One of my readers, Elisabeth, asks:
It is a foreign concept to pray to saints for me. I grew up with little religion and have found myself and God through a non-denominational Protestant church. I guess I feel like the saints are sort of a 'pray to me first, don't go bothering the Man Upstairs' thing. Kind of like discouraging you from praying to the true Lord and Savior. Not that the saints aren't great, they are, but praying to them just seems, well, strange.
Do you know where the idea of praying to Saints came from? I'm intrigued and curious now. :-)
The idea of prayer to the saints comes directly down to Christ's victory over death, and what we Christians believe was accomplished through his death, the harrowing of hell, and his Holy Resurrection. It comes down to what we believe about our fellowship with one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than write an extensive answer myself, however, I want to point you to this most excellent and thorough article on the subject called Prayer and the Departed Saints by David C. Ford, Ph.D.. Please do read it. It will answer all your questions, dear reader, about the Orthodox thinking on this subject.