Claims of Orthodox Incorruptibles
We are aware of claims from the Orthodox Christian Church that they have a smaller number of Saints (compared to the Catholic Church) which have been reportedly found incorrupt. After we became aware of these claims, we decided to do some research on them ourselves. The Catholic Church claims to have well over 250 known incorruptibles, though while looking across many websites on the Internet, we were only able to locate references to about 20 incorrupt Orthodox Saints (by name). So to start our research, we first started looking into the backgrounds of these 20 or so Orthodox Saints.
Immediately we found through several other websites on these Orthodox Saints, that several of the 20 did not appear to be incorrupt at all (some website apparently mentioned it mistakenly). That left us with about a dozen or so Orthodox Saints that were claimed to be incorrupt. The majority of these remaining dozen were mostly Russian and Ukrainian monks starting in the 14th century and beyond. Next we decided to see what details we could find on these dozen or so Orthodox Saints.
In the process, we checked all of the most popular Orthodox Christian websites, and asked many Orthodox priests through those websites for details on any incorrupt Saints in their church. We scoured as many other websites as we could find, including Wikipedia, which seemed to have more information on Orthodox incorruptibles than most other sites. We also consulted Joan Carroll Cruz, the author of the book "The Incorruptibles", to ask if she was aware of any Orthodox incorruptibles, or if during her research she came across any.
The Results of our Research on Orthodox Incorruptibles (so far)
1. We could not locate many more Orthodox incorrupt Saints by name (other than the list we initially started out with above) where accompanying photos existed. Most information we located consisted of text writings stating that certain Orthodox Saints were "found incorrupt", but no other particular photos, examination logs, or other information was given to corroborate the writings we located.
2. We had a very difficult time locating any close-up pictures of Orthodox incorruptibles in general. A few pictures we located were of tombs in churches, or otherwise covered boxes where we could not get a glimpse of the incorrupt body.
3. We did receive responses from several Orthodox priests on the subject. Several priests said they had no data on the subject. A few other Orthodox priests said they've heard of Orthodox incorruptibles and even recommended a few websites to look at, though when we looked at the sites we found little when it came to close-up pictures or details of body examinations etc. We did find a few photos of Orthodox Saint's bodies on orthodoxphotos.com, however each photo contained a very skeletal, distorted and discolored body, which is often characteristic of naturally incorrupt bodies (see our main Incorruptibles page for details on the 3 types of incorrupt bodies). The pictures we located were definitely not at all lifelike, like so many Catholic incorruptibles. Now, we are aware there are different degrees of incorruptibility; some totally lifelike, and others somewhat discolored and distorted. Though we could not find a single lifelike incorrupt photo from the Orthodox church, like we can readily find with so many Catholic incorruptibles.
One Orthodox priest, when we asked why we could hardly find any photos or other related information on incorrupt Orthodox Saints, replied that it was "not their custom to take photos of their incorrupt Saints", and that those incorrupt Orthodox Saints that are available to see, typically "have their faces and hands covered".
5. When calling Joan Carroll Cruz, the author of "The Incorruptibles", she had no recollection of any Orthodox Saints. Her best guess was that these claimed incorrupt Orthodox Saints could well be naturally incorrupt (as opposed to supernaturally). Again, see our main Incorruptibles page on the different types of incorrupt bodies.
Our Conclusions on Orthodox Incorruptibles
Actual bodies of incorrupt Catholic Saints are on display in many countries throughout the world, and detailed pictures, details of body examination, and other related information are also readily available everywhere, yet to date, we were unable to locate anything comparable for Orthodox Christians.
If the Orthodox Church does indeed have incorrupt Saints, we find it odd that they would not take photos for the world to see; after all this is one of the greatest miracles Christianity has! We also find it odd that many Orthodox priests had little information on the subject, and didn't seem to think it was of much importance when asked. And what confused us even more was why the Orthodox Church would go out of their way to cover the faces and hands of their incorrupt Saints visible to the public. After all, the face and hands are two of the most essential parts of a body to look at when determining incorruptibility, and what the public would want to see most during venerations!
Of the few Orthodox pictures we did find, none were lifelike like so many readily available Catholic incorrupt Saint photos. Being "lifelike" is a classic phenomena found in many supernatural incorruptibles, though we were unable to find even one "lifelike" photo of an incorrupt Orthodox Saint. And if Joan Carroll Cruz (one of the most educated people on the subject) did not recall coming across any Orthodox Saints in her research, this was also very significant.
At this point in our research, we cannot say for certain that there are not Orthodox incorrupt Saints. We admit it is certainly possible God could have bestowed this miraculous phenomena upon some of these Orthodox Saints, since we see this miracle was bestowed on many Catholic Saints who also lived and practiced the monastic life. However, so far, we have not found any proof to show they exist in ways like we can so readily see with hundreds of Catholic Incorruptibles.
If you feel you have proof for Orthodox incorruptibles, please present it to us and we will research it as thoroughly as we can. We certainly want our page to be as accurate as possible on the subject. In the meantime, the proof for supernaturally incorrupt bodies clearly shows to be a Catholic phenomena. Note that we have had this page and the Internet for many years, and still no one has come forward with proof for Orthodox incorruptibles. It appears unlikely any proof will surface.
Below: Photos of several Orthodox Saint bodies claimed to be incorrupt. Compare these photos to the majority of Catholic incorruptible photos on our main Incorruptibles page and you will see there is no comparison.