Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Saint a Day

St. Valentine.  I began to wonder. How many saints are there in the world?  During the church's first 1,000 years, saints were proclaimed by popular demand.  Some estimates say the number exceeds 10,000.  

So there's a multiple of saints for each day of the year -  27.4.  That's a lot of saints, so it is no surprise that the process got formalized with rules - one of them was they had to be 'canonized' first.  There are 810 of these saints.  So that makes 2.2 per day of the year.  The Catholic church has canonized around 3,000 people. We'd be up to 8.2 a day if every canonized person became a saint.  

Do other religions have saints?  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam have saints.  Islam particularly had a strong tradition of veneration of saints up until the twentieth century.  Other Christian religions have practices that are variations of the Roman Catholic version, or respond to what the Roman Catholic church did.  The Latter-day Saints regard saints as "all those who have entered into the Christian covenant of the baptism."  That makes all members of this church saints. 

But the Roman Catholics seem to have the most prolific number of saints and practices surrounding them.  By the first half of the Middle Ages, every day of the year had at least one saint who was commemorated on that date.  To deal with this increase, some saints were moved to alternate days or completely removed. By developing levels of saints - the highest order of saint is martyrs, and ranking feast days in categories by their importance, saints got arranged into calendar days.  

Who is the most important saint in the Roman Catholic church?  One site says it is Joseph - the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church. This is according to  The next is Mary Magdalene, and then St. Paul.  Other indications are that Blessed Virgin Mary is the most important saint.  (Mary seems to be absent from the most famous people list.)  

So where does St. Valentine fit in? He doesn't fit into the calendar.  He remains a saint of the church but was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 because of the "lack of reliable information about him".

I didn't realize he has a few roles.  He is the patron saint of lovers, but also epileptics and beekeepers.  

Here's a scene on the Sundance Layout - day and then night.

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