There is hardly a Christian home in the land the doesn’t have an icon of a favorite saint in its confines. Often a lamp is burned, and daily prayers are said before it. Certainly, icons of Christ predominate, as well as those of the Holy Virgin Mary, Patron Saints and other favorites abound as well.
Saints are honored as heroes of the Faith. They serve as examples of virtue and perseverance. They intercede before the throne of God. Some of the first items ever printed, after the Scriptures, are stories of the Lives of the Saints. They form a remarkable group: men and women, young and old, rich and poor, people of every station and walk of life.
An interesting study was published many years ago about the lives of more than 3,000 saints of the Church. It was conducted by a noted scholar, Pitirim Sorokin of Harvard University, himself a faithful Christian. He found that, as a whole, saints lived much longer than others. This was true even though many of them had been martyred at a younger age!
The scientist attributed this longevity to the fact that Christian love dominated their lives. Besides their love of others, the saints were aware of Christ’s love of them. This combination of love served to keep them healthy in mind, in spirit and in body for years on end. Medical researchers in our day are discovering the need for spiritual well-being to maintain bodily health, to ward off disease and to encourage quick recovery if illness strikes.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin - Cliffwood, NJ