Our Church honors saints not as gods, but as faithful servants, as holy men and friends of God. It extols the struggles they engaged in and the deeds they performed for the glory of God with the action of His grace, in such a way that all the honor that the Church gives them refers to the Supreme Being, Who has viewed their life on earth with gratification. The Church honors them by commemorating them annually through public celebrations and through the erection of churches in honor of their name.
The holy men of God, who were magnified on earth by the Lord, have been honored by God’s holy Church from the very time it was founded by the Savior Christ.
The honor given to saints is dictated by lofty religious feeling and the divine zeal of a heart that is faithful to God and loves Him, and is a manifestation of the divine aspiration that fills it to glorify God Who glorifies His Church Militant (My note: the Church Militant is the Church on earth). The honor given to saints is an expression of the love of the faithful towards them for their sublime virtues and great struggles, whereby they received the unwithering crown of glory. The honor given to saints is a confirmation of the eros that is burning in our soul for rising to the height of their virtues, which abide as an eternal example for us. The honor given to saints is a moral obligation towards them for their manifold benefactions to us…Failure to give due honor and reverence to the saints of God is impiety, ingratitude, indifference, and lack of aspiration for self-perfection in virtue.
The Church invokes the saints in its prayers as intercessors with God, and also honors their relics and everything that belonged to them, as well as icons depicting them.
From the Orthodox standpoint, the concept of the Church contains in itself the dogma of the intercession of the saints, which was universal in the Church of the first centuries, was regarded from the beginning as an undoubted truth, and has been held as such throughout the centuries.
In invoking the intercession of the saints, the Church believes that the saints, who interceded with the Lord for the peace of the world and for the stability of the holy churches of Christ while living, do not cease doing this in Christ’s heavenly, Triumphant Church, and listen to our entreaties in which we invoke them, and pray to the Lord, and become bearers of the grace and mercy of the Lord.
-From Modern Orthodox Saints: St. Nectarios of Aegina by Constantine Cavarnos, Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1981.