Voices from Russia

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Aleksei Ilyich on Idols… Orthodox Style


Once I asked an audience of believers:

How does one pray to help someone struggling with drunkenness?

Everyone answered in unison:

Before the icon of the “Inexhaustible Chalice”.

I answered:

That’s right. Don’t even try to pray before the Vladimir, Iveron, or Kazan icons… it won’t help you.

Everyone was ashamed. This is what it can become. The Mother of God is no longer our hope; the icon becomes an idol for us. It’s so easy to reduce Orthodoxy to paganism. Read about the religions of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. There was a god in charge of each aspect of human life. People worshipped them; they sacrificed to them. They forgot the One God; they didn’t need Him. We can fall into this rut in the veneration of the saints. Already, unfortunately, many believers don’t seek God, but saints; they ask for help, not in healing from passions, not for salvation, but for signs and wonders. Moreover, this false faith is one of the main reasons for the infertility of our prayers and of our many services. Here you are right, with such a faith, the saints can indeed become a palisade behind which you can lose Christ.

Aleksei Ilyich Osipov

Honoured Professor of the Moscow Spiritual Academy  


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