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Taking A Look at Saints: St Columba & More
Posted In: Meditation And Spirituality  12/17/07
By: Yona Williams

It is the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints (a congregation of the Roman Curia) that is in charge of overseeing the complicated process that goes into canonizing saints. There is a series of steps that one must pass through that deals with the acknowledgement of "heroic virtues." A case is prepared, which includes approvals of miracles. This case is then presented to the pope, who then makes the decision whether the process of beatification or canonization is warranted.

Did you know that the legend of the Loch Ness Monster was a product of what St Columba claimed to see around 565? While the description has changed a bit, St. Columba reported to have seen a dragon threaten a traveler.

The 9th century manuscript called Navigatio Santi Brendani Abatis tells the tales of St. Brendan the Navigator, who is believed to have participated in a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean that took seven years to complete. He is said to have reached Newfoundland at the end of his journey.

Did you know that the son of Pope Hormisdas (who served as pope from 514 to 523), Silverius, was elected as pope in 536? He was murdered just 17 months afterwards. In later years, both popes were eventually canonized.

If you have scanned the Bible for the meaning of a saint, it is stated that it is one who is sanctified (2 Chronicles 6:41). All early Christians were referred to as saints, as seen in the Book of Hebrews, Jude 1:3, and Philemon 1:5, 7).

More than 10,000 saints are associated with the Roman Catholic faith. In the ancient past, a saint was called a martyr, which meant that a person would rather die than give up their faith. They were also referred to as a "witness for God." Over the years, the term of martyr began to sift and was seen more and more as a reference for "one who died for the Faith." The term, saint (meaning "holy") was embraced as a more typical way to describe the collection of Christian witnesses on the whole, which would include both martyrs and confessors.

Once an individual has been declared a saint, the body is then considered holy. The remains are then called "holy relics" and are often displayed or reside in churches. The personal belongings of the saints' are also seen as relics. Depending on the saint, they may also have a symbol that is used to signify their life.

Have you ever heard the Gregorian chant? This piece of music was named after Pope St. Gregory I.

During the 11th century, the elderly St. Romuald started plans to relocate away from his Umbrian town. However, the residents of the town feared that another city would benefit from his remains once he passed and thus began to plot his murder in an effort to keep claim over his remains as holy relics.

Out of all the 124 popes that emerged during the second millennium (that's between 1001 and 2000) – did you know that only five of them have been canonized as saints?


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