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Orthodox Spirituality
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Baptism - Chrismation
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Mysticism - Nous
Chastity - Obedience
Stability - Fasting
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Humility - Generosity
Chastity - Meekness
Temperance - Contentment
Worship - Veneration
Prayer Rule - Jesus Prayer
Relics - Sign of the Cross
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Apostolic Fathers
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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. There can be confusion because one may venerate what one worships as well as venerate others. Veneration is part of worship to the Orthodox faithful, but they show love and respect to more than the God they worship.

Acts of veneration


The kiss is an action firmly rooted in Orthodoxy. When they enter into the church, it is customary that Orthodox Christians venerate or kiss the icons. This shows love and respect. The faithful may also kiss the Priest's right hand from time to time. This, too, is an act of veneration. The people are venerating the High Priesthood of Christ, of which the parish priest is simply a participant.

Honorific bow

Bowing can be a sign of worship as when bowing to Christ at his icon, or his cross. More often bowing is veneration as when bowing to each other, or to the saints at their icons.

Veneration of icons

Icons are images. The reverence and veneration shown to icons, however, is not directed to mere paint, wood, or stones, but towards the saints depicted. Even when a miracle-working icon is highly venerated, it is the true source of the miracles (God, through the intercessions of that specific saint) that is respected.

Veneration of the cross

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Veneration of relics of the saints

In relics, Christians venerate the living and life-creating power of the Holy Spirit, which makes them not only incorrupt, but also healing. In Scripture, it is known that from the touch of the bones of the Prophet Elisseus a dead man was resurrected (IV Kings 13:21). Also, a woman with an issue of blood, received healing from touching the hem of the Savior's garment (Matthew 9:20-22). In another, the sick and the possessed were healed by laying on them the Apostle Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons (Acts 19:12). The same divine power also grants incorruption and miracle-working power to the bodies of the saints to strengthen the faith of Christians.

Veneration of the Gospel

The Orthodox faithful regard the Bible as a verbal icon of Christ. The Seventh Ecumenical Council saw that the Book of the Gospels and the Holy Icons should be venerated alike. In every Orthodox church, the Gospel Book has a place of honor on the altar table; it is carried in procession at the Divine Liturgy and at Matins on Sundays and feast days. Such is the respect shown in the Orthodox Church for the Word of God.