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Dear Librarium Online friends,
Good morning! I was hanging around YouTube and saw part of "Soul Storm". There was a canoness and a priest, and suddenly a saint appeared in a halo of heavenly light!
I know a little about St. Celestine, but much of the information is in game terms. Like, if she loses her last wound, she might be placed in reserves and re-appear. But I never thought about what that meant!
Are the living Saints of the God Emperor really supernatural beings like that? Wow! Have they appeared in other non-game material like comics or Black Library books? Are they akin to Warp Entities, or something totally different?
I want to be a Saint someday...!
Saints of the Imperium do not necessarily have powers or abilities above the normal, but it probably helps. Living Saints are persons who have died and been resurrected by the Emperor's will (Saint Sabbat, Saint Celestine). For an individual to be declared a Saint, a conclave of the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition must agree that the subject is pure and the reason just.
You can find a nice little list of Imperial Saints here:
List of Imperial Saints - Lexicanum
If I were you, I would look into Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series. Although they deal more directly with the Imperial Guard, the entire series takes place during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, which was undertaken to free the Sabbat Worlds from the predations of Chaos. The Sabbat Worlds are named after the sector's patron saint, Saint Sabbat, who plays an important role in the series (even though she doesn't actually show up until the last book in the second omnibus). Saint Sabbat was a young shepherd girl from the world of Hagia who was inspired by a vision of the Emperor to unite the disparate worlds in the sector and lead them back to the Imperium and the Emperor's light. However, she was martyred, and the sector soon fell back into Chaos. The Sabbat Worlds Crusade was later launched in her name to finish her work.
Usually the vast majority of Imperial Saints are merely ordinary mortal humans who happen to do something extraordinary under the motivation of faith. Sebastian Thor is a good example of this, as well as Saint Kiodrus, who was Sabbat's chief war advisor, and Saints Praxedes and Helena, who were merely Battle Sisters who heroically martyred themselves for a great cause. However, every so often you run across an individual who seems to have a direct connection with the vast remaining power of the Emperor Himself. Similarly to the way a Chaos Champion might channel the power of his chosen god, these special Saints manifest holy powers as the Emperor's divine will works through them for the benefit of mankind. Here is where you encounter beings like Saint Anais (from DoW), Saint Celestine, and Saint Sabbat, who are able to "soar aloft on columns of divine radiance," who have gazes that can strike down the weak-willed, who are surrounded by tangible auras of holiness and light, etc. Extrapolating from all of this, I would hazard to say that in most cases only those individuals who are divinely empowered are declared Living Saints, rather than the mortals who are canonized after their martyrhood.
The definition of a Living Saint is given by the Sisters codex as a person who displays both heroism and piety in sufficient amounts for a joint conclave of the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition to confer beatification upon them. The term "Living Saint" as opposed to just "Saint" comes from the fact that a) the Saint in question has been elevated to Sainthood during their lifetime instead of after their death, but that b) "one who burns twice as bright burns half as long;" at the conferral of their Sainthood "they are already martyred, their death a self-fulfilling prophecy." This makes the Saints that much more heroic, as they accomplish their great deeds for absolutely no other reason than service to the Emperor. I would extrapolate from all of this that it is usually only the divinely-empowered individuals who are ever declared Living Saints, as an ordinary mortal is usually already martyred before he or she is canonized.
Last edited by Dawnrunner; February 12th, 2010 at 16:07.
The Emperor set a fire in their hearts that they might burn the iniquitous and the impure from his sight. And the light of that flame shall be as a beacon to the faithful, a light that shines in the darkest places.
Also.. From Inquisitor: The Thorians..
Thorians (followers of Sabbastian Thor) believe that the Emperor still has power even on the Golden throne and manifests his influence through specific people of great faith to guide and protect humanity. Cataloguing and assessing saints is their pet project, and they do look for people with unexplainable and miraculous powers which can't be attributed to their own psychic ability. It's a frustrating task, but occasionally they do find people whose miraculous abilities genuinely can't be explained..
So, if you believe that, then the living saint who flies around with a halo and wierd abilities does so because for whatever reason the Emperor has touched them with a tiny fragment of His power, enabling them to perform miracles. Of course, the Thorians are only one small faction and not everyone has to agree. There does seem to be some acceptance though of saints and religious figures performing miracles through their sheer holiness.