Why the Orthodox “Pray to” Saints

Icons of Saints in an Orthodox Church

One of the biggest objections people have when they look into the Orthodox Church is our practice of prayer to the saints. In this post, we explain why the Orthodox pray to saints and what role it plays in our spiritual lives.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

What it means to pray

Most non-Orthodox Christians have an entirely different understanding of what prayer is. And it is this misunderstanding that (most of the time) leads them to believe we are idolaters and necromancers.

To most Christians, prayer means speaking to God and/or asking Him for something. This definition naturally implies that we reserve prayer for God alone. It’s no surprise, then, that so many Western Christians reject praying to the saints. In Orthodoxy, though, the word pray is also used as an adverb, a preface before a polite request or instruction (ex: pray pour me a glass of wine). This definition does not imply a specific recipient of the request. Therefore, a Christian could pray to anyone, for anything, so long as they do not worship (i.e. devote their entire being to) anyone other than God.

What is a saint?

The Orthodox Church gives the title of “saint” to anyone who has lived and died in Christ throughout history. While certain Saints (with a capital “s”) are officially canonized and commemorated by the Church, every baptized Orthodox Christian is called to be a saint.

Saints are “those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14) through whom God is “bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:4). They died as martyrs, making a fearless confession of faith (often with the threat of death) and demonstrating self-sacrificing service to God. Our God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living (Mark 12:27). This means the saints remain fully alive in Christ even after they have fallen asleep. They continue to live with Him in Paradise beside His Throne and pursue communion with Him.

Icons of female saints in the Orthodox Church

Because Saints are friends of God, we make requests of them, asking them to pray to God for us and for forgiveness of our sins. (We sometimes call this intercessory prayer.) They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. A few well-known examples of Saints are the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, the writers of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and Saint Basil.

Why do Orthodox Christians pray to saints?

We know only God can forgive sins; but just as we might ask someone we know to pray for us, we do the same with the Saints. “Please pray for me; I have a job interview this week!” “Please pray for my mother’s quick recovery from surgery.” When an Orthodox Christian prays to a Saint, the same sort of interchange takes place. We merely ask him/her to pray for us, and we ask him/her to ask God to help us with whatever struggles we might encounter.

You might wonder, “Why pray to saints when you could go straight to God?” The answer is simple. Because we know they will intercede for us before the throne of God (2 Cor. 5:20; Phil. 1:19; James 5:16; Job 42:8; Gen 20:7; Exodus 32:11-14). We ask the Saints to pray for us because they dedicated themselves to Him – and sometimes gave their very lives. They serve as beautiful examples of how we, too, should fulfill our baptism through service to Christ and His Church. Because of their righteousness, their prayers have great power with God. We know that God’s hears our prayers; how much more so would He hear the prayers of His Holy Ones! It would be foolish of us to cast the Saints and their loving prayers aside.

But isn’t this worshiping the saints?

We must stress here that worship entails the giving of one’s entire life to the one being worshiped. So, while prayer can be a part of worship – when we pray to God, for example – prayer and worship themselves are not the same. When the Orthodox pray to saints, we do not devote our lives to serving them; instead, we merely ask for them to pray for us and intercede before God for our salvation.

When we do this, we confirm our belief in Jesus’ words that all are alive in Him. Orthodox Christians do not worship saints; however, we do venerate them. This means we pay them proper respect and love, because we acknowledge that their holiness comes from God. The worship accorded to God is His alone.

The power of intercessory prayer

Jesus Christ, in His resurrected glory, always prays to His Father on behalf of all mankind. As Scripture tells us, “He holds His priesthood permanently because He continues forever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).

In and through Christ, we can intercede before God. He empowers us (and commands us) to pray for each other and for all creation (1 Timothy 2:1-4; James 5:16-18). When we intercede for someone, we can ask God for any and every kind of blessing. Inspiration. Instruction. Visitation. Healing. Release from temptation. Forgiveness of sins. Salvation. Whatever we usually ask for ourselves, we can – and should – ask for all men, even our enemies.

Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

James 5:16

To understand the power of intercessory prayer, we must remember God knows all things eternally. He exists outside of time. For God, there is no before and after. He knows what we ask before we even ask it. Thus He hears all of our prayers, even for those who are dead, before we even make them. There is great power in prayer, and even greater power in making that prayer tangible.

Intercessions are normal

Just as we might ask a friend to help us with something, we can also approach the Saints and ask for their help. They pray unceasingly in the presence of God for those of us still awake. And they serve as a shining example for all of us who one day hope to be saints in our own right. Why wouldn’t you want them praying for you?

Read More: How to Choose Your Patron Saint >>

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28 Responses

  1. Thank you for this clear explanation. As a cradle Orthodox Christian, I never thought it was odd, but I moved to an area of the country with a lot of Baptists, and they ask me about this.

    1. Alexis,

      Christ is in our midst! We are so glad this content is helpful to you in witnessing to the Orthodox Faith. Another book we recommend in helping you engage in dialogue with those of Protestant backgrounds is Father Michael Shanbour’s book, “Know the Faith.” It is a fabulous resource for cradles and converts alike!

  2. Through Christ I have the access to pray to God directly. He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and hears every prayer. Why then would I bother with praying to other intercessors on my behalf? Is Christ not good enough? Do I not trust that God heard me? Do I expect a “better” answer or at least the outcome I want by asking God Himself, and then every saint around him that I can recall?

    1. DD,

      Christ is in our midst! Asking for intercessions of the saints is not about Christ not being good enough, not trusting that God heard you, or expecting a “better” answer or outcome. Rather, it is about praying together as members of the Body of Christ. In the same way you ask your loved ones and friends to keep you in their prayers, so we do the same with the Saints. We know that prayer brings power along with it, and that the prayers of the righteous avail much before the Lord. Why *wouldn’t* you want them to be praying to God for you? God bless!

      1. Thanks for this explanation of the orthodox faith. I have attended several orthodox services and have been impressed by much of what I have witnessed. However, this issue of prayer to saints is my main sticking point when I consider selecting my church home and the potential of joining the orthodox faith.

        Please understand that I am a Christian seeking a church home to help my wife and me grow in my faith and I am desperate to find the home God would choose for us. I am worried about the laxity of many of the modern denominations and appreciate the earnestness and respect the Orthodox church gives to God. However, I also know that there are many false interpretations, even if they are sincere, and I do not want to choose wrongly. I am not calling the Orthodox faith false, but I am truly trying to understand, especially as relates to this important point.

        You asked the question to the prior comment “Why *wouldn’t* you want them to be praying to God for you?” But, for me, I do not think this is the question. I will gladly accept all the prayer and intercession I can get from my family in Christ. But I DO have reservations about praying to a human, living or dead, to get it. My reservations are several:

        1) I understand that only God knows the hearts of men and can judge them. But these Saints were canonized by men. Even when WE believe that these were holy and righteous men and women, how can we KNOW they are worthy IN GOD’S VIEW to be intercessors? If they are not, are we not in danger of acting AGAINST God’s will in praying to them?

        All men, even those advanced in leadership of the church (or a council of leaders), are human and fallible. None are perfect and none know God’s will perfectly. So how is ANY man or group able to ascertain for certain that another human is accepted by God as a saint and is worthy of hearing our prayers?

        2) 1 Timothy 2:5 says “for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Does this not give clear instruction that our Lord Jesus is the only mediator for man with God? Do I not risk offending God to go around him? That, for me, is the big answer to “why would you NOT want” to pray to saints.

        3) The angel in Revelation 19:10 and Peter, himself, in Acts 10:25-26 command those who have fallen to worship them to not do so, as they are also just servants. Now, I know the explanation says the saints are venerated, not worshipped, but are we sure that bowing or kneeling and lighting candles to their images is not considered worshipping in God’s view? It is very hard for me not to understand these actions as worship and I do not want to offend God.

        4) in the explanation above, you mentioned the Saints are God’s friends. However, are we not told in John 15:15 that we are also his friends who believe and follow him? And, even if they are uniquely his friends, how or why should that change our personal relationship with God? A friend of the king is not the king and, should the king give you direct access, why would you risk offending him by going to his friend instead?

        5) Finally, did the Lord not instruct us to pray directly to him and teach us how to do so in the “Lord’s Prayer.”

        I have also read the passages sited in your explanation and I may be missing it but, while I do see plenty of support for Christians praying for one another, I do not see any direction from God for us to pray to any intercessor, especially one long dead, other than Christ Jesus.

        So, herein lies my problem; I am very interested in the Orthodox church but do not know how to reconcile this idea of prayer to Saints with my understanding of Jesus’ instruction to us. I am very uncomfortable with the further idea of needing to select a patron saint, should I wish to become a member.

        Can you help me understand this, please?
        God bless you.

        1. Benton,

          Christ is born! Thank you for your comment. Searching for Truth can be a very arduous and confusing journey; we pray that the Lord leads you to His Church in His time. Meanwhile, allow us to briefly address each of your reservations.

          Yes, God does know the hearts of men. And while certain Saints are indeed canonized, every human being is considered a Saint, as a member of the royal priesthood that Christ established with the creation of His Church. There are particular Saints who receive canonization to serve as excellent models for us who strive to live the life of Christ. So mention of the Saints in Scripture (of which there are several) refer to those grafted to the Vine, who are part of the Body of Christ, which is His Church. Moreover, Scripture tells us to pray for one another. That in itself is the implicit value the Lord places on our intercessions for one another, whether we are officially canonized or not.

          The sort of prayer we engage in with Saints is what we call intercessory prayer. It is merely asking them to pray for us before God, just as we would do so with anyone currently “alive” on earth. It is not the prayer we afford to God, which is worship and complete devotion of our lives to Him.

          Yes, Christ is the one who affected salvation for us. That is what “Mediator” means. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ established a pathway to communion with God that before did not exist. That is why He is the Mediator. Saints are not Mediators; they are merely intercessors, praying for us just as we on earth all pray for one another. It is not, as you put it, “going around God,” given that interceding for one another is something He specifically asks us to do.

          Regarding worship by bowing down, etc.: Veneration (gr. doulia) is a way to show great respect and love for the holy. It is to treat something or someone with reverence, deep respect, and honor. Veneration is distinct from worship (gr. latreia), for worship is a total giving over of the self to be united with God, while veneration is showing delight for what God has done. In fact, we venerate one another every day, respecting each other as brothers and sisters created in the image of God. In English, worship and veneration are often treated as synonymous; but they were never meant to be so, and the Church continues to distinguish between them and make clear this line that many Western Christians have erroneously blurred.

          Lastly, yes. Our Lord did teach us to pray directly to Him, which is what the Church does in her liturgical worship (corporate prayer) and what Orthodox Christians do in private prayer as well. The Saints are not dead, but alive in Christ, as He is the God of the living, not of the dead. God telling us to pray for one another is Him telling us to intercede on behalf of each other, to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. So, in effect, what is happening is our speaking to the Saint (as we would speak to anyone else) and asking for their prayers. The Saint (and we, then) in turn pray to God for whomever has asked us to do so. Death is not the end of our existence. It is merely a gateway from this temporal life into life eternal.

          We hope this has helped explain things in a bit more detail for you and answered some of your questions. If you have further questions, please feel welcome to contact our priest, Father Steven, at fr.steven@saintjohnchurch.org. He would be more than willing to answer any further questions or schedule a call with you!

          God bless!

          1. friend, it’s impossible think that people which saints or not, that which as dead, can hear our voices in thinks or sounds of mouth here in the material life, them should be onipresent to hear our voices, in Romans 8:26-27 we can see who intercede for us before God, if we not know pray and the Spirit translate our oration directly for God, it’s obviously that we can’t adress pray for another, because the Spirit not will be translate our orations adress this a human in the heaven?? and if this is function of the same, during oration for a saint, He not be translate our orations? because a saint is not God? so, who bring our orations to a saint? the Spirit can’t, therefore, will be not bring to the saint, and the Spirit will translate a oration of this saint in heaven, because his intercede for me praying directly for God, but not mine oration, because i praying for a human, and this human is praying for the God, this make sense for you, priest?, anyway, the obstacle of the intercession of saints in the heaven is not a question of “communion of saints in the earth”, because they is gone, and to make sense, them should hear any thing in the earth for hear too my pray, Christ was full clarify when said that we will should pray for God and SUPPLICATE the He, and He SUPPLICATE the Father, get out heresy, bring to the ecclesia free, without human teaching, only the Holy Bible, and without the apocrypha, obviously, that contains teological errors.

          2. Allef,

            Christ is in our midst! The Deuterocanonical Books (or Apocrypha as you called them) are books of the Old Testament that have always been accepted by the Church. It was only after the Great Schism in 1054 that the Roman Catholic Church began to reject certain Deuterocanonical books, and after the Protestant Reformation, different Protestant churches began to reject an even greater number of them. The Church includes them in the biblical canon because they were included in the Septuagint, which was in use at the time of Jesus and the authors of the New Testament. So if you believe the Deuterocanonical books contain theological errors, you believe that the Scriptures Christ Himself used were theologically unsound. That is simply historical fact.

            That said, with regard to Romans 8:26-27, we cannot simply cherry-pick a verse such as this without considering the full context of what prayer before God is, and how that is different from asking intercessions of a Saint. There is no indication in these verses, or anywhere else in Scripture, that “it’s obvious we can’t pray for another because the Spirit cannot translate our orations.” This essentially places a limitation on the Spirit and what He can or cannot do, which equates to placing a limitation on God Himself. And placing a limitation on the One Who Is, is utter blasphemy. Rather, this passage, and the verses before it, speak specifically about how the Spirit aids us through suffering and in our weaknesses. Because we do not know how to pray effectively, the Spirit is there to guide us in prayer, to teach us to pray and intercede for us when our own prayers are inadequate. In no way does it discount that the prayers of the righteous avail much, or that we are commanded to pray for one another, whether we have entered eternal life or still remain here on earth.

            God bless.

        2. Hello, I see you wrote this in December but thought I’d offer my opinion. I believe the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church may be a beautiful start for you and your wife. I am forwarding a website that may help answers some questions. Eastern Orthodoxy claims to have fully preserved, without any deviation, the traditions, and doctrines of the early Christian church established by the apostles. Adherents believe themselves to be the only true and “right believing” Christian faith. God will show you the way. God bless you and your wife. 🙏🏻


  3. I not limited God, the Scripture say that Spirit make a kind of translation for God, observe for who He translate, FOR GOD, if Spirit translate our prays for God, means it’s is your function, the Spirit will translate my pray for a another human like me? he is like a god therefore?, the passage shows which humans not know how pray, therefore, humans in the heaven too not know, therefore, the Spirit will translate my oration for some saint, and translate pray of this saint for God? where it’s make sense? you noticed how it’s unlogical?, in all of Old Testament, we see God wanting your people praying for He, supplicate for He, exactly like this, we see Jesus saying for us supplicate for He some thing about anything we wanting, the New Testament is the more old tradition of the church, it’s is letters and afirmations of the disciples and the primitive church, and in these letters our afirmations, we see nothing of “pray for a brother in the heaven”, obviously, Paul and all apostles were jews, not would not follow anything doctrine beyond the Scripture, which theys quote frequently.

  4. About the deuterocanonical, it’s obvious which the reason which bring me to deny, first, it’s not like you say, the church since the early centuries not know exatcly which canon accept, the church fathers constantly contradicted himselfes, you know this. add this fact to which jews never accepted them too, jews in alexandria probabily compiled only Torah, the five Sacred Books, Flavius Joseph said this, Jerome aparrently accepted this idea, AND… add to this fact too Septuagint is not a book which fits in hands, she went various scrolls, therefore you not would say Jesus and the apostles used her, because they only quote books of canon protestant and the normal canon jew, if them used the Septuagint, only in the Tanakh books, not apocryphas, Jerome was a critic of these books, and this is before of the schism, he study hebrew language and noticed the errors in these books, for reason of Pope, he apparently stop critic them, but question it’s not who accepeted or who denied, add again to these facts a big controversy about these books and theological erros in these, result? these are not confiable, not a little.

  5. a clear example, Ecclesiastical 12:6 says not to help the wicked by not giving him bread, but Proverbs 25:21 says “If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” , also in Ecclesiastical 3:33 says “Water quenches the blazing fire, alms meet sin.”, but Ephesians 2 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; of God. It does not come from works, so that no one should boast;” and in the letter of Hebrews Paul says that only the blood of Jesus can atone for all sin, in Judith 9:9-13 is a text where the widow claims that God give her opportunity to deceive enemies, that her “deceptive words” can end the enemy, I think it goes without saying that lying is a serious sin, and this author doesn’t seem to mind being a liar by nature, like a bandit.

  6. In Ecclesiastical 2:4-5 it says that the master must punish the slave until his back bleeds, does it sound like what Jesus taught us? the slaves that God allowed to have had no rights and should be treated well?, in Judith 9:2 it is said that God who gave the sword to Simeon for him to kill all the Sichenites, but Jacob did not approve of this attitude, before his death he spoke that Simeon and Levi did a cruelty with their swords, clearly a reference to the massacre (Genesis 49:5-6), In Tobias an angel lies, do I need to say more? apart from the geographical errors, to say that Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Assyrians when he was king of Babylon and etc., get out of deception friend, Jesus is coming back, it’s not about being a Protestant, it’s about being a believer only in the Bible, see what Jesus spoke of those who did not receive apostolic succession:

    “And John answered and said, Master, we have seen one who in your name cast out demons, and we forbade him, because he does not follow you with us.
    And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not, for whoever is not against us is for us.

    Luke 9:49.50

    Peace of the Lord for you.

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst! You posted several comments, so we will reply to all of them succinctly in one response.

      Regarding your first comment about asking intercession of the Saints being illogical because of Romans 8:26-27, there is nothing illogical here whatsoever. Firstly, the Spirit doesn’t “translate” our prayers; rather, He helps us to communicate them when our own words are inadequate. The Saints have attained salvation, which is ultimate communion with God. They have attained a level of holiness that we are still striving for. So no, they are not like us in the sense that they do not know how to pray. They are in the Heavens with the Lord, and they have become by grace what He is by nature. This is the teaching of the Church regarding salvation, and has been for millennia.

      You also mentioned the Apostles being Jews. It seems you are not aware of the fact that the Hebrew people had a vibrant oral tradition, which we can see is kept alive and transformed by the coming of Christ. His birth, life, death, and resurrection transformed everything, as He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Praying for those who passed into eternal life was part of the Jewish oral tradition, which became part of the Tradition of the early Christian Church. That is easily verifiable, should you analyze the Old Testament in detail and cross reference it with the writings of the Apostles and the early Church Fathers. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us explicitly on several occasions to hold fast the things passed down to us. That did not just mean the Bible. If it did, that would exclude the New Testament, because (as you said) it was not fully canonized at the time. So it is not just the Bible from which we glean spiritual practices like prayer for others. That also comes from the Traditions of the Church. To deny this is to deny historical fact, and to deny the words of the Scriptures themselves when Paul says, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15).

      Regarding your second comment, you mentioned the Deuterocanonical Books. It doesn’t matter what the Jews reject. They rejected Christ as the Messiah; does that then logically follow that Christians should do the same? Of course not! It does not matter what form the Septuagint took; the Deuterocanonical Books were part of the Septuagint, which was the compilation of Scripture used by Christ and His Apostles. If you reject parts of that Scripture, you must reject its entire canon, because the Holy Spirit inspired the canon. So either the Holy Spirit is God and unable to err, or He isn’t.

      Regarding your third comment about your perceived contradictions between Ecclesiastes/Judith and Proverbs/Ephesians, you seem to have the wrong verses entirely. Ecclesiastes 12:6 reads: “Remember your Creator until the silver cord is removed, and the golden flower is pressed together. And the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, and the wheel runs together at the well.” Proverbs 25:21 reads: “The tooth of an evil man and the foot of a lawless man shall perish in an evil day.” Ecclesiastes 3:33 does not exist. If you meant 3:3, that reads: “A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to pull down and a time to build up.” Ephesians 2:8 does indeed mention being saved by grace through faith; this is the teaching of the Church, which has been upheld in the Orthodox Church for millennia, unchanged. The same goes for the teaching that only God alone can forgive sins and that is was Christ’s sacrifice that ended our bondage to sin, as Hebrews illustrates. Lastly, regarding the passage from Judith: That passage is her personal prayer to the Lord. Ascribing motive to the “author” of the book of Judith is erroneous, because he/she is recording what Judith prayed to God, not what he/she believes to be right or wrong. That is disingenuous to assume, especially when taking the full context of that chapter into account.

      Now for your final comment: “Ecclesiastes 2:4-5 says: “I made my works great; I built myself houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.” Perhaps you are referring to the Wisdom of Sirach, which is sometimes referred to as Ecclesiasticus in the West by the non-Orthodox. However, even in this case, the corresponding verses in the Wisdom of Sirach do not say what you seem to think they do (12:6, 33:3 [which does not exist in the Wisdom of Sirach either], or 2:4-5). With regard to Judith 9:2 and the defilement of Dinah recorded in Genesis 34, what Jacob did not approve of was his sons taking matters into their own hands, rather than leaving it to God. God did indeed give Simeon a sword, but he misused it, returning evil for evil and equating his own sense of justice rather than God’s. By Tobias, we assume you mean Tobit. In that case, the angel Raphael is not lying. The nature of St. Raphael’s mission required that he keep his angelic identity hidden. Other angels in the Old Testament did this as well. Angels are fearful, powerful, and glorious creatures–that’s why they often begin their messages with “do not be afraid!” Masking their angelic nature serves a practical purpose–and it also emphasizes that God is the one who deserves the glory, not the angel. The reason St. Raphael gives the name Azariah to Tobit in the first place is because Tobit urges the angel to tell him where he is from. So Raphael gives Tobit the name “Azariah, son of Hananiah.” The name Azariah means “God has helped” and Hananiah means “God has shown mercy.” So basically Raphael is disguising his identity while at the same time secretly hinting at it–his whole mission, as revealed at the end of the book, began because Raphael brought their family’s prayer before the Lord and so was sent to help them (Tobit 12:11-20). He calls himself a “kinsman” and an “Israelite” as a way of showing that they belong to the same spiritual family–the people of God.

      You seem to take issue with the use of the term Assyria in Scripture. In the ancient world, classical historians used Assyria in many different ways. For example, Herodotus writes: “When Cyrus had made all the mainland submit to him, he attacked the Assyrians. In Assyria there are many other great cities, but the most famous and the strongest was Babylon, where the royal dwelling had been established after the destruction of Ninus [that is, Nineveh]. Babylon was a city such as I will now describe. (The Histories 1: 178, brackets added). Given that this narrative is about Cyrus, this is therefore after the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and yet Herodotus speaks of Babylon as “Assyria.” It would be all to easy to dismiss him as simply making a mistake if it weren’t for the fact that he isn’t the only historian to do such a thing. Another example is Xenophon: “Forthwith Cyrus pressed on towards Babylon, his troops in battle order. But as the Assyrians did not come out to meet them, he bade Gobryas ride forward to deliver this message . . .” (Cyropaedia 5: C.3: 5). So we have two historians who referred to the Babylonians as “Assyrians.” If the ancients could refer to them as such, then there is no reason to object to Nebuchadnezzar, their king, being rereferred to as “king of the Assyrians” within the same sense. The term had yet an even wider range of use. Herodotus mentions certain soldiers. He says, “They are called by the Greeks Syrians, but the foreigners called them Assyrians.” (Histories 7:63). And in the book of Ezra, which you (as a Protestant) do accept as part of the canon, it says: “They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, for the LORD had filled them with joy by making the King of Assyria favorable to them, so that he gave them help in their work on the house of God, the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:22). We know that the king, Darius, was a Persian. If you hold to your argument regarding Nebuchadnezzar, then by that same logic, you must also remove Ezra from the Biblical canon for its supposed “error”, which you merely misinterpreted from lack of context.

      It is interesting that you also mentioned apostolic succession, which is something only the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches can historically claim as valid among their bishops.

      You seem to believe that the Orthodox do not treasure the Scriptures. On the contrary, the Church holds the Bible in incredible esteem. Attend one of our Divine Liturgies and see for yourself, how 95% of our worship is Scripture – readings, psalms, allusions to passages and prayers. Come and see!

      God bless.

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst. Once again, we will respond to all of your comments at once, to make things easier for anyone who may wish to read our exchange. You are operating from a different biblical canon than the Orthodox. If your goal is to critique Orthodoxy, perhaps you should do so using the original Septuagint canon of the Old Testament, rather than the one that excludes Deuterocanonical books. The Roman Catholic canon excludes as well, though they do include the Wisdom of Sirach under the name Ecclesiasticus. However, the formatting of these books still does not match up with the original Septuagint organization of said books. If you wish to verse-mine and quote verses from the Scriptures, you will need to do so using the Septuagint Old Testament, otherwise you will simply be quoting verses that do not correspond with the authentic canon of the Early Church. For example, Proverbs 25:21 in your Bible is Proverbs 25:24 in the Septuagint, and Romans 12:20 thereby references Proverbs 25:24, rather than Proverbs 25:21.

      Regarding apostolic succession: there is a particular definition to that word, which you seem to be twisting. Apostolic succession does not mean that you obey what the Apostles wrote in the New Testament. It means that there is a demonstrable tracing of a direct line of apostolic ordination, Orthodox doctrine, and full communion from the Apostles to the current episcopacy of the Orthodox Church. All three elements are constitutive of apostolic succession, meaning you must have all three in order for the apostolic succession to be considered valid. The apostolic succession of the Orthodox Church manifests itself through the unbroken succession of its bishops back to the apostles. You can trace them yourself, simply by tracing back the bishops in the Orthodox Church now, and you will find an unbroken line. Our doctrines have not changed, and we are in full communion with the early Church, whose teachings we preserve through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

      The “whoever is with Jesus is not against Him” does not mean that your “church” that you create is the One Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church of Christ. Christ established one Church with very real physical boundaries, so that the people would know what would make them a part of the Church and what would leave them outside it.

      In Mark 7:1-13, the issue is not the observation of Jewish customs or traditions, as we see Christ Himself, along with His Apostles, observing several of these customs themselves throughout the New Testament. The issue here is allowing human interpretations of the Law to obscure the primary Tradition of the Law contained in God’s commandments. In this particular passage, Corban (certain offerings, v. 11) could be promised to God in such a way that property or earnings could still be used for oneself, but not for anybody else, including one’s parents. That is the context of that passage, which you seem to have either not known or ignored. It wasn’t the oral Tradition as a whole that caused them not to recognize Jesus, but their posturing and their insistence on their own private interpretation; which, oddly enough, is exactly what most Protestants do.

      The Septuagint is indeed a Christian document. It is the original Old Testament canon used by the early Church. Christ Himself quoted Deuterocanonical books throughout the New Testament, as did the Apostles in many of their early writings. Who compiled the Septuagint does not discredit the Divine Revelation of Christ as the Son of God found within those sacred Scriptures. There were many Jews who did accept Christ when He came into the world. It was the Pharisees and Sadducees that rejected Him, not all Jews. Several of them came to believe, and they carried with them the Septuagint Scriptures, which manifest the Trinity and the coming of Christ within its pages.

      Allow us to clarify something, since we seem to be operating on different definitions as to what “canonical” and “non-canonical” mean. Throughout Church history, the words have meant different things, and you must take into account the context of the writings of those Church Fathers in order to understand which meaning they meant to convey. For Sts. Cyril and Athanasius, “non-canonical” did not mean the book was not inspired or authoritative. Rather, it meant that the book(s) mentioned were not used in the Liturgy (worship service) of their particular city-church. This historically makes perfect sense, when you consider the purpose of the Bible’s canonization, which was to provide a list of books the churches could use in their corporate worship. It was not canonized to be a manual for all Christian doctrine. Thus, when these books are not on a list of the canon of a particular Father, whoever he may be, it does not mean that he believes they are less inspired, but only that these books were not read in the Liturgy in his area. As an example, to this day, the Book of Revelation is not read in the Liturgy in Greek Orthodox churches; so in that sense, it is “non-canonical”. However, that does not mean the book contains heresy or that it is not inspired Scripture. It wasn’t until the Protestant Reformation that the word “uncanonical” came to refer to a book containing heresy or being uninspired; you are imposing your modern bias of the term onto their writings.

      If you wish to continue this conversation, we kindly urge you to submit one comment rather than several at a time. This makes the thread easier for others to read and follow our discussion. God bless!

  7. ah, I forgot, I didn’t say that only your church or the Roman church had apostolicity, but that they are recognized worldwide, so I assumed that, but I consider mine much more apostolic than any other, because I obey the clauses of Apostles of the New Testament, and the passage I quoted rightly says that whoever is with Jesus is not against Him, that is, I can open a church and be apostolic if I follow the apostolic commandments, and another, it seems that you quoted a Jewish tradition, but you forgot that Jesus criticized it exactly in Mark 7:1-13, the oral tradition of the Jews was the whole problem that caused them not to recognize Jesus, you make the LXX as if it were a Christian document, but it was made by Jews who did not accept Christ as well, and Jeronimo says that the Apostolic Scriptures were the Hebrews when the LXX contradicted them, this proves that they had recognized contradictions at that time. and what I said is that the fact that the apostles only used the TNK part (Tanakh, Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim) does not prove that they used the Apocrypha, as all the books were on separate scrolls.

  8. I was already forgetting that Athanasius and Cyril of Jerusalem never accepted the deuterocanonicals as inspired, see:



    and look that Athanasius was from Alexandria ein, kkk, right from the city where the LXX arose, don’t resort to tradition, because those church fathers were prominent and they didn’t recognize it, admit it’s innovation, or at least what you decided to choose, because these fathers are not giving their personal opinions, but saying that the whole church rejects them, the historical testimony here that is more valid than what they believe, they asserted that THE CHURCH had no canon, not that only they did not had as canonical.

  9. First I would like to apologize about the various comments, the problem is that for some reason when I try to comment too long the site gives an error and doesn’t allow it, but anyway…

    You mentioned that I was using a different orthodox canon, but that doesn’t change the fact that the passages I spoke about exist, this time you seemed to pretend they didn’t exist, it shows that, I’m sorry, you didn’t read the Apocrypha or a little, sorry if it sounds offensive, but if you don’t know the passages I quoted contradicting the original canon, the passages being otherwise organized or not, they’re there, and you don’t know them, proves you haven’t studied them.

    As for the word “canon” in antiquity, it meant “rule”, but since you said that it doesn’t mean uninspired, you certainly didn’t read the context of Athanasius’ claims, I sent the site for the comment, and I hope you got it, on the site: http://www.bible-researcher.com/athanasius.html … on this site you can see in full what canon meant to Atanásio, he says at the end of the text mentioned on the site, that the first books ( original canon) are part of the INSPIRED canon (read the beginning of the text of the website), while the second books are MERELY READ, well, what does merely read mean? it seems, that for Athanásio, they were not worthy like the canonical ones, otherwise he would not use the word “merely”, this undermines his thesis.

    Now, do you want a clearer testimony? Cyril of Jerusalem quotes the Deuterocanon as apocryphal, let’s see what he says:

    “Learn also diligently, and from the Church, which books are of the Old Testament and which are of the New. And, pray, do not read any of the apocryphal writings: for why thou, who knowest not those which are reckoned among all, thee Do you care in vain for those who are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these which were translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters.” (catechetical lectures, iv. 33-37)

    Here we have two essential testimonies, he says possibly as if to a catechumen, what to study from the Holy books, and that he must learn from the Church what they are, and then asks why anyone would want to be curious about books that are disputed among all and put aside those that are Catholicly recognized?, then… “Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books…these that were translated by the Seventy LXX”, need you say anything else? in addition to not recommending that anyone read the apocrypha that you call the deuterocanonical, he still says that the Septuagint only had the 22 Hebrew books, no more than that.

    and more…

    “Of these they read the twenty-two books, but they have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study sincerely only those we read openly in the Church.” (Ibid)

    This is just the testimony of a prominent bishop of Jerusalem, who categorically stated that apart from the 22 books the rest is apocryphal put into dispute, recommending neither read nor study.
    This is enough to show that the Church did not accept them, because he did not claim that he did not accept them, but that THE WHOLE CHURCH rejected them and therefore they were disputed, not of course, thrown in the trash.

    How about Gregory Nazianzen?, in book 1 of his dogmatic carmina he says:

    “The divine oracles must always be rehearsed in tongue and mind. For God will indeed give a reward for this work…. But do not let STRANGE BOOKS seduce your mind. For many evil writings have been disseminated. Accept, O friend, this approved number of mine These are all twelve historical books, of the most ancient Hebrew wisdom: First there is Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus also. Then the numbers and the second law. Then Joshua and Judges. Ruth is the eighth. The ninth and tenth books [are] the acts of Kings, and [the eleventh is] Chronicles. Lastly you have Ezra. The poetic books are five: Job being first, then [the Psalms of] David; and three of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Songs and Proverbs. And likewise five of prophetic inspiration. stem the Twelve written in one book: Hosea and Amos, and Micah the third; then Joel and Jonah, Obadiah, also Nahum, and Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, Haggai, then Zechariah and Malachi. These are all one. The second is from Isaiah. So that called as a child, Jeremiah, then Ezekiel, and the gift of Daniel. I therefore count twenty-two of the ancient books, corresponding to the number of the Hebrew letters. Now count the new mystery as well. …. You have them all. And if there are any other than these, THEY ARE NOT GENUINE.” http://patristica.net/gregorius-nazianzenus&g&e&c

    A very explicit comment don’t you think?, is exactly what a protestant would say, he doesn’t recognize any tradition that says otherwise, nor was it disputed by anyone with it, protestants are not without tradition friend, in fact we consider ourselves the true tradition , the true “Catholics” in the exact sense of the word.

    Rufino de Aquileia said:

    “But it should be known that there are also other books that our fathers call not canonical but ecclesiastical:
    that is, Wisdom, called the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom, called the wisdom of the son of sirach…. to the same class belong the
    the book of Tobias, the book of Judith and the book of Maccabees….are read in churches, but not used for confirmation of doctrine. (Commentary on Apostolic Creeds 36)

    I think that because of that, I don’t even need to quote anymore, although there are other dozens of testimonies saying the same thing. So my friend, accept the testimonies of tradition instead of being religiously biased, Jesus is in our midst, revealing the truth to those who wish, and I tell the truth without flattering anyone, Jesus will not consider anyone innocent in his Coming, everyone has the truth to read and to study. God bless you, friend.

    I forgot to say something else, the oral tradition of the Pharisees is mentioned in Mark 7, see:

    “And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashed, hands, they found fault.
    For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders….Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?…. And he said to them (Jesus), Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.

    Mark 7

    It is not necessary to explain further, the tradition here was “of the fathers”, a clear allusion to the oral tradition that passed from father to son, and Jesus rejected it citing Moses, the written Torah.

    1. Allef,

      We see your comments here in the backend, and we have merged them into one for you, since it appears the site is giving you an error. That said, please allow us to address your points. If those passages that you mentioned exist, please cite their location in the Septuagint, so that we can properly assess those verses and their appropriate context. Until that is done, you are merely assuming we have no knowledge of the Deuterocanonical books, which is rather presumptuous. The Deuterocanonical books are an authentic part of the canon of the Church, and as such, Orthodox Christians are quite familiar with those books and their contents. Never once did anyone deny that the verses you cited existed; merely that you cited using the incorrect canon. If you present an argument challenging Orthodoxy, the onus is on you to have the correct citations an Orthodox Christian would be familiar with.

      The word “canon” itself did indeed mean “rule”. However, something being canonical or not means was it part of the rule or wasn’t it. The canon of Scripture was compiled, as we mentioned in our previous comment, for the purposes of understanding what was acceptable for being read aloud during corporate worship. That did not mean that books not read aloud during worship promoted heretical teachings or were uninspired. As we said before, something being “merely read”, in St. Athanasius’ time meant it was reserved for personal edification / devotional reading. You cannot make an assumption about what St. Athanasius thought while at the same time ignoring the purpose of the Biblical canon and its compilation. The same can be said of St. Cyril’s quotes. The word “canon” referred to the list of books that were allowed to be read in the corporate worship services of the Church, which St. Cyril explicitly states in that source you provided. In his list, he even includes Baruch, a book that is part of the Deuterocanon; this supports what we said earlier regarding how different writings were accepted in different areas.

      It is also historically plausible that there were certain books, not in the canon, that were able to be twisted in an unorthodox manner, by those opponents of the Church, especially in the time of the Fathers when the Church constantly fought against heresy within. It is possible that the Deuterocanonicals were twisted by some. We know that many years later, there were times when even some of the protocanonical books were forbidden to be read for short periods of time because Scriptures were being twisted for heretical purposes. However, that doesn’t mean that the books noted aren’t Scripture. In fact we see that Cyril saw those books (the Deuterocanonicals) as Scripture. He in fact not only reads from those books but used them as a teaching tool.

      If you read other catechetical lectures from St. Cyril (not just the one that seems to support your position), you will notice he quotes the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel as support of the doctrine of the ascension of Jesus – via the prophet Habakkuk being carried by an angel (Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, Lecture 14:24-25 p. 101). He makes no distinction between “inspired” protocanonical books vs. “uninspired” deuterocanonical books. He is not only “having something to do with” the deuterocanonical books, but is using them to establish and substantiate Church doctrine. He also refers to Maccabees and the Wisdom of Solomon as proof of doctrine (Catechetical Lectures, NPNF2, Lecture IX:2-3, Volume 7, p. 51). And he cites Baruch in other lectures as well (Catechetical Lectures, 9:15(A.D. 350),in NPNF2, VII:68). He treats these books the same way he treats all Scripture.Though denying the Deuterocanonicals ‘canonical’ status, St. Cyril clearly did not deny them Scriptural status. He saw prophets writing them, and used them to teach doctrine. He uses the qualifying phrase “It is written”, which is only used of Scripture, to the Deuterocanonicals. Although these books are not read in the Liturgy, he not only reads from these books in general, but uses these books as teaching tools from Scripture that those he is instructing also assume these book’s Scriptural status.

      Regarding St. Gregory, since you seem to enjoy quote mining, allow us to bring more of his writings to light, to explain this holy Father’s true perspective regarding the Deuterocanon. While his canonical list excludes the Deuterocanon, along with the book of Esther. And his canon of the New Testament excludes the Book of Revelation, as an interesting aside. As with all the other Church Fathers, St. Gregory does not write that “these are the only books that are inspired” or that there are no other books in Scripture. In Schaff’s index of the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, St. Gregory references Deuterocanonical books 27 separate times in various passages. He references the Wisdom of Sirach (St. Gregory Nazianzen: In Defense of His Flight to Pontus, VIII, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 227; St. Gregory Nazianzen, The Fifth Theological Oration , VI, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 340), putting the words within this book on the same level as the Book of Exodus. This hardly belittles the Deuterocanon; if anything, it glorifies these books and strongly affirms their Scriptural status.

      St. Gregory further refers to Jeremiah in conjunction with the Wisdom of Solomon to prove God’s omnipotence, like St. Cyril using the term, “It is written,” to place these writings as equally authoritative with the Scriptures read aloud in public worship (St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Second Theological Oration, VIII, NPNF2, Vol 7, p. 291). He also refers explicitly to Judith when speaking of the plagues of Egypt, saying “in the Scripture” before quoting that book (St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Second Oration on Easter, XV, NPNF2, p. 428). He likewise mentions the Deutercanonical portions of Daniel in conjunction with quotes from the Book of Exodus (St. Gregory Nazianzen: On the Death of the Father, 30, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 265). Finally, he cross references 1 Samuel and the Psalms with Baruch to prove that the Son of God is the One True God (St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Fourth Theological Oration, XIII, NPNF2, p. 314). In all these examples, there is no distinction between the level of authority of the protocanon vs. the deuterocanon. And the Deuterocanonical books are clearly being used by these Fathers in multiple contexts to establish and confirm the doctrine of the Church, thus ultimately discounting your quote from Rufino de Aquileia.

      Protestantism and its traditions did not exist prior to the Reformation; therefore it is categorically impossible for any church born of the Reformation to be the True Church. The Reformers did their best to fix the errors of the Roman Catholic church, but in doing so only drifted farther away from the Truth than they were prior. The Reformers even dialogued with the Orthodox, but refused to submit to the teachings of the Church, thinking themselves more capable of discerning doctrine on their own.

      In Mark 7, “tradition of the elders” is the collective body of their faulty interpretations of the Law. It does not refer to oral tradition; it couldn’t possibly, otherwise Christ Himself would be committing blasphemy by referencing and participating in several traditions that are not explicitly recorded or taught in the Scriptures. Christ points out how their interpretation of the Law twisted and obfuscated His divine commandment to honor thy father and mother.

      God bless.

  10. My dear friend, it won’t be possible for me to say where each verse is in the Septuagint because I don’t know how to find a canon on some site that matches yours, I just display the verses and you google them yourself and find them, take some nearby verses and find them, if you know they exist then you know that what I quoted in Sirach completely contradicts what it says in Proverbs, one says that one must not give food to the wicked, one must prevent him from becoming feed, and the other (Proverbs) says to feed the wicked, if you can’t find it, use the internet or ask another priest friend of yours and see where the verse is in your canon, but it exists and that is fact. if you are not finding it, see a situation of Augustine of Hippona where he quotes this verse: https://ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.CIII.html

    Now what I’m realizing is that you definitely ignored everything the church fathers I quoted just because you saw them mention the Apocrypha in other works, my friend, the quotes I sent are pretty sharp and clear they don’t considered them sacred, Cyril says they were in dispute and doesn’t advise anyone to read them, that doesn’t mean he can’t quote them, because besides being someone with a firm faith, he doesn’t consider them rubbish, but ecclesiastical, historical books , that is, something that is profitable, but not a source of the Word of God, just as we Protestants often read at home, obviously, not in church, the book of Maccabees as a historical source of what happened in the time of Antiochus, therefore , you can’t ignore everything he said about them being disputed and uninspired just because you saw him saying “it’s written:”, because they most likely used that for anything written, or do you think they were bipolar?

    because you have clearly read that Gregory Nazianzen said that if there were others besides 22, they were not GENUINE, why should I believe that by citing the Apocrypha they are genuine and inspired? I would also quote any of them without fear, I just wouldn’t give them divine inspiration, my brother for example is very fond of the Dragon story in Daniel, because he takes it as cryptozoological testimony that dragons really existed, but he doesn’t extract any doctrine from it, I can also use Maccabees as historical testimony of prophetic silence after Malachi, because in a certain part it says that there were no more prophets since the death of this one, and how would I know what happened in the Maccabean revolt without this book? but again, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY’RE DOCTRINE, just useful to read, even because Cyril says the Septuagint was only 22 books, did you miss that?

    this fits with what Flávio Josefo said, he said that it was a sacred act, and it says further that the Jews do not have conflicting books, only 22, which makes it clear that they translated only the normal canon, and after that people came writing other spurious, useful, but spurious writings, just as Rufino says that the deuterocanonical books ARE NOT A SOURCE OF DOCTRINE, sorry friend, I don’t want to offend, but it is clear and evident for anyone who follows our discussion to see that you are running away from the very clear text that the church fathers spoke using other parts which only involve quotes from the books and not a definition of them as inspired, that being said, you can’t argue too much anymore, because I’ve clearly shown the thoughts of these parents, and you just said that they and they said “it is written:” as if this were proof that they were divine, so for you it makes sense to ignore a whole section of the fathers’ works denying the divine inspiration of the Deuterocanonicals and just take excerpts where they cite them, and then conclude that for citing they’re divine, that’s okay, anyone who sees these quotes and doesn’t think the church fathers were old with amnesia and bipolar will agree that they denied the inspiration of these books.
    Yes, the misinterpretation of the Law was your oral laws, if you ask any Jew today what the Midrash and Talmud are, they will answer that they are interpretations of the Law, not oral doctrines that are not found in the written Torah, you defined it exactly what is oral law disagreeing with it, oral law is an interpretation of the Jewish parents about what Moses spoke in the Law.

    Again, the church fathers will only be in favor of the deuterocanonicals if you think they were being bipolar disagreeing with what they said earlier about the books being in dispute and not being genuine or sources of doctrine, that’s clear from the texts, right ? and again, it does not mean that they cannot be cited as ecclesiastical and historical sources.

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst. It is indeed possible to find those verses. The Septuagint is widely available in both Orthodox and non-Orthodox circles. The Orthodox Study Bible itself, which can be found online in PDF form, contains the Septuagint canon of the Old Testament. There are no contradictions within the Holy Scriptures; only contradictions in flawed interpretations of those Scriptures.

      We ignored nothing that the Church Fathers quoted. We took those quotes you mined out of context and placed them in the wider context of the Fathers’ other writings, to put into proper perspective what the Fathers were actually saying. Your modern bias has clouded your ability to properly discern meaning from those texts. It seems you ignored the multitude of writings from those Fathers that show the Deuterocanon was of equal authority to Scripture. We understand your reservation to do so, as it contradicts your view and calls into question what you have believed for what we assume to be a substantial length of time.

      St. Cyril advised them not to read them in the Church. That does not mean they are not inspired (he never said this), nor does it mean they are not of equal authority to the Scriptures read during public worship. Full context is necessary, especially when your tendency to quote mine gives you an “out” from addressing the substance of the argument.

      St. Gregory is speaking of the canon to be read aloud during worship, as all the other Church Fathers believed. So a book not being genuine meant it was not approved for reading in the corporate worship of the Church. As we have said multiple times. You take one quote from a Church Father and think that makes a persuasive argument. It doesn’t. You’re conveniently ignoring the fact that the Church Fathers explicitly use the Deuterocanonical books to substantiate doctrine. Do you deny that they do this, despite the myriad of examples we provided to you? The books themselves are not doctrine (as you claim when you say, “THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY’RE DOCTRINE”). But the books are used to substantiate doctrine, just as all other books of the Scriptures are used to do so. The Gospel of Matthew is not doctrine. The Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans is not doctrine. But the things contained within those books can be (and is) used, in conjunction with the Deuterocanon, to explain the teachings of the Church and prove them legitimate.

      “It is written,” is ONLY used with regard to sacred Scripture. You will be hard-pressed to find an example of those words, along with “God saith”, in reference to anything else. You keep insisting on your viewpoint, but the evidence contradicts you quite plainly. There is no “bipolar” tendency among the Fathers. God forbid, and may He forgive you for suggesting someone who disagrees with you believes such a thing. We have explained what they meant, and you conveniently ignored it. The one ignoring the Fathers is you; the one insulting them is you. The one on the offensive here, attacking the Church of Christ, is YOU.

      Go in peace, and may you one day come to the knowledge of the Truth. Lord, have mercy on us all.

  11. Friend, I understand that you want these quotes to refer to the church, but when Rufinus Aquileia (disciple of Jerome) says they are not sources of doctrine, it literally means that they are not sources of doctrine, is there any way around that?, Gregory uses the word “γνησίαις” where it’s translated “genuine”, in all usages of the word, it means something “authentic”, no doubtful, moreover, it seems you’re the one who takes it out of context, you haven’t read the beginning of the text of Gregory? he says:

    “But let not extraneous books seduce your mind. For many malignant writings have been disseminated. Accept, o friend, this my approved number.”

    This literally means the context, that the person is not seduced by these books out there, because they are widespread but they are false, and then he says to accept the number he gives, if it goes beyond that it is false, then inside the context which is to warn about false, evil books, he also leaves out the deuterocanonicals, not meaning perhaps that they were demonic, but that they are not accepted under any circumstances as inspired books, otherwise this was the right time to quote. them because he was referring to fake books that were hanging around the church, am I right?

    About Nazian’s second theological prayer, I looked up where my sources are and I didn’t find it, if you want to comment on it instead of just saying where it is, I would be grateful, and please explain why Gregory was talking about evil books in the text I put and left them out. Hugs.

    Oops, I forgot, here is the Septuagint in its original canon (according to you), a Greek Orthodox canon, where the verse really is in another place than the Roman Catholic Bible, the difference of a verse and which is in this case in verse 5, be yourself:


    https://ebible.org/eng-Brenton/ (all books)

    Should we help the wicked or not? shall we give you food?

    I forgot to mention that in Cyril’s catechetical reading he says: “These are the fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the living words they contain. he said this after citing the 22 books, HE SAYS THAT ONLY IN THESE ARE THE TEACHINGS OF GODLINESS, this concludes that in the deuterocanonicals they are not, how do you respond to that?

    a claim by John of Damascus after citing the 22 Sacred books:

    “There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and later translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous. and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark.” (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XVII.)

    Needless to say, “but are not counted nor were they placed in ther ark.” means to say that the Jews did not accept them by placing him in the Holy Temple, more specifically Ezra, so they were definitely not holy, do you want more testimony than that?

    A sixth-century testimony originally attributed to Athanasius but not certain, in what may also be an ancient Greek cleric:

    “Among the disputed books of the Old Testament, of which we spoke previously, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, The Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, and Esther and Judith and Tobit, also these are to be counted: the four books of the Maccabees, Ptolemaic books, the Psalms and Odes of Solomon, Susanna. These are disputed books of the Old Testament.”


    Once again agreeing with Cirilo, then I ask you friend, what does “disputed” mean? is something right or uncertain? I don’t think I need to talk.

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst. We have said all there is to say regarding your quote mining, and we have explained all there is to explain regarding the position of the Church Fathers regarding the Deuterocanon and its authenticity as Scripture. We have also explained what the canon is and its purpose during the time of the Fathers. You came here attacking the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. And you refused to listen to the arguments set forth by the Church. If that does not convince you, only experience of the Church can.

      Come and see, rather than condemning that which you do not understand. God bless.

  12. Sorry if I was rude friend, but actually you explained what canon was about but ignored what the quotes said about inspiration and the meaning of the word “disputed”, if I removed the word “canon” from my quotes we would still have affirmations of the church fathers that the Deuterocanonical books were not in the ark (John of Damascus), that they are disputed (Cyril of Jerusalem), and that they are not genuine (Gregory of Nazianzus) and that they are not sources of doctrine (Rufino Aquileia), so I close my arguments here, the discussion is there for people to see and draw their conclusions, for you to change your mind you must take into account that they are disputed and also have theological and historical errors, just so you can see the truth, i don’t say the church demonized these books, i’d be lying, church history shows they were held in a special position, not inspired but special, but… if they were ever disputed s, and we clearly sense a different tone in them from books that are universal, so what should we do?, that’s my conclusion.

    And stop using that catchphrase my brother, Jesus didn’t use that catchphrase, Paul and Peter, the founders of the church, didn’t use that catchphrase of “holy and only Catholic apostolic church”, get out of mental and philosophical prisons, God reveals the truth to the little ones but it confuses those who think they are wise, the church of Christ has always suffered separations and was never unanimous when it comes to an institution, accept that “church” means a mystical body set apart throughout the world, not a succession of bishops. Peace of the Lord.

    One more significant error in Tobit 12:9 (https://ebible.org/eng-Brenton/TOB12.htm):

    “For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life”

    So alms cleanses from all sin, right? isn’t it the blood of Jesus? and in the Law was it not the blood of the animals that symbolized this cleansing? was it alms then? let’s see what it says Hebrews 9:22 says:

    “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

    do you see the contradiction? according to Tobit, alms cleanse from ALL SIN, but in the Law of Leviticus the blood of the lambs cleansed (not literally, because they symbolized the blood of Christ), and the author of Hebrews says that without blood there is no remission of sins, contradicting the author Tobit’s right in the face.

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst! The word “disputed” merely means it was not a book that was accepted everywhere to be read during the Liturgy. That is all. We have already explained all of those things to you, yet you seem unwilling to hear those explanations. Your tactic in this discussion was to start by arguing against prayer to the Saints, then to radically switch topics when you realized you had no grounds to stand on with your objections therein. That comes across as nefarious and disingenuous. You came here looking for an opponent to defeat, not to have a constructive discussion.

      “One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” is not a “catchphrase”. That phrase is part of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which was formulated at the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, defined by the Holy Fathers of those councils to combat Arianism, Apollinarianism, Pneumatomachianism, and Chiliasm. This Creed is accepted as authoritative by the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and most (if not all) major Protestant churches. Your attempt to denigrate part of the Christian Symbol of Faith into nothing more than a “catchphrase” is a low-tier argument.

      You seem to have a habit of taking every verse in Scripture literally. However, there are multiple layers of interpretation, wherein there are times when the literal interpretation is superseded by a greater allegorical or typological interpretation. If you don’t know what that means, perhaps you should refrain from continuing to cherrypick after having been called out on it multiple times now. To use such a limited understanding of this verse as your argument is elementary at best, trolling at worst. Tobit 12:9 takes place before the coming of Christ, as I’m sure you understand. But that’s neither here nor there. The Archangel Raphael’s exhortations in this chapter (if you bothered to cross reference them at all), are remarkably similar to one section of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, where Christ speaks of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer just as the Archangel does. This is a foreshadowing of what Christ will tell His people in that Sermon, of the things they must do if they hope to live the life of “denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following Him”. This in no way literally means that giving alms will absolve you from all sin; we both know that, and you insisting this is what that verse means is rather foolish. One only receives forgiveness of his/her sins through genuine repentance before God, which is now possible because of the sacrifice of Christ.

      May you one day come to the knowledge of the Truth, reject your pride, and come home to the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. God bless.

  13. Dear friend, I started the debate about saints and I changed it radically because the Apocrypha has some heresies that support the basis of this belief, it doesn’t support praying for dead people, but it supports praying for the dead to be cleansed, a kind of purgatory (I know you don’t believe like the Romans), and therefore I attacked them, knowing they had mistakes, I didn’t come after opponents, I like to argue because I only see my side, and talking to other people I can know if my argument is refutable or not, this is a way of getting to the bottom of the truth, I may be getting it wrong at some point and therefore I should talk to someone who has years of experience in a certain belief, as I am not orthodox (in the popular sense of the word , not in the original).

    You say “disputed” means they’re disputed to be read in liturgies, so I ask you, why did Gregory say they weren’t genuine? How did you come to the conclusion that “genuine” referred to the liturgy? It’s funny, but of course I have a card up my sleeve, I think you’ve heard of Nikephoros I of Constantinople, right? your work “The Stichometery of Nicephorus”?, as it is, in this sticometry, Nicephorus lists all the books of the New and Old Testament, guess which books he leaves out of the canon? exactly, the apocryphal books are in a part right below with the following words:

    “These Old Testament scriptures are doubtful:

    1Three Books of Maccabees 7300 Verses
    2. Wisdom of Solomon 100
    3. Wisdom of the Son of Sirach [Ecclesiastical] 2800
    4. Psalms and Songs of Solomon 2100
    5. Esther 350
    6. Judith 1700
    7. Susanna 500
    8. Tobias, 700.”

    You can check it out on this site which made a nice summary:


    and the photos on the website are also from the scanned document, here is the photo that shows the words of Nicephorus in Latin, it is from the website referred to as well:


    Read it diligently and try to refute the patriarch of constantinople, good luck.

    I think when he says “doubtful” he means his inspiration, do you agree? or is it only iffy to read in church?, as if something that wasn’t read in church could be holy.

    About my calling it a staff, the reason is because you use it as your shield of faith, when you should use the Holy Bible, like the Jews did:

    “Your law is a lamp to my feet and a light to my ways.”

    Psalm 118:105

    Light for your feet, it’s what lights you up, not tradition.

    What about literal understanding, of course I’ll understand, the text has no hint of allegory and you want me to understand allegorically? the text is clear in saying that alms atones for sins, if it’s to twist something like that I can twist any part of the Bible and say it’s figurative, I can say that the fish that swallowed Jonah was a metaphor, that the flood was a metaphor and so on successively…

    1. Allef,

      Christ is in our midst. In this extensive conversation, this is the very first time you have said anything about the Deuterocanon being the reason you reject the belief in asking intercession of the Saints. You are correct that the Orthodox do not believe in purgatory as the Roman Catholic church does. You attacked a belief, presupposing it to be wrong. When prayer to the Saints, including the Virgin Mary, occurred in the early centuries of the Church. Prayer to the Saints in the Christian Church began upon the mass martyrdom of Christians in the second century. In the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna in 156 A.D. we read the following: “[we] took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and deposited them in a suitable place. There, when we gather together as we are able, with joy and gladness, the Lord will permit us to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom in commemoration of those who have already fought in the contest and also for the training and preparation of those who will do so in the future” (Martyrdom of Polycarp, chapter 18). During these regular commemorations, the story of Polycarp’s martyrdom was read and his prayers invoked. Just as the Maccabean Jews believed that Onias and Jeremiah were praying for them, so the Christians of the second century believed that martyrs such as Polycarp were praying for them as well.

      We see this early reliance upon the prayers of the Saints in heaven as a fruit of the unity of the Church in many of the early Fathers. Thus Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215) wrote that the true Christian “prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping, and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him” (Miscellanies 7.12). Origen (d. ca. 253) in his work On Prayer wrote, “Not only does the High Priest [i.e. Christ] pray with those who pray genuinely, but so do the angels…So do the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” (chapter 11:1). St. Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258) assumed that the saints in heaven continued to pray for those on earth in the same unity of faith. In a letter to another bishop he wrote, “Let us remember one another in concord; let us on both sides always pray for one another…that if one of us shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord and our prayers for our brothers and sister not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letter 56.5).

      The earliest patristic references in the second century to Mary are also significant. The Church knew from its Judaic inheritance that all those in heaven prayed for those on earth, and it was clear that Christ’s Mother was among those in heaven as a powerful intercessor. Thus it is not surprising that the Church early began to ask for Mary’s intercession. An example of such prayer is the so-called sub tuum, a prayer dated to the third century, which says: “Beneath your compassion, we take refuge, O Theotokos. Do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, O only pure, only blessed one.” Such a fervent prayer showing such bold confidence in Mary’s intercession could not have arisen in a vacuum in which Mary was ignored. Its existence witnesses to an even earlier devotion to Mary (we note that the Protoevangelium, offering legendary details of Mary’s childhood, dates from the mid-second century). We note too that such Marian devotion could owe nothing to pagan influence, since in the third century the Church was still being battered by pagan persecution, and the Christians would hardly have been open to religious influences from the pagans determined to destroy them.

      Asking intercession of the Saints was the universal practice of the Church in both the east and the west until the time of the Reformation, when Protestant hostility to all things Catholic jettisoned it from the daily devotional life of Christians. This rejection can find no Biblical support, nor resonance in the history of the early martyric Church. The oft-cited 1 Timothy 2:5 which asserts that Christ is the only mediator between God and men is irrelevant to this discussion, for Mary and the saints are not mediators, but intercessors. A mediator is one who reconciles estranged parties (as Christ reconciled us to God from whom our sins had estranged us); an intercessor is merely one who prays for another, and that is all the Church asserts that Mary and the saints are doing. The venerable allergy of Protestants to the invocation of saints is solely the result of reactionary anti-Catholic teaching (i.e. prejudice), and of emotional unfamiliarity with the practice.

      Regarding the word “genuine”, we already explained what that means; mainly that they were not part of the canon. The canon comprised of the genuine books to be read aloud during Liturgy, and the deuterocanon was considered outside of that, ergo not “genuine”. It all refers to the Liturgy because that is the reason why the canon was created to begin with. Everything said about the canon must be viewed from the lens of its intended purpose, not the purpose ascribed to it by modern Protestants.

      We have indeed heard of the Stichometry of Nicephorus. Again, something not being “canonized” by Nicephorus simply means it is not suitable for being read aloud during the Liturgy in his area. Honestly, how many times must this be said? Something can be holy despite not being read during the Divine Services. What a disingenuous leap of logic.

      Have you ever attended an Orthodox Liturgy? Perhaps you should before attempting to lecture the Orthodox about the Bible not being their shield. Our services are over 95% Scripture, whether direct quotations/readings, allegories, or allusions, along with prayers and psalms.

      Your assertion that the text has no hint of allegory, when it clearly does, merely shows you are simply searching for confirmation bias. You are not interested in Truth, and it seems you never were in coming here. You have done nothing but attempt to twist the Scriptures to your viewpoint since you arrived and attacked the practices of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

      And yes, there is a typological dimension to Jonah being swallowed by the fish and residing in its belly for three days. That is a type of Christ’s burial and resurrection, a foreshadowing of events to come. There are ALWAYS multiple layers of interpretation to the Scriptures. Always. And the Church has held onto those interpretations and guarded them by the grace of the Holy Spirit for nearly 2,000 years. Many of the interpretations we hold are the same as those held by the Fathers of the Church, including those regarding intercession of Saints.

      This is the last time we will say it: go in peace.

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