- Date: 15th century
- 1 : respect or awe inspired by the dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent of a person
- 2 : the act of venerating
- 3 : the condition of one that is venerated
Veneration (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλεία, douleia), or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic Churches, Anglican Communion, and Lutheran Church. Veneration is often shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon, relics, or statue. These items may also be kissed.
Other religious traditions
In Protestantism, except Lutheran and Anglican churches, veneration is sometimes considered to amount to the heresy of idolatry, and the related practice of canonization amounts to the heresy of apotheosis. Protestant theology usually denies that any real distinction between veneration and worship can be made, and claims that the practice of veneration distracts the Christian soul from its true object, the worship of God. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin writes that "(t)he distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honours to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity." Likewise, Islam also condemns any veneration of icons. The Hindu honoring of icons and murtis, often seen as idolatry, may also be looked upon as a kind of veneration.
In the tradition of Green Christianity (or Creation-centered theology) 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. Creation, being regarded as an icon of the Creator, is a valid object of veneration.
Philologically, to venerate derives from the Latin verb, venerare, meaning to regard with reverence and respect. It comes from the Greek root enorau, meaning look at.