Friday, December 20, 2002

Why is that there are five bazillion churches named after new testament figures such as St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mark, St. Barnabas yet relatively few churches named after Old Testament saints? How many churches are you aware of that are named St. Abraham, St. Moses, St. Elijah, St. David, St. Mephibosheth, St. Shamgar, St. Ehud? Wouldn't you think that such towering figures as Moses and Abraham would have numerous churches named after them? I wonder if this doesn't betray our lack of belief that the saints who lived before Christ are part of the church.

On a related note, how do Roman Catholic churches choose what they will be named? Does an archbishop assign a name, is there a lottery of saints names? One reason I'm curious is that there is a now defunct RC Church near where I work downtown named St. Liborius. The church was founded by German Catholics and St. Liborius was adopted by a town in Germany, though he was originally from France and almost nothing else is known about his life as far as I can tell (he is the patron saint of gall stones). Why would you name a church after someone that you knew nothing about? How does that patron saint thing work anyway?

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