We are beta testing our new website and would love your feedback. Click here to visit it.

What We Believe
Other pages in What We Believe:


What We Believe

Irish and Universal

Protestant and Catholic

Clergy and People

The Eucharist

Mary: Virgin and Mother

The Bible

The Communion of Saints

Death & Eternal Life

Baptism & Confirmation

The Holy Trinity


Repentance & Forgiveness

Sharing the Faith


An Ghaeilge agus Eaglais na hÉireann

The Irish language and the Church of Ireland

The Constitution

A Constitution Reader


First Schedule

Second Schedule

Chapters I – XVI


The Canons

Dioceses & Parishes

Search the directory

Charities Resources




Tax Effective Giving (RoI)

Charities Consultation (RoI)

Public Benefit Consultation (NI)

Accounting Software

Useful Contacts



Official Submissions

Committee Submissions

Church and Society Commission

Board of Education

Broadcasting Committee Submissions

Transferor Representatives' Council

Church in Society Committee



House of Bishops Communications

Church of Ireland HR Policies

Committee Information

Church in Society


Statements by the Chairman

Ecological and Environmental Sub-Committee

European Affairs Working Group

Legislation and Politics (NI) Sub-Committee

Legislation and Politics (RI) Sub-Committee

Medical Ethics, Science and Technology Sub-Committee

Social Justice and Theology (NI) Sub-Committee

Social Justice and Theology (RI) Sub-Committee

Commission on Ministry

Commission for Christian Unity & Dialogue

Central Communications Board

Broadcasting Committee Resources

Disability Awareness

Gift Aid

Hard Gospel Archive


Flu Guidelines (inc Swine Flu (H1N1) )


Environmental Charter

Select Committee


Access to Records

Location of Records

Other Genealogical Sources in the RCB Library

Preparing for Searches

Survival of Parish Registers

Anglican Record Project

Genealogy Links

Policy Documents

Safeguarding Trust - Northern Ireland


Safeguarding Trust - Republic of Ireland


Website Hosting Policy

Images of Children

Copyright Issues

Software, Website Hosting & E–mail Information

Software for Charities

Website Hosting Terms and Conditions

Webmaster Technical Information

Guidance Notes

The Filing System


E-mail Addresses

E-mail Etiquette

Stay Safe Online!

Useful Links

Diocesan Webmaps

Other Useful Links

e–Bulletin Sign–up

Online Bookshop

Online Donations

Printable version

The Communion of Saints

APCK Leaflet 7 - The Communion of Saints1. Who are the saints?
According to the New Testament the saints (Latin, sancti; Greek, hagioi; literally ‘holy people’) are all the members of the Christian church (Acts 9:13, Rom.1:7, 1 Cor.1:2, Eph.1:15, etc.). Christians are ‘holy people’, ‘saints’, not because they are morally perfect but because God has made them ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people’ (1 Peter 2:9). To be a ‘Saint’ is to be part of a community; the word is nearly always used in the plural in the New Testament, and refers to the important truth that Christians are not meant to live in lonely isolation but as members together in the body of Christ. The ‘saints’ to whom St Paul wrote in Corinth, for example, were far from being morally perfect; in fact, there were serious faults among them. Yet God had made them a holy people, and the apostle urged them to grow up into what God had made them.While all Christians are members of the holy people of God, it is obvious that they vary greatly in holiness, from the luke–warm to those of heroic sanctity. This was true even in the time of the New Testament itself. After that period the term ‘saint’ gradually came to be applied to those of outstanding holiness, especially the martyrs. The days of their deaths, if known, were observed as their ‘birthdays’ into eternal life. Christians thanked God for their holy lives and for the inspiration of their examples. They were conscious of their fellowship with the saints in their worship and in their everyday life. The celebration of saints’ days is a reminder of the calling of all of us.The Church of Ireland calendar appoints saints’ days for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ’s apostles and other notable disciples mentioned in the New Testament. It also includes great figures of the early Irish church, like Patrick, Columba and Brigid. Lesser–known saints, too, are remembered in the dedication of many of our churches.

2. Does the Church of Ireland pray to the saints?
In its authorised worship the Church of Ireland does not pray to the saints but with the saints. Our worship is addressed to God alone, but we are conscious of the saints, both living and departed, both the exceptional and the ordinary, as our fellow worshippers. Christ’s church includes the blessed dead along with those still on earth. We worship God ‘with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven’ (Eucharistic Prayer, BCP 2004), with ‘The glorious company of apostles… the noble fellowship of prophets… the white–robed army of martyrs’ (Te Deum). In addition we observe saints’ days when we thank God for their holy lives and pray that we may follow their examples. As well as those exceptional Christians to whom the church has given the title ‘saint’ we praise God for all those whose holiness is known to God alone on All Saints’ Day (1 November), remembering that we are ‘knit together’ with them ‘in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of [Christ]’ (Collect of All Saints’ Day). Hence ‘the communion of saints’ (Apostles’ Creed) is an important reality for our worship and our lives as Christians on earth.

The above information copyright
©2005 APCK