Christians speaking to the dead

trueseek1's picture

Had never thought of it this way, until I found a book on the shelf expounding on one of the well known passages of the Holy Scriptures: The Transfiguration passage. Jesus has a live visit from Moses and Elijah and in the presence of the other fallible men, a couple of apostles, he enters into conversation with these two "dead saints". The author also highlighted another instance when God rose the dead and they went into the cities to show themselves as alive in Christ. I had read these passages many times before, and heard countless evangelical sermons on them, but in all my previous readings of the last couple of hundred years of evangelical commentaries, I had never heard of the reality that these visitations represented. Does anyone know how did the faithful early Church fathers who honored God, in the nonheretical Church, view these passages?

Also, the author differentiated clearly between using a medium to reach the dead as Saul did to talk to Samuel, and both these passages, with the understanding that Christ revealed clearly that it is not sinful to have a conversation with a live saint, but evil if one tries to use mediums as the ungodly do.

Thanks for all insights on these passages.

michael_legna's picture

Writing letters to the saints in heaven?

trueseek1 said -
I am up to the 5th letter of Ignatius, and although I continue to see great admiration on Ignatius part for Paul and the churches the Apostles ministered to, I do not find any places where he calls on a saint (Paul, Peter, Stephen, James, ...) to pray for him, but he does have a lot of entreaties for believers in various churches on this side of Heaven to pray for His Strength.

Perhaps Ignatius and the other ECF did not ask the saints in heaven to pray for them in letters for the simple reason that those saints do not read letters. The reason we pray to them is precisely because they can hear us when we ask them thus to pray for us to God. If they could read letters we would have no reason to pray to them.

trueseek1 said
I cannot imagine a modern Orthodox or roman catholic bishop writing a letter asking for many intercessions and prayers without mentioning requests to the Theotokos and/or other saints in Christ's presence for their prayers as well.

I can honestly say I have never seen a letter or Papal encyclical which asks the saints to pray for something. If such a statement existed it would not be for the purpose of truly eliciting those prayers but more as an instructional example to the flock.