The Fathers, and all early Christians in general, paid especially great respect to the relics of the martyrs. In addition to the sources already mentioned, Eusebius of Caesarea, the Church historian, says that "those who suffered for the glory of Christ always have fellowship with the living God" (Church History, 5:1). In the Apostolic Constitutions (5:1) the martyrs are called "brothers of the Lord" and "vessels of the Holy Spirit." This helps to explains the special honor and respect which the Church paid to the relics of the martyrs. St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. John Chrysostom remind us that the relics of the martyrs "are filled with spiritual grace," that even their tombs are filled with a special "blessing." This Patristic practice still continues today, and people from all over the world visit churches that possess the relics of martyrs and saints. Also, according to the ancient tradition, the consecration of new churches takes place with the deposition of holy relics in the Holy Table of the sanctuary.
The Orthodox Church does not follow any official procedure for the "recognition" of saints. Initially the Church accepted as saints those who had suffered martyrdom for Christ. The saints are saints thanks to the grace of God, and they do not need official ecclesiastical recognition. The Christian people, reading their lives and witnessing their performance of miracles, accept and honor them as saints. St. John Chrysostom, persecuted and exiled by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, was accepted as a saint of the Church by popular acclaim. St. Basil the Great was accepted immediately after his death as a saint of the Church by the people. Recently, in order to avoid abuses, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has issued special encyclical letters (tomoi) in which the Holy Synod "recognizes" or accepts the popular feelings about a saint. Such an example in our days is St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (1955).