Who was the first saint? I’ve heard Saint Stephen was, but didn’t John the Baptist die while Jesus was still living? And Stephen was stoned to death, but what about the guy that died on the cross next to Jesus? Doesn’t the Church classify him as a saint as well?
Interesting question. Could it be that St. Stephen was the 1st Christian martyr? Not sure.
Would you consider the Blessed Mother a “saint”? Also, please don’t forget about my favorite of all the saints, St. Joseph.
But then, Mary’s parents are referred to as Sts. Anne and Joachim.
Chronologically, I think you’d have to go with St. Michael.
In the Byzantine tradition, the righteous of the OT, especially the prophets, are considered saints.
Sorry, I clicked the “Submit” button too soon.
Isn’t this really a non-question? Does it matter?
Not just the Byzantine tradition either - the Latin-Rite Carmelite order has a devotion to St Elijah (the prophet)
And I myself have a soft spot for Jonah - poor old dear REALLY didn’t want to preach to those Ninevites, did he? I can so relate!
Reckon Sts Raphael and Gabriel (not to mention the sometimes-mentioned fourth Archangel Uriel) might have something to say about that!
I hadn’t forgotten them, but the act of heroic virtue for which St. Michael is most noted (the expulsion of satan) precedes the acts for which the other angels are most noted.
If we limit ourselves to human saints for whom we have names the earliest would be Abel.
St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr.
I always think of the first post-Crucifixian saint as “the good thief,” traditionally called St. Dismas, to whom Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” What an incredible thought, to have Jesus by your side as you died. Guess that’s what we all hope to have happen . . . that would truly be the “happy death” we ask for with Mary’s intercession.
Adam or Eve?
Interesting question, but how do you define “first”? First one born? First one who died? First allowed into Heaven? Are we talking about humans only, or angels, too? :shrug:
Does “first” even exist, since “time” is a construct only applicable to Earth and not Heaven?
Don’t forget the Holy Innocents, the children who died in Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus after the Magi slipped out of the country in secret.
And what about Simeon and Anna, who met Mary and Joseph in the Temple at Jesus’ Presentation?
In the end, though, I think I have to vote with Joe Kelley: Adam and Eve. In the traditional icons of the Resurrection, Jesus is standing on the broken gates of hell, reaching to lift up Adam and Eve (who are kneeling with their hands out, covered in their robes, in a posture of supplication). Behind them stand the saints of the OT, apparently waiting their turns.
I have always wondered why a saint does not have to be Christian. Of course I acknowledge John the Baptists and others as saints, but I had always considered saints to be Christians.
At our baptism we are all the “good thief”.
Because Christianity is a fulfillment of Judaism. If the Jews had remained faithful to their religion when the Messiah came, all saints would be Jewish.
A saint is merely a believer, whether alive on this Earth or alive with the Lord, in Heaven awaiting the resurrection of their body at Judgment Day. We can say that St. Stephen is the first Christian martyr recorded in the New Testament, but we cannot say whether or not for sure he is the “first” Christian Saint.
Never fear, no matter what religion any saint in Heaven may have observed while alive on earth, once they are in Heaven they are Catholic.
And what about the Holy Innocents?
I would say Mary, the Mother of God.
The Angels played an active role in Christ’s mission here on Earth and obviously knew about Jesus before any human so in that sense, they could be considered the first saints.
However, no human believed in Jesus before Mary. She was the one who carried him for nine months in her womb and gave birth to him. She knew him better than anyone on this Earth, and she understood him in a way that no one else could. She was the first believer.
For this reason, I would nominate Mary as the first Saint.
‘…as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.’
That is taken from the Magnificat and I believe the clue is there to the first Saint.
I believe the first Saint was Abraham.
In the Living Prayer of my life