Veneration (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλεία, douleia), or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint, a person who has been identified as having a high degree of sanctity or holiness. Angels are shown similar veneration in many religions. Philologically, to venerate derives from the Latin verb, venerare, meaning to regard with reverence and respect. Veneration of saints is practiced, formally or informally, by adherents of some branches of all major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism.
Within Christianity, veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches, all of which have varying degrees of canonization or glorification procedures. In some Christian denominations, veneration is shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon, relics, or statue, or by going on pilgrimage to sites associated with saints. The practice of veneration is deemed heretical by iconoclastic denominations.
In Judaism, there is no classical or formal recognition of saints, but there is a long history of reverence shown toward biblical heroes and martyrs. In some regions, for example within Judaism in Morocco, there is a long and widespread tradition of saint veneration.
Hinduism has a long tradition of veneration of saints, expressed toward various gurus and teachers of sanctity, both living and dead. Branches of Buddhism include formal liturgical worship of saints, with Mahayana Buddhism classifying degrees of sainthood.
In Islam, veneration of saints is practiced by sects such as the Shi'a and Sufi, and in many parts of Southeast Asia, along with "folk Islam", which often incorporates local beliefs and practices. Other sects, such as Sunnis and Wahhabists, abhor the practice
Famous quotes containing the word veneration:
“It is evident, from their method of propagation, that a couple of cats, in fifty years, would stock a whole kingdom; and if that religious veneration were still paid them, it would, in twenty more, not only be easier in Egypt to find a god than a man, which Petronius says was the case in some parts of Italy; but the gods must at last entirely starve the men, and leave themselves neither priests nor votaries remaining.”
—David Hume (17111776)
“Erasmus was the light of his century; others were its strength: he lighted the way; others knew how to walk on it while he himself remained in the shadow as the source of light always does. But he who points the way into a new era is no less worthy of veneration than he who is the first to enter it; those who work invisibly have also accomplished a feat.”
—Stefan Zweig (18811942)