By Lawrence S. Cunningham
A quick heritage 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 famous saints, comparable 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 tactics, 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 info for A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)
The cult of the saints had, until the early Middle Ages, a certain ad hoc quality about them. What constituted a saint, basically, was reputation in life and, more importantly, a cultus around the saint’s tomb. That cultus, in turn, depended on the regularity of evidence of cures, healings, and favors granted through the intercession of the saint. A good deal of that “evidence” was the product of an oral culture. It was in the interest of those who maintained the shrine to have a record of miracles.
As might be imagined, the number of regional sanctorales tended to multiply without any central organization. Today, in the Roman Catholic Church, canonizations fall under the sole competence of papal authority. How that centralization of canonization authority happened involves a long historical story. The Roman Church had a well-developed cycle of saints’ feast days that was well in place by the sixth century. That cycle of feasts honored, in the main, martyrs and confessors who were either identiﬁed with the city and its environs or ﬁgures of universal signiﬁcance, such as those associated with Christ (for example, John the Baptist and the apostles).
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. What he decided to omit, however, was any extended discussion of the miraculous. Regularizing Sainthood It was inevitable that, as Europe emerged from the dark ages after the dissolution of the post-Carolingian period, along with the emergence of city life, the sporadic efforts to reform the church, the greater ease of travel, and the increase in economic life, attempts to regularize the cult of the saints would also gain the attention of church authority.
A Brief History of Saints (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion) by Lawrence S. Cunningham