1347-80, Italian ascetic and mystic.
died A.D. 731, pope 715-731.
died A.D. 741, pope 731-741.
died A.D. 352, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 337-352.
died A.D. 683, Sicilian ecclesiastic: pope 682-683.
died A.D. 855, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 847-855.
died A.D. 309, pope 308-309.
died A.D. 655, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 649-655.
died A.D. 257?, pope 254-257.

* * *

Holy person.

In the New Testament, St. Paul used the term to mean a member of the Christian community, but the term more commonly refers to those noted for their holiness and venerated during their lifetimes or after death. In Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, saints are publicly recognized by the church and are considered intercessors with God for the living. They are honoured on special feast days, and their remains and personal effects are venerated as relics. Often Christian saints perform miracles in their lifetime, or miracles occur in their names after their death. In Islam, wali ("friend of God") is often translated as saint; in Buddhism, arhats and bodhisattvas are roughly equivalent to saints. Hindu sadhus are somewhat similar. See also canonization.
(as used in expressions)
Adalbert Saint
Agatha Saint
Agnes Saint
Aidan Saint
Albertus Magnus Saint
Alexander Nevsky Saint
Ambrose Saint
Andrew Saint
Angilbert Saint
Anselm of Canterbury Saint
Ansgar Saint
Anthony of Egypt Saint
Anthony of Padua Saint
Aquinas Saint Thomas
Athanasius Saint
Augustine of Hippo Saint
Augustine of Canterbury Saint
Barbara Saint
Barnabas Saint
Bartholomew Saint
Basil the Great Saint
Becket Saint Thomas
Bede Saint
Bellarmine Saint Robert
Benedict of Nursia Saint
Bernadette of Lourdes Saint
Bernard de Clairvaux Saint
Bernardine of Siena Saint
Bolingbroke Henry Saint John 1st Viscount
Bonaventure Saint
Boniface Saint
Borromeo Saint Charles
Brébeuf Saint Jean de
Brendan Saint
Bridget Saint
Bruno of Querfurt Saint
Saint Boniface of Querfurt
Cabrini Saint Frances Xavier
Catherine of Alexandria Saint
Catherine of Siena Saint
Cecilia Saint
Christopher Saint
Chrysostom Saint John
Ciaran of Clonmacnoise Saint
Clare of Assisi Saint
Clement of Alexandria Saint
Columba Saint
Columban Saint
Cuthbert Saint
Cyprian Saint
Cyril of Alexandria Saint
Cyril of Jerusalem Saint
Denis Saint
Saint Denys
Dominic Saint
Drexel Saint Katherine
Dunstan of Canterbury Saint
Edward the Confessor Saint
Elizabeth of Hungary Saint
Francis de Sales Saint
Francis of Assisi Saint
Gelasius I Saint
George Saint
Godfrey of Saint Victor
Gregory I Saint
Gregory of Nazianzus Saint
Gregory of Nyssa Saint
Gregory of Tours Saint
Gregory VII Saint
Helena Saint
Hugh of Saint Victor
Ignatius of Antioch Saint
Irenaeus Saint
Isidore of Sevilla Saint
James Saint
Jerome Saint
Joan of Arc Saint
John of Damascus Saint
Saint John Damascene
John the Baptist Saint
Joseph Saint
Justin Martyr Saint
Kolbe Saint Maksymilian Maria
Saint Ladislas
Lawrence Saint
Saint Laurence
Leo I Saint
Leo IX Saint
Loyola Saint Ignatius of
Luke Saint
Malachy Saint
Margaret of Antioch Saint
Saint Marina
Margaret of Scotland Saint
Mark the Evangelist Saint
Martin of Tours Saint
Mary Magdalene Saint
Matthew Saint
Mesrob Saint
Saint Mesrop Mashtots
Mont Saint Michel
More Saint Thomas
Neri Saint Philip
Nerses I the Great Saint
Nicholas Saint
Saint Olaf
Olga Saint
Saint Helga
Palamas Saint Gregory
Patrick Saint
Paul Saint
Peter Damian Saint
Peter the Apostle Saint
Photius Saint
Pius V Saint
Pius X Saint
Plunket Saint Oliver
Raymond of Saint Gilles
Raymond of Peñafort Saint
Rose of Lima Saint
Saint Andrews University of
Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre of
Saint Clair Lake
Saint Elmo's fire
Saint George's
Saint George's Channel
Saint Helens Mount
Saint John's
Saint Kitts Nevis
Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Laurent Louis Stephen
Saint Laurent Yves Henri Donat Mathieu
Saint Lawrence Gulf of
Saint Mark's Basilica
Saint Paul's Cathedral
Saint Peter's Basilica
Saint Vincent Cape
Saint Vincent Gulf
Saint Cloud porcelain
Saint Denis
Saint Exupéry Antoine Marie Roger de
Saint Gaudens Augustus
Saint Germain Treaty of
Saint Jean Lac
Saint John's wort
Saint Just Louis Antoine Léon de
Saint Léon Charles Victor Arthur Michel
Saint Malo Gulf of
Saint Maurice River
Saint Saë ns Charles Camille
Saint Simon Claude Henri de Rouvroy comte de
Sebastian Saint
Seton Saint Elizabeth Ann
Simeon Stylites Saint
Saint Stephen
Stephen Saint
Teresa of Ávila Saint
Theodore of Canterbury Saint
Thérèse of Lisieux Saint
Thomas Saint
Ursula Saint
Vardan Mamikonian Saint
Vincent de Paul Saint
Vladimir I Saint
Wilfrid Saint
Xavier Saint Francis
Crèvecoeur Michel Guillaume Saint Jean de
John of the Cross Saint
John the Apostle Saint
Montcalm de Saint Véran Louis Joseph de Montcalm Grozon marquis de
Northcliffe of Saint Peter Alfred Charles William Harmsworth Viscount
Saint John Perse
Marie René Auguste Aléxis Saint Léger Léger
House of the Hospitallers of Saint Mary of the Teutons
All Saints' Day
Cyril and Methodius Saints
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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      a holy person believed to have a special relationship to the sacred as well as moral perfection or exceptional teaching abilities. The phenomenon is widespread in the religions of the world, both ancient and contemporary. Various types of religious personages have been recognized as saints, both by popular acclaim and official pronouncement, and their influence on the religious masses (the broad spectrum of those holding various wide-ranging religious beliefs) has been, and is, of considerable significance.

Nature and significance
      Saints are persons believed to be connected in a special manner with what is viewed as sacred reality—gods, spiritual powers, mythical realms, and other aspects of the sacred or holy. The existence of such persons has been a widespread phenomenon throughout the religions of the world. The religious person may have various relationships with the sacred: as seer, prophet, saviour, monk, nun, priest, priestess, or other such personage. In the case of each of these, however, a specific kind of relationship to the holy is involved. Seers, for example, have an inspirational vision of the future; prophets proclaim a revelation; saviours are entrusted with effecting redemption, liberation, or other salvatory conditions; monks and nuns lead religious lives in accordance with ascetic regulations that they generally observe as long as they live. Every one of these religious personages may simultaneously be, or become, a saint, but there is no necessary connection. Sainthood thus implies a special type of relationship to the holy, a relationship that is not automatically obtained by other religious personages through their performance of religious duties or offices.

      The significance of saintly personages is generally based on real or alleged deeds and qualities that became apparent during their lifetimes and continue to exert influence after their deaths. The special character of their feats and qualities of living is believed to arise from an especially close association with a deity or sacred power. In addition to such a relationship, sainthood also requires the existence of a sacral institution that can grant such recognition, or of a popular cult that acknowledges and posits a belief in the saint's special qualities. In institutionalized religions, such as Roman Catholicism, there is a regularized process (called canonization) by which saints are officially recognized. Canonization requires, among other things, proof that the person in question wrought miracles during his or her lifetime. On the other hand, folk belief often recognizes the saintly powers of a living or dead person long before the institutional religion acknowledges him as a saint.

Saints in Eastern religions

Confucianism and Taoism
      Confucianism is in the main ethically oriented. Confucius taught that right conduct was a means of acquiring ideal harmony with the Way (Tao) of Heaven and that the “holy rulers of primal times” were representative examples of such ideal conduct. In the oldest known Chinese historical work, the Shu Ching (Shujing) (“Classic of History”), such a ruler, King T'ang (11th century BC), is described as one who “possessed the highest degree of virtue, and so it came to be that he acquired the bright authority of Heaven.” Thus, in Confucianism, the saintliness of its holy men lay in ethical perfection, and through the practice of ethical ideals a contact with Heaven (T'ien) was established. Confucius himself serves as an example of a man who was first regarded as a saint because of his deep wisdom and conscientious observance of ethical precepts and was even considered to be “more than human.” During the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), Confucius was elevated to a new status: Emperor Kao Tsu offered sacrifice at the Confucian temple, and Emperor Wu proclaimed Confucianism the official ideology of China. The titles duke (AD 1) and king (739) were further tributes to “the perfect sage.” During the T'ang dynasty (618–907), sacrifices were regularly offered in Confucian temples, and in 1906 Confucius was declared equal to the Lord of Heaven.

      Taoism (Daoism) is oriented toward another kind of sanctity: the attainment of a passionless unity with the Absolute. Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi) (died c. 300 BC), a mystical Taoist sage, speaks of the “pure men of early times” in his work, the Chuang-tzu, and characterizes them as such.

      Shintō, the native Japanese religion, is concerned with the veneration of nature and with ancestor worship; it does not have saints according to the standards of ethical perfection or of exceptionally meritorious performance. According to Shintō belief, every person after his death becomes a kami, a supernatural being who continues to have a part in the life of the community, nation, and family. Good men become good and beneficial kamis, bad men become pernicious ones. Being elevated to the status of a divine being is not a privilege peculiar to those with saintly qualities, for evil men also become kamis. There are in Shintō, however, venerated mythical saints—such as Ōkuni-nushi (Master of the Great Land) and Sukuma-Bikona (a dwarf deity)—who are considered to be the discoverers and patrons of medicine, magic, and the art of brewing rice.

      Founded by Siddhārta Gautama, Buddhism developed into three major forms in the course of its more than 2,500-year history: Theravāda (Theravada) (“Way of the Elders”), also called in derogation Hīnayāna (“Lesser Vehicle”); Mahāyāna (“Greater Vehicle”); and, stemming from it, Vajrayāna (“Vehicle of the Thunderbolt”). A belief in saints prevails in all three groups.

      Theravāda Buddhism, claiming strict adherence to the teachings of the Buddha, recognizes as saints ( arhats) those who have attained Nirvāṇa (nirvana) (the state of bliss) and hence salvation from saṃsāra (samsara) (the compulsory circle of rebirth) by their own efforts. The Buddha himself—having obtained Nirvāṇa (“the destruction of greed, . . . hate, . . . and illusion”)—is viewed as the first Buddhist saint. Disciples of the Buddha who reached Nirvāṇa after him also are considered holy men. Furthermore, in early Buddhism, there were also women regarded as holy, including Prajāpatī, the Buddha's aunt and stepmother—whose repeated requests finally caused the Buddha to permit women to enter his order—and his wife Yaśodharā.

      Mahāyāna (Mahayana) Buddhism, originating about the beginning of the Christian Era, rejected the Theravāda belief that only monks may attain salvation. In Mahāyāna belief there is a path to redemption for all people, irrespective of their social standing. Salvation and the way to redemption are conceived in terms more liberal than those of Theravāda. Mahāyāna Buddhists believe in an otherworldly paradise that allows for personal existence and in which dwell heavenly Buddhas (those who have attained Nirvāṇa in previous worlds) and bodhisattvas (“Buddhas-to-be”). The heavenly Buddhas and bodhisattvas are believed to grant grace to sentient beings, so that salvation is no longer acquired by fleeing from the world and giving up worldly professions, but rather by faith (in the sense of trust) in the promise of a saviour deity. Thus, in Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas are viewed as the holy ones, the saints, who in compassion, attempt to aid others struggling for salvation. This concept is in striking contrast to the arhats of Theravāda Buddhism, who follow the dying Buddha's last words, “Seek your own salvation with diligence.” The basic altruistic concept of Mahāyāna then is that of the helping bodhisattva. Everyone should strive for this ideal in order to save as many fellowmen as possible as a bodhisattva and to bring them into the “Greater Vehicle” (Mahāyāna). Hence, the idea of faith in benevolent saints gains prominence in Mahāyāna Buddhism as a theistic religion of salvation. In Japanese Mahāyāna there are patron saints, such as Shōtoku Taishi (Shōtoku, Taishi), the regent who supported the introduction and development of Buddhism in his country in about AD 600, after it had been introduced in AD 552.

       Vajrayāna Buddhism, embodying, among other views, Tantrism (a system of magical and esoteric practices), is mainly represented by Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to the innumerable saints of Mahāyāna Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism also accepts as living saints those who are regarded as incarnations (tulkus) of saints, scholars of the past, deities, or demons. The Dalai Lamas (Dalai Lama), heads of the Tibetan hierarchy, are viewed as reincarnations of Chen-re-zi (the bodhisattva of mercy, Avalokiteśvara).

      According to Jain teaching, there were 23 Tīrthaṅkaras (Tirthankara) (saintly prophets or proclaimers of salvation) before Mahāvīra (Mahavira) Vardhamāna, the 6th-century-BC Indian religious leader after whom Jainism was named. Today they are venerated as saints in temples containing their images. Veneration of the Holy Tīrthaṅkaras is viewed in terms of purifying the devotee morally, as these saints are but examples for the Jainas and not actually objects of a cult.

      Hinduism in a wider sense encompasses Brahmanism, a belief in the Universal Soul, Brahman; in a narrower sense it comprises the post-Buddhist, caste-ordered religious and cultural world of India. The Indian religions are by and large mystical (mysticism) in character; hence, even in early Hinduism ascetics were highly honoured. Mysticism generally starts with ascetic (asceticism) practices as a means of eliminating a desire for worldly existence.

      In later Hinduism, when the ascetics continued to be revered by the masses as sādhu (sadhu and swami)s (saints, or “good ones”) and yogis (ascetic practitioners), the concept of the avatāra (avatar) (the idea of the incarnation of a divine being in human form) served to interpret the existence of holy men. By means of this concept it was, and still is, possible to consider living and dead saints as incarnations of a deity and also to incorporate saints of other religions into the Hindu world of belief. Thus Jesus Christ, for instance, is regarded as an avatāra of the god Vishnu (Viṣṇu), and the Hindu saint Rāmakrishna is considered to be an avatāra of the god Śiva.

Saints in Western religions

      The ancient heroes of Greek religion may be regarded as saints. One basis for belief in heroes and the hero cult was the idea that the mighty dead continued to live and to be active as spiritual powers from the sites of their graves. Another source of the cult of heroes was the conception that gods were often lowered to the status of heroes. One of the best known heroes is Heracles, who became famous through his mighty deeds. In Greek religion the numinous (spiritual) qualities of a person lay in such heroic deeds.

Zoroastrianism and Parsiism
      Zoroastrianism includes the veneration of Fravashis (fravashi)—i.e., preexistent souls that are good by nature, gods and goddesses of individual families and clans, and physical elements. According to Zoroastrian belief, humans are caught up in a great cosmic struggle (dualism) between the forces of good, led by Ahura Mazdā (Wise Lord), and the forces of evil, led by Angra Mainyu, or Ahriman, the Evil Spirit. In the battle between Asha (Truth) and Druj (Lie) the Fravashis may correspond to the saints of Roman Catholicism, who can be called upon for aid in times of trouble.

      The cult of saints in terms of veneration was not a part of the monotheistic religion of Israel. Saintliness, however, was an ideal that many hoped to exhibit. The model of a pious person is depicted in the righteous one of Psalm 5, “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” In the Hellenistic period (c. 300 BC—c. AD 300), when many Jews were susceptible to foreign religious influences, the Ḥasidim (the “pious” ones) segregated themselves from the others, holding fast to the faith of their fathers.

      The concept of the Ḥasidim gained new significance in the 18th century when Israel ben Eliezer, called Baʿal Shem Ṭov, or “Master of the Good Name,” started the modern movement called Ḥasidism. As opposed to the Orthodox Israelite religion with its emphasis on rationalism, cultic piety, and legalism, Baʿal Shem Ṭov stood for a more mystically (mysticism) oriented form of Judaism.

      Jesus and his disciples did not speak of saints; but during the period (1st to early 4th century) in which they were persecuted, Christians began to venerate the martyrs (martyr) as saints. They believed that the martyrs, being sufferers “unto death” for Christ, were received directly into heaven and could therefore be effective as intercessors for the living. By the 3rd century the veneration of martyr saints was already common.

      In the Nicene Creed (AD 325) the early church called itself the “communion of saints.” Here, however, the word “saint” has the broader meaning of “believer” rather than being applied strictly to a holy person or numinous personality worthy of veneration. In the 10th century a procedure of canonization (official recognition of a public cult of a saint) was initiated by Pope John XV (John XV (or XVI)). Gradually, a fixed process was developed for canonization by the pope, requiring that the person must have led a life of heroic sanctity and performed at least two miracles.

      Saints in the Roman Catholic Church (Roman Catholicism) are venerated—but not worshipped—because of their spiritual and religious significance and are believed to be the bearers of special powers. Because of a belief in the powers of the saints, their relics (relic) are regarded as efficacious. In the Eastern Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodoxy) saints also are venerated, but the process of canonization is less juridical and not always ecumenical. In some Protestant (Protestantism) churches (Lutheran and Anglican) saints are recognized, but not venerated as in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

      Islām is a rigorously monotheistic religion, strictly prohibiting any kind of “conjunction” (i.e., affiliation, or consortship) to Allāh. Thus the concept of sainthood was rejected. Yet even here a variegated belief in holy men arose because of the demands of popular religion. Over against the one distant God, whose almighty power and whose role as a strict judge was emphasized repeatedly, there emerged a desire for intercessors. These were found in saintly men who were believed to be endowed with charismatic powers (karāmāt), allowing them to go miraculously from one place to another far away; to wield authority over animals, plants, and clouds; and to bridge the gap between life and death. The Prophet Muḥammad (Muhammad) (died AD 632) had negated the existence of saints, but the piety of the masses “canonized” holy men while they were still living. After they died, cults of devotion arose at the sites of their graves, and pilgrimages to such sites were believed to aid the believer in acquiring help and blessing.

Modes of recognition

The bases of recognition
      The basic motive for the belief in and veneration of saints is, primarily, the recognition by people of religious persons whom they view as holy. In order for a religious personage (e.g., prophet) to be recognized as a saint, it is necessary that other people see in him the aura of holiness. The holiness recognized in him may be an impersonal sacred or spiritual power—which is often perceived in quite insignificant persons—and is believed to be present even in the bones and other material relics of a recognized holy person after his death. Religious personalities also are believed to possess a personal holiness, either bestowed upon them by divine grace or acquired through asceticism and moral discipline. Such sanctity reveals itself in the power to perform miracles (miracle).

      The highest form of holiness in a holy person is reflected in the interpretation of that person as an incarnation of divine reality or as the possessor of godly nature. Divine qualities are perceived in such a person, and through him, such as the Logos (divine Word, or Reason) in Jesus.

Popular recognition
      Popular recognition of saints arises out of a predilection of the religious masses (those who maintain popular belief, or folk belief, along with beliefs officially promulgated) to grasp the supernatural in that which is believed to be unusual and uncommon—i.e., in the miraculous event. Thus, the religious masses long for those who can perform wonders that are awe awakening and satisfy their desire for the miraculous and mysterious.

      Besides the desire for miracles, there is another basic requirement of the masses, especially within monotheistic (monotheism) religions: the yearning for a superhuman being in human form. The one abstract God who is believed to be present everywhere and capable of helping everybody and everything is too unperceptual and remote for the average religious person. There is a tendency among the religious masses to split up the deity into many numinous beings that fulfill the desires of the people. The religious masses often have polytheistic (polytheism) tendencies. The term “dear saints,” as the holy ones are called in Roman Catholicism, expresses an emotional relationship to those near, benevolent, heavenly, or spiritual powers that are the heirs to the ancient ethnic and patron deities of pre-Christian times.

      In the course of their histories, and as they expand, the great universal religions (e.g., Christianity, Buddhism, and others) incorporate ever more people with their particular folk beliefs. As their numbers grow and their influence increases in the religious communities, the indigenous peoples retaining many earlier folk beliefs form the majority and their inclinations prevail. Because their behaviour patterns generally remain constant, their religious forms are preserved. Occasionally, religious reform movements arise within the organized mass religions. Such movements attempt to restore what is believed to be the original form of the respective religions and often turn against a belief in and veneration of saints, regarding such forms of religiosity as degenerate. This was the case in the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and also in the Wahhābiyah movement, an 18th-century reform movement in Islām.

Theological interpretations (hagiography) of popular recognition
      In monotheistic religions the belief in saints in its popular form generally contradicts orthodox teaching. Such religiosity is usually opposed and rejected or else reinterpreted in view of its ineradicability. If the latter is the case, the orthodox interpretation given the cult of saints in order to justify it is a theological construction. In Roman Catholicism, for instance, church doctrine makes a distinction between veneration (veneratio, douleia) and adoration (adoratio, latreia). Veneration is defined as a proper attitude toward saints, whereas adoration is applicable only in connection with God. The veneration of images (iconography) as practiced especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church is explained similarly. The Roman Catholic Church also teaches that the saints are representatives of God's grace on earth and that they are completely subject to his will. The vestigial remains of polytheistic beliefs and practices connected with the veneration of saints are thus theologically, though not popularly, eliminated.

      Similar interpretations of the belief in saints in a monotheistic religion serve to justify an existing cult. The people themselves are hardly influenced by such interpretations, however. According to many scholars, the differentiation between douleia (veneration) and latreia (worship), or between veneratio (veneration) and adoratio (adoration), has little meaning for the masses. In practice, they observe their cult of saints quite in accordance with polytheistic devotion toward gods. The supplications actually directed to the saints in the various religions can hardly be distinguished from prayers to deities, even though the saints are theologically regarded as mere intercessors having special access to God, and the answer to prayer is considered as coming from God alone. From the perspective of scholars of comparative religion, however, beings to whom prayers are dedicated are gods.

Forms of cults
      The form of a cult of saints can be categorized as either indirect or direct. An indirect cult form involves the veneration of objects that stand in a magical relationship with the respective saint. In this connection there can be a veneration of the saint's relics. Such religious practices are to be understood in terms of spiritual power. Numinous power is viewed as issuing from the saint; and it is believed to be acquired by veneration or, in practice, mainly by touching (or kissing) the object itself. Another indirect cult form is the veneration of the image of the saint. According to primitive belief, there is a magical connection between the image and the original, which is itself holy. A common and widespread custom is the depositing of votive offerings, dedicated to certain saints, at holy places—temples, churches, shrines, or chapels where the supplicant can be certain of their direct presence and aid. This custom is of ancient origin—e.g., the votive offerings dedicated to the healing god Asclepius in the museum of Epidaurus (Greece). This practice is still to be found in present-day popular belief in Greece or at Roman Catholic places of pilgrimage.

      In these forms of indirect cult, then, saints are venerated through the medium of concrete objects. In direct veneration, on the other hand, the saint himself is addressed in invocation and praise. According to popular belief, such direct worship is most effective at the place of the predominant presence of the respective saint. The idea of pilgrimage is always based upon such a belief in the localized presence of numinous power.

Types and functions of saints

Saints as moral examples
      A classical illustration of the saint who is distinguished by his virtue is St. Francis of Assisi (Francis of Assisi, Saint). Giving up a life of extravagance, he began in 1209, together with several friends, to actualize his ideal of the imitation of Christ by leading a life of poverty. For St. Francis, three virtues constituted the preconditions of true divine vision: poverty, ascetic chastity, and humility.

      An example of a similar kind of saintliness is reflected in the person of the Indian leader and reformer Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand) (1869–1948). In his life, devoted to the acquiring of freedom for India, he also lived according to three ideals. The first was satyāgraha (satyagraha), holding fast to the truth with all the powers of the spirit. Gandhi's second basic principle was ahiṃsā (ahimsa), which is to be understood not only in the negative sense of “not killing” but also positively as a renunciation of the self and an indulgence in “kind actions” toward all beings. His third ideal was brahmacarya (brahmacharya), which often is rendered too narrowly as chastity; it is the ascetic way of life that Gandhi followed as a saint and as a statesman, hence receiving boundless veneration by the masses.

Saints as prophets and reformers
      Many prophets and prophetic reformers form a second group of saints. One prophet in early Christianity was Paul (Paul, the Apostle, Saint), who is honoured as a saint by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. He was a most powerful spiritual personality, decisively and significantly involved in the development of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a world religion.

      The Tibetan (Tibetan Buddhism) reformer Tsong-kha-pa belonged to a completely different world from that of St. Paul. Originally, he did not want to be an innovator but only a renewer of old religious patterns. He was mainly concerned with the restoration of the discipline and the development of the Lamaistic cult. His fame grew, and owing to his activity many monasteries were founded. The “Yellow Hat” (Dge-lugs-pa) sect was established by him. According to legend, Tsong-kha-pa was taken up to heaven before the eyes of the people. This accounts for the veneration he received, and still receives, by the Tibetan people.

Theological teachers as saints
      Often numbered among the saints are certain religious personalities whose significance lies in their work as illuminating interpreters of religious tradition or as proponents of a new view of the divine or the eternal. An example from Indian religions is the great teacher (ācārya) Śaṅkara, the representative of Advaita (the teaching of the nonduality of divine reality). When he died at the age of 32, a short and outwardly uneventful life lay behind him. Yet even today the personality and work of Śaṅkara continue to determine the intellectual and religious life of India. Equally significant in the Christian West, and specifically in the Roman Catholic Church, is Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas, Thomas, Saint), a Dominican scholar. Although first disputed, his work finally received general recognition, and he became recognized as the doctor communis (“general teacher”) of the Roman Catholic Church. His significance lies in his encompassing and methodically clear theological and philosophical system, in which he reconciled the views of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato with those of his student Aristotle, antiquity with Christianity, knowledge with faith, and nature with grace. He was proclaimed a saint in 1323.

Gustav Mensching Ed.

Additional Reading
H. Ringgren and A.V. Strom, Die Religionen der Völker (1959; Eng. trans. from the 3rd Swedish ed., Religions of Mankind Today and Yesterday, 1967), gives information on the significance of saints. The cult of saints is dealt with in connection with the phenomenology of religion by G. Mensching, Die Religion (1959). See also W.J. Burghardt, Saints and Sanctity (1965). The characteristics and the actions of holy men in non-Christian religions are treated in R.A. Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam (1914, reprinted 1963); W.T. de Bary et al. (comps.), Sources of Chinese Tradition (1960); and G. Von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam, 2nd ed. (1953). In the realm of Christianity, P. Molinari, I Santi e il loro culto (1962; Eng. trans., Saints: Their Place in the Church, 1965), gives information concerning the veneration of saints in folk piety. The veneration of saints in the Eastern Church is canvassed by D. Attwater, Saints of the East (1963).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • saint — saint, sainte [ sɛ̃, sɛ̃t ] adj. et n. • XIe; sancz fin Xe; lat. sanctus « consacré, vénéré » I ♦ Adj. A ♦ (Personnes) 1 ♦ (S emploie devant le nom d un saint, d une …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • saint — saint, ainte (sin, sin t ) adj. 1°   Qui appartient à la religion, qui est dédié à des usages sacrés (sens le plus voisin du sens étymologique, le mot étant le participe de sancire, consacrer). La sainte messe. Les églises sont des lieux saints.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Saint — (s[=a]nt), n. [F., fr. L. sanctus sacred, properly p. p. of sancire to render sacred by a religious act, to appoint as sacred; akin to sacer sacred. Cf. {Sacred}, {Sanctity}, {Sanctum}, {Sanctus}.] 1. A person sanctified; a holy or godly person;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • saint — SAINT. [s]ainte. adj. Quelques uns escrivent encore sainct. Essentiellement pur, souverainement parfait. Il ne se dit en ce sens que de Dieu, La sainte Trinité. le saint Esprit. Il se dit aussi, Des creatures les plus parfaites, & des esprits… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Saint-Lô — Saint Lô …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Saint-Lô — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Saint Lô Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • Saint-ay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ay. Saint Ay Administration Pays France Région Centre Département …   Wikipédia en Français

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