By Lawrence S. Cunningham
A short historical past of Saints follows the increase of the cult of saints in Christianity from its starting place within the age of the martyrs all the way down to the current day.Refers to either famous saints, equivalent to Joan of Arc, and lesser-known figures just like the ‘holy fools’ within the Orthodox traditionRanges over matters as various because the background of canonization procedures, the Reformation critique of the cult of saints, and the function of saints in different spiritual traditionsDiscusses the relevance of sainthood within the postmodern eraTwo appendices describe client saints and the iconography of saints in artwork.
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Extra resources for A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)
Finally, one can detect in the language of the liturgy the 30 The Bureaucratization of Sanctity theological understanding that the church expresses in its ofﬁcial liturgy: the saints are a sign of hope for Christians who will some day join them with God; next, they are a part of the fellowship of all who are in the church; ﬁnally, through their prayers, they are intercessors before God in heaven. There is, then, a kind of eschatological strain attached to the veneration of the saints, most conspicuously in the liturgy.
Indeed, there is a distinct genre of writings, drawing on the sayings of holy men and women, which does not emphasize the miraculous but, rather, the spiritual teachings of heroic saints. 360–433) are an illustration of this attempt at ediﬁcation. His Conferences report on his conversations with the great ascetics of the Egyptian desert but hardly mention their miraculous powers. His Institutes (which had an enormous inﬂuence on monasticism) do not mention the miraculous. ” Evidently, Cassian wrote the Institutes to describe the formal lives of the monks and the Conferences to elucidate their interior lives of piety.
A Test Case: Francis of Assisi We can get some sense of the medieval process of papal canonization by looking at the case of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is a good example since we possess a clear set of documents which helps us to understand how papal canonizations proceeded. Francis of Assisi was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages, a popularity which extends into our own day as clearly evidenced by the huge streams of pilgrims and tourists who come to the picturesque Umbrian town where he is buried.