Saint Iustin Popović of Ćelije
“If you wish, the Lives of the Saints are a sort of Orthodox Encyclopedia. In them can be found everything which is necessary for the soul which hungers and thirsts for eternal righteousness and eternal truth in this life, and which hungers and thirsts for Divine immortality and eternal life. If faith is what you need, there you will find it in abundance: and you will feed your soul with food which will never make it hungry. If you need love, truth, righteousness, hope, meekness, humility, repentance, prayer, or whatever virtue or podvig, in them, the Lives of the Saints, you will find a countless number of holy teachers for every podvig and will obtain grace-filled help for every virtue.”
Actually, a man’s real life begins with his faith in the Lord Christ, which commits all his soul, all his heart, all his strength to the Lord Christ, Who gradually sanctifies, transfigures, deifies them. And through that sanctification, transfiguration, and deification the grace-filled Divine energies, which give him the all-powerful feeling and consciousness of personal immortality and personal eternity, are poured out upon him. In reality, our life is life inasmuch as it is in Christ. And as much as it is in Christ is shown by its holiness: the holier a life, the more immortal and more eternal it is.
Therefore, the Lives of the Saints are nothing else but the life of the Lord Christ, repeated in every saint to a greater or lesser degree in this or that form. More precisely it is the life of the Lord Christ continued through the Saints, the life of the incarnate God the Logos, the God-man Jesus Christ who became man. This was so that as man He could give and transmit to us His divine life; so that as God by His life he could sanctify and make immortal and eternal our human life on earth. “For both he who sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one” (Heb. 2: 11).
— St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ, “Introduction to the Lives of the Saints”
The Reading is from the Wisdom of Solomon.
The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment will touch them. In the eyes of fools they seemed to die and their departure was reckoned a disaster and their going from us their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself. Like gold in the furnace he tried them and like a whole burnt offering he accepted them. And in the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through stubble. They will judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones and visitation on his elect.
Apolytikion. Of the Saints.Tone 4.
Clothed as in purple and fine linen with the blood of your Martyrs throughout the world, your Church cries out to you through them, Christ God: Send down your pity on your people;give peace to your commonwealth, and to our souls your great mercy.