For millions of people, saints provide comfort, hope and inspiration and act as intercessors to God. But whilst the earliest saints and martyrs served an essentially spiritual role within society their impact and influence can also be found today throughout the modern secular world. The term saint comes from the Latin word 'sanctus' meaning Holy. Many of the first saints were Christian martyrs who died for their faith. The original meaning of the accolade of martyr was 'witness'. The stories of the lives of the saints and the different aspects of their cults underpin many of the fundamental concepts of the modern world. From the little known Christian figure that gave his name to St Valentine's Day to the mysterious St Nicholas or Santa Claus, saints continue to be invoked in the most commercial and arguably spiritually sterile of settings. Saints continue to serve as patrons of countries, professions, and occupations and provide help with medical, personal and spiritual problems. The differing roles of saints ranges from the surprising, such as the archangel Gabriel being patron saint of broadcasters, to the bizarre, with St Quentin serving as the patron saint of locksmiths.More
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