Info

Arthritis

St. James Epilepsy, nerves

St. Vitus

Bite of dogs

St. Hubert Fever

St. George

Bite of snakes

St. Hilary Foot diseases

St. Victor

Blindness

St Raphael Gall stones

St. Liberius

Cancer

St. Peregrine Gout

St. Andrew

Cramps

St. Murice Headaches

St. Denis

Deafness

St. Cadoc Heart trouble

St. John of God

Disease of breast

St. Agatha Insanity

St. Dympna

Disease of eyes

St. Lucy Skin disease

St. Roch

Disease of throat

St. Blase Sterility

St. Giles

St. Hubert was born about 656 and appeared on our list as the patron saint of hunters and healer of hydrophobia. Before his conversion, almost all of his time was spent hunting. On a Good Friday morning, according to legend, he pursued a large stag which , suddenly turned and he saw a crucifix between its antlers and heard a voice tell him to turn to God.

But why pray to saints when Christians have access to God? Catholics are taught that through praying to saints, they may be able to obtain help that God otherwise might not give! They are told to worship God and then to "pray, first to Saint Mary, and the holy apostles, and the holy martyrs, and all God's saints to consider them as friends and protectors, and to implore their aid in the hour of distress, with the hope that God would grant to the patron what he might otherwise refuse to the supplicant."9 Everything considered, it seems evident that the Roman Catholic system of patron saints developed out of the earlier beliefs in gods devoted to days, occupations, and the various needs of human life.

Many of the old legends that had been associated with the pagan gods were transferred over to the saints. The Catholic Encyclopedia even says these "legends repeat the conceptions found in the pre-Christian religious tales...The legend is not Christian, only Christianized...In many cases it has obviously the same origin as the myth ...Antiquity traced back sources, whose natural elements it did not understand,

St. Hubert, patron of hunters, with St. Elizabeth.

to the heroes; such was also the case with many legends of the saints...It became easy to transfer to the Christian martyrs the conceptions which the ancients held concerning their heroes. This transference was promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted the ancient local worship. This explains the great number of similarities between gods and saints."10

As paganism and Christianity were mixed together, sometimes a saint was given a similar sounding name as that of the pagan god or goddess it replaced. The goddess Victoria of the Basses-Alpes was renamed as St. Victoire, Cheron as St. Ce-ranos, Artemis as St. Artemidos, Dionysus as St. Dionysus, etc. The goddess Brighit (regarded as the daughter of the sun-god and who was represented with a child in her arms) was smoothly renamed as "Saint Bridget." In pagan days, her chief temple at Kildare was served by Vestal Virgins who tended the sacred fires. Later her temple became a convent and her vestals, nuns. They continued to tend the ritual fire, only it was now called "St. Bridget's fire."11

The best preserved ancient temple now remaining in Rome is the Pantheon which in olden times was dedicated (according to the inscription over the portico) to "Jove and all the gods." This was reconsecrated by Pope Boniface IV to "The Virgin Mary and all the saints." Such practices were not uncommon. "Churches or ruins of churches have been frequently found on the sites where pagan shrines or temples originally stood...It is also to some extent true that sometimes the sain t whose aid was to be invoked at the Christian shrine bore some outward analogy to the deity previously hallowed in that place. Thus in Athens the shrine of the healer Asklepios...when it became a church, was made sacred to the two saints whom the Christian Athenians invoked as miraculous healers, Kosmas and Damian."12

A cave shown in Bethlehem as the place in which Jesus was born, was, according to Jerome, actually a rock shrine in which the Babylonian god Tammuz had been worshipped. The scriptures never state that Jesus was born in a cave.

Throughout the Roman Empire, paganism died in one form, only to live again within the Roman Catholic church. Not only did the devotion to the old gods continue (in a new form), but the use of statues of these gods as well. In some cases, it is said, the very same statues that had been worshipped as pagan gods were renamed as Christian saints. Through the centuries, more and more statues were made, until today there are churches in Europe which contain as many as two, three, and four thousand statues.13 In large impressive cathedrals, in small chapels, at wayside shrines, on the dashboards of automobiles—in all these places the idols of Catholicism may be found in abundance.

The use of such idols within the Roman Catholic Church provides another clue in solving the mystery of modern Babylon; for, as Herodotus mentioned, Babylon was the source from which all systems of idolatry flowed to the nations. To link the word "idols" with statues of Mary and the saints may sound quite harsh to some. But can this be totally incorrect?

It is admitted in Catholic writings that at numerous times and among various people, images of the saints have been worshipped in superstitious ways. Such abuses, however, are generally placed in the past. It is explained that in this enlightened age, no educated person actually worships the object itself, but rather what the object represents. Generally this is true. But is this not also true of heathen tribes that use idols (unmistakably idols) in the worship of demon-gods? Most of these do not believe the idol itself is a god, but only representative of the demon-god they worship.

Several articles within The Catholic Encyclopedia seek to explain that the use of images is proper on the basis of them being representative of Christ or the saints. "The honor which is given to them is referred to the objects which they represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the saints whose likenesses they are."14 Not all Christians are convinced, however, that this "explanation" is strong enough reason to bypass verses such as Exodus 20:4, 5: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is underneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them."

In the Old Testament, when the Israelites conquered a heathen city or country, they were not to adopt the idols of these people into their religion. Such were to be destroyed, even though they might be covered with silver and gold!

"The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for'it is an abomination to the Lord" (Deut. 7:25). They were to "destroy all their pictures" of pagan gods also (Numbers 33 :52). To what extent these instructions were to be carried out under the New Testament has been often debated over the centuries. The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a historical sketch of this, showing how people fought and even died over this very issue, especially in the eighth century. Though upholding the use of statues and pictures, it says "there seems to have been a dislike of holy pictures, a suspicion that their use was, or might become, idolatrous, among certain Christians for many centuries," and mentions several Catholic bishops who were of this same opinion.15 For people to fight and kill each other over this issue—regardless of which side they were on—was unmistakably contrary to the teachings of Christ.

The pagans placed a circle or aureole around the heads of those who were "gods" in their pictures. This practice continued right on in the art of the Romish church. The accompanying illustration is the way St. Augustine is shown in Catholic books—with a circular disk around his head. All Catholic saints are pictured this same way. But to see that this practice was borrowed from heathenism, we need only to notice the drawing of Buddha (illustration on page 38) which also features the circular symbol around his head! The artists and sculptors of ancient Babylon used the disk or aureola around any being they wished to represent as a god or goddess.16 The Ro

St. Augustine pictured with halo mans depicted Circe, the pagan goddess of the sun, with a circle surrounding her head. From its use in pagan Rome, the same symbolism passed into papal Rome and has continued to this day, as evidenced in thousands of paintings of Mary and the saints. Pictures, supposedly of Christ, were painted with "golden beams" surrounding his head. This was exactly the way the sun-god of the pagans had been represented for centuries.

The church of the first four centuries used no pictures of Christ. The scriptures do not Buddha with halo give us any description of the physical features of Jesus whereby an accurate painting could be made of him. It seems evident, then, that the pictures of Christ, like those of Mary and the saints, have come from the imaginations of artists.

We only have to make a short study of religious art to find that in different centuries and among different nationalities, many pictures of Christ—some very different—may be found. Obviously all of these cannot be what he looked like. Besides, having now ascended into heaven, we no longer know him "after the flesh" (2 Cor. 5:16), having been "glorified" (John 7:39), and with a "glorious body" (Phil. 3:21), not even the best artist in the world could portray the King in his beauty. Any picture, even at its best, could never show how wonderful he really is!

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