“Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense ‘Catholic,’ which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.” —St. Vincent of Lérins, Commonitory, For the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith Against the Profane Novelties of All Heresies., Chapter II (circa 434 AD)
“The candles lit before icons of saints reflect their ardent love for God for Whose sake they gave up everything that man prizes in life, including their very lives, as did the holy apostles, martyrs and others. These candles also mean that these saints are lamps burning for us and providing light for us by their own saintly living, their virtues and their ardent intercession for us before God through their constant prayers by day and night. The burning candles also stand for our ardent zeal and the sincere sacrifice we make out of reverence and gratitude to them for their solicitude on our behalf before God.” —St. John of Kronstadt
“Creating man according to his image, God diffused into man's very being the longing for the divine infinitude of life, of knowledge, and of perfection. It is precisely for this reason that the immeasurable longing and thirst of humanity is not able to be completely satisfied by anything or anyone except God. Declaring divine perfection as the main purpose for humanity's existence in the world – ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father who is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matth. 5: 48) – Christ, the Savior, answered the most elemental demand and need of our God-like and God-longing humanity.” —St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, Highest Value and Last Criterion in Orthodoxy
“Roman Catholics teach that original sin robbed Adam of the original righteousness, grace-filled perfection, but did not harm his very nature. And the original righteousness, according to their teachings, was not an organic part of the spiritual and moral nature of man, but an external gift of grace, a special addition to the natural forces of man. Hence the sin of the first man, which consists in rejecting this purely external, supernatural grace, separating man from God, is nothing more than depriving a person of this grace, depriving a person of primitive righteousness and returning man to a purely natural state, a state of grace. The very same human nature remained after the fall as it was before the fall. Before sin, Adam was like a royal courtier, from whom external glory was taken away because of a crime, and he returned to the original state in which he had been before.
The decrees of the Council of Trent concerning original sin state that the progenitor sin consisted in the loss of the holiness and righteousness granted to them, but it did not define exactly what kind of holiness and righteousness they were. There it is stated that there is absolutely no trace of sin or anything in a regenerated person that would be unpleasant to God. Only lust remains, which, due to its motivation of a person to fight, is more useful than harmful to people. In any case, it is not sin, although it itself from sin and entails sin. The fifth decree says: ‘The Holy Council confesses and knows that lust remains among baptized persons; but she, as left to fight, cannot bring harm to those who disagree with her, and those who bravely fight by the grace of Jesus Christ, but, on the contrary, crowns the one who will gloriously struggle. The Holy Council declares that this lust, which the Apostle sometimes calls sin, the Universal Church never called sin in the sense that it is true and proper to the regenerated, but that it is from sin and entails sin.’
This Roman Catholic teaching is unfounded, since it represents the original righteousness and perfection of Adam as an external gift, as an advantage, which is added to nature from the outside and from nature separable. Meanwhile, it is clear from the ancient apostolic-church doctrine that this primitive righteousness of Adam was not an external gift and advantage, but an integral part of his divinely-created nature. The Holy Scripture claims that sin has shaken and upset human nature so deeply that a person is weak for good and when he wants, he cannot do good ( Rom.7: 18-19 ), but he cannot commit it just because sin has a strong influence on the nature of man. In addition, if sin did not damage human nature so much, there would be no need for the Only Begotten Son of God to incarnate, come into the world as the Savior and demand from us a complete bodily and spiritual rebirth ( In.3: 3, 3: 5-6 ). In addition, Roman Catholics can not give the correct answer to the question: how can the intact nature carry lust in itself? What is the relation between this lust and the healthy nature?
In the same way, there is an inaccurate Roman Catholic statement that in a regenerated person nothing remains sinful and unpleasant to God and that all this gives way to that which is immaculate, holy and pleasing to God. For we know from Holy Revelation and the teachings of the ancient Church that the grace given to a fallen man through Jesus Christ does not act mechanically, does not give sanctification and salvation immediately, in the blink of an eye, but gradually penetrates all the psychophysical powers of man, in proportion to his personal feat in the new thus he simultaneously heals from all sinful ailments, and sanctifies in all thoughts, feelings, desires and deeds. It is an unreasonable exaggeration to think and argue that the regenerated have absolutely no remnants of sinful ailments when the mystery beloved by Christ clearly teaches: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” ( 1 John 1: 8 ); and the great Apostle of the Nations writes: “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil that I do not want. But if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin that lives in me’ ( Romans 7: 19-20 : Wed: Romans 8: 23-24 ).” —St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox philosophy of truth (Dogma of the Orthodox Church)
“Concerning the charge of idolatry: Icons are not idols but symbols. Therefore, when an Orthodox venerates an icon, he is not guilty of idolatry. He is not worshiping the symbol, but merely venerating it. Such veneration is not directed toward wood, or paint or stone, but towards the person depicted. Therefore relative honor is shown to material objects, but worship is due to God alone.” —St. John of Damascus