What The Graves, Tombs, And Relics Of Real Saints Actually Look Like

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Saints are people that have been formally recognized as having led a particularly holy life and somehow demonstrating a close relationship to God. While Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy believe a saint to be anyone that is in heaven, they both have specific ways of officially recognizing them. For Catholics, several criteria must be met, including a verified miracle. Eastern Orthodox formally recognizes a person's sainthood as the popularity of a local "folk" saint grows.

Because Catholics venerate their saints, and one of the requirements of canonization the papacy considers is having performed a miracle after death by answering prayers, pieces of saints' body parts are spread among churches all over the globe. The Catholic church refers to these as relics. The idea behind relic veneration is linked to the New Testament and was completely ingrained in the church at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, when church authorities passed a law stating that every church should have a relic at its altar.

Because of the age and the popularity of the practice, there are many saintly tombs, relics, and graves for us to see. However, for those same reasons, there is some confusion with a few places claiming possession of a few of the same saints and their body parts.