Definitions

patron-saint

patron saint

Saint to whose protection and intercession a person, society, church, place, profession, or activity is dedicated. The choice is usually made on the basis of some real or presumed relationship (e.g., St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because he is credited with introducing Christianity there).

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The patron saint of a particular group of people is a saint who would protect and 'love' the group and its members. Prayers by such people are considered more likely to be answered by their patron saint. Some consider it a special devotion to God by displaying humility in asking a saint for intercession rather than expecting to be answered themselves, calling to mind Job 42:8, which implies God's favour to the virtuous.

Known saints

For example, Saint Christopher is generally thought of as the patron saint of travelers. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and the Irish, as well as of the profession of engineering, and Saint James the Great is the patron of rheumatics and of Spain. Eastern Orthodoxy generally similarly associates saints with places, occupations and activities, but to a much lesser degree, and usually that association takes place locally. The "Three Hierarchs", for instance (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom), are the traditional patron saints of education in the Orthodox world, St. Nicholas the patron saint of Russia, St. Demetrius the patron saint of the city of Thessaloníki, etc. Association with a particular area or profession can be found with tutelary deities from other religions as well. St. Lawrence is the Patron Saint of cooks, so bestowed because he himself was roasted alive by the Romans who prosecuted him.

The feast day associated with a saint is often marked by those who have the saint as patron; this is especially the case with a national patron, whose feast day may be a public holiday. In some cases the celestial patronage is not assigned to a canonized person, but to a liturgical feast and/or (often associated) aspect of God or the Virgin Mary which is held in similar reverence (though unlike a saint it cannot actually intercede with God), such as:

Certain patron saints have only a nominal relationship with the trade or group that they represent, as is the case with Saint George of England. Saint Fiacre is the patron saint of taxi drivers, supposedly because the first hansom cabs in Paris were hired outside the Hotel Saint-Fiacre and, indeed, were known as fiacres.

Lists of patron saints

See also

External links

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