Confessor of the Faith

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Confessor of the Faith is a title given by the Christian Church to a type of saint.

Christian Church Term used to refer to the whole group of people belonging to the Christian religious tradition

The Christian Church, also called the holy catholic church, is a Christian ecclesiological concept of a church invisible comprising all Christians. In this understanding, "Christian Church" or "catholic church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the "body" of all "believers", both defined in various ways. Other Christian traditions believe that these terms apply only to a specific concrete Christian institution, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East; or to a group of institutions, as in the branch theory taught by some Anglicans.

Saint one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue

A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Etymology

The word confessor is derived from the Latin confiteri, to confess, to profess. Among the early church fathers, it was a title of honor, designating those individuals who had confessed Christ publicly in time of persecution and had been punished with imprisonment, torture, exile, or labour in the mines, remaining faithful until the end of their lives. The title thus distinguished them from the martyrs, who were so called because they underwent death for their faith. Among writers, St. Cyprian is the first in whose works it occurs. [1]

Cyprian Bishop of Carthage and Christian writer

Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and a notable Early Christian writer of Berber descent, many of whose Latin works are extant. He is also recognised as a saint in the Christian churches. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. Soon after converting to Christianity, he became a bishop in 249. A controversial figure during his lifetime, his strong pastoral skills, firm conduct during the Novatianist heresy and outbreak of the Plague of Cyprian, and eventual martyrdom at Carthage established his reputation and proved his sanctity in the eyes of the Church. His skillful Latin rhetoric led to his being considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Jerome and Augustine.

Western Christianity

In the Roman Catholic Church, the title is given to saints and blesseds who were not martyred. Historically, the title Confessor was given to those who had suffered persecution and torture for the faith but not to the point of martyrdom. As Christianity emerged as the dominant religion in Europe by the fifth century, persecutions became rare, and the title was given to male saints who lived a holy life and died in peace. Perhaps the best-known individual associated with the title is the English king St. Edward the Confessor. It is possible for Confessors to have another title or even two other titles, for example, Bishop and Confessor; Pope and Confessor; or Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, among others: St. Jerome is known as Priest, Confessor, Theologian, Historian and Doctor of the Church.

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Eastern Christianity

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Confessor refers to a saint (male or female) who has witnessed to the faith and suffered for it (usually torture, but also other types of loss), but not to the point of death, and thus is distinguished from a martyr. Nikephoros I of Constantinople, who was banished to the monastery of Saint Theodore for his support of iconodules, is revered as a confessor. [2] A confessor who is also a priest or bishop may be referred to as hiero-confessor.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Confessor is a title used within Christianity in several ways.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

See also

In the Catholic Church, a martyr of charity is someone who dies as a result of a charitable act or of administering Christian charity. While a martyr of the faith, which is what is usually meant by the word "martyr", dies through being persecuted for being a Catholic or for being a Christian, a martyr of charity dies through practicing charity motivated by Christianity. This is an unofficial form of martyrdom; when Pope Paul VI beatified Maximilian Kolbe he gave him that honorary title. Earlier martyrs of charity who were canonized were recognized as "Confessor of the Faith" rather than martyrs.

Virgin (title)

The title Virgin is an honorific bestowed on female saints and blesseds in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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References

Citations

Sources

  • PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Confessor". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.