Discussions on saints normally focus on the nature and meaning of sainthood. While apostels, church fathers, martyrs and people of outstanding dedication are considered as saints in Christian tradition, the Vedic sages and gurus are taken as counterparts in the Hindu religious tradition. But mostly significance is attached to their individual worth, charisma and exemplary life. However, the communion of saints is a significant phenomenon in the New Testament and its resemblance seems to lie more in the wandering saints of the regional bhakti traditions of Hinduism (C-500-700 CE) than in the Vedic sages and gurus. Particularly the theological significance attached to the communion of saints in the Tamil Saiva scriptures is remarkable. Although the canonical leaders or teachers of Saivism (nayanars) are well acknowledged for their devotional experience and their contribution to Saiva Siddhanta, the theological significance of the communion of saints remains an undeveloped theme.
Musical and liturgical historians alike are familiar with the numerical series of weekday communions derived from Psalms 1-26. What is less well known is that the communion texts for the entire temporale reveal similar compositional patterns. The cycle begins with a richly evocative group for Advent and the day of Christmas derived from the Prophets, and continues after Christmas with a series of vignettes drawn from the gospels, providing a history in miniature of Jesus' childhood and early public life. The potential for narrative is not so great for Paschaltide, but there is no less symmetry in the disposition of its communions, virtually all of which are taken from either the gospels or-another innovation-the epistles. Finally the post-Pentecostal season, despite its more irregular history, boasts a concentration of twelve communions unified by the related themes of harvest, sacrifice and eucharist, a poetic gesture recalling the Advent and Christmas day group. The cycle as a whole is replete with internal evidence, suggesting a project of wholesale revision and composition that took place over a period of two or three generations at most. There are broad circumstances, involving liturgy, music and the historical background, that locate the bulk of this activity in the Roman schola cantorum of the later-seventh and earlier-eighth centuries. More precise chronological indications, in turn, place the last stages of the effort, involving the borrowing of responsories and antiphons from the Office, as late as the mid-eighth century. It is clear, in fact, that this was accomplished with the participation of the Franks. 041b061a72