Orthodox View on Soli Deo Gloria2 min read

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Soli Deo Gloria is the teaching that to God alone is due glory. This doctrine rejects the veneration of saints and other holy objects or persons. In some ways, soli Deo gloria may be regarded as redundant with solus Christus since it emphasises salvation as being only from God, but it also adds the idea that human beings should not seek out their own glory. In other words, it preaches humility.  

Worship and Veneration 

Soli Deo gloria conflates (blends, merges) worship and veneration, thus teaching that God alone is both worshipped and venerated. Orthodoxy agrees with the essence of this doctrine, that God alone is worthy of our worship. However, the conflation between worshipping and venerating is problematic. In Orthodoxy, worship is a total act of self-giving and union with God, primarily through sacrifice. Therefore, it makes no sense that we would worship saints or holy objects. Veneration, by contrast, is showing the respect and honour due where God has worked, whether in a person, such as a saint, or even inanimate objects, such as the tomb of Christ.  

Veneration in Orthodoxy 

Orthodoxy glorifies God’s work in human beings because we see the holiness that entered matter in the Incarnation as extending everywhere that Christ’s blessing is given, whether in a person, such as a saint, or even inanimate objects, such as the tomb of Christ. Veneration is given to saints only because of the work of Christ in them. It in no way detracts from the worship due to God alone. We should, of course, never seek our own glory, but there is nothing wrong with showing respect and veneration to God’s saints, who show forth His glory.  

Protestants often show veneration of a sort to people in their own traditions they admire. They may name churches, or even entire denominations, after their heroes.  


Damick, Andrew S. 2017. Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape. Ancient Faith Publishing; 2nd edition. 

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