Calendar of saints

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The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organising a liturgical year on the level of days by associating each day with one or more saints, and referring to the day as that saint's day. The system arose from the very early Christian custom of annual commemoration of martyrs on the dates of their deaths. As the number of recognized saints increased during Late Antiquity and roughly the first half of the Middle Ages, eventually every day of the year had at least one saint who was commemorated on that date. Eventually, some saints were moved to another day in some traditions, or completely removed; thus, some saints do have more than one day.

There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. Martyrs are regarded as dying in the service of the Lord, and confessors are people who died natural deaths. Confessors were not initially considered for saint's days. The term confessor is now less common and those who are not martyrs are usually given another cateogorical cognomen such as: Virgin, Pastor, Bishop, Monk, Priest, Founder, Abbot, Apostle, Doctor of the Church or a combination of these.

This calendar system, when combined with major church festivals and movable and immovable feasts, constructs a very human and personalised yet often localised way of organising the year and identifying dates. It may be compared with the Roman Missal.

Some Christians continue the tradition of dating by saints' days: their works may appear "dated" as "The Feast of Saint Martin" or "Lammastide". Poets such as John Keats commemorate the importance of The Eve of Saint Agnes.

Many children acquire baptismal or confirmation names from the saint associated with his/her date of birth, baptism or confirmation, and believing Eastern Orthodox Christians (and in some countries, Roman Catholics) mark the "name day" (namesday) of the saint whose name he/she bears with special attention, often instead of birthday celebrations.

Various feast days will be "ranked" with various levels of importance. In the Roman Catholic Church, from most to least importance, these are solemnities, feasts, memorials, and optional memorials.

eo:Romkatolika Kalendaro es:Santoral católico it:Calendario dei santi ja:聖人暦 nl:Heiligenkalender pt:Calendário de santos fi:Pyhimyskalenteri sl:Koledar svetnikov

Calendar of saints

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