As the Catholic Church commemorates All Saints Day, we are reminded that the Church has “patron saints” for everything, just as ancient Rome had gods for everything. The ancient Greeks had a pantheon of gods, just as the Catholic Church has a pantheon of saints.

In his book A Calendar of Saints, James Bentley lists the “saints” in the Catholic pantheon, including Abdon, Acca, Begga,  Botolph, Berikjesus, Cantius, Cantianus and Cantianella, Chrodegang, Mawes, Sennen, Sozon, Ethelburga, Notburga, Guthlac, Wulfstan, Waudru and Walburga. In Religion and the Decline of Magic, Keith Thomas explains how the Protestant reformation attempted to rid Christianity of the superstitions of the Catholic Church and to take magic out of religion. “Relics had become wonder-working fetishes” and the use “of ecclesiastical talismans and amulets was encouraged by the Church”.

In Reformation England, “the idea of praying to saints was regarded as reprehensible...  Millers had St Arnold, cobblers had St Crispin and toothdrawers had St Apolline. St Roch was good at the plague and St Petronill for the ague. For madmen and those possessed with devil, there was St Romane. For botches and biles, Saints Cosmas and Damian; St Clare for the eyes and St Agatha for sore breasts.”

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