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Why are there no saints from the Old Testament?

A theologian explores why we don't refer to a "Saint Moses" or "Saint Elijah."

Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin

Published: August 07, 2012 06:26 AM GMT
Why are there no saints from the Old Testament?

Recently I received the question: “Why don’t we call Moses and Elijah ‘Saint’”? In other words: Why aren’t they referred to as St. Moses and St. Elijah? Evidence for Sainthood After all, we have it on pretty good authority that they are holy and in heaven. Both Old and New Testament attest to the holiness of both individuals. We have a clear indication that Elijah was taken directly into heaven, without dying, and while Moses did die, there’s no serious doubt about his making it to heaven (at least after heaven was generally opened to the righteous of the Old Testament). Most impressively, both Moses and Elijah get to appear with Jesus in the Transfiguration. That’s kind of a giveaway. So why don’t we call them saints? Old Testament Saints in General A basic answer would be that we tend not to use the honorific “Saint” for human beings who lived in the Old Testament period. We do use it for angels we read about in the Old Testament–St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael–but not human beings. That is probably just an artifact of how the term “Saint” evolved. Originally it was an adjective, meaning “holy” (Latin, sanctus). People started prefixing it to the names of notably holy individuals (holy Peter, holy Paul), and eventually it came to be used as an honorific–like “Mister” or “Doctor” (thus St. Peter, St. Paul). But for whatever reason, people tended not to do this for Old Testament figures. Perhaps this was because holy figures of the Old Testament were thought to already be sufficiently hallowed by their inclusion in Scripture–although that would not explain why the apostles and other New Testament figures got the title “Saint.” More likely, Old Testament figures were seen as less directly relevant as examples to Christians, because they lived before the Christian age. Those living in the Christian age, like the apostles and later saints, are more like us and thus more direct examples for us in a certain sense. However that may be, Old Testament figures were generally not called “Saint.” But sometimes they were. . . . Full Story: Why Don’t We Call Moses and Elijah “Saint”?Source:JimmyAkin.com

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