The Cult of Saints

Canonization in the Eastern Orthodox Church is a solemn proclamation rather than a process. Spontaneous devotion toward an individual by the faithful establishes the usual basis for sainthood. The bishop accepts the petition, examines it, and delivers it to a commission that will render a final decision.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, relics of saints appear less frequently, although the antimension (the cloth upon which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated) always contains a relic, but icons of saints appear in much greater numbers. Though cultic veneration of saints as patrons, tutelary saints, helpers and healers has increased throughout the centuries, the view that the saints are supreme examples of the Christian life of sanctification is still preserved.

Lists of saints in the Serbian Orthodox Church contain today 69 persons of Serbian origin together with another 7 Sinaitic saints (monks who came to Serbia from Mount Sinai), making a total of 76 saints. From this total, 22 of them were Serb rulers, 22 were ascetic monks, 25 were archbishops and 7 were hieromartyrs. The most famous among them was Sava of Serbia (1173-1236), founder and first archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church.

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