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James
July 21, 2003 03:11PM
fact that Christians ask the prayers of saints and their intercession is prefigured in the New Testament. St. Paul asks the Christian Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians and Romans to pray for him (Ephes. 6:19, 1 Thesal. 5:25; Colos. 4:3, and Rom. 15:30-31). In every Liturgy, we ask God the Father to accept, on our behalf, "the prayers and the intercession" of all the Saints who now live in heaven. The Fathers of the Church also accept as a matter of course the prayers and the intercession of all the saints.


In one of his letters, St. Basil explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God (Letter 360). Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that "they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers" (Chapter 8). St. Gregory of Nyssa asks St. Theodore the Martyr "to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people" (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian in his encomium to St. Cyprian. St. John Chrysostom says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special "boldness" (parresia), before God. (Gen. 44:2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).
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James July 21, 2003 03:11PM