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In Christian mysticism, bodily marks, scars, or pains suffered in places corresponding to those of the crucified Jesuson the hands and feet, near the heart, and sometimes on the head (from the crown of thorns) or shoulders and back (from carrying the cross and being whipped). They are often presumed to accompany religious ecstasy and are taken as signs of holiness. The first to experience stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi (1224). Of the more than 330 persons identified with stigmata since the 14th century, more than 60 were canonized or beatified by the Roman Catholic church (seecanonization).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on stigmata, visit Britannica.com.