Reading the lives of the saints is one of the most important spiritual means that is used by the grace of God to make our relationship with the Lord grow and inflame our love for Him and for His Kingdom.
It offers us the practical way to carry out the spiritual principles.
Many of the commandments and teachings may seem to us as being theoretical. But in the lives of the saints, we see them carrying out the Lord’s commandments in their everyday lives.
And so the lives of the saints show us that God’s commandments are beautiful and possible, and not just theoretical ideals.
Many times some would say in amazement: Who can carry out these ideals?! Is it really possible for one to turn the other cheek to the one who slapped him?! (Matthew 5:39). Is it possible that one always ought to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1)? And to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17)? And is it possible for one to give all he has to the poor (Matthew 19:21)?! We see all these questions and many similar ones answered and presented in the lives of the saints.
The Lord permitted that these saints be to us high models in all virtues without exception.
In a truly amazing way that calls for great admiration of the spirituality of these righteous ones, they were raised above the level of material and body, as if they were earthly angels. They lived in the spirit with God, a life of complete victory over all the wars of the enemy. We may even say that they returned to the divine image in which man was created from the beginning. Their lives give encouragement to any person to continue on the spiritual path with no fear or hesitation.
So when we read about them we say in confidence: God is capable of supporting us as He supported them.
The life of righteousness is then possible and available for whoever asks for it. The grace of God is willing to work in every heart and raise it to the highest level, no matter what its condition.. The Spirit of God works, leading souls towards God, granting them all prospects and gifts.
What the saints did is what the Spirit of God did in them. I wonder, when we read the stories of the saints, do we read about how God worked and was glorified in their lives, or do we just read an account of the saints’ heroic deeds?
Do we read about “The communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:14) in their lives? When we read the stories of the saints, is it a matter of them being attracted to God, or is it God attracting them by force? Or is it a matter of, as Solomon said in the Song of Songs: “ Draw me, we will run after thee” (Song of Songs 1:4)?!
H. H. Pope Shenouda III
Here are listed detailed accounts of the lives of some saints. It is by no way inclusive of the saints in the Coptic Church.
The life stories of the saints are listed alphabetically according to their names and not according to their titles. For Biblical Characters please click here, since they are not included on this list.