The Relics Of The Saints Must Be Venerated

October 2014

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel delivered a sermon on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost in which he said: “The grace of God works in the human body and the body of the dead must be treated with respect and the relics of the dead venerated. While interpreting the Gospel according to Luke which writes about the wonder of the resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain, Saint Kyril of Alexandria says that Jesus Christ, our Saviour, touched with His hand the coffin in which the body of the dead young man was to show that through His body, the Son of God Incarnated could give life to the humans because He is the Resurrection and Life. But Jesus has also touched the coffin in which the body of the dead man was, although this was not a usual gesture in the Jewish tradition, to teach us that we must come close to the coffin or grave of the dead human with respect, because this body is called to resurrection and eternal life.

But the respect for the coffin and grave of the deceased body of the Christian human must be ever greater because through baptism and through the communication with Body and Blood of Christ at the Holy Eucharist, the body of the Christian has become temple of the Holy Spirit, and when the Church officially recognises the holiness of his life his bones are called relics and they must be venerated together with his icon, because the holiness of the saint’s soul got into the matter of his body, which is the epiphany of his active soul in all his deeds done in the world, among people. The relics of the saints who passed away are venerated not for their matter, but for the work of the grace of the Holy Spirit in them and through them, according to the truth expressed by the psalmist through the words: Wonderful is God in His saints. Only the grace of the Holy Spirit present in the relics of the saints gives them healing and deifying power, because they are in a grace relationship with their soul united with God, the Source of eternal life”.

The Evangelical pericope of Saint Luke, 7:11-16, read today at the Divine Liturgy in the places of worship refers to the wonder of the Resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain made by Jesus Christ, our Saviour.