A saint is one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue. While the English term "saint" originated in Christianity, the term is now used by historians of religion "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 wali, the Hindu rishi or guru, and the Buddhist arahat or boddhisatva also referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either through official church recognition or by popular acclaim (see Folk saints).
In Christianity, "saint" has a wide variety of meanings, depending on its usage and the denomination. In some denominations, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth. In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration, with official church recognition given to some saints through canonization or glorification.
Famous quotes containing the word saint:
“The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.”
—Alexander Pope (16881744)
“Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17721834)
“And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.”
—William Cowper (17311800)