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Praying to Saints!

Saints' Days

                        SPIRITUAL DARK MIDDLE AGES



Saint, Saints ' Days,  and Symbols

by Ralph Woodrow


     IN ADDITION TO the prayers and devotions that are directed
to Mary, Roman Catholics also honor and pray to various "saints."
These saints, according to the Catholic position, are martyrs or
other notable people of the church who have died and whom the
popes have pronounced saints.
     In many minds, the word "saint" refers only to a person who
has attained some special degree of holiness, only a very unique
follower of Christ. But according to the Bible, ALL true
Christians are saints--even those who may sadly lack spiritual
maturity or knowledge. Thus, the writings of Paul to Christians
at Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, or Rome, were addressed "to the
saints" (Eph.1:1, etc.). Saints, it should be noticed, were
living people, not those who had died.
     If we want a "saint" to pray for us, it must be a living
person. But if we try to commune with people that have died, what
else is this but a form of spiritism? Repeatedly the Bible
condemns all attempts to commune with the dead (see Isaiah 8:19,
20). Yet many recite the "Apostles' Creed" which says: "We
believe...in the communion o f saints," supposing that such
includes the idea of prayers for and to the dead. Concerning this
very point, The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Catholic teaching
regarding prayers for the dead is bound up inseparably with the
doctrine ... of the communion of saints which is an article of
the Apostles' Creed." Prayers "to the saints and martyrs
collectively, or to some one of them in particular" are
recommended. The actual wording of the Council of Trent is that
"the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own
prayers to God for men. It is good and useful suppliantly to
invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help
for obtaining benefits from God."
     What are the objections to these beliefs? We will let The
Catholic Encyclopedia answer for itself. "The chief objections
raised against the intercession and invocation of the saints are
that these doctrines are opposed to the faith and trust which we
should have in God alone--and that they cannot be proved from
Scriptures..." With this statement we agree. Nowhere do the
scriptures indicate that the living can be blessed or benefited
by prayers to or through those who have already died. Instead, in
many ways, the Catholic doctrines regarding "saints" are very
similar to the old pagan ideas that were held regarding the
"gods."
     Looking back again to the "mother" of false religion -
Babylon - we find that the people prayed to and honored a
plurality of gods. In fact, the Babylonian system developed until
it had some 5,000 gods and goddesses. In much the same way as
Catholics believe concerning their "saints", the Babylonians
believed that their "gods" had at one time been living heroes on
earth, but were now on a higher plane. "Every month and every day
of the month was under the protection of a particular divinity."
There was a god for this problem, a god for each of the different
occupations, a god for this and a god for that.
     From Babylon - like the worship of the great mother--such
concepts about the "gods" spread to the nations. Even the
Buddhists in China had their "worship of various deities, as the
goddess of sailors, the god of war, the gods of special
neighborhoods or occupations." The Syrians believed the powers of
certain gods were limited to certain areas, as an incident in the
Bible records: "Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they
were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the
plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they" (1 Kings
20:23).
     When Rome conquered the world, these same ideas were very
much in evidence as the following sketch will show. Brighit was
goddess of smiths and poetry. Juno Regina was the goddess of
womanhood and marriage. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom,
handicrafts, and musicians. Venus was the goddess of sexual love
and birth. Vesta was the goddess of bakers and sacred fires. Ops
was the goddess of wealth. Ceres was the goddess of corn, wheat,
and growing vegetation. (Our word "cereal", fittingly, comes from
her name.) Hercules was the god of joy and wine. Mercury was the
god of orators and, in the old fables, quite an orator himself,
which explains why the people of Lystra thought of Paul as the
god Mercury (Acts 14:11,12). The gods Castor and Pollux were the
protectors of Rome and of travelers at sea (cf. Acts 28:11).
Cronus was the guardian of oaths. Janus was the god of doors and
gates. "There were gods who presided over every moment of a man's
life, gods of house and garden, of food and drink, of health and
sickness."

     With the idea of gods and goddesses associated with various
events in life now established in pagan Rome, it was but another
step for these same concepts to finally be merged into the church
of Rome. Since converts from paganism were reluctant to part with
their "gods"--unless they could find some satisfactory
counterpart in Christianity--the gods and goddesses were renamed
and called "saints." The old idea of gods associated with certain
occupations and days has continued in the Roman Catholic belief
in saints and saints'days, as the following table shows.

Actors         St.Genesius         August 25
Architects     St.Thomas           December 21
Astonomers     St.Cominic          August 4
Athletes       St.Sebastain        January 20
Bakers         St.Elizabeth        November 19
Bankers        St.Matthew          September 21
Beggars        St.Alexius          July 17
Book Sellers   St.John of God      March 8
Bricklayers    St.Steven           December 26
Builders       St.Vincent Ferrer   April 5
Butchers       St.Hadrian          September 28
Cab drivers    St.Fiarce           August 30
Candle-makers  St.Bernard          August 20
Comedians      St.Vitus            June 15
Cooks          St.Martha           July 29
Dentists       St.Appollonia       February 9
Doctors        St.Luke             October 18
Editors        St.John Bosco       January 31
Fishermen      St.Andrew           November 30
Florists       St.Dorothy          February 6
Hat makers     St.James            May 11
Housekeepers   St.Anne             July 26
Hunters        St.Hubert           November 3
Laborers       St.James            July 25
Lawyers        St.Ives             May 19
Librarians     St.Jerome           September 30
Merchants      St.Francis          October 4
Miners         St.Barbara          December 4
Musicians      St.Cecilia          November 22
Notaries       St.Mark             April 25
Nurses         St.Cathrine         April 30
Painter        St.Luke             October 18
Pharmacists    St.Gemma Galgani    April 11
Plasterers     St.Bartholomew      August 24
Printers       St.John of God      March 8
Sailors        St.Brendan          May 16
Scientists     St.Albert           November 15
Singers        St.Gregory          March 12
Steel workers  St.Eliguis          December 1
Students       St.Thomas Aquinas   March 7
Surgeons       S.S.Cosmas/Damian   September 27
Tailors        St.Boniface         June 5
Tax Collectors St.Matthew          September 21


     The Roman Catholic Church also has saints for the following:

Barren women             St.Anthony     
Old maids                St.Andrew
Beer drinkers            St.Nicholas    
Poor                     St.Lawrence
Children                 St.Dominic     
Pregnant women           St.Gerard
Domestic animals         St. Anthony    
Television               St.Clare
Emigrants                St.Francis     
Temptation               St.Syriacus
Family troubles          St.Eustachius  
To apprehend thieves     St.Gervase
Fire                     St.Lawrence    
To have children         St.Felicitas
Floods                   St.Columban    
To obtain a husband      St.Joseph
Lightning storms         St.Barbara     
To obtain a wife         St.Anne
Lovers                   St.Raphael     
To find lost articles    St.Anthony

Catholics are  taught to pray to certain "saints" for help with
the following afflictions:    
          
Arthritis                St.James  
Epilepsy, nerves         St.Vitus
Bite of dogs             St.Hubert 
Fever                    St.George
Bite of snakes           St.Hilary 
Foot diseases            St.Victor
Blindness                St.Raphael     
Gall stones              St.Liberius
Cancer                   St.Peregrine   
Gout                     St.Andrew
Cramps                   St.Murice 
Headaches                St.Denis
Deafness                 St.Cadoc  
Heart trouble            St.John of God
Disease of breast        St.Agatha 
Insanity                 St.Dympna
Disease of eyes          St.Lucy   
Skin disease             St.Roch
Disease of throat        St. Blase 
Sterility                St.Giles


     St.Hubert was born about 656 and appeared on our list as the
patron saint of hunters and healer of hydrophobia. Before his
conversion, almost all of his time was spent hunting. On a Good
Friday morning, according to legend, he pursued a large stag
which suddenly turned and he saw a crucifix between its antlers
and heard a voice tell him to turn to God.

     But why pray to saints when Christians have access to God?
Catholics are taught that through praying to saints, they may be
able to obtain help that God otherwise might not give! They are
told to worship God and  St.Hubert, patron of hunters, then to
"pray, first to with St.Elizabeth. Saint Mary, and the holy
apostles, and the holy martyrs, and all God's saints .... to
consider them as friends and protectors, and to implore their aid
in the hour of distress, with the hope that God would grant to
the patron what he might otherwise refuse to the supplicant."
     Everything considered, it seems evident that the Roman
Catholic system of patron saints developed out of the earlier
beliefs in gods devoted to days, occupations, and the various
needs of human life.
     Many of the old legends that had been associated with the
pagan gods were transferred over to the saints. The Catholic
Encyclopedia even says these "legends repeat the conceptions
found in the pre-Christian religious tales ... The legend is not
Christian, only Christianized ... In many cases it has obviously
the same origin as the myth ... Antiquity traced back sources,
whose natural elements it did not understand, to the heroes; such
was also the case with many legends of the saints ... It became
easy to transfer to the Christian martyrs the conceptions which
the ancients held concerning their heroes. This transference was
promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became
the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted
the ancient local worship. This explains the great number of
similarities between gods and saints."

     As paganism and Christianity were mixed together, sometimes
a saint was given a similar sounding name as that of the pagan
god or goddess it replaced. The goddess Victoria of the
Basses-Alpes was renamed as St.Victoire, Cheron as St.Ceranos,
Artemis as St.Artemidos, Dionysus as St.Dionysus, etc. The
goddess Brighit (regarded as the daughter of the sungod and who
was represented with a child in her arms) was smoothly renamed as
"Saint Bridget." In pagan days, her chief temple at Kildare was
served by Vestal Virgins who tended the sacred fires. Later her
temple became a convent and her vestals, nuns. They continued to
tend the ritual fire, only it was now called "St.Bridget's fire."

     The best preserved ancient temple now remaining in Rome is
the Pantheon which in olden times was dedicated (according to the
inscription over the portico) to "Jove and all the gods." This
was reconsecrated by Pope Boniface IV to "The Virgin Mary and all
the saints." Such practices were not uncommon. "Churches or ruins
of churches have been frequently found on the sites where pagan
shrines or temples originally stood ... It is also to some extent
true that sometimes the saint whose aid was to be invoked at the
Christian shrine bore some outward analogy to the deity
previously hallowed in that place. Thus in Athens the shrine of
the healer Asklepios ... when it became a church, was made sacred
to the two saints whom the Christian Athenians invoked as
miraculous healers, Kosmas and Damian." 
     A cave shown in Bethlehem as the place in which Jesus was
born, was, according to Jerome, actually a rock shrine in which
the Babylonian god Tammuz had been worshipped. The scriptures
never state that Jesus was born in a cave.
     Throughout the Roman Empire, paganism died in one form, only
to live again within the Roman Catholic church. Not only did the
devotion to the old gods continue (in a new form), but the use of
statues of these gods as well. In some cases, it is said, the
very same statues that had been worshipped as pagan gods were
renamed as Christian saints. Through the centuries, more and more
statues were made, until today there are churches in Europe which
contain as many as two, three, and four thousand statues. In
large impressive cathedrals, in small chapels, at wayside
shrines, on the dashboards of automobiles--in all these places
the idols of Catholicism may be found in abundance.
     The use of such idols within the Roman Catholic Church
provides another clue in solving the mystery of modern Babylon;
for, as Herodotus mentioned, Babylon was the source from which
all systems of idolatry flowed to the nations. To link the word
"idols" with statues of Mary and the saints may sound quite harsh
to some. But can this be totally incorrect?
     It is admitted in Catholic writings that at numerous times
and among various people, images of the saints have been
worshipped in superstitious ways. Such abuses, however, are
generally placed in the past. It is explained that in this
enlightened age, no educated person actually worships the object
itself, but rather what the object represents. Generally this is
true. But is this not also true of heathen tribes that use idols
(unmistakably idols) in the worship of demon-gods? Most of these
do not believe the idol itself is a god, but only representative
of the demon-god they worship.

     Several articles within The Catholic Encyclopedia seek to
explain that the use of images is proper on the basis of them
being representative of Christ or the saints. "The honor which is
given to them is referred to the objects which they represent, so
that through the images which we kiss, and before which we
uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the
saints whose likenesses they are."

     Not all Christians are convinced, however, that this
"explanation" is strong enough reason to bypass verses such as
Exodus 20:4, 5: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is
in the earth beneath, or that is underneath the earth: Thou shalt
not bow down thyself to them."
     In the Old Testament, when the Israelites conquered a
heathen city or country, they were not to adopt the idols of
these people into their religion. Such were to be destroyed, even
though they might be covered with silver and gold!

"The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou
shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it
unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination
to the Lord" (Deut.7:25). They were to "destroy all their
pictures" of pagan gods also (Numbers 33:52). To what extent
these instructions were to be carried out under the New Testament
has been often debated over the centuries. The Catholic
Encyclopedia gives a historical sketch of this, showing how
people fought and even died over this very issue, especially in
the eighth century. Though upholding the use of statues and
pictures, it says "there seems to have been a dislike of holy
pictures, a suspicion that their use was, or might become,
idolatrous, among certain Christians for many centuries," and
mentions several Catholic bishops who were of this same opinion. 
For people to fight and kill each other over this issue -
regardless of which side they were on - was unmistakably contrary
to the teachings of Christ.
     The pagans placed a circle or aureole around the heads of
those who were "gods" in their pictures. This practice continued
right on in the art of the Romish church. The accompanying
illustration is the way St.Augustine is shown in Catholic books -
with a circular disk around his head. All Catholic saints are
pictured this same way. But to see that this practice was
borrowed from heathenism, we need only to notice the drawing of
Buddha (illustration on page 38) which also features the circular
symbol around his head! The artists and sculptors of ancient     
Babylon used the disk or aureola around any being they wished to
represent as a god or goddess. The Romans depicted Circe, the
pagan goddess of the sun, with a circle surrounding her head.
From its use in pagan Rome, the same symbolism passed into papal
Rome and has continued to this day, as evidenced in thousands of
paintings of Mary and the saints. Pictures, supposedly of Christ,
were painted with "golden beams" surrounding his head. This was
exactly the way the sungod of the pagans had been represented for
centuries.

     The church of the first four centuries used no pictures of
Christ. The scriptures do not give us any description of the
physical features of Jesus whereby an accurate painting could be
made of him. It seems evident, then, that the pictures of Christ,
like those of Mary and the saints, have come from the
imaginations of artists. We only have to make a short study of
religious art to find that in different centuries and among
different nationalities, many pictures of Christ--some very
different--may be found. Obviously all of these cannot be what he
looked like. Besides, having now ascended into heaven, we no
longer know him "after the flesh" (2 Cor.5:16), having been
"glorified" (John 7:39), and with a "glorious body" (Phil.3:21),
not even the best artist in the world could portray the King in
his beauty. Any picture, even at its best, could never show how
wonderful he really is! 

                          ......................


To be continued with "Obelisks, Temples, and Towers"

Note:

It is not wrong to have pictures of your family and yourself, of
scenery, gardens, etc. The commandment says it is wrong to make
pictures (paint or wood or stone etc) and BOW DOWN to worship
before them. The 2nd of the Ten Commandments.

So-called "saints" have no power at all. Those people are DEAD,
they are not still alive, or up in heaven. See the studies called
"Dead - Then What?" on this Website, and learn the truth of the
matter on what happens to everyone at death.

Keith Hunt

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