odor of sanctity


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odor of sanctity

Fig. an atmosphere of excessive holiness or piety. I hate their house. There's such an odor of sanctity with Bibles and holy pictures everywhere. The huge, medieval Gothic cathedral had a distinct odor of sanctity.
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odor of sanctity

Exaggerated or hypocritical piety, an assumption of moral superiority, as in This candidate puts off some voters with his odor of sanctity. This expression, originating in the medieval idea that the dead body of a saintly individual gives off a sweet smell, was used to describe saintliness in the mid-1700s. Today it is generally used ironically.
See also: odor, of
References in periodicals archive ?
An ambitious novel in its scope and its intent, An Odor of Sanctity provides an expanded treatment of the theme of the spiritual man, a subject Yerby had examined earlier in Captain Rebel in 1956.
Unlike his earlier treatment of anti-heroes, who begin as rogues and emerge saintlike eventually, Yerby's portrayal of Alaric in the last third of An Odor of Sanctity explores the whole question of sainthood.
In An Odor of Sanctity, for example, Alaric declares:
The Odor of Sanctity centers on Peter Albright, a priest and psychiatrist.
Each of these three engaging novels embodies a great Christian spirituality: Chartreuse personifies the Carthusian tradition, Portrait of a Woman reflects the Benedictine legacy, and The Odor of Sanctity embraces the Jesuit heritage.
These differences were not confined to incorruptibility and the odor of sanctity but also included external and internal marks, such as stigmata and the alien structures found in Chiara's and Margarita's hearts.