Veneration (Latin veneratio or dulia, Greek τιμάω, timao), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint, a person who has been identified as having a high degree of sanctity or holiness.Angels are shown similar veneration in many religions. Philologically, "to venerate" derives from the Latin verb, venerare, meaning to regard with reverence and respect. Veneration of saints is practiced, formally or informally, by adherents of some branches of all major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism.
Within Christianity, veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches, all of which have varying types of canonization or glorification procedures. In the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, veneration is shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon, relics, or statue, or by going on pilgrimage to sites associated with saints. In general, veneration is not practiced by Protestants.
Hinduism has a long tradition of veneration of saints, expressed toward various gurus and teachers of sanctity, both living and dead. Branches of Buddhism include formal liturgical worship of saints, with Mahayana Buddhism classifying degrees of sainthood.
In Islam, veneration of saints is practiced by many of the adherents of traditional Sunni Islam (Sunni Sufis, for example) and Shia Islam, and in many parts of places like Turkey, Egypt, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.Other sects, such as Wahhabists etc., abhor the practice.
In Judaism, there is no classical or formal recognition of saints, but there is a long history of reverence shown toward biblical heroes and martyrs. In some regions, for example within Judaism in Morocco, there is a long and widespread tradition of saint veneration.
Both main branches of Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana, recognize those who have achieved a high degree of enlightenment as an Arhat. Mahayana Buddhism particularly gives emphasis to the power of saints to aid ordinary people on the path to enlightenment. Those who have reached enlightenment, and have delayed their own complete enlightenment in order to help others, are called Bodhisattvas. Mahayana Buddhism has formal liturgical practices for venerating saints, along with very specific levels of sainthood. Tibetan Buddhists venerate especially holy lamas, such as the Dalai Lama, as saints.
Veneration towards those who were considered holy began in early Christianity, with the martyrs first being given special honor. Official church commemoration of saints in Rome beginning as early as the third century. Over time, the honor also began to be given to those Christians who lived lives of holiness and sanctity. Various denominations venerate and determine saints in different ways, with some having a formal canonization or glorification process. It is also the first step to becoming a saint.
In Catholic and Orthodox theology, veneration is a type of honor distinct from the adoration due to God alone. According to Mark Miravelle of Franciscan University of Steubenville, the English word "worship" has been associated with both veneration and adoration:
As St. Thomas Aquinas once explained, adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the manifestation of submission, and acknowledgement of dependence, appropriately shown towards the excellence of an uncreated divine person and to his absolute Lordship. It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves. Although we see in English a broader usage of the word “adoration” which may not refer to a form of worship exclusive to God—for example, when a husband says that he “adores his wife”—in general it can be maintained that adoration is the best English denotation for the worship of latria.
Veneration, known as dulia in classical theology, is the honor and reverence appropriately due to the excellence of a created person. Excellence exhibited by created beings likewise deserves recognition and honor. We see a general example of veneration in events like the awarding of academic awards for excellence in school, or the awarding of olympic medals for excellence in sports. There is nothing contrary to the proper adoration of God when we offer the appropriate honor and recognition that created persons deserve based on achievement in excellence.
We must make a further clarification regarding the use of the term “worship” in relation to the categories of adoration and veneration. Historically, schools of theology have used the term “worship” as a general term which included both adoration and veneration. They would distinguish between “worship of adoration” and “worship of veneration.” The word “worship” (in a similar way to how the liturgical term “cult” is traditionally used) was not synonymous with adoration, but could be used to introduce either adoration or veneration. Hence Catholic sources will sometimes use the term “worship” not to indicate adoration, but only the worship of veneration given to Mary and the saints.
In the Syriac Orthodox Church liturgical service, the Hail Mary is pronounced as a prefatory prayer after the Our Father, and before the priest's entrance to the chancel.The name of the Blessed Virgin Mary has also been probably used for the sanctification of altars, above the name of all other saints.
Church theologians have long adopted the terms latria for the type of worship due to God alone, and dulia and proskynesis for the veneration given to angels, saints, relics and icons.Catholic and Orthodox theologies also include the term hyperdulia for the type of veneration specifically paid to Mary, mother of Jesus, in Catholic and Orthodox traditions. This distinction is spelled out in the dogmatic conclusions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), which also decreed that iconoclasm, i.e. forbidding icons and their veneration, a dogma central to the Iconoclastic controversy, is a heresy that amounts to a denial of the incarnation of Jesus.
Now, the Roman Catholic tradition has a well established philosophy for the veneration of the Virgin Mary via the field of Mariology with Pontifical schools such as the Marianum specifically devoted to this task.
For the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the Mother of God was the subject of three other different dogmas:
The special graces accorded by God to Mary motivated her title of Mediatrix of all graces to the humanity, her intercessory ability to Jesus Christ God about the believers' intentions of prayer, and lastly the special veneration that the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches - sharing the same dogmas - attribute to her, in comparison with all other saints.
In Protestant churches, veneration is sometimes considered to amount to the heresy of idolatry, and the related practice of canonization amounts to the heresy of apotheosis. Protestant theology usually denies that any real distinction between veneration and worship can be made, and claims that the practice of veneration distracts the Christian soul from its true object, the worship of God. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion , John Calvin writes that "(t)he distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honours to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity".
Hinduism has a longstanding and living tradition of reverence toward sants (saints) and mahatmas (ascended masters), with the line often blurring between humanity and divinity in the cases of godmen and godwomen. The bhakti movements popularised devotion to saintly figures such as sadhus, babas, and gurus as models showing the way to liberation.
Islam has had a rich history of veneration of saints (often called wali , which literally means "Friend [of God]"),which has declined in some parts of the Islamic world in the twentieth century due to the influence of the various streams of Salafism. In Sunni Islam, the veneration of saints became a very common form of religious celebration early on, and saints came to be defined in the eighth-century as a group of "special people chosen by God and endowed with exceptional gifts, such as the ability to work miracles." The classical Sunni scholars came to recognize and honor these individuals as venerable people who were both "loved by God and developed a close relationship of love to Him." "Belief in the miracles of saints (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ) ... [became a] requirement in Sunni Islam [during the classical period]," with even medieval critics of the ubiquitous practice of grave visitation like Ibn Taymiyyah emphatically declaring: "The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, and acknowledged by all Muslim scholars. The Quran has pointed to it in different places, and the sayings of the Prophet have mentioned it, and whoever denies the miraculous power of saints are innovators or following innovators." The vast majority of saints venerated in the classical Sunni world were the Sufis, who were all Sunni mystics who belonged to one of the one of the four orthodox legal schools of Sunni law.
Veneration of saints eventually became one of the most widespread Sunni practices for more than a millennium, before it was opposed in the twentieth century by the Salafi movement, whose various streams regard it as "being both un-Islamic and backwards ... rather than the integral part of Islam which they were for over a millennium."In a manner similar to the Protestant Reformation, the specific traditional practices which Salafism has tried to curtail in both Sunni and Shia contexts include those of the veneration of saints, visiting their graves, seeking their intercession, and honoring their relics. As Christopher Taylor has remarked: "[Throughout Islamic history] a vital dimension of Islamic piety was the veneration of Muslim saints…. [due, however to] certain strains of thought within the Islamic tradition itself, particularly pronounced in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries ... [some modern day] Muslims have either resisted acknowledging the existence of Muslim saints altogether or have viewed their presence and veneration as unacceptable deviations."
While orthodox and organized Judaism do not countenance the veneration of saints per se, veneration and pilgrimage to burial sites of holy Jewish leaders is an ancient part of the tradition.
Today it is common for some Jews to visit the graves of many righteous Jewish leaders.The tradition is particularly strong among Moroccan Jews, and Jews of Sephardi descent, although also by some Ashkenazi Jews as well. This is particularly true in Israel, where many holy Jewish leaders are buried. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and that of Maimonides in Tiberius are examples of burial sites that attract large pilgrimages in Israel. In America, the only such example is the grave site of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, at the Ohel, in the cemetery in Queens where he is buried alongside his father-in-law. During his lifetime, Schneerson himself would frequently visit the gravesite (Ohel) of his father-in-law, where he would read letters and written prayers, and then place them on the grave. Today visitors to the grave of Schneerson include Jews of Orthodox, Reform and Conservative background, as well as non-Jews. Visitors typically recite prayers of psalms and bring with them petitions of prayers written on pieces of paper which are then torn and left on the grave.
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.
A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader. Such acts may involve honoring.
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Idolatry is the worship of an idol or cult image, being a physical image, such as a statue, or a person in place of God. In Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism, idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other than God as if it were God. In these monotheistic religions, idolatry has been considered as the "worship of false gods" and is forbidden by the values such as the Ten Commandments. Other monotheistic religions may apply similar rules. In many Indian religions, such as theistic and non-theistic forms of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, idols (murti) are considered as symbolism for the absolute but not The Absolute, or icons of spiritual ideas, or the embodiment of the divine. It is a means to focus one's religious pursuits and worship (bhakti). In the traditional religions of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere, the reverence of an image or statue has been a common practice, and cult images have carried different meanings and significance.
In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shamanism, and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", and a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Orthodoxy is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. In the Christian sense the term means "conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church." The first seven ecumenical councils were held between the years of 325 and 787 with the aim of formalizing accepted doctrines.
A shrine is a holy or sacred place dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon, or similar figure of respect, wherein they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated. A shrine at which votive offerings are made is called an altar.
Cult is literally the "care" owed to deities and to temples, shrines, or churches. Cult is embodied in ritual and ceremony. Its present or former presence is made concrete in temples, shrines and churches, and cult images, including cult images and votive offerings at votive sites.
Latria is a theological term used in Roman Catholic theology to mean adoration, a reverence directed only to the Holy Trinity. Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies.
Religious images in Christian theology have a role within the liturgical and devotional life of adherents of certain Christian denominations. The use of religious images has often been a contentious issue in Christian history. Concern over idolatry is the driving force behind the various traditions of aniconism in Christianity.
Iconolatry designates the idolatric worship or adoration of icons. In the history of Christianity, iconolatry was manifested mainly in popular worship, as a superstitious belief in the divine nature of icons. It was practiced as a direct adoration of icons, and other objects representing various saints, angels and the God. One of extreme practices of iconolatry was scraping parts of icons into the Holy Communion.
Ibn Qudāmah al-Maqdīsī Muwaffaq al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad , often referred to as Ibn Qudamah or Ibn Qudama for short, was a Sunni Muslim ascetic, jurisconsult, traditionalist theologian, and religious mystic. Having authored many important treatises on jurisprudence and religious doctrine, including one of the standard works of Hanbali law, the revered al-Mug̲h̲nī, Ibn Qudamah is highly regarded in Sunnism for being one of the most notable and influential thinkers of the Hanbali school of orthodox Sunni jurisprudence. Within that school, he is one of the few thinkers to be given the honorific epithet of Shaykh of Islam, which is a prestigious title bestowed by Sunnis on some of the most important thinkers of their tradition. A proponent of the classical Sunni position of the "differences between the scholars being a mercy," Ibn Qudamah is famous for having said: "The consensus of the Imams of jurisprudence is an overwhelming proof and their disagreement is a vast mercy."
Marian devotions are external pious practices directed to the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, by members of certain Christian traditions. They are performed in Catholicism, Anglo-Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, but generally rejected but some practices in Protestant denominations.
Circumambulation is the act of moving around a sacred object or idol.
Soli Deo gloria is a Latin term for Glory to God alone. It has been used by artists like Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Christoph Graupner to signify that the work was produced for the sake of praising God. The phrase has become one of the five solae propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation.
A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.
Religious exclusivism, or exclusivity, is the doctrine or belief that only one particular religion or belief system is true. This is in contrast to religious pluralism, which believes that all religions provide valid responses to the existence of God.
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning Mary, mother of Jesus. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican movement, Mary is accorded honour as the theotokos, a Koiné Greek term that means "God-bearer" or "one who gives birth to God".
Anglican devotions are private prayers and practices used by Anglican Christians to promote spiritual growth and communion with God. Among members of the Anglican Communion, private devotional habits vary widely, depending on personal preference and on their affiliation with low-church or high-church parishes.
Although frequently characterized as the mystical component of Islam, there are also "Folklorist" Sufis, and the "Traditional" Sufis...Sufism is characterized by the veneration of local saints and by brotherhoods that practice their own rituals.
In its popular form, Sufism is expressed mainly through the veneration of saints...South Asia is littered with the tombs of those saints. They include great medieval monuments, like the 13th-century shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, founder of South Asia’s pre-eminent Sufi order, in Ajmer. But for every famous grave, there are thousands of roadside shrines, jutting into Delhi’s streets, or sprinkled across the craggy deserts of southern Pakistan.
while most Sunnis view them as fellow, though possibly misguided, Muslims, Shiites are regarded as infidels by the Saudi religious establishment, which adheres to the ultraconservative and austere variation of Sunni faith known as Wahhabism. Saudi religious leaders see the Shiite veneration of saints and shrines, celebration of the prophet Muhammad's birthday and other rituals as sinful.