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(Latin veneratio, Greek dulia)

In Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, veneration, or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring someone, and through them honoring God who made them and in whose image they are made. This is often shown outwardly in the form of respectful bowing before a saint's icon or relics, usually while making the sign of the cross; kissing an icon or relic, or exchanging the "kiss of peace" with another person in some fashion; or any other culturally appropriate way of showing honor and respect. Animals, plants, and other parts of Nature may also be venerated simply by taking good care of them, thereby showing honor and respect for God who made them.


Critics charge that veneration amounts to the heresy idolatry, and that the related beatification amounts to the heresy of apotheosis; these charges are commonly accepted as quite self-evident in Protestant theology.

Those without such objections believe that veneration is a type of honor, distinct from the worship due to God alone. Church theologians coined the terms latria for the worship due to God alone, and dulia for the veneration given to saints and icons (and hyperdulia for the higher veneration specifically paid to Mary, Mother of God). This distinction is spelled out in the conclusions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which also charges that iconoclasm (forbidding icons and their veneration) is a heresy that amounts to a denial of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

See also