By Lawrence S. Cunningham
A quick background of Saints follows the increase of the cult of saints in Christianity from its foundation within the age of the martyrs right down to the current day.Refers to either recognized saints, akin to Joan of Arc, and lesser-known figures just like the ‘holy fools’ within the Orthodox traditionRanges over matters as various because the heritage 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 customer saints and the iconography of saints in artwork.
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Additional info for A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)
When a person entered the church for worship it was, as it were, as if the communicant were joining some vast procession of saints who were The Bureaucratization of Sanctity 29 Plate 1 Procession of saints in the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Photo © 1990 SCALA, Florence, courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Culturali. moving in the same direction as the worshiper looking towards the altar. Similar kinds of commemorations are to be found in varying degrees of speciﬁcity in the other ancient liturgies of both the East and the West.
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. It was in Assisi that Pope John Paul II convoked two large interreligious gatherings of religious representatives from the world’s many religions since Assisi, associated with the saint, seemed the most appropriate place for such historic encounters. When Francis died in 1226 at a relatively young age (he was born in 1181 or 1182) he was already considered a saint by many people.
3 Quite often, the fundamental function of colleges of clergy or monastic communities, apart from their own spiritual life, was to act as custodians of relics and serve as monitors of the devotional life around the saint’s shrine. It is well to remember that the greatest prestige that the bishops of Rome enjoyed in the early centuries of Christianity accrued to them precisely because they were guardians of the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. Scholars of Irish monasticism point out that the round monastic enclosures consisted of rings.
A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion) by Lawrence S. Cunningham