It seems to me that we Orthodox look at icons of saints and immediately think of super religious people who are so distant and so removed from our daily lives that we can’t relate to them as people. As I began to study the life of Patriarch Methodios 1 of Constantinople, I felt exactly this same way. You may not know, a few years ago I based my doctorate studies on this saint because no one had actually studied him in detail. He is depicted in an icon which we see at the beginning of every Great Lent on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
So, he must have had something to do with icons, but other than that who was he? Ultimately, this is the question we should ask about each saint, but more importantly we must ask how do they make a difference for us today? At the time I began my studies Methodios was a stranger. This is the reality of all saints unless we look at them in the light of faith. They stand as reflections of Christ, in their time and their place. Every one, young, old, male or female is a person who faced life with one thing in common with us today, struggle. All of us struggle to live a life that matters, not in the great things but in the real things. A life that matters is the path each person must travel. So consider a saint’s life as a journey. Look how they made the voyage. When they came to that fork in the road to which we all come, how did they choose? Yes, Methodios is the Patriarch who presided over the first Sunday of Orthodoxy. He is right there in the icon! If the people of the Church made him a saint, put him in icons and gave him a feast day; it is because he a chose a certain path. What will be your choice? The life of a saint may show you the “Way”.
[To learn more about Patriarch Methodios link to: https://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/06/14/101719-st-methodius-the-patriarch-of-constantinople ]