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Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

EPH 1: 1-2, NKJV

Basic Information

Literally speaking, the term saint means "one who is sanctified" … that is, a person belonging to God. The term is usually associated with Christianity, but can be transferred to other religions by analogy. In strict terms it means anyone belonging to The Church (many translations use "God's holy people" as a form of jargon busting), but several of the clerical denominations (notably the Church of Rome) narrow it to a limited number of exemplary individuals - typically those with whom miracles are reliably associated. These "Clerical Saints" are often supposed to have patronage of specific activities, items or types of person, either related to their lives or the circumstances of their deaths (especially in the case of martyred saints), and are expected to intercede in these matters if petitioned to do so. They will also typically have some kind of cult related to their veneration.

The study of saints, including recording their history and legends is known as hagiography.

Saints (in the clerical sense) are prone to generate relics, whether from their mortal remains, or from items associated with their life and ministry. The more general sort of saint may generate relics as well - true faith doesn't require bureaucratic endorsement.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • Obviously the exemplary individuals have more plot potential - although some mileage may be extracted from the confusion of usage between clerical and protestant Christians.
  • Sainthood - and related ideas - can be a cause for conflict. In some denominations, a saint can act as a proxy for God, while others condemn that idea as idolatry. Not to mention the question of exactly who counts as a saint.
    • Oh yes … cults to "unofficial" saints can be covers for all sorts of hilarity. Witness the villages dedicated to "St. Simon Magus" and "St. Elymas" in Darklands. This can be where your PCs knowledge skills come in.
    • Likewise the veneration of "St. Beornwyn" in the Medieval Murders collection The False Virgin.
    • And then there was Saint Guinefort … who happened to be a dog…
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