odour of sanctity


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odor of sanctity

1. Literally, a specific scent said to emanate from the body of a saint of the Catholic Church. I had never believed it, but upon entering the small crypt that held the saint's remains, I too could perceive the odor of sanctity so many religious writers had detailed before.
2. By extension, a state of religious, grace, saintliness, or holiness. The nun, who tirelessly devoted her life to helping the poor of her nation, died in an odor of sanctity at the age of 97.
3. Smug and often hypocritical moral or social righteousness; sanctimoniousness. The author provides an extremely compelling moral argument, without enshrouding the entire narrative with an odor of sanctity.
See also: odor, of, sanctity

odour of sanctity

1 a state of holiness. 2 sanctimoniousness. derogatory
This expression is a translation of the French idiom odeur de sainteté . It refers to a sweet or balsamic odour which was reputedly emitted by the bodies of saints at or after death, and which was regarded as evidence of their sanctity.
See also: odour, of, sanctity
References in periodicals archive ?
Padre Pio, in addition to his blessings of bilocation, the odour of sanctity, and the stigmata, had to deal with the devil, battles "that would leave him bruised and shaken.
Cuthbert was lying as if peacefully asleep and there was a sweet, fragrant smell, the odour of sanctity.
Saint Hereticus might be right when he declared: "The power of hell is strongest where / The odour of sanctity fills the air.
Keynes was born in the odour of sanctity of Cambridge Liberalism, with its illusions about Europe and Germany.
The latter contain much hagiographical material such as miracles of healing based on Christ's miracles or those performed by earlier saints, the fulfilling of prophecies, exorcisms, heavenly lights seen at their deaths, their uncorrupt bodies with an odour of sanctity and so on, from which authentic biographical material has to be sifted.
Pierre Toussaint, born in 1766 in what is now Haiti, sailed to New York with his master in 1787; died in the odour of sanctity in his house on Franklin Street in Manhattan on June 30, 1853; and now lives happily forever in Heaven, enjoying for all eternity the beatific vision of God in the glorious company of the angels and saints.