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"Despair, and you give yourself to the shadows. Believe, truly believe in the Emperor of Mankind, and you shall walk in His light no matter how dark the path you tread."
—Saint Celestine
Saint Celestine

Saint Celestine, the Living Saint, during the 13th Black Crusade

A Living Saint is an extraordinarily devout servant of the Emperor of Mankind, usually a warrior of the Ecclesiarchy, who displays seemingly miraculous abilities derived from potent faith during his or her lifetime. In almost every case, a Living Saint has been resurrected from the dead, sometimes multiple times. The belief among the faithful of the Imperial Creed is that these individuals are blessed by the Emperor Himself, and are resurrected by His will and grace to defend His servants. Most of the known Living Saints have been members of the Adepta Sororitas, particularly its Orders Militant, but several have also emerged from the ranks of the Astra Militarum. In truth, it is clear that Living Saints draw their powers from the Warp much like the servants of Chaos, but are not necessarily psykers during their initial lifetimes. Instead, a Living Saint's faith in the God-Emperor is so great that it allows him or her to unconsciously draw upon the Warp to fuel supernatural abilities, including the ability to resurrect from death.

Role

The Saint Approaches by MajesticChicken

Saint Celestine brings her righteous wrath down upon the Schismatics during the Palatine Crusade

A Living Saint is an extraordinarily rare individual proclaimed as a hero of the Imperium by the hierarchy of the Adeptus Ministorum. Their faith and service to the Imperium, often among the Adepta Sororitas' Sisters of Battle or the ranks of the Astra Militarum, has usually led to their martyrdom at the hands of the Emperor's foes, and their subsequent spectacular resurrection from death, often in a burst of divine power. Living Saints are the Emperor's avenging angels, terrible and wondrous to witness, such is their incredible power and utter purity of spirit. The appearance of a Living Saint is normally a brief phenomenon, as they are effectively martyred at the time of their ascension. Most Living Saints only appear during conflicts where Imperial forces are in danger of being completely overrun by the enemies of the Emperor, such as a War of Faith or an Imperial Crusade as was the case with Saint Sabbat, or where a defeat could imperil the very existence of Humanity, as during the climax of the 13th Black Crusade on Cadia when Saint Celestine manifested once more.

In addition to their extraordinary combat abilities and supernatural powers, a Living Saint's appearance on a battlefield provides an enormous morale boost to all of the Emperor's faithful, spurring them on to make greater sacrifices and endure any hardships to secure victory, no matter the odds against them.

Only a few Living Saints are ever recognised in each millennium by the Ecclesiarchy, and when they do appear they are revered by all the faithful across the galaxy. For an individual to be recognised as a Living Saint, a conclave of the Adeptus Ministorum and the Inquisition must be called and all present must agree that the candidate is both a loyal servant of the Emperor and one who fought in a just cause.

Abilities

Saint Anais

Saint Anais during the Kaurava Campaign

Those Living Saints who have appeared over the centuries have been among the most potent individuals ever to take up arms in the Emperor's name, said to have been imbued with a portion of the God-Emperor's own divine strength and abilities. They are often protected by a sacred ability, known as the Inviolable Aura, which makes them and all those around them in a limited radius nearly invulnerable in combat, and they can unleash blasts of sacred fire from their persons or their weapons which are clearly drawn from the Warp.

Some Living Saints, such as Celestine and Anais, have been known to possess a classically angelic form, able to conjure a glorious pair of feathered wings which spread from their back, created from the potent psychic power of their faith in the Master of Mankind. The wings allow the same range of flight and mobility as an Astartes Jump Pack. Celestine was also known not to require the use of an extravehicular activity suit when entering toxic environments or the void of space, such as when she fought on the surface of Luna during the Terran Crusade. She was a being fuelled by psychic energy who no longer needed to respirate, eat or undertake other activities required to sustain a material existence. Other Living Saints are very likely to possess this ability as well. And, of course, the Living Saints' greatest power is that of resurrection, for no matter how many times they are struck down by the foe, they always seem to return to life to aid the servants of the Imperium whenever the hour is darkest...

Notable Living Saints

  • Geminae Superia - The Geminae Superia were the former Adepta Sororitas Canonesses Genevieve and Eleanor of the Order of Our Martyred Lady who fought on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41. Struck down in battle by the Daemon Prince Urkanthos before the fortress city of Kasr Kraf, they were returned to life as the hand-chosen champions and honour guard of the Living Saint Celestine by her will and the power of their faith. The Geminae would lay down their lives -- and have, several times -- to protect the blessed Saint Celestine from harm.
  • Saint Anais - Saint Anais was a Living Saint of the Adepta Sororitas who fought in the War of Faith in the Kaurava System sometime during the 41st Millennium. Her origins, what Order Militant she originally belonged to and how she rose to sainthood within the Adepta Sororitas is not known. Saint Anais was placed by Confessor Turgenum March alongside the Order of the Sacred Rose in the defence of the Order's primary bastion in the Sama District, on the planet of Kaurava I. When in battle, Saint Anais was imbued with the "Inviolable Aura" -- a powerful psychic aura which rendered every Battle-Sister in her presence nigh invincible. However, this gift had one flaw, for if the holy shrines used as the anchors for the faith that provided the blessing of this powerful aura were to be destroyed, the Inviolable Aura could be rendered impotent. This could make even the Living Saint subject to mortal wounds and allow her to be slain.
  • Saint Celestine - Saint Celestine is a revered Living Saint of the Adepta Sororitas' Order of Our Martyred Lady, a being of incredible psychic power and faith believed by many in the Imperium of Man to be have been resurrected as a tool of the Emperor of Mankind Himself. As a mortal, she was thought slain during a campaign against the Renegade Warmaster of Forrax, but has returned at various times since to rescue Imperial forces in danger of being destroyed by the enemies of the God-Emperor. Wings spread wide, halo blazing and Ardent Blade in hand, Saint Celestine is an embodiment of the God-Emperor's might. She shines like a star amid the smoke and fumes of the battlefield, radiating holy light. The faithful are filled with strength and courage by her presence even as Heretics recoil in terror. Those who flee are wise to do so, for Celestine strikes like the Emperor's own judgment, smiting the unrighteous with a strength that belies her human form. With a gesture, the Living Saint calls fires of psychic retribution down from on high, or infuses her sick and injured allies with healing energies. The Geminae Superia fight at her side, the former Sororitas Canonesses Genevieve and Eleanor, hand-chosen champions who serve as the blessed saint's eternal bodyguard, as prone to resurrection as herself. Celestine's most recent and greatest intervention came in 999.M41, when she appeared on Cadia as it was under assault by Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade. She brought crucial reinforcements to the Imperial defenders and became one of the leaders of the Imperial survivors -- who named themselves the Celestinian Crusade in her honour -- after Cadia was destroyed by the forces of the Despoiler. With the aid of the newborn faction of the Eldar called the Ynnari, the Celestinian Crusade managed to flee the Cadia System through the Webway to the Realm of Ultramar and its capital world of Macragge. There, Celestine played an important role in the events that led to the resurrection of the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman. Celestine joined the Terran Crusade that Guilliman proclaimed, and fought alongside it all the way to Holy Terra so that the Primarch could meet with his father, the Emperor. Once at the Imperial Palace, Celestine swore to stand with the Guilliman, now the Lord Commander of the Imperium, as he promised to unleash a great counteroffensive -- the Indomitus Crusade -- against the Forces of Chaos.
  • Saint Gerstahl - Gerstahl was an Imperial Army officer who had fallen defending the Cadian Gate during the first centuries after the Horus Heresy. Entombed on the Shrine World named for him -- Gerstahl -- under the world's alabaster capital, the saint was prophesied to rise again when the "Eye of Darkness opened for the last time" and stem the tide of the treacherous. During the 3rd Black Crusade, Abaddon launched an attack on Cadia, unleashing the Daemon Prince Tallomin, the so-called "Prince of Princes," against the Cadian Gate, in order to distract the Imperium from the desecration of Gerstahl's tomb. Abaddon destroyed the remains of Saint Gerstahl and forestalled any chance of the prophecy's fulfillment.
  • Saint Sabbat - The saint of the Imperial Cult known as Saint Sabbat is described as a small but beautiful green-eyed girl with short black hair. She was born Sabbat Beati around the year 500.M35 on the pastoral world of Hagia, in the sector of the Segmentum Pacificus that afterwards became known as the Sabbat Worlds, to a simple shepherd. At this time, while humans loyal to the Imperium had established footholds in the region of the Sabbat Worlds, much of it was incredibly wild, ruled by the hand of Chaos-worshipping barbarians as well as hostile xenos. Even those planets that were ostensibly loyal to the Emperor were well outside the bounds of the Imperium of Man. Little is known in detail of Saint Sabbat's history but what is known is that in her early life she was inspired by a vision of the Emperor to rally humanity and liberate the entire region in a great Imperial Crusade against the Ruinous Powers. Her achievements overshadow those of many a Lord General Militant of the Imperial Guard, while her teachings lead all Imperial citizens to a simplicity and wisdom that belie her humble origins. During the Sabbat Worlds Crusade to liberate the Sabbat Worlds from the Forces of Chaos in the late 41st Millennium the saint was said to have been reincarnated as an Esholi girl from the world of Hagia who then led Imperial forces on the planet of Herodor and joined the Crusade's Warmaster at the front lines to inspire the Imperial forces.
  • Lozepath - Lozepath was the Living Saint of Salandraxis who was slain by Khârn the Betrayer during the 13th Black Crusade. The Angels Eradicant Chapter of Astartes had successfully escorted the Living Saint Lozepath back to his homeworld of Salandraxis despite the loss of three of their Cruisers to a World Eaters warband led by Khârn the Betrayer. Following the escort of Lozepath back to Salandraxis, the world was assaulted by the World Eaters and the Black Legion's Hounds of Abaddon when it was caught in the oncoming wave of the 13th Black Crusade. Even the combined strength of the remaining Battle-Brothers of the Angels Eradicant Chapter, an Order Militant of the Sisters of Battle and the local Astra Militarum regiment all stationed on Salandraxis were not enough to stop the Chaos onslaught.
MachariusCrusade2

Lord Solar Macharius in combat during the Macharian Crusade alongside his troops of the Astra Militarum

  • Macharius - Macharius was the Lord Commander Solar, the chief military commander of the Imperium's Segmentum Solar and one of the High Lords of Terra who is also perhaps the most famous commander of the Astra Militarum. Granted the rank of Imperial Warmaster by the Senatorum Imperialis, he undertook the Macharian Conquests, also called the Macharian Crusade, of 392-399.M41, which in only seven standard years added nearly 1,000 new worlds to the Imperium at the very edge of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Segmentum Pacificus. He was also later canonised as a Saint of the Imperial Cult by the Ecclesiarchy. Macharius launched a vast campaign, unrivalled since the Emperor's own Great Crusade that founded the Imperium of Man, to expand the boundaries of the Imperium into uncharted regions of the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Macharius' operations have become textbook examples of how to run interstellar military campaigns and he is considered one of the greatest military minds to have been produced by humanity, easily the equal even of the genetically-engineered superhuman Primarchs. His conquest was only halted by the refusal of his men to continue due to their fear of what lay beyond the known reaches of space. This fear arose in Macharius' great host when the Macharian Crusade's path of conquest had reached all the way to the outer border of the psychic protection and interstellar navigation afforded by the Emperor's Astronomican at the farthest edge of the galaxy. Beyond that point, Warp travel would become much more dangerous, slow and difficult. It is said that when Macharius learned that he would be unable to conquer any more worlds in the name of the Emperor of Mankind, he fell to his knees and wept, a man broken by the human frailties of those around him which he did not share.

See Also

Sources

  • Atlas Infernal (Novel) by Rob Sanders
  • Black Legion - A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 32
  • Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 47
  • Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
  • Gathering Storm - Book One - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition), pp. 6-88, pg. 122
  • The Red Path (Novel) by Chris Dows

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