Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
These verses are written by St Paul following the famed chapter listing the heroes of faith – faithful examples of those who fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
This ‘cloud of witnesses’ provide for us encouragement and proof. They encourage us through their model of faith, both their faults and their triumphs, giving proof of God’s presence in their lives and of the possibility of us developing a similar relationship with Him here on earth.
We take this model of commemorating saints from Jesus Himself who says about the woman who anointed his feet at Bethany: ‘Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her’ Matthew 26:13 The Commemoration of the Saints in the Liturgy serves to live out this purpose of providing a memorial of those who anointed the feet of Christ through the sweet offering of their lives. The purpose of this memorial as St Paul says is ultimately to help us to look ‘unto Jesus’ and His endurance of the cross and His ultimate victory, which He likewise promises to us.
For this reason the youth of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church (Sydney, Australia) have created this book detailing the lives of these saints. From biblical saints to patriarchs to monks, and everything in between, you will find in this book a detailed yet concise description of all these saints’ lives and how they contributed to the church that we know and love today.
The Book of Acts, which chronicles the early life of the church, does not finish with the word ‘amen’ but is continued in the life of the Church, through her evangelical mission and the life of her saints providing a witness to the love of God through Jesus Christ. And so we must remember that the heroes of faith and the list of saints is not complete. You are called to be one of these saints. And just as the book of Acts does not finish with the word ‘amen’ – the final page of this book is intentionally left blank – for you, for your name, and for your life’s story.
Author: St Mark’s Church, Sydney, Australia
Publisher Name: St Shenouda Press
Publisher URL: www.stshenoudapress.com
Publisher Year: 2020