A Brief History of Saints - download pdf or read online

By Lawrence Cunningham

ISBN-10: 1405114029

ISBN-13: 9781405114028

Short heritage of Saints follows the increase of the cult of saints in Christianity from its beginning within the age of the martyrs all the way down to the current day.

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Hence the name Christopher (from the Greek for “Christ bearer”) and the popular image of a husky man with a child on his shoulders. In the late Middle Ages his image was painted on the outside of churches with the popular belief that whoever looked on his image would not die that day. He was also the patron saint of travelers, which explains the ubiquitous medallions which once festooned the inside of automobiles. Despite his appeal in popular religion, his name was removed from the universal calendar of the saints by the Roman Catholic Church in 1969, but his anniversary may be observed locally.

6 From this brief excursus on the canonization of Saint Francis we can detect the general mode used in papal canonizations: the gathering of testimony about the person’s sanctity and the evidence of the saint’s miraculous powers both in life and after death; the solemn burial (often involving a transfer of the body – the so-called translatio) and erection of a shrine tomb; the development of a written life of the saint; the establishment of a liturgical office; and a set date for the observance of the saint’s feast.

By the end of the fifth century the city was dotted with churches dedicated to the memory of the great Roman martyrs as well as the apostles and some conspicuous confessors. 5 The last saint, before the eleventh century, to enter into the Roman calendar was Pope Saint Gregory the Great who died in 604. The Bureaucratization of Sanctity 37 It was not until the early eleventh century that new saints were added to the Roman calendar. Pope Gregory VII added thirty popes from the ancient church to the calendar as part of his strategy of enhancing the power of the papacy.

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A Brief History of Saints by Lawrence Cunningham


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