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Unfortunately, and in saying this I mean no slight at all to Fr Anthony, it seems that a lot of our recent teaching and preaching is "reactionary". We can affirm that "it's all about Jesus", placing the veneration of the saints in its proper relation to Christ, without belittling the economy of salvation by which Christ sanctifies those who believe in him, re-creating them through incorporation into his body and cooperation with divine grace.
I didn't listen before posting reflect the conflation of "prayer" with "worship" or "adoration". Many equate the two, leading them to think our veneration of the saints is simply a thinly veiled polytheism.
When we do the latter, it's tempting to take the easy way out and simplify things. Sadly, this is practically if not intentionally how some of our faithful practice their faith. Instead of going on the offense and taking the time and effort to teach the truth, we're too busy being on the defense, cleaning up the mess caused by heterodox presuppositions.
I, too, believe that the statements of Fr Anthony disclaimer: I've heard stories from priests of parishioners who'll say something like "I don't have much faith in Jesus, but I have great faith in Saint Insertnameios: February 26, Perhaps this tendency among some is a reason why you'll occasionally find Orthodox speakers "downplaying" the "cult" of the saints.
Furthermore, we believe that it is Christ himself who is the sanctifier of the saints e.
While I can't speak for the Coptic tradition, I'm pretty sure it is the same concept for them and all the rest of our Churches. But in doing so, we risk diluting the authentic teaching of our Church on salvation, sanctification, theosis, etc.
The understanding of "prayer" here is not worship, but more like "communication", "asking", etc. Simple is good, but sometimes it'll just create a different but equally annoying mess. Many of the hymns for the saints in the canonical offices, in referring to their relics, affirm that " the power of Christ dwells in their bones".
As someone alluded above, all worship is prayer, but not all prayer is worship.
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