During the course of the Church's history, figures of faithful and virtuous people have appeared: priests, monks, and lay people, who in various ways have played a definitive role in the formation of the Church's historical 'development'. Each person's good-willed contribution has been different within the collective representation of the Orthodox Church. Some have stood out as spiritual fathers and confessors, others as confessors of the Faith during times of persecutions and apostasy, others as proponents of ecclesiastical truth and theology—which alone saves―against various propaganda and falsities. And finally, others—the Holy Spirit's 'secret weapons'―have consumed themselves in ascetic struggle and prayer for the universe, away from people's gaze. In this way, they have battled against dark powers and above human nature, so that through their prayers and by offering the surplus of their love from their labors of exceeding strength, they have changed the history of the world, the evident historical developments, through God's power, incomprehensible to the unbelieving. It is of these figures that the ecclesiastical conscience and psalmodies witness: “their prayers have upheld the world”.
Of these ecclesiastical personalities, the sainthood of some may remain unknown to us or officially undeclared until the end of this age, and we may comprehend only specific facets of their work and total spiritual value, according to God's unfathomable will. And even though others among them may not have reached the perfection of their gifts and sainthood, they—according to the degree and progress of their love towards God and their fellow man and their devotion to truth and justice—have not been deprived of help from above in their work from the One who oversees all: “I know thy works...for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name...Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world” (see Revelation 3:8-10).
In the following section, we present the teachings, writings and example of some of these figures of the Orthodox Church.