Christians began to honor their departed heroes of the faith as early as the second century. After Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was martyred in about 155, his ashes were gathered up by the faithful and laid in a suitable place. The cult concerning the relics of saints began at the same time. Memorial buildings came to be built over the graves of saints or martyrs, and the eucharist was celebrated on the anniversaries of their deaths. Christian teaching about the communion of the saints is the foundation for the custom of the veneration of the saints.
Veneration of Saints
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.