A uniting element of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches is their devotion to saints. Although there are thousands of saints throughout history, a few were the most influential of their time. Whether they were martyrs or converted others to join Christianity, these saints made an impact on the history of religion. Let’s take a look at the top ten Christian saints in world history.
10. St. George
He is a martyr and patron saint of England. A prominent military saint, St. George was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. After becoming a soldier for Diocletian, he was told to denounce his faith. He refused the orders and was put through days of torture and ultimately executed. Before his death, however, he gave his wealth to the poor and declared his absolute faith in God. He is the most prominent military saint and revered in the Western World.
9. St. Francis Assisi
One of the best known saints, St. Francis Assisi lived in the 13th century. He read and lived the gospels and is the patron saint for ecologists. It is said that he heard the voice of God and left his life of luxury to live in poverty and spread the word of the Lord. Two years after his death, he was proclaimed a saint for living a life much like Jesus Christ.
8. St. Peter
St. Peter was the first Pope and ordained by Jesus. He was as early leader of the Christian community and established the Church after Jesus. One of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, he was crucified in Rome and it’s told he was hung upside down. He did not feel worthy to be hung the same way as Jesus had and requested these special circumstances.
7. St. Catherine of Sienna
The patron saint of Italy and also one of the six patron saints of Europe, St. Catherine lived in the mid-1300’s. She is famous for many things, including almost single handedly ending the Great Schism, convincing the Holy Father to return the papacy to Rome. She tended the sick, converted the sinners, and cared for the poor. St. Catherine was also a perpetual writer of the Catholic faith.
6. St. Augustine
St. Augustine is the patron saint of brewer because of his loose living before converting to Catholicism. Once baptized, he became a priest, a bishop and an avid Catholic writer. He played a key role in the evolution of Christianity from the Roman era to the start of the Middle Ages. August 28, the day of his death, is St. Augustine’s feast day.
5. St. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc lived in the early 1400’s. During this time, she entered the 100 Years War at the age of 17 because of a vision from God. She became a commander and led France to victory. She was then captured by the British, accused of witchery, and burned at the stake. Twenty-five years after her death, she was declared a martyr and the charges against her were falsified. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of France, martyrs, military and prisoners.
4. St. Patrick
St. Patrick is most known for saving the Irish from paganism. He was a 5th century missionary and bishop in Ireland. He is celebrated on March 17, the day of his death. He was captured by Irish pirates for six years. While being held captive, he heard a voice tell him it would soon be over and to follow his faith. Upon returning home, he claimed to be visited from a man that told him to join his flock. After this, he spread the word of Christianity for the rest of his life. The symbol for St. Patrick is the shamrock, which he said represented the three figures of God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
3. St. Joseph
St. Joseph was Jesus’ father and the Virgin Mary’s husband. Everything we know about St. Joseph is learned through the Bible where the stories of him are vast. When he found out his wife was pregnant, he wanted to get a quiet divorce but was visited by an angel. This angel told him she was pregnant with God’s son and he was to be the father. After this, Joseph spent his life protecting Mary and Jesus as much as possible. Joseph is the patron of the universal church.
2. St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist was a preacher who told the people to repent for their sins because the Lord was coming. As a forgiveness of sins, St. John believed in baptizing his followers. He is often considered the precursor to Jesus in Christianity. He baptized Jesus Christ and claimed him as the Messiah.
1. St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael is known to have been constantly fighting off evils. His most famous act was banishing Lucifer from heaven. St. Michael is always depicted wearing armor and carrying a sword. This is to show his constant battles against evil. He is believed to be the angel of the Lord, especially for stopping Abraham from sacrificing his own son, Isaac. St. Michael is the angel that appeared to Joan of Arc. He is known as the saint that guides spirits home.
All saints follow Jesus and lives their lives devoted to Christian beliefs. Arguably, many saints could be on this list; however it is believed these are the most well known saints who largely impacted Christianity. Many people worship saints to help and guide them in their daily lives.