Imaginary or legendary saints associated with Catholicism?

I am doing a little research on so called imaginary or completely legendary saints that have been associated with Catholicism in one way or another!

The ones I have come up with are as follows:

Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death), often shortened to Santa Muerte, is a idol, female deity or folk saint in Mexican and Mexican-American neo-paganism and folk Catholicism. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees.1 Despite condemnation by leaders of the Catholic Church, and more recently Evangelical movements,2 her cult[a] has become increasingly prominent since the turn of the 21st century.

San La Muerte (Saint Death) is a skeletal folk saint that is venerated in Paraguay, Argentina (mainly in the province of Corrientes but also in Misiones, Chaco and Formosa) and southern Brazil (specifically in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). As the result of internal migration in Argentina since the 1960s the veneration of San La Muerte has been extended to Greater Buenos Aires and the national prison system as well.

Saint Grobian is a fictional patron saint of vulgar and coarse people. His name is derived from the Middle High German grob or grop, meaning coarse or vulgar. The Old High German cognate is gerob, gerop. The word "grobian" has thus passed into the English language as an obscure word for any crude, sloppy, or buffoonish person.

Barlaam and Josaphat are legendary Christian martyrs and saints. Their life story is very likely to have been based on the life of the Gautama Buddha. It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. After much tribulation the young prince's father accepted the Christian faith, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam. The tale derives from a second to fourth century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, via a Manichaean version, then the Arabic Kitāb Bilawhar wa-Būd̠āsaf (Book of Bilawhar and Budhasaf), current in Baghdad in the eighth century, from where it entered into Middle Eastern Christian circles before appearing in European versions. The two were entered in the Eastern Orthodox calendar with a feast-day on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.

Saint Guinefort was a 13th-century French dog that received local veneration as a folk saint after miracles were reported at his grave.

Saint Sarah, also known as “Sara the Black", is the patron saint of the Romani people. The center of her veneration is Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a place of pilgrimage for Roma in the Camargue, in southern France. Legend identifies her as the servant of one of the Three Marys, with whom she is supposed to have arrived in the Camargue.

According to Catholic tradition, Saint Amaro or Amarus the Pilgrim was an abbot and sailor who it was claimed sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to an earthly paradise. There are two historical figures who may have provided the basis for this legend. The first was a French penitent of the same name who went on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the thirteenth century. On his return journey, he established himself at Burgos, where he founded a hospital for lepers.

Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary character originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve (24 December) or during the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December). The modern character of Santa Claus was based on traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas (a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra), the British figure of Father Christmas, and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas). Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic deity Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.

This probably an incomplete list of such imagery or completely legendary saints. Thus my question is quite simple: Are their other such imagery persons called saints that are somehow associated with Catholicism, yet are not real saints?

Please note that I am not asking about legends associated with real saints that are recognized as such by the Catholic Church.

  • An interesting example is St. Valentine, who was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 due to lack of historical sources about him.
    – Jeh
    Jun 15, 2021 at 16:36
  • @Jeh St. Valentine remains a valid saint in the view of the Church.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 15, 2021 at 16:43
  • "Santa" Muerte is a demon worshipped by Mexican mobsters. Stay away.
    – jaredad7
    Dec 6, 2021 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


This question deserves to be answered. Lets start a wiki of imaginary saints.

Fake saints in folklore/tradition

  • Saint Wilgefortis - I read about in a picture book of saints, she was more or less a character out of folklore. She didn't want to marry a king because she had made a vow of virginity. When she was forced to she prayed she would be delivered and grew a fine beard and moustache so the king (or maybe her father) had her put to death.

Fake saints in music

  • Saint Alfonso - Of pancake breakfast fame, from the Frank Zappa song, St. Alfonso's Pancake breakfast, possibly related St. Alphonsus Ligouri, but probably just chosen for purposes of meter and jocularity.

Fake saints in literature

The following saints are from a G.K. Chesterton poem appearing in The Flying Inn and collected in The Collected Poems of G.K. Chesterton under the title Me Heart. Two of the three are imaginary and for whatever reason, the third is St. Barnabas (most likely because of the manner of his martyrdom)

  • Saint Gallowglass - upon whose eve a lady stole the poet's heart. Gallowglass, is not a saints name, but refers to a group of Irish soldiers which the hero of the story was ostensibly the last of.

  • Saint Poleander - also upon whose eve a lady stole the poet's heart. Poleander doesn't appears to be anything, but it could be a contraction with oleander, which is pretty poisonous flower.

Fake saints in television/movies

  • St. Elsewhere - The nickname for the hospital on eponymous the 80's medical drama. Actually St. Eligius so maybe this doesn't belong here

  • St. Elmo - From St. Elmo's Fire. Which is apparently a nickname for St. Erasamus. Probably doesn't belong in a list of fake saints since he is also a real person, but find he sounds fake, I thought it worth including.

Fake Saints for Charity

  • St. Baldrick - Imaginary saint used in a charitable foundation to raise money for childhood cancer by fundraisers involving shaving heads. St. Baldrick is a combination of Bald and Patrick.
  • Great answer and a correct way to use community wiki option!
    – Ken Graham
    Dec 6, 2021 at 15:49

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