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Saints, Veneration of

(3,845 words)

Author(s): Beinert, Wolfgang
1. Religious Roots A basic human experience is that of viewing certain persons as holy, as manifestations of the divine. This factor has played a determinative role in the development of religion (Sacred and Profane). The transcendent (Immanence and Transcendence) is experienced as the wholly other, that which comes to us directly, awakening a feeling of fear and dread (mysterium tremendum), the sacred being something apart (tabu), but also of something miraculous and attractive (mysterium fascinosum) that kindles awe (mana). The basis of such experience is the deity, whic…


(1,062 words)

Author(s): Beinert, Wolfgang
In religion relics (Gk. leipsana, Lat. reliquiae) are artifacts that are related to deceased saints and that are venerated as a result. First we have bodily parts, then objects they touched, such as portions of silk or cloth (brandea) or mantles (palliola), then things connected with their graves ( eulogia, hagiasmata, e.g., dust from the grave). We find veneration of relics in Egyptian and Greek religion, as well as in Buddhism and Islam. 1. Christian History In the Christian world the development and understanding of relics was closely linked to the veneration of sa…


(805 words)

Author(s): Beinert, Wolfgang
1. Form “Rosary” (from Lat. rosarium, “rose garden”) refers to a meditation on the Christian mysteries of salvation from a Marian standpoint (Mary, Devotion to). The name, which derives from the flowers used to adorn statues of Mary, traces back to a Spanish legend (1270) according to which Mary prefers an Ave Maria to flowers. The rosary now takes the form of an introduction (sign of the cross, reciting of the Apostles’ Creed, Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, three Ave Marias) and sets of five “mysteries” (each preceded by the Lord’s Prayer and fo…