"I am proof... OF THE EMPEROR'S MIGHT!"
- – Saint Anais
Living Saints are Imperial
Daemon Princes *BLAM*
.... ehem ... as I was saying... Living Saints are, as the name implies, saints who are canonized before death. Often, this is due to the ability to perform fantastic miracles seemingly at will, such as resurrecting the dead, rapidly healing from even the most grievous wounds, or making daemons spontaneously combust with a glance. They're basically zombie-Buddhist angels with absolutely fabulous hair. Living Saints are almost always members of the Adepta Sororitas and thus mostly female; however, Living Saints have also arisen from the ranks of the Imperial Guard.
Living Saints themselves are exceptionally rare even in the Ecclesiarchy, let alone the wider Imperium as the deeds needed to make a Living Saint are almost next to impossible to accomplish. In order to even have a chance at becoming one, the particular individual must be innocent, pure, incorruptible, forgiving when needed, vigilant when needed, merciful to the weak, merciless to the guilty, kind, compassionate, charitable, selfless, modest, heroic, brave and reasonable. And this is just the personal qualities, not to mention the external qualities especially when considering the judgement of both the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition. Essentially, Living Saints are the purest, pure, pure, 100% purity approved human in its purest form which is an impressive feat on its own, making Living Saints by definition more pure than the Emperor himself... at least in the personality and maternity department.
This said, they aren't all nice - Saint Lozepath was dangerously self-aware of his own divinity status and was not afraid to abuse it, to the extent of promising to execute a Space Marine chapter master for questioning his orders or engaging on incredibly risky courses of action on the premise they would be kept safe (although hilariously this didn't pan out as the marines, Saint Lozepath, and his entire Shrine world were all super-murdered by Kharn and his Khornate warband a few books later).
The arrival of a Living Saint is often rare as they only appear during times of extreme hopelessness and despair, but when they do appear they can turn the most cowardly of Guardsmen into a Khornate Supermen that could take on an entire tank division. On the battlefield, Living Saints are manifestations of the Emperor's might, using the powers at their disposal to ruthlessly purge the enemies of man. In a galaxy of Grimdark Living Saints are the brightest beacon for hope and a testament to humanity's resolve.
Powers and Abilities
Living Saints are among the mightiest beings in the Imperium, said to be blessed by a portion of the God-Emperor's power. They are often able to decimate foes with blasts of holy fire and are seemingly impervious to all but the most potent attacks. They often carry a large holy weapon blessed with scripture and possibly anti-daemonic wards. In addition to this, they seem to be completely immune to the taint of the warp, making them a living nightmare for Chaos and its minions.
Many Living Saints can also conjure angelic wings, allowing them to bring righteous death from the air. Death itself is not permanent for a Living Saint as they can be resurrected should the Imperium need their help again, although the process is extremely taxing and requires an object close to the saint itself as a catalyst for summoning (which the Ecclesiarchy deems as relics). They can however, be sort of "killed" by destroying said relics, as happened with Saint Gerstahl, where Abaddon destroyed his remains on Cadia and prevented his revival. This ability is explored in more depth in Fall of Cadia, and as is the case with everything in Warhammer 40k, it's far more grimdark than one might expect.
Dawn of War
Living Saints feature in the Soulstorm expansion pack of Dawn of War. While they were arguably one of the weakest relic units, they have been often seen as a really annoying unit thanks to their resurrection abilities. Due to the fact that Living Saints have relatively low health in contrast to other relic units as well as low damage per hit, they often lose against the likes of Greater Knarlocs and Bloodthirsters, which are units that are supposed to be easily defeated by Living Saints in the fluff. So it was often best to use Living Saints as a support unit, as its resurrection ability and high morale in the faith-o-meter makes it great when grouped with a large Sisters army.
On the Tabletop
A common wish in the fandom is to see "build-a-Saint" in the same style as the Space Marines "build-a-Captain." Plastic kits with weapons options, the ability to take more warlord traits, play up the Your Chicks factor, the whole nine yards. It's one of the first things homebrew writers put down when they write rules — see Codex - Adeptus Ministorum /tg/ Edition for an example.
While not exactly going the whole nine yards, GW has finally made a sort-of "build your own Living Saint" for [9th Edition]. This will only see use in Campaign play however.
Notable Living Saints
- Alicia Dominica: The earliest known Living Saint, Alicia Dominica was the leader of the Brides of the Emperor during the Reign of Blood. She served as Goge Vandire's right-hand woman, dutifully carrying out his increasingly insane and sadistic orders while also protecting him from harm. Despite this, she wasn't stupid so much as blinded by her faith and training, as all Brides of the Emperor at this time were raised to believe that Vandire was effectively the Emperor's voice on Earth, and you know how the Sisters feel about anything involving the Emperor. She later redeemed herself after the Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes took her to see the Emperor in person, which brought her to see Vandire's heresy for what it was and personally execute him. After Vandire's death, she and Sebastian Thor reformed the Brides of the Emperor into the modern Adeptus Sororitas.
- Saint Anais, also known as the Scourge of Heretics. She's the living saint from Soulstorm. There's not much to say about her except that she looks and acts almost exactly like Celestine, begging the question of why they didn't just use her instead of making their own character. During the Battle Sister's stronghold defense, she was able to teleport from shrine to shrine while acting like a DISTRACTION CARNIFEX against the invaders. Regardless, she was apparently killed as the Sister's stronghold was overrun.
- Saint Celestine, the most famous living saint in the Imperium as of M41 and poster girl for living saints everywhere.
- Saint Gerstahl, a legendary soldier of the Imperial Guard who fought in the defence of the Cadian Gate. He was prophesied to return during the 3rd Black Crusade and fuck up Chaos. Unfortunately, Abaddon distracted the Imperium long enough to launch an attack on his tomb, destroying his remains and forestalling his return.
- Saint Grendel, noted Daemon slayer of the Ordo Malleus
- Saint Sabbat, founder of the Sabbat Worlds
- Saint Lozepath, protector of Salandraxis and an arrogant asshole. Despite being utterly dedicated to the Emperor, Lozepath was insanely jumped up on his divine status. He threatened the Chapter Master of the Angels Eradicant with death and burned the eyes out of a Cardinal, all because they questioned his command. However, he could back his dickishness up with sheer power. Though he didn't have the badass wings of other Living Saints, Lozzy was surrounded at all times by a shimmering field of holy energy, and could channel the same energy into disintegrating blasts from his power sword. He was ultimately slain by Kharn the Betrayer, but not before having a giant statue of the Emperor dropped on him and killing a metric ton of Black Legion and World Eater Spehss Marines.
Notable Saints Who Are Frequently Mistaken As Living Saints But Aren't (At least not officially)
- Euphrati Keeler: Though she was certainly thought of as such by her followers, by the strictest of definitions, the First Imperial Saint could not have been a "Living Saint" because there was no official body that could recognize her during her lifetime. The Imperial Cult did eventually canonize her later.
- Sebastian Thor: Despite being one of the most famous Saints in the whole Imperium and spawning an entire faction of the Inquisition in his name, he was only beatified after his death. While his contemporary Alicia Dominica was canonised a Living Saint... go figure. Dude probably tried to reduce the hero worship but they betrayed his wishes the moment he croaked.
- Lord Solar Macharius: Often called a Living Saint and hailed as such even during his lifetime, the Ecclesiarchy didn't actually recognise him until many years after his death and internment.
- Saint Drusus: Patron Saint of the Calixis Sector, he became leader of the Angevin Crusade after it's commander had a nervous breakdown, leading the crusade against Chaos-worshiping xenos called the Yu'Vath who controlled much of the sector. He was killed by an assassin on the world of Maccabeus Quintus, before apparently resurrecting to continue the good fight. Although this led many under his command to call him a living saint, he wasn't officially canonized until about a hundred years after his second (and final) death. There is more to it than that, because his first "death" was rather fishy; the Recongregators possibly had a hand in his resurrection, potentially making him an unwitting fraud. Chaos Cultists also get involved later. Your call on how to feel about that.
|Forces of the Sisters of Battle|
|Command:||Triumph of Saint Katherine - Canoness |
Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave - Imagifier
Ministorum Priest - Palatine - Dogmata
Sororitas Command Squad
|Troops:||Avenging Angel - Arco-flagellant - Battle Sister Squad |
Celestians - Crusaders - Death Cult Assassin
Dominion Squad - Novitiate Squad - Retributor Squad
Seraphim Squad - Sisters Repentia - Zephyrim Squad
|Vehicles:||Castigator Tank - Exorcist - Immolator |
Paragon Warsuit - Penitent Engine
Repressor - Rhino - Mortifier
|Special Vehicles:||Pulpit of Saint Holline's Basilica|
|Flyers:||Avenger Strike Fighter|
|Spacecraft:||Aquila Lander - Drop Pod|
|Saints:||Living Saint - Geminae Superia|
|Non Militant:||Orders Dialogous - Orders Famulous - Orders Hospitaler |
Orders Pronatus - Hagiolater