An African Christian Perspective on the Veneration of the Saints or the Ancestors

Anthony Kofi Anomah, Peter Addai-Mensah


Almost all religions believe in life after death. Christians believe that their deceased relatives and Church members who were baptised before they died would rise to new life in Christ after death. However, some Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians find it difficult to accept the fact that our deceased brothers and sisters (who are called by different names, saints or ancestors) are alive and deserve honour or recognition from the living. Africans venerate their deceased brothers and sisters who lived impeccable and irreproachable lives while they lived on this earth. In the same way some Christians, especially Catholics, Anglicans and others in public ceremonies canonize their deceased brothers and sisters who lived lives worthy of emulation and call them saints. They set aside some days in the year when they are publicly venerated in their liturgies and celebrate their entrance into eternity with God. In this article the writer argues that both Catholics and Africans are doing nothing wrong when they venerate their brothers and sisters as heroes in this way. They are only giving them honour like we do to our national heroes and ask for their intercession in prayer. Although Christians and Africans call their deceased members who lived exemplary lives by different names (Saints and Ancestors respectively), they venerate them in similar ways and the Saints or Ancestors play similar roles in the lives of their living members, notwithstanding some dissimilarities.

Keywords: Veneration, Worship, Saints, Ancestors.

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/45-02

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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