Relics are portions of the earthly remains of Orthodox believers, usually saints. Relics may also include clothing and vestments worn by saints, or items such as pieces of the True Cross. Particles of relics of saints usually are embedded in altar tables during consecration of churches.
The relics of the saints are venerated because in Orthodox belief the body remains temple of the Holy Spirit even after death.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes:
"Though the soul is not present a power resides in the bodies of the saints because of the righteous soul which has for so many years dwelt in it, or used it as its minister."
God also performs miracles through the holy relics of saints, in this way revealing his glory and glorifying his saints in whom he is pleased. One example is the relics of Saint Nektarios, which emitted a sweet-smelling sweat after he had passed away and showed no sign of decay until 20 years after his death.
In North America, the Church is blessed to have three complete sets of relics: St. Herman of Alaska, St. John Maximovitch, and St. Alexis Toth.
Pictures of relics
- Holy Relics - A pamphlet by T. L. Frazier ISBN 978-1888212099