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Saints, Christian

Subject Religion » Christianity

Key-Topics saints

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xiii.b ] At an early stage holy persons, after their death, began to be invoked in prayer by Christians to win God's favour. They included martyrs who had died for the faith; ‘confessors’ who had suffered for it; and holy virgins. Much use was made of the stories of saints’ lives (including much legendary matter) in the middle ages for public and private devotion; and P ilgrimages were made to their relics. P rotestantism rejected devotion to saints, but Anglo-Catholics ( see A nglicanism ) have allowed it. Early recognition of saints was often localized and informal. During the 12th century the P apacy took over formal declaration of a saint's status (canonization) for the whole church. Beatification is for more restricted devotion (in one area) as well as being a stage in the long process of canonization. In the E astern orthodox church canonization is usually by a synod of bishops for an autocephalous church. Canonizations have continued and even increased in recent years, and have included both Roman Catholics and Orthodox in the USA. [7; 63] ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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