Veneration (Latin: veneratio; Greek: τιμάω timáō),[lower-alpha 1] or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint, a person who has been identified as having a high degree of sanctity or holiness.[1] Angels are shown similar veneration in many religions. Veneration of saints is practiced, formally or informally, by adherents of some branches of all major religions, including Christianity, Judaism,[2] Hinduism,[3] Islam,[4] Buddhism[1][3] and Jainism.

Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado)

Within Christianity, veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches, all of which have varying types of canonization or glorification procedures. In the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, veneration is shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon, relics, or statue, or by going on pilgrimage to sites associated with saints. In general, veneration is not practiced by Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses, as many Protestants believe the practice amounts to idolatry. Some Anglicans and Lutherans retain veneration of saints in the naming of churches, feast day celebrations and canonisation.[5][6]

Hinduism has a long tradition of veneration of saints, expressed toward various gurus and teachers of sanctity, both living and dead. Branches of Buddhism include formal liturgical worship of saints, with Mahayana Buddhism classifying degrees of sainthood.[1][3]

In Islam, veneration of saints is practiced by some of the adherents of traditional Islam (Sufis, for example), and in many parts of places like Turkey, Egypt, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.[7][8] Other sects, such as Wahhabists etc., abhor the practice.[9]

In Judaism, there is no classical or formal recognition of saints, but there is a long history of reverence shown toward biblical heroes and martyrs. Jews in some regions, for example in Morocco, have a long and widespread tradition of saint veneration.[1][2][3]

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