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October 9, 2021

Homilies on Holiness and the Saints - The Holy Trinitarian God (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Holy Triune God
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

This year's short liturgical sermons will address the great issue of Holiness and the Saints we have in our Church. This is because the Church is the place of holiness in which the Grace of God is energized and sanctifies people and creation.

According to Photios the Great, the Greek word for Holy or Saint, Agios, comes from the negation "A" and the word "gi" which means "earth", therefore Agios means "one who is beyond the earth", that is, "one who is above the earth". And of course this primarily refers to God. Others claim that the word Agios comes from the negation "A" and the word "agos" (with smoothe breathing), but because the two "A's" are contracted and made one they create the word Agios which means "one who is free from defilement". However, Saint Nikodemos with the above interpretations also gives us his own opinion, according to which the word Agios comes from the word "agos" (with rough breathing) and signifies "the worthy and the revered and the pure".

It is obvious that all these interpretations primarily refer to God who is pure, worthy of reverence, above earthly things. That is why in the Old Testament God Himself commands: "Be holy, for I the Lord am holy" (Lev. 10:44). The Archangel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation called Christ holy: "... the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Christ Himself, praying to His Father, called Him holy: "Holy Father, keep them in your name" (John 17:11). And the third person of the Holy Trinity is called the Holy Spirit.

The Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit are holy. The Prophet Isaiah saw the angels sing the victorious hymn and cry out: "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, the heavens and the earth are full of your glory." This hymn is a hymn to the Triune God and declares the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

In the Divine Liturgy we sing the thrice-holy hymn: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us." Also, we sing to the thrice-holy God the victorious hymn: "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth ...".

There is no service in which we do not say the "thrice-holy" (trisagion) and do not address our supplication to the Triune God, who is God, immortal, mighty, which is why we who are human, mortal and weak, ask for His mercy.

Holy is the nature of God, holy are the energies of God, holy is also the name of God. Whoever glorifies God and mentions His name and strives to live according to His will, receives His holy energies, as warmth, love, peace, meekness, sanctification.

We must communicate with the holy God through prayer, through the mysteries, in order to receive His energies and be sanctified by His presence and holiness.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.