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(Latin veneratio, Greek dulia)

In Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, veneration, or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion, and through them honoring God who made them and in whose image they are made. Veneration is often shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon or relics or statue. These items may also be kissed.

In Catholic theology, veneration is a type of honor distinct from the worship due to God alone. Church theologians have long adopted the terms latria for the sacrificial worship due to God alone, and dulia for the veneration given to saints and icons. Catholic theology also includes the term hyperdulia for the type of veneration specifically paid to Mary, Mother of God in Catholic Tradition. This distinction is spelled out in the dogmatic conclusions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (A.D. 787), which also decreed that iconoclasm (forbidding icons and their veneration) is a heresy that amounts to a denial of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

In other religious traditions it is held that veneration amounts to the heresy of idolatry, and that the related practice of canonization amounts to the heresy of apotheosis; these charges are accepted without discussion in much Protestant theology (although many Anglicans venerate saints). Also, animals, plants, and other parts of nature may be said to be venerated simply by taking good care of them, thereby showing honor and respect for God who made them.

See also

Blessed Virgin Mary, Hagiography, Icon, Idolatry, Prayer, Seventh Ecumenical Council, Worship