Far more than a dictionary of saints, this beautifully illustrated book is an informative chronicle that explores the mysterious conditions of sainthood and tells the lives of the saints in a comprehensive and modern approach to a fascinating subject. The broad-ranging introduction unravels the myths that surround sainthood. It discusses questions such as why saintly symbols are so important in Christian art; the significance of relics and how certain places become holy sites, and how the purpose of pilgrimage has changed over the centuries. The second part of the book is a fully illustrated encyclopedia of over 500 saints, listed in chronological order from the Apostles and early Christian martyrs to 20th-century saints. The life and work of each saint is described. As well as dozens of well-known and well-loved saints such as St Christopher, St Theresa of Avila and St Francis of Assisi, entries also include 1st-century martyrs, African saints of the 19th century, and a Jewish woman who embraced Christianity only to suffer horrendous punishment in 20th-century Germany. Themed spreads throughout the book explore subjects such as Celtic Saints, Saints and Animals, and Symbolism and Saints. There are charts of patron saints for every activity from housework to computers, lost things tomusic. And there are lists of some of the most popular Feast Days from around the world. The book is illustrated with more than 500 beautiful color images of saints and the places they lived their lives; among them are some of the finest works of Western art. A valuable reference book for any historian, this expert and authoritative guide will absorb, entertain, and fascinate every reader interested in discovering more about Christianity and the lives of the saints.
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