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In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of
holiness Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male d ...
, likeness, or closeness to
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...

God
. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and
denomination Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist denomination * Denomination (currency) * Denomination ( ...
. In
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Catholic
,
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
,
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia * ...
,
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
, and
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life ...
doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation. Official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently a public cult of
veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
, is conferred on some saints through the process of
canonization Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christianity, Christian communion declaring a person worthy of Cult (religious practice), public cult and entering his ...
in the Catholic Church or
glorification Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus ...
in the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the English word ''saint'' originated in Christianity,
historians of religion This is a list of historians only for those with a biographical entry in Wikipedia. Major chroniclers and annalists are included. Names are listed by the person's history by period, historical period. The entries continue with the specializations, ...
now use the appellation "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people", referring to the Jewish
tzadik Tzadik ( he, צַדִּיק , "righteous ne, also ''zadik'', ''ṣaddîq'' or ''sadiq''; pl. ''tzadikim'' ''ṣadiqim'') is a title in Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of ...
, the Islamic
walī A wali (''wali'' ar, وَلِيّ, '; plural , '), the Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in c ...
, the Hindu
rishi ''Rishi'' () is a term for an accomplished and enlightened person. They find mentions in various Hindu Vedic texts. Rishis are believed to have composed hymns of the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. A ...

rishi
or Sikh
guru Guru (, ; sa, गुरु, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic langu ...

guru
, the Shintoist
kami (often taken to mean "gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel ...
, and the Buddhist
arhat In Buddhism, an ''arhat'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is t ...
or
bodhisattva In Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware o ...

bodhisattva
also as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either by official ecclesiastical declaration, as in the Catholic faith, or by popular acclamation (see
folk saint Folk saints are dead people or other spiritually powerful entities (such as indigenous spirits) venerated as saints, but not officially canonization, canonized. Since they are saints of the "folk", or the ''populus'', they are also called popular s ...
).


General characteristics

The English word ''saint'' comes from the Latin ''
sanctus The Sanctus ( la, Sanctus, "Holy") is a hymn in Christianity, Christian liturgy. It may also be called the ''epinikios hymnos'' ( el, ἐπινίκιος ὕμνος, "Hymn of Victory") when referring to the Greek rendition. In Western Chris ...
'', with the Greek equivalent being ἅγιος (''hagios'') 'holy'. The word ἅγιος appears 229 times in the Greek
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, and its English translation 60 times in the corresponding text of the
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...

King James Version
of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
. The word ''sanctus'' was originally a technical one in
ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widel ...
, but due to its
globalized Globalization, or globalisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is the process of foreign relation ...
use in Christianity the modern word ''saint'' is now also used as a translation of comparable terms for persons "worthy of veneration for their holiness or sanctity" in other religions. Many religions also use similar concepts (but different terminology) to venerate persons worthy of some honor. Author John A. Coleman, SJ, of the
Graduate Theological Union The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is a consortium of eight private independent American theological schools and eleven centers and affiliates. Seven of the theological schools are located in Berkeley, California Berkeley ( ) is a city on t ...
,
Berkeley, California Berkeley ( ) is a city on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California, Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish people, Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cit ...
, wrote that saints across various cultures and religions have the following
family resemblance Family resemblance (german: Familienähnlichkeit, link=no) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( ; ; 26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian Austrian may refer to: * Austri ...
s: # exemplary model # extraordinary teacher # wonder worker or source of benevolent power #
intercessor Intercession or intercessory prayer is the act of praying to a deity or to a saint in heaven on behalf of oneself or others. The Apostle Paul Paul the Apostle,; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולו ...
# a life often refusing material attachments or comforts # possession of a special and relation to the
holy Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male ...

holy
. The
anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and philosophical anthropology study the norm ...

anthropologist
Lawrence Babb in an article about
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
guru Guru (, ; sa, गुरु, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic langu ...

guru
Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Baba (born Ratnakaram Sathyanarayana Raju; 23 November 192624 April 2011) was an Indian people, Indian guru. At the age of fourteen he claimed that he was the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Shirdi Sai Baba, and left his home in ...

Sathya Sai Baba
asks the question "Who is a saint?", and responds by saying that in the symbolic infrastructure of some religions, there is the image of a certain extraordinary spiritual king's "miraculous powers", to whom frequently a certain moral presence is attributed. These saintly figures, he asserts, are "the focal points of spiritual force-fields". They exert "powerful attractive influence on followers but touch the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well".


Christianity


Catholic Church

According to the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

Catholic Church
, a saint is anyone in
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By ...

Heaven
, whether recognized on Earth or not, who form the "great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1). These "may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5)" who may have not always lived perfect lives, but "amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord". The title ''Saint'' denotes a person who has been formally
canonized Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christianity, Christian communion declaring a person worthy of Cult (religious practice), public cult and entering his ...
—that is, officially and authoritatively declared a saint, by the Church as holder of the
Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven KEYS (1440 AM broadcasting, AM) is a radio station serving the Corpus Christi, Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas area with a talk radio, talk format. It broadcasts on AM broadcasting, AM frequency 1440 kHz and is licensed to Malkan AM Associates, L. ...
, and is therefore believed to be in Heaven by the grace of God. There are many persons that the Church believes to be in Heaven who have not been formally canonized and who are otherwise titled saints because of the fame of their holiness. Sometimes the word saint also denotes living Christians. According to the ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a promulgated for the by in 1992. It sums up, in book form, of the Catholic faithful. Publication history ...
'', "The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the church's liturgical traditions." In his book ''Saint of the Day'', editor Leonard Foley, OFM, says this: the " aints'surrender to God's love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration. They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ." The Catholic Church teaches that it does not "make" or "create" saints, but rather recognizes them. Proofs of heroic virtue required in the process of beatification will serve to illustrate in detail the general principles exposed above upon proof of their holiness or likeness to God. On 3 January 993,
Pope John XV Pope John XV ( la, Ioannes XV; died on 1 April 996) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and overs ...

Pope John XV
became the first pope to proclaim a person a saint from outside the diocese of Rome: on the petition of the German ruler, he had canonized Bishop
Ulrich of Augsburg Ulrich of Augsburg (893 – 4 July 973), sometimes spelled Uodalric or Odalrici, was Bishop of Augsburg:''For the Prince-Bishop who ruled before 1818, see Prince-Bishopric of Augsburg.'' , bishop of Augsburg (2017) Image:BischofMixa Augsburg.jpg, Wa ...
. Before that time, the popular "cults", or venerations, of saints had been local and spontaneous and were confirmed by the local
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
.Luscombe, David and Riley-Smith, Jonathan. 2004. ''New Cambridge Medieval History: c.1024–c.1198'', Volume 5. p. 12.
Pope John XVIII Pope John XVIII ( la, Ioannes XVIII; died June or July 1009) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority ...

Pope John XVIII
subsequently permitted a cult of five Polish
martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some ...

martyr
s.
Pope Benedict VIII Pope Benedict VIII ( la, Benedictus VIII; c. 980 – 9 April 1024) was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 18 May 1012 until his death. He was born Theophylact to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum. Unusually for a medie ...

Pope Benedict VIII
later declared the Armenian hermit
Symeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the ...
to be a saint, but it was not until the pontificate of
Pope Innocent III Pope Innocent III ( la, Innocentius III; 1160 or 1161 – 16 July 1216), born Lotario dei Conti di Segni (anglicized as Lothar of Segni Segni (, ) is an Italy, Italian town and ''comune'' located in Lazio. The city is situated on a hilltop in ...

Pope Innocent III
that the Popes reserved to themselves the exclusive authority to canonize saints, so that local bishops needed the confirmation of the Pope.
Walter of Pontoise Saint Walter of Pontoise (french: Saint Gautier, Gaultier, Gaucher; – ) was a French saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. Howeve ...
was the last person in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope:
Hugh de Boves Hugh of Amiens (died 1164), also known as Hugh de Boves, monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

Hugh de Boves
, the
Archbishop of Rouen The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rouen (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through ...
, canonized him in 1153.William Smith, Samuel Cheetham,
A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities
' (Murray, 1875), 283.
Thenceforth a decree of
Pope Alexander III Pope Alexander III (c. 1100/1105 – 30 August 1181), born Roland ( it, Rolando), was the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a po ...

Pope Alexander III
in 1170 reserved the prerogative of canonization to the Pope, insofar as the
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
was concerned. One source claims that "there are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the
Roman Martyrology The ''Roman Martyrology'' ( la, Martyrologium Romanum) is the official martyrology A martyrology is a catalogue or list of martyrs and other saints and beatification, beati arranged in the calendar order of their anniversaries or feasts. Local ma ...
and Orthodox sources, but no definitive head count".All About Saints
"FAQs: Saints and Angels", Catholic Online (USA)
Alban Butler Alban Butler (13 October 171015 May 1773) was an English Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancien ...
published ''Lives of the Saints'' in 1756, including a total of 1,486 saints. The latest revision of this book, edited by
Herbert Thurston Herbert Henry Charles Thurston (15 November 1856 – 3 November 1939) was an English priest of the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit order, and a prolific scholar on Liturgy, liturgical, literary, historical, an ...
and
Donald Attwater Donald Attwater by Eric Gill, 1929, private collection. Donald Attwater (24 December 1892–February 1977) was a British Catholic author, editor and translator, and a visiting lecturer at the University of Notre Dame The University of Notre Da ...

Donald Attwater
, contains the lives of 2,565 saints. Monsignor Robert Sarno, an official of the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints , type = Congregation , seal = Coat of arms Holy See.svg , seal_size = 100px , seal_caption = Coat of arms of the Holy See , logo = , picture =Via della Conciliazione din Roma1.jpg , picture_caption = Palazzo delle Congregazioni in Piazza ...
of the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
, expressed that it is impossible to give an exact number of saints. The
veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
of saints, in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''cultus'', or the "cult of the Saints", describes a particular popular devotion or entrustment of one's self to a particular saint or group of saints. Although the term ''
worship Worship is an act of usually directed towards a . For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a God. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated . Such a ...

worship
'' is sometimes used, it is only used with the older English connotation of honoring or respecting ('' dulia'') a person. According to the Church, Divine worship is in the strict sense reserved only to God (''
latria Latria or latreia (also known as latreutical worship) is a theological term (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area a ...
'') and never to the saints. One is permitted to ask the saints to intercede or pray to God for persons still on Earth, just as one can ask someone on Earth to pray for him. A saint may be designated as a
patron saint A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set ...
of a particular cause, profession, or locale, or invoked as a protector against specific illnesses or disasters, sometimes by popular custom and sometimes by official declarations of the Church. Saints are not believed to have power of their own, but only that granted by God.
Relics In religion, a relic is an object or article of religious significance from the past, it usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration Veneratio ...

Relics
of saints are respected, or ''venerated'', similar to the veneration of holy images and
icons An icon (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...

icons
. The practice in past centuries of venerating relics of saints with the intention of obtaining healing from God through their intercession is taken from the early Church. For example, an American
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
claimed in 2000 that St John Henry Cardinal Newman (then blessed) interceded with God to cure him of a physical illness. The deacon, Jack Sullivan, asserted that after addressing Newman he was cured of spinal stenosis in a matter of hours. In 2009, a panel of theologians concluded that Sullivan's recovery was the result of his prayer to Newman. According to the Church, to be deemed a miracle, "a medical recovery must be instantaneous, not attributable to treatment, disappear for good." Once a person has been canonized, the deceased body of the saint is considered holy as a
relic In religion, a relic is an object or article of religious significance from the past, it usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration Veneratio ...

relic
.Relics
Catholic Encyclopedia on NewAdvent.org
The remains of saints are called holy relics and are usually used in churches. Saints' personal belongings may also be used as relics. Some of the saints have a special
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...
by tradition, e.g.,
Saint Lawrence Saint Lawrence or Laurence ( la, Laurentius, lit. "laurelled"; 31 December AD 225 – 10 August 258) was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
, deacon and martyr, is identified by a gridiron because he is believed to have been burned to death on one. This symbol is found, for instance, in the Canadian heraldry of the office responsible for the
St. Lawrence Seaway The Saint Lawrence Seaway (french: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicle ...
.


Stages of canonization

Formal canonization is a lengthy process, often of many years or even centuries. There are four major steps to become a saint. The first stage in this process is an investigation of the candidate's life by an expert. After this, the official report on the candidate is submitted to the bishop of the pertinent diocese and more study is undertaken. The information is then sent to the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints , type = Congregation , seal = Coat of arms Holy See.svg , seal_size = 100px , seal_caption = Coat of arms of the Holy See , logo = , picture =Via della Conciliazione din Roma1.jpg , picture_caption = Palazzo delle Congregazioni in Piazza ...
of the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
for evaluation at the universal level of the Church. If the application is approved the candidate may be granted the title ''
Venerable The Venerable is a style, title, or epithet which is used in some Christianity, Christian churches and in Buddhism. Christianity Catholic In the Catholic Church, after a deceased Catholic has been declared a Servant of God by a Bishop (Cathol ...
'' (stage 2). Further investigation, step 3, may lead to the candidate's
beatification Beatification (from Latin ''beatus'', "blessed" and ''facere'', "to make”) is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a deceased person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to Intercession of saints, intercede on behalf of individuals ...
with the title ''Blessed'', which is elevation to the class of the '' Beati''. Next, and at a minimum, proof of two important miracles obtained from God through the intercession of the candidate are required for formal canonization as a saint. These miracles must be posthumous. Finally, in the last stage, after all of these procedures are complete, the
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
may canonize the candidate as a saint for veneration by the universal Church.


Eastern Orthodoxy

In the
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
Church a saint is defined as anyone who is in
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By ...

Heaven
, whether recognized here on Earth, or not. By this definition,
Adam and Eve Adam (Hebrew: ''ʾĀḏām'') and Eve ( ''‎‎Ḥavvā'') according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone des ...

Adam and Eve
,
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
, the various
prophet In religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involu ...
s, except for the
angel An angel is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such ...

angel
s and
archangel An archangel is an angel An angel is a supernatural spiritual being who, according to various religions, is God's servant. Abrahamic religions often depict angels as wikt:benevolent, benevolent celestial intermediaries between God ( ...

archangel
s are all given the title of "Saint". Sainthood in the Orthodox Church does not necessarily reflect a moral model, but the communion with God: there are countless examples of people who lived in great sin and became saints by humility and repentance, such as
Mary of Egypt Mary of Egypt ( cop, Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ Ⲛⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ; c. 344 – c. 421) is a highly venerated Desert Mothers, Desert Mother in the Orthodox Church, Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Coptic Churches, as ...

Mary of Egypt
, Moses the Ethiopian, and Dysmas, the repentant thief who was crucified. Therefore, a more complete Eastern Orthodox definition of what a saint is, has to do with the way that saints, through their humility and their love of humankind, saved inside them the entire Church, and loved all people. Orthodox belief considers that God reveals saints through answered prayers and other miracles. Saints are usually recognized by a local community, often by people who directly knew them. As their popularity grows they are often then recognized by the entire church. The word ''canonization'' means that a Christian has been found worthy to have his name placed in the canon (official list) of saints of the Church. The formal process of recognition involves deliberation by a synod of bishops. The Orthodox Church does not require the manifestation of miracles; what is required is evidence of a virtuous life. If the ecclesiastical review is successful, this is followed by a service of Glorification in which the Saint is given a day on the church calendar to be celebrated by the entire church. This does not, however, make the person a saint; the person already was a saint and the Church ultimately recognized it. As a general rule only
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
will touch relics in order to move them or carry them in procession, however, in
veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
the faithful will kiss the relic to show love and respect toward the saint. The
altar An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phe ...

altar
in an Orthodox church usually contains relics of saints, often of
martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some ...

martyr
s. Church interiors are covered with the
Icon An icon (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...

Icon
s of saints. When an Orthodox Christian venerates icons of a saint he is venerating the image of God which he sees in the saint. Because the Church shows no true distinction between the living and the dead (the saints are considered to be alive in Heaven), saints are referred to as if they were still alive. Saints are venerated but not worshipped. They are believed to be able to intercede for salvation and help mankind either through direct communion with God or by personal intervention. In the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
, the title Ὅσιος, ''Hosios'' (f. Ὁσία ''Hosia'') is also used. This is a title attributed to saints who had lived a
monastic Monasticism (from Ancient Greek , , from , , 'alone'), or monkhood, is a religion, religious way of life in which one renounces world (theology), worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in ...

monastic
or
eremitic A hermit, or eremite (adjectival form: eremitic or hermitic), is a person who lives in seclusion. Hermits are a part of several sections of various religions and this concept has garnered significant attention and importance. Description In Chri ...

eremitic
life, and it is equal to the more usual title of "Saint".


Oriental Orthodoxy

The
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches ‒ the
Armenian Apostolic Church , native_name_lang = hy , icon = Armenian Apostolic Church logo.png , icon_width = 100px , icon_alt = , image = Էջմիածնի_Մայր_Տաճար.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , al ...
, the
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطي ...

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
, the Tewahedo Church, the
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Indian Orthodox Church (IOC) or simply as the Malankara Church, is an autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") ...
, and the
Syriac Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate 2k18.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus, Syria ...
‒ follow a canonization process unique to each church. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, for example, has the requirement that at least 50 years must pass following a prospective saint's death before the Coptic Orthodox Church's
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...
can canonize the saint.


Anglicanism

In the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
and the
Continuing Anglican The Continuing Anglican movement, also known as the Anglican Continuum, encompasses a number of Christian churches, principally based in North America, which have an Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition ...
movement, the title of Saint refers to a person who has been elevated by popular opinion as a pious and holy person. The saints are seen as models of holiness to be imitated, and as a "cloud of witnesses" that strengthen and encourage the believer during his or her spiritual journey (). The saints are seen as elder brothers and sisters in Christ. Official Anglican creeds recognise the existence of the saints in heaven. In
high-church The term ''high church'' refers to beliefs and practices of Christian ecclesiology, liturgy, and Christian theology, theology that emphasize formality and resistance to modernisation. Although used in connection with various Christian denomination ...
contexts, such as
Anglo-Catholicism Anglo-Catholicism, Anglican Catholicism, or Catholic Anglicanism comprises people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, ...
, a saint is generally one to whom has been attributed (and who has generally demonstrated) a high level of holiness and sanctity. In this use, a saint is therefore not merely a , but one who has been transformed by virtue. In
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
, a saint is a special sign of God's activity. The veneration of saints is sometimes misunderstood to be worship, in which case it is derisively termed "hagiolatry". So far as invocation of the saints is concerned, one of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
's Articles of Religion "Of
Purgatory Purgatory (, via Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman and Old French) is, according to the belief of some Christianity, Christians (mostly Catholics), an intermediate state after physical death for expiatory purification. There is disagreement amo ...

Purgatory
" condemns "the Romish Doctrine concerning...(the) Invocation of Saints" as "a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God". Anglo-Catholics in Anglican provinces using the Articles often make a distinction between a "Romish" and a "Patristic" doctrine concerning the invocation of saints, permitting the latter in accordance with Article XXII. Indeed, the theologian E.J. Bicknell stated that the Anglican view acknowledges that the term "invocation may mean either of two things: the simple request to a saint for his prayers (intercession), 'ora pro nobis', or a request for some particular benefit. In medieval times the saints had come to be regarded as themselves the authors of blessings. Such a view was condemned but the former was affirmed." Some Anglicans and Anglican churches, particularly Anglo-Catholics, personally ask prayers of the saints. However, such a practice is seldom found in any official Anglican liturgy. Unusual examples of it are found in The Korean Liturgy 1938, the liturgy of the Diocese of Guiana 1959 and The Melanesian English Prayer Book. Anglicans believe that the only effective Mediator between the believer and God the Father, in terms of redemption and salvation, is God the Son,
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. He was a fir ...

Christ
. Historical Anglicanism has drawn a distinction between the intercession of the saints and the invocation of the saints. The former was generally accepted in Anglican doctrine, while the latter was generally rejected. There are some, however, in Anglicanism, who do beseech the saints' intercession. Those who beseech the saints to intercede on their behalf make a distinction between ''mediator'' and ''intercessor'', and claim that asking for the prayers of the saints is no different in kind than asking for the prayers of living Christians. Anglican Catholics understand sainthood in a more
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Catholic
or
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
way, often praying for intercessions from the saints and celebrating their feast days. According to the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
, a saint is one who is sanctified, as it translates in the Authorised King James Version (1611) 2 Chronicles 6:41:
Now therefore arise, O God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.


Lutheranism

In the
Lutheran Church Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a major ...
, all Christians, whether in Heaven or on Earth, are regarded as saints. However, the church still recognizes and honors specific saints, including some of those recognized by the Catholic Church, but in a qualified way: according to the
Augsburg Confession The Augsburg Confession, also known as the Augustan Confession or the Augustana from its Latin name, ''Confessio Augustana'', is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Protestant Reform ...
, the term ''saint'' is used in the manner of the Catholic Church only insofar as to denote a person who received exceptional grace, was sustained by faith, and whose good works are to be an example to any Christian. Traditional Lutheran belief accounts that prayers ''to'' the saints are prohibited, as they are not mediators of redemption. But, Lutherans do believe that saints pray for the Christian Church in general.
Philip Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Protestant Reformers, reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectu ...
, the author of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, approved honoring the saints by saying they are honored in three ways: :1. By thanking God for examples of His mercy; :2. By using the saints as examples for strengthening our faith; and :3. By imitating their faith and other virtues. The Lutheran Churches also have
liturgical calendars Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship ma ...
in which they honor individuals as saints. The intercession of saints was criticized in the '' Augsburg Confession, Article XXI: Of the Worship of the Saints''. This criticism was rebutted by the Catholic side in the '' Confutatio Augustana'', which in turn was rebutted by the Lutheran side in the ''Apology to the Augsburg Confession''.


Methodism

While Methodists as a whole do not venerate saints, they do honor and admire them. Methodists believe that all Christians are ''saints'', but mainly use the term to refer to biblical figures, Christian leaders, and martyrs of the faith. Many Methodist churches are named after saints—such as the
Twelve Apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, partic ...

Twelve Apostles
,
John Wesley John Wesley (; 2 March 1791) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

John Wesley
, etc.—although most are named after geographical locations associated with an early
circuitCircuit may refer to: Science and technology Electrical engineering * Electrical circuit, a complete electrical network with a closed-loop giving a return path for current ** Analog circuit, uses continuous signal levels ** Balanced circuit, p ...
or prominent location. Methodist congregations observe
All Saints' Day All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, Hallowmas, the Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints, is a Christianity, Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Its intent is to celebrate all the ...
. Many encourage the study of saints, that is, the biographies of holy people. The 14th Article of Religion in the
United Methodist The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant Christian denomination, denomination based in the United States, and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a l ...
'' Book of Discipline'' states:
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.


Other Protestantism

In many
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
churches, the word ''saint'' is used more generally to refer to anyone who is a Christian. This is similar in usage to
Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (name), a given name (includes a list of people with that name) *Paul (surname), a list of people People Christianity *Paul the Apostle (AD 5–67), also known as Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul, early Christian missionar ...
's numerous references in the New Testament of the Bible. In this sense, anyone who is within the
Body of Christ In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Christia ...
(i.e., a professing Christian) is a saint because of their relationship with Christ Jesus. Many Protestants consider intercessory prayers to the saints to be
idolatry Idolatry is the worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship may be performed i ...
, since an application of divine worship that should be given only to God himself is being given to other believers, dead or alive. Within some Protestant traditions, ''saint'' is also used to refer to any
born-again Christian Born again, or to experience the new birth, is a phrase, particularly in evangelicalism Evangelicalism (), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestantism, Protestan ...
. Many emphasize the traditional
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
meaning of the word, preferring to write "saint" to refer to any believer, in continuity with the doctrine of the
priesthood of all believers The universal priesthood or the priesthood of all believers is a principle in some branches of Christianity which abrogates the doctrine of holy orders found in some other branches, including the Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: ...
.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The use of "saint" within
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism ...
(LDS Church) is similar to the Protestant tradition. In the New Testament, saints are all those who have entered into the Christian covenant of baptism. The qualification "latter-day" refers to the doctrine that members are living in the latter days before the
Second Coming of Christ of the Second Coming, c. 1700 The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christianity, Christian and Islam, Islamic belief that Jesus will return again, after his Ascension of Jesus, ascension to Heaven (Christia ...
, and is used to distinguish the members of the church, which considers itself the restoration of the ancient Christian church. Members are therefore often referred to as "
Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian, Christianity, Christian Restorationism, restorationist church that considers itself to be the Re ...
" or "LDS", and among themselves as "saints".


Other religions

The use of the term ''saint'' is not exclusive to Christianity. In many religions, there are people who have been recognized within their tradition as having fulfilled the highest aspirations of religious teaching. In English, the term ''saint'' is often used to translate this idea from many
world religions World religions is a category used in the study of religion to demarcate the five—and in some cases more—largest and most internationally widespread religious movements. Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Mono ...
. The Jewish ''hasid'' or ''tsaddiq'', the Islamic ''qidees'', the Zoroastrian ''fravashi'', the Hindu ''rsi'' or ''guru,'' the Buddhist ''arahant'' or ''bodhisattva,'' the Daoist ''shengren,'' the Shinto ''kami,'' and others have all been referred to as saints.


African diaspora

Cuban
Santería Santería (), also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí, or Lucumí, is an African diaspora religions, African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century. It arose through a process of syncretism between the tradit ...
,
Haitian Vodou Haitian Vodou is an African diasporic religions, African diasporic religion that developed in Haiti between the 16th and 19th centuries. It arose through a process of syncretism between several traditional religions of West Africa, West and Centr ...
, Trinidad Orisha-Shango, Brazilian
Umbanda Umbanda () is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, lar ...
,
Candomblé Candomblé () is an African diasporic religion that developed in Brazil during the 19th century. It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional religions of West Africa and the Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: ...
, and other similar
syncretist Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or ou ...
religions adopted the Catholic saints, or at least the images of the saints, and applied their own spirits/deities to them. They are worshiped in churches (where they appear as saints) and in religious festivals, where they appear as the
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel An angel is a supernatural ...

deities
. The name ''santería'' was originally a pejorative term for those whose worship of saints deviated from Catholic norms.


Buddhism

Buddhists in both the
Theravada Theravāda (; , lit. "School of the ", borrowed from Sanskrit स्थविरवाद (sthaviravāda, literally “doctrine of the elders”) is the most commonly accepted name of 's oldest existing school. The school's adherents, termed Th ...
and
Mahayana in Shishoin Temple (Tokyo). A unique feature of Mahāyāna is the belief that there are multiple Buddhas which are currently teaching the Dharma. Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, text ...
traditions hold the ''
Arhat In Buddhism, an ''arhat'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is t ...

Arhat
s'' in special esteem, as well as highly developed
Bodhisattvas In Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of tradition ...
.
Tibetan Buddhists Tibetan Buddhism (also Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Sino-Indian Buddhism) is the form of Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of t ...
hold the ''
tulku A ''tulku'' (, also ''tülku'', ''trulku'') is a reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his or her predecessor. High-profile examples ...
s'' (reincarnates of deceased eminent practitioners) as living saints on earth.


Hinduism

Hindu saints are those recognized by
Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as ...

Hindu
s as showing a great degree of holiness and sanctity. Hinduism has a long tradition of stories and poetry about saints. There is no formal
canonization Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christianity, Christian communion declaring a person worthy of Cult (religious practice), public cult and entering his ...
process in Hinduism, but over time, many men and women have reached the status of saints among their followers and among Hindus in general. Unlike in Christianity, Hinduism does not canonize people as saints after death, but they can be accepted as saints during their lifetime. Hindu saints have often renounced the world, and are variously called
guru Guru (, ; sa, गुरु, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic langu ...

guru
s,
sadhu ''Sadhu'' (IAST: ' (male), ''sādhvī'' or ''sādhvīne'' (female)), also spelled ''saadhu'', is a religious ascetic, mendicant or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively re ...

sadhu
s,
rishi ''Rishi'' () is a term for an accomplished and enlightened person. They find mentions in various Hindu Vedic texts. Rishis are believed to have composed hymns of the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. A ...

rishi
s, devarishis,
rajarshi Rajarishi (from Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages ...
s,
saptarishi The Saptarishi (from Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the ...

saptarishi
s,
brahmarshiIn Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The ...
s,
swami Swami ( ; sometimes abbreviated sw.) in Hinduism Hinduism () is an and ', or way of life. It is the , with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as . The word ' is an , and while Hinduism has been called ...

swami
s,
pundits A pundit is a person who offers to opinion or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically politics, the social sciences, technology or sport). Origins The term originates from the term (' पण्डित), meaning "knowledge o ...
,
purohit Purohit, in the Indian religious context, means ''family priest'', from ''puras'' meaning "front", and ''hita'', "placed". The word is also used synonymously with the word '' pandit'', which also means "priest". Tirth Purohit means the Purohits ...

purohit
s,
pujari Pūjari is a designation given to a Hindu temple A Mandir or Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of divinity for Hindus Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to asp ...
s,
acharya In Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism,Adams ...
s,
pravaras In Hindu culture, a ''Pravara'' (Sanskrit for "most excellent") is a system of identity, particularly a family line. Pravaras is a particular Brahmin's descent from a ''rishi'' (sage) who belonged to their ''gotra'' (clan). Importance in Hind ...
,
yogi A yogi is a practitioner of Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mind, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in History of India, ...
s,
yogini Yogini (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It a ...
s, and other names. Some Hindu saints are given god-like status, being seen as of
Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ), also known as Narayana and Hari, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Vishnu is known as "The Prese ...

Vishnu
,
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव, lit=The Auspicious One, Śiva ), also known as Mahadeva (; ɐɦaːd̪eːʋɐ, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the God, Supreme Being in Shaivism, one of the major traditions wit ...

Shiva
,
Devi Devī (Sanskrit: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for 'goddess'; the masculine form is Deva (Hinduism), ''deva''. ''Devi'' and ''deva'' mean 'heavenly, divine, anything of excellence', and are also gender-specific terms for a deity in Hind ...

Devi
, and other aspects of the Divine—this can happen during their lifetimes, or sometimes many years after their deaths. This explains another common name for Hindu saints: godmen.


Islam

Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
has had a rich history of veneration of saints (often called ''
wali A wali (''wali'' ar, وَلِيّ, '; plural , '), the Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle Eas ...
'', which literally means 'Friend
f God F, or f, is the sixth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as repre ...
),See John Renard, ''Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood'' (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008); Idem., ''Tales of God Friends: Islamic Hagiography in Translation'' (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009) which has declined in some parts of the Islamic world in the twentieth century due to the influence of the various streams of
Salafism The Salafi movement, also called the Salafist movement, ''Salafiyyah'' and Salafism, is a reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges i ...
. In
Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the behaviour of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni ...
, the veneration of saints became a very common form of devotion early on, and saints came to be defined in the eighth-century as a group of "special people chosen by God and endowed with exceptional gifts, such as the ability to work miracles."Radtke, B., "Saint", in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. The classical Sunni scholars came to recognize and honor these individuals as venerable people who were both "loved by God and developed a close relationship of love to Him." "Belief in the miracles of saints (''karāmāt al-awliyāʾ'') ... ecame arequirement in Sunni Islam uring the classical period" with even medieval critics of the ubiquitous practice of ziyara, grave visitation like Ibn Taymiyyah emphatically declaring: "The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, and acknowledged by all Muslim scholars. The Quran has pointed to it in different places, and the hadith, sayings of the Prophet have mentioned it, and whoever denies the miraculous power of saints are innovators or following innovators." The vast majority of saints venerated in the classical Sunni world were the Sufis, who were all Sunni mystics who belonged to one of the maddhab, four orthodox legal schools of Sunni law. Veneration of saints eventually became one of the most widespread Sunni practices for more than a millennium, before it was opposed in the twentieth century by the Salafi movement, whose various streams regard it as "being both un-Islamic and backwards ... rather than the integral part of Islam which they were for over a millennium." In a manner similar to the Protestant Reformation, the specific traditional practices which
Salafism The Salafi movement, also called the Salafist movement, ''Salafiyyah'' and Salafism, is a reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges i ...
has tried to curtail in both Sunni and Shia contexts include those of wali, the veneration of saints, ziyara, visiting their graves, tawassul, seeking their intercession, and relics, honoring their relics. As Christopher Taylor has remarked: "[Throughout Islamic history] a vital dimension of Islamic piety was the veneration of Muslim saints…. [Due, however to] certain strains of thought within the Islamic tradition itself, particularly pronounced in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries ... [some modern day] Muslims have either resisted acknowledging the existence of Muslim saints altogether or have viewed their presence and veneration as unacceptable deviations."Christopher Taylor, ''In the Vicinity of the Righteous'' (Leiden: Brill, 1999), pp. 5–6


Judaism

The term ''Tzadik'' 'righteous', and its associated meanings, developed in Rabbinic literature, rabbinic thought from its Talmudic contrast with ''Hasid (term), Hasid'' 'pious', to its exploration in Musar literature, ethical literature, and its esoteric spiritualisation in Kabbalah. In Hasidic Judaism, the institution of the Tzadik assumed central importance, combining former elite mysticism with social movement for the first time.


Sikhism

The concept of ''Sant Mat, sant'' or ''bhagat'' is found in North Indian religious thought including Sikhism, most notably in the Guru Granth Sahib. Figures such as Kabir, Ravidas, Namdev, and others are known as ''Sants'' or ''Bhagats''. The term ''Sant'' is applied in the Sikh and related communities to beings that have attained enlightenment through God realization and spiritual union with God via repeatedly reciting the name of God (Naam Japo). Countless names of God exist. In Sikhism, ''Naam'' (spiritual internalization of God's name) is commonly attained through the name of Waheguru, which translates to "Wondrous Guru". Sikhs are encouraged to follow the congregation of a Sant (Sadh Sangat) or "The Company of the Holy". ''Sants'' grace the Sadh Sangat with knowledge of the Divine God, and how to take greater steps towards obtaining spiritual enlightenment through ''Naam''. ''Sants'' are to be distinguished from "Guru" (such as Guru Nanak) who have compiled the path to God enlightenment in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Gurus are the physical incarnation of God upon Earth. Sikhism states however, that any beings that have become one with God are considered synonymous with God. As such, the fully realized Sant, Guru, and God are considered one.


See also

* Calendar of saints * Communion of saints *
Congregation for the Causes of Saints , type = Congregation , seal = Coat of arms Holy See.svg , seal_size = 100px , seal_caption = Coat of arms of the Holy See , logo = , picture =Via della Conciliazione din Roma1.jpg , picture_caption = Palazzo delle Congregazioni in Piazza ...
* Hagiography * Hallow * Latter Day Saint movement * List of bodhisattvas * List of canonizations * List of saints, List of Christian saints ** List of saints from Africa ** List of American saints and beatified people ** List of Breton saints ** List of Canadian Catholic saints ** List of Coptic saints ** List of saints of India ** List of saints of the Society of Jesus ** List of Russian saints * List of Hindu gurus and sants * List of Sufi saints * Martyrology * Sage (philosophy) * Saint Companions * Secular saint


References


Citations


Sources

* Beyer, Jürgen, et al., eds. ''Confessional sanctity (c. 1550 – c. 1800)''. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 2003. * Siglind Bruhn, Bruhn, Siglind. ''Saints in the Limelight: Representations of the Religious Quest on the Post-1945 Operatic Stage''. Hillsdale, New York: Pendragon Press, 2003. . * Cunningham, Lawrence S. ''The Meaning of Saints''. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980. * Hawley, John Stratton, ed. ''Saints and Virtues''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. . * Hein, David. "Saints: Holy, Not Tame". ''Sewanee Theological Review'' 49 (2006): 204–217. * Jean-Luc Deuffic (ed.), ''Reliques et sainteté dans l'espace médiéval'

* O'Malley, Vincent J. ''Ordinary Suffering of Extraordinary Saints'', 1999. . * Perham, Michael. ''The Communion of Saints''. London: Alcuin Club/SPCK, 1980. * Woodward, Kenneth L. ''Making Saints''. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.


Further reading

* Gallick, Sarah (2014). ''50 Saints Everyone Should Know''. Wise Media Group. . E-book. * *


External links


Today's Saints on the Calendar





Saints and Their Legends: A Selection of Saints

Biographies of Saints and Gurus in the Indian Tradition

Saints engravings. Old Masters from the De Verda collection
{{Authority control Saints, Sainthood, Religious terminology Titles and occupations in Hinduism