What is a Saint?
We all know that saints are Holy People and they are all in Heaven with Our Lord and Savior. In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "holy" and in whom Christ dwells, whether in Heaven or in earth.(2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 3:14-19; 2Corinthians 13:5) In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration.
The veneration of saints, in Latin, cultus, or the "cult of the saints", describes a particular popular devotion or abandonment to a particular saint or saints. Although the term "worship" is sometimes used, it is intended in the old-sense meaning to honor or give respect (dulia). According to the Catholic Church, Divine Worship is properly reserved only for God (latria) and never to the saints.They can be asked to intercede or pray for those still on earth, just as one can ask someone on earth to pray for them. A saint may be designated as a patron saint of a particular cause or profession, or invoked against specific illnesses or disasters, sometimes by popular custom and sometimes by official statements of the Magisterium.Saints are not thought to have power of their own, but only that granted by God. Relics of saints are respected in a similar manner to holy images and icons. The practices of past centuries in venerating relics of saints for healing is taken from the early Church.
Once a person has been declared a saint, the body of the saint is considered holy.The remains of saints are called holy relics and are usually used in churches. Saints' personal belongings may also be used as relics.Some of the saints have a symbol that represents their life.
In Church tradition, a person who is seen as exceptionally holy can be declared a saint by a formal process, called canonization. Formal canonization is a lengthy process often taking many years, even centuries.The first step in this process is an investigation of the candidate's life, undertaken by an expert. After this, the report on the candidate is given to the bishop of the area and more studying is done. It is then sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. If the application is approved, the person may be granted the title of "Venerable".Further investigations may lead to the candidate's beatification and given title of "Blessed." At a minimum, two important miracles are required to be formally declared a saint. These miracles must be posthumous. Finally, when all of this is done the Pope canonizes the saint.
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