Calendar of saints

Calendar of saints

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The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 method of organizing a liturgical year
Liturgical year
The liturgical year, also known as the church year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches which determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Distinct liturgical colours may appear in...

 by associating each day with one or more saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s and referring to the feast day of said saint. The system arose from the early Christian custom of annual commemoration of martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s on the dates of their deaths, or birth into heaven, and is thus referred to in Latin as dies natalis ("day of birth"). In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, it is called a Menologion. Menologion may also refer to a set of icons on which saints are depicted along the order of dates of their feasts, often made in two panels.

History


As the number of recognized saints increased during Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 and the first half of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, eventually 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 in some traditions or completely removed, with the result that some saints have different feast days in different calendars. For example, Ss. Perpetua and Felicity died on 7 March, but this date was later assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, allowing them only a commemoration (see Tridentine Calendar
Tridentine Calendar
The Tridentine Calendar is the calendar of saints to be honoured in the course of the liturgical year in the official liturgy of the Roman Rite as reformed by Pope Pius V, implementing a decision of the Council of Trent, which entrusted the task to the Pope....

), so in 1908 they were moved one day earlier. When the 1969 reform of the Catholic calendar moved him to 28 January, they were moved back to 7 March (see General Roman Calendar). Both days can thus be said to be their feast day, in different traditions. The Roman Catholic calendars of saints in their various forms, which list those saints celebrated in the entire church, contains only a selection of the saints for each of its days. A fuller list is found in the Roman Martyrology
Roman Martyrology
The Roman Martyrology is the official martyrology of the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. It provides an extensive but not exhaustive list of the saints recognized by the Church.-History:...

, and some of the saints there may be celebrated locally.

The earliest feast days of saints were those of martyrs, venerated as having shown for Christ the greatest form of love, in accordance with the teaching: "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." Saint Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours was a Bishop of Tours whose shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints...

 is said to be the first or at least one of the first non-martyrs to be venerated as a saint. The title "confessor
Confessor
-Confessor of the Faith:Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith, but not to the point of death. The term is still used in this way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared...

" was used for such saints, who had confessed their faith in Christ by their lives rather than by their deaths. Martyrs are regarded as dying in the service of the Lord, and confessors are people who died natural deaths. A broader range of titles was used later, such as: Virgin
Virgin (title)
The title Virgin is an honorific that the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church bestows to female saints and blesseds who were consecrated virgins, nuns or unmarried women known for a life in chastity...

, Pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

, Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, Monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

, Priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, Founder, Abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

, Apostle, Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.-Catholic Church:In the Catholic Church, this name is given to a saint from whose...

.

The Tridentine Missal
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 has common formulas for Masses of Martyrs, Confessors who were bishops, Doctors of the Church, Confessors who were not Bishops, Abbots, Virgins, Non-Virgins, Dedication of Churches, and Feast Days of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 added a common formula for Popes. The 1962 Roman Missal of Pope John XXIII
General Roman Calendar of 1962
This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as it was in 1962, following the reforms that Pope John XXIII introduced with his motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of 23 July 1960...

 omitted the common of Apostles, assigning a proper Mass to every feast day of an Apostle. The present Roman Missal
Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.-Situation before the Council of Trent:...

 has common formulas for the Dedication of Churches, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Martyrs (with special formulas for missionary martyrs and virgin martyrs), Pastors (subdivided into bishops, generic pastors, founders of churches, and missionaries), Doctors of the Church, Virgins, and (generic) Saints (with special formulas for abbots, monks, nuns, religious, those noted for works of mercy, educators, and [generically] women saints).

This calendar
Calendar
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

 system, when combined with major church festivals and movable and immovable feasts, constructs a very human and personalised yet often localized way of organizing the year and identifying dates. Some Christians continue the tradition of dating by saints' days: their works may appear "dated" as "The Feast of Saint Martin
Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours was a Bishop of Tours whose shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints...

". Poets such as John Keats
John Keats
John Keats was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.Although his poems were not...

 commemorate the importance of The Eve of Saint Agnes
Saint Agnes
Agnes of Rome is a virgin–martyr, venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheranism. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass...

.

As different denominations of Christianity developed, differing lists of saints began as the same individual may be considered (as an extreme) a saint or doctor by one denomination and a heretic by another, as in the case of Nestorius
Nestorius
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to 22 June 431.Drawing on his studies at the School of Antioch, his teachings, which included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos for the Virgin Mary, brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time,...

.

As the ecumenical movement has sought to converge each denominational lectionary
Lectionary
A Lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion.-History:...

 into a unified Revised Common Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary
The Revised Common Lectionary is a lectionary of readings or pericopes from the Bible for use in Christian worship, making provision for the liturgical year with its pattern of observances of festivals and seasons. Its first version was known as the Common Lectionary, assembled in 1983. It was...

, Dr. Philip Pfatteicher sought to unify different saints calendars (among Protestants) by authoring the New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints, August 1, 2008.

Ranking of feast days



Feast days are ranked in accordance with their importance.

In what is now the ordinary form of the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

, feast days are ranked (in descending order of importance) as solemnities
Solemnity
A Solemnity of the Roman Catholic Church is a principal holy day in the liturgical calendar, usually commemorating an event in the life of Jesus, his mother Mary, or other important saints. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast...

, feasts or memorials (obligatory or optional). The 1962 version, whose use is authorized by the motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum is an Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued "motu proprio" . The document specified the rules, for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, for celebrating Mass according to the "Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962" , and for administering most of the sacraments in...

as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
"An extraordinary form of the Roman Rite" is a phrase used in Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum to describe the liturgy of the 1962 Roman Missal, widely referred to as the "Tridentine Mass"...

, divides liturgical days into I, II, III, and IV class days, as decreed by Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 in 1960. Those who use even earlier forms of the Roman Rite rank feast days as Doubles (of three or four kinds), Semidoubles, and Simples. See Ranking of liturgical days in the Roman Rite.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 the ranking of feasts varies from church to church. In the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 they are: Great Feasts, middle, and minor feasts. Each portion of such feasts may also be called feasts as follows: All-Night Vigil
All-Night Vigil
The All-Night Vigil , Opus 37, is an a cappella choral composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff,written and premiered in 1915. It consists of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. It has been praised as Rachmaninoff's finest achievement and "the greatest musical...

s, Polyeleos
Polyeleos
The Polyeleos is a festive portion of the Matins or All-Night Vigil service as observed on higher-ranking feast days in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches...

, Great Doxology
Great Doxology
The Great Doxology is an ancient hymn of praise to the Trinity which is chanted or read daily in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches.At each of these hymns, the words “Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin,” will be altered to correspond with the time of day:*At Matins:...

, Sextuple ("sixfold", having six stichera at Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 and six troparia at the Canon
Canon (hymnography)
A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

 of Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

). There are also distinctions between Simple feasts and Double (i.e., two simple feasts celebrated together). In Double Feasts the order of hymns and readings for each feast are rigidly instructed in Typikon
Typikon
The Typikon, or Typicon; plural Typika is a liturgical book which contains instructions about the order of the various Eastern Orthodox Christian church services and ceremonies, in the form of a perpetual calendar...

, the liturgy book.

In the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, there are Principal Feast
Principal Feast
Principal Feasts are a type of observance in some Churches of the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England. Along with Principal Holy Days, with which they share equal status, they are considered to be the most significant type of observance, the others being Festivals, Lesser Festivals,...

s and Principal Holy Day
Principal Holy Day
Principal Holy Days are a type of observance in the Church of England. Along with Principal Feasts, with which they share equal status while lacking a festal character, they are considered to be the most significant type of observance, the others being Festivals, Lesser Festivals, and Commemorations...

s, Festival
Festival (Church of England)
A Festival is a type of observance in the Churches of the Anglican Communion, considered to be less significant than a Principal Feast or Principal Holy Day, but more significant than a Lesser Festival or Commemoration...

s, Lesser Festival
Lesser Festival
Lesser Festivals are a type of observance in the Church of England, considered to be less significant than a Principal Feast, Principal Holy Day, or Festival, but more significant than a Commemoration. Whereas Principal Feasts must be celebrated, it is not obligatory to observe Lesser Festivals...

s, and Commemoration
Commemoration (observance)
Commemorations are a type of religious observance in the Church of England. They are the least significant type of observance, the others being Principal Feasts, Principal Holy Days, Festivals, and Lesser Festivals. Whereas Principal Feasts must be celebrated, it is not obligatory to observe...

s.

See also


  • General Roman Calendar (includes Roman Catholic calendar of saints)
  • Calendar of saints (Church of England)
    Calendar of saints (Church of England)
    The Church of England commemorates many of the same saints as those in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, mostly on the same days, but also commemorates various notable Christians who have not been canonised by Rome, with a particular though not exclusive emphasis on those of English origin...

  • Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
    Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
    The veneration of saints in the Episcopal Church is a continuation of an ancient tradition from the early Church which honors important people of the Christian faith. The usage of the term "saint" is similar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition may...

  • Calendar of saints (Lutheran)
  • Coptic Orthodox calendar of saints
    Coptic calendar
    The Coptic calendar, also called the Alexandrian calendar, is used by the Coptic Orthodox Church and still used in Egypt. This calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar...

  • Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar
    Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar
    The Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar describes and dictates the rhythm of the life of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Associated with each date are passages of Holy Scripture, Saints and events for commemoration, and many times special rules for fasting or feasting that correspond to the day of...

  • List of saints
  • Movable feasts
  • Name day
    Name day
    A name day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America that consists of celebrating the day of the year associated with one's given name....

    s

External links