In the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit all in one God
Why do Orthodox Christians bow to Saints?
Abel & Hanna are husband and wife. Abel has extremely angered Hanna. Due to this reason, they have started to live apart. The town's wise men gathered, to make peace within this couple and arranged for the spouses to be present. After a lot of exhortations, the wise men told Abel, ''You have done wrong. Go! Ask your wife Hanna for forgiveness under her feet.'' Abel agreed to do as asked.
With the base of this reading, ask yourself this question:
Abel has asked his wife Hanna for forgiveness under her feet, with respect to body movements, "What is he doing?". The relation between what Abel is doing & us Orthodox what we call "bowing to saints" or in the formal Ge'ez word "ናይ ጸጋ ስግደት/Tsega sgdet" with our body movement, what are the relation? Or are there any relation?
With the movement that Abel has done, "do we say he was worshiping Hanna?"
If Abel's kneeling or bowing down at his wife Hanna is not worshiping, then what is the difference between the kowtow (prostrate, bowing, worshiping) to the divine Lord we orthodox do and Abel's action?
One would assume that "someone has kneeled his or her head" after hearing he/she has prostrate (bowed down), this is only through the usual use of the language. Having to bow down your head or to kneel down will be differentiated on the persons intent for doing it. The Holy Bible has a lot of places where it says, "he has bowed(kneeled, kowtow, prostrate): she has bowed(kneeled, kowtow, prostrate): they have bowed (kneeled, kowtow, prostrate)." But in this Holy book, we find bowing or kneeling to the Almighty God Our creator, to the Angels, to the saints, to the sinners, to those who don't even believe, to all of these people it is written to them kneeled (bowed) to.
But some people, when the "sigdet" bowing or kneeling is mentioned, they will try to close the topic by saying "It's written, only kneel or bow down to the Almighty God." So, don't bow down to anyone other than Your Lord, it is a sin." However, in the gospel, it doesn't say "only bow to your God & Lord" in any verse. If we read the bible in any language (version), what it actually says is "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10). In here, it proclaims that 'worship' is only to God, but it doesn't mention anything about sgidet (bowing or kneeling). Let's put this aside, in the Holy Bible there is plenty of sigdet (bowing or kneeling) done to our Lord and creature (mankind), in here we differentiate on what that reason of sigdet (bowing or kneeling) is made not merely because there is bowing down or boldly movement. We will list what kind of sigdet (bowing or kneeling) is in the bible. All of the sigdet with respect to body movement are differentiated or classified as what they are meant for.
Latria means worship given to God alone. With respect to body bowing, it's different from any because the person who's performing the ritual is on his mind, "You have created me: O my God, You are my trait ruler!"
Angle bowing down:
"Let all the angels of God worship him" (Hebrew 1:6).
Even our beloved Theotokos bows to our God. Saint Yared says this about her, " He is your Lord, you shall bow to Him." As our church scholars teachings, she (Saint Virgin Mary) not only bows but, "teaches prostration to Saviour Holy Trinity!"
Our Orthodox Church always worships the Lord (God). Some ask why this Church is bowing to saints while they (those who ask) themselves don't even have the ordinance of bowing or worship. With all due respect, all I have ever seen on their broadcast was them jumping and nothing else. But in the Orthodox Church beautiful Yaredic hymns (chant) the deacons always proclaim, "All of you bow down with fear to the LORD/God," while also the priest with burnings of incense says "Let us bow down." Overall, in the Holy Bible, it's written plenty of times with specific details of sigdet (bowing, worship, prostration).
- Sigdet for forgiveness (pleading of mercy) In the Holy Bible, we find sgidet for forgiveness or mercy as we have seen in the intro of this writing. This kind of sigdet has being taught to us by our LORD in the gospel:
A person who was in dept we see him pleading saying, "And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and sought him, saying, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all'' (Matthew 18:29). In that example, our Lord taught the servants by proverb to plead for mercy (sigdet of mercy). Be aware (heed the words), 'fell down at his feet' but wasn't prostration/worship. Felling down is not always the act of worshiping.
We all know the story of Jacob, who deceived and stole his brother's primogeniture (birthright). After residing more than fourteen years away, Jacob wanted to return home with all his children and make peace with his brother Esau, who was grieving. Therefore, Jacob put aside his family, "He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times until he came near to his brother. Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept." Genesis 33:3-4. Those who aren't touched by this brotherly love of forgiveness won't be able to argue that Jacob the chosen one has bowed down to Esau.
- The sigdet of veneration to the saints (sigdet of salutation to the saints)
The Holy Bible states, in the early times (in the beginning) people gave the salutation of sigdet (veneration) to those whom they knew and didn't know.
To be Continued
"Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).
Glory to One Almighty God, Amen!