The manifestation on a living person's body of bleeding marks resembling the wounds suffered by Jesus Christ when he was crucified. They are manifested on the hands, on the feet, near the heart, and on the head and shoulders.
The attribution of religious significance to wounds and scars predates Christianity. In many primitive rites, wounds and scars were deliberately inflicted as part of the religious ritual. The stigmata of Christ, however, allegedly appear spontaneously on the bodies of extremely devout people.
The stigmata are not usual bodily lacerations (the blood appears to discharge through the unbroken skin), do not deteriorate in the usual fashion of wounds, and are not susceptible to medical treatment. Francis of Assisi (later Saint Francis) was the first and best-known stigmatic, in September 1224 he reportedly began to bleed from his palms and feet after meditating on the crucifixion of Christ. More than 330 cases are known of Christians who have been stigmatized.
Stigmatics are deeply pious, and the stigmata often appear after lengthy meditations on the crucifixion or contemplation of a sacred image or object. Bleeding is also likely to occur during the traditional times of commemoration of Christ's passion Fridays, Lent, and especially Good Friday. In many cases stigmatization can be explained by natural causes such as the physical and psychic conditions of the person, along with a strong interest in and devotion to the sufferings of Christ.
In a number of cases, however, stigmatization has been accepted by the Roman Catholic church as attributable only to supernatural causes; 60 stigmatics whose lives have been marked by great holiness and mystical experiences have been either canonized or beatified.
See Body, Blood and Sexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of St. Francis' Stigmata and Their Historical Context, Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures, Stigmata; A Medieval Mystery in a Modern Age, Stigmata and Modern Science, They Bore the Wounds of Christ: The Mystery of the Sacred Stigmata, Antichrist, Archangels, Ark of the Covenant, Bath-kol, Dead Sea Scrolls, Glossolalia, Jacob's Ladder, Lourdes, Shroud of Turin, Stigmata, Tabernacle, Tetragrammaton, The Chakra Store, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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