A sculpture of two saints meeting and embracing embodies the importance of touch in Renaissance culture as a form of devotion and ultimately a way to access the divine.
(Renaissance Polychrome Sculpture in Tuscany database)
After a year of pandemic social distancing, we know touch is a much-desired privilege. In the Italian Renaissance, people longed to touch not only each other, but also religious sculptures.
Hindu devotees attend evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges River during the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar, India.
Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images
Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage that started earlier this month in India, has survived wars and famine since its origin. But the biggest threat has been the spread of illness – back then as now.
Saint James the Lesser is believed to have been martyred in AD 70.
The mix-up might be explained by the rush to remove sacred remains to Rome some 1,700 years ago.
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis during his beatification ceremony in Assisi, Italy.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Many saints are venerated for specific reasons, professions or even nations. There are saints who are believed to provide assistance in selling a property.
COVID-19 is changing how people go on pilgrimages.
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The pandemic has inspired new forms of pilgrimages – some do-it-yourself, in which people are walking in their backyards or nearby spaces and finding meaning.
Josaphat sits Dreaming in a Landscape, from the Workshop of Diebold Lauber, c 1469.
It was only in the 19th century the West became aware of Buddhism as a religion in its own right – but the Buddha had been a Christian saint for centuries.
Two manuscripts of the visionary, writer and composer St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) survived the Dresden bombings after a librarian stashed them in a bank vault.
(Avraham Pisarek/Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia)
Two precious manuscripts hidden in a bank vault survived the Allied bombing of Dresden, but one wound up in Soviet hands — until it was smuggled home.
Deaf worshippers sign a hymn while following sign language interpreter Diely Martinez at Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in New York City, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019.
AP Photo/Emily Leshner
Deaf Christians can often feel excluded in churches. But the Christian contemplative tradition that celebrates silence and considers it a form of prayer can bring a new understanding of faith.
Sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, on the campus of Boston College.
At times we just don’t know what’s the right thing to do. St. Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus, developed a method of discernment that can be useful even to those who are not religious.
Elizabeth Ann Seton shrine.
Elizabeth Seton was canonized in 1975 as a saint. Charities founded by her continue her work with poor immigrants.
The Floating Mosque of Palu that survived after the earthquake.
AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana
A majority of the over 24 mosques spread over Palu were damaged in the tsunami. Two of them survived, though one of them is gradually sinking.
Medieval cathedrals were fund raising powerhouses – it’s time to let history live again.
There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But Patrick’s own writings and early biographies reveal the person behind the legend.
Walter Dendy Sadler via Wikimedia Commons
For those wondering whether it is sinful to drink, even moderately, a scholar goes into the history of alcohol and its distillation to show how early monks and priests contributed to it.
Pope Francis talks with bishops during the Liturgical Week at the Vatican in August 2017.
AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
A liturgy expert explains that until the 12th century local bishops made decisions on Catholic liturgical practices even though the Catholic Mass was celebrated in Latin until 1970. How did that change?
A monument to St Dwynwen at Llanddwyn on Anglesey.
The Welsh legend of St Dwynwen is anything but romantic.
Mother Theresa in 1991.
Mother Teresa will become a saint on Sunday, on the basis of two miracles of healing. But let’s not remove our thinking caps and go all medieval: we should be wary of uncritical endorsement of claims to the miraculous.
Called a saint in her lifetime, it has not been a straightforward process to canonise Mother Teresa.
St Thomas Becket looks down from Canterbury cathedral’s window.
Henry II wouldn’t be amused – but rehoming relics is a way of making peace with the past.
Roma people celebrate St. George’s Day in Bosnia.
The saint has clear potential as a unifying symbol for a diverse and multi-cultural world.