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THE SAINTS PORTAL

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St. Teresa of Ávila. In traditional Christian iconography, saints are often depicted with halos as a symbol of holiness.

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.

While the English word saint originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the appellation "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people", with the Jewish tzadik, the Islamic walī, the Hindu rishi or Sikh guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva also being referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either by official ecclesiastical declaration, as in the Catholic faith, or by popular acclamation (see Folk saint).

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St. Cerbonius, Cathedral of Massa Marittima, Tuscany/Italy

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Dunstan in The Little Lives of the Saints, illustrated by Charles Robinson in 1904
Dunstan (c.909–19 May 988) was an abbot of Glastonbury, a bishop of Worcester, a bishop of London, and an archbishop of Canterbury who was later canonized as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in "making a picture and forming letters", as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank.

Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness. Adding to Dunstan's myth was his legendary cunning in dealing with the Devil. One story relates how Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the Devil's hoof when he was asked to re-shoe the Devil's horse. This caused the Devil great pain, and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. This is claimed as the origin of the lucky horseshoe. The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Communion mark his feast day on May 19.

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The Saints Wikiproject aims primarily at standardizing the articles about people venerated by some Christians as saints or the blessed and ensuring quality articles. If there is an interest in including saints from religions other than Christianity, please propose those changes on our talk page.

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