest of the 18th century elders for sharing the teachings of contemplation, Christian mysticism, and self-denial with the laiety. He can be petitioned for spiritual guidance, consolation in times of trouble, and when struggling with difficult decisions.

Saint Xenia

Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg, an 18th century Russian who led a life centered on God following the death of her husband, eschewed all her material possessions in her pursuit of a closer connection to the Divine. She is patron saint for those seeking employment or advancement in their career.

Saint Uriel the Archangel

Archangel Uriel is often petitioned by those facing severe crisis, and is believed to sometimes warn individuals away from danger. (Read More ...)


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Pages in category "Orthodox Church Saints"

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