Sanctuary (Saint Seiya)

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Sanctuary (聖域 (サンクチュアリ), Sankuchuari) is a fictional location from the manga series Saint Seiya, authored by Masami Kurumada, later adapted to anime. It is also the residence of an organization with the same name.

The organization[edit]

The leader of the Sanctuary is Athena in her human reincarnation. But since Athena only descends down from Olympus as a human incarnation only once every roughly two hundred years, the charge was left mainly to the Pope, the highest rank of the Sanctuary, and her second in command, followed by 88 Saints and more soldiers.

The goal of the Sanctuary is to protect Athena and maintain peace of the world in secret, with least to no interference on most of the affairs around the world in which most of the world population can solve problems on their own.[1] Sanctuary will intervene only when the things that threaten to destroy peace of the world cannot be handled by any other means but the power of Cosmo, most of them cataclysmic and are of divine forces. An example of these is the melt down of the Nuclear Plant at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, USA.[2]

In the beginning of the Saint Seiya original series, battles are fought to win back the control of the Sanctuary from Gemini Saga, the impersonator of the former Pope. This Sanctuary arc is but a prelude in order to control the Sanctuary, the only place from which Athena and her Saints can protect the world against the yet greater threats.

It appears later in the series that Sanctuary is not the only organization in the world that know about Cosmo. In the second arc of the series, the Poseidon arc, the Sanctuary faces a great threat from the cataclysmic Flood, summoned forth by Poseidon to "cleanse the world of evil". His armies and Mariners too know how to utilize the power of Cosmo. The strongest of these are the Marine Generals. And Sanctuary is again on the move.

The biggest threat is later revealed in the next arc of the series, the Hades arc. It is said that the very existence all the Saints within the Sanctuary was to protect the world from this threat: Hades and his Specters. Hades and his army, unlike Athena and hers, do not share the same ideology of leaving the world in peace and unite them with love. They seek to unite them under their power, and thus, protecting the earth by imposing one domination. They even think that the peaceful world such as this one will weaken human. And so they try to change the world filled with love like in Athena's ideology into the lifeless one like in Hades'.[3] And, like Poseidon and his army, Hades and his too possess the power of Cosmo. The destruction of the Sanctuary, along with Athena's life, is their primary goal. In Saint Seiya prequel and sequel official : Saint Seiya: Next Dimension Myth of Hades, Hades and his armies also aim for this. Several times in this manga is shown the structure and the formation of the sanctuary.

In Saint Seiya alternative, the Lost Canvas: Hades Mythology, Hades and his armies also aim for this.

In Saint Seiya alternative, the Episode G, it is revealed that Sanctuary is also the place where the most powerful weapon of the Titans is sealed. The Titans and their minions storm this place many times in hope to retrieve back what they desire.

Geography, location and structures[edit]

Sanctuary is located somewhere within a deep mountain range, near Athens, Greece. Its land is cloaked, and its existence is secret known only to those involved.[4] Although the exact location has never been stated, it is hinted in the original manga that it is within the range one can travel on foot from Athens.

It is the place where almost every Saint Seiya arc revolves around, including Next Dimension, Episode G and the Lost Canvas, consisting of these following main structures

The Colosseum[edit]

The Colosseum (コロッセオ, Korosseo) is very first place of the Sanctuary that appears in the franchise. It is where Seiya becomes the Pegasus Saint. It is used to hold tournaments and fights to determine the wearer of the Clothes and a place for practice.[5]

This place is located very near to the foot of the Gold Zodiac, as Saori Kido and the five main Bronze Saints are welcomed and introduced to the Gold Zodiac by Sagitta Ptolemy here.[6]

The Fire Clock[edit]

The Fire Clock (火時計, Hidokei) is the most prominent structure along with Athena's Colossus. The Fire Clock is a colossal clock tower with four dials that can be seen from anywhere in the Sanctuary. On each dial of the Clock, twelve fires are lit. Each flame represents an hour of each sign, from Aries to Pisces. The first flame will burn out in the first hour, and the second in the second, and the third in the next, and so on. In total, it takes twelve hours for before the last fire burn out.[7]

The dials are only lit to mark or time important battles or events: twice in the original manga series, first marking the battle of the Sanctuary[8] and second marking the invasion of the Spectres and the start of the new Holy War;[9] and once in Episode G, marking the Gold Saint Summon.[10]

The Twelve Temples[edit]

The Twelve Temples is the largest part of the Sanctuary, consists of twelve temples representing the twelve Zodiacs.[11] All the Twelve Temples were built in Greek architecture since the ancient time. They align themselves over high peaks, ridges and slopes of the mountains, from the first sign to the last; namely, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces Temple. However, through wars and the passage of time, many Temples have fallen into decay. And, in the manga versions, Aries Temple has only pillars still standing.[12]

All the Temples are connected by a single long flight of steps connecting the first Temple to the next and so on. These Temples also serve as forts, as they all have Gold Saints of the corresponding signs assigned to them. In addition to the Gold Saints manning the fort, the path and all around the Zodiac are blessed by Athena's Cosmo, serving as holy barriers preventing lesser evils and teleportation between Temples.[13][14] Thus, all those who desire to pass through them must only thread this path afoot. And due to such severe defense, no enemy without Athena's blessing has ever reached the topmost part of the Sanctuary which they protect since the ancient time.[15]

Most Gold Saints with a few exceptions reside here. It has never been shown in the original manga that there are residential parts in these Twelve Temples. But in Episode G, these parts are integrated into them.[16][17]

In Episode G.[18] the Twelve Temples are called The Gold Zodiac (黄道十二宮, Kōdō Jūnikyū).

The thirteenth temple zodiacal[edit]

The thirteenth temple belongs to the thirteenth zodiac sign, Ophiuchus. Halfway between the eighth temple of the Scorpion and ninth temple of Sagittarius, there is the 13th temple of the gold saint cursed, Ophiuchus. This temple is underground, and it was hidden at the time of myth, in order to conceal its existence[19]

The Pope's Chamber[edit]

The Pope's chamber (教皇の間, Kyōkō no ma) is located almost at the top of the Sanctuary, just right below Athena's Colossus, and above the Gold Zodiac.[20] The audience chamber is located here. It is also the residence of the Pope and Athena, and therefore, the most protected part of the Sanctuary.[21]

Aside from the protection provided by the Gold Zodiac, Pisces Saint also places Royal Demon Rose garden on the steps connecting Pisces Temple to the Pope's Chamber to prevent intrusion. Unwitting enemies can end up dead here if they don't realize the lethality of Royal Demon Roses' fragrance.[22][23]

In addition, there seems to be a means to bypass all the defense of the Gold Zodiac and reach this place. However, very few know of its existence.[24][25]

Athena's Colossus[edit]

Athena's Colossus (アテナの彫像, Atena no Chōzō) is a colossal statue overlooking the Sanctuary from the topmost part, accessible only through the Pope's Chamber.[26][27] At first glace, the Colossus itself does not seem to have any significance but for decoration and symbolizing Athena. However, it holds many secrets that only few alive now know of.

It is revealed later that the shield in the left hand of the statue is the Aegis Shield that can dispel any evil. And Nike in the right hand of the statue is, in fact, the Golden Staff that Athena herself carries at all times, calling forth miracles and bringing victories to her Saints.[28] And all of them, including the body of the statue, are one large Cloth. It is Cloth of Athena itself sealed there since the ancient time. With her holy blood, the Cloth can be reawakened and reverted into its true form.[29]

Furthermore, the placement of the statue has its significant meaning. It purposefully marks the Chamber of the Seal right underneath.[30]

Star Hill[edit]

Star Hill (スターヒール, Sutā Hīru) is an isolated part of the Sanctuary, said to be the closest place to heaven. Star Hill is a very tall vertical peak with a cathedral on top of it. Only the Pope of each era is granted access to Star Hill. The passage to this place is ridden with lethal traps and mechanisms. From here, in Athena's place, the Pope reads and interprets movements of the stars, predicting the future of the world. And here too, the assassination by which the Sanctuary is moved takes place.[31][32] In Saint Seiya Next Dimension, we find that, by performing a teleporter by the star hill, you can reach the slopes of Mount Olympus the abode of the gods.[33]

Cape Sounion Prison[edit]

Cape Sounion Prison (ケープスニオンの監獄, Kēpu Sunion no Kangoku) is a watery prison overlooking from a wall of the tall cliff at Cape Sounion, used to imprison the captives of the war of the gods.[34] It is said (and soon proven wrong) to be so strong that it needs someone of divine power to break free.[35] Behind the rear wall of the confinement, in a rocky chamber with no apparent access, holds Poseidon's Trident sealed by Athena.[36]

The barred window of the prison overlooks the sea, and is placed just above water level when the tide is low. When the tide is high, sea water can flow through the bars and overflow the confinement. Although this does not kill the prisoners, it is a very gruesome torture.[37]

Gemini Saga uses this place to imprison his twin brother, Gemini Kanon for his brother's evil and for trying to sow darkness within him.[38]

Saint Graveyard[edit]

The Saint Graveyard (聖闘士 (セイント)の墓場, Seinto no Hakaba) is the eternal resting place of the fallen Saints located somewhere in the lower parts of the Sanctuary, adjacent to the Gold Zodiac, and is also one of many ways through which one can reach the foot of the stairs to the Aries Temple.

In Episode G, an invisible army of the Titans tries to pass through this place to the Twelve Temples, only to be stopped by the cryomancer of the Sanctuary, Aquarius Camus.[39] And here too, is the place where the invasion of the Sanctuary in Hades arc begins.[40]

Twin Sala Garden[edit]

Twin Sala Garden (双沙羅の園, Sōsara no Sono) is a beautiful vast garden created and tended by Virgo Shaka, located right next to Virgo Temple, off the main path, and accessible through a door within the Temple. All manners of beautiful flowers grow here, along with prominent tall twin Sala trees.

The Garden is introduced in Hades arc as a place Virgo Shaka prepared for his own foreseen death.[41] According to the Tripitaka, Gautama Buddha was said to lie down and reach his Nirvana underneath the Sala trees. The Garden is, therefore, fashioned in a similar manner for Shaka's final moment.

It is also the place where one of the biggest fights in Hades arc takes place.[42]

In Saint Seiya Next Dimension, we find that, hath someone manages to overcome the "Buddha no Shimon"(the powerful and sacred protective barrier that the gold saint of the virgin use to defend the sixth house) you end up directly in the Twin Sala Garden.[43]

Chamber of the Seal[edit]

The Chamber of the Seal (封印の間, Fūin no Ma) is a chamber positioned directly underneath the feet of Athena's Colossus, mentioned only in Episode G. Wards and holy spells in Greek are written all over the floor, ceiling and walls. A large black scythe with its blade through the floor is chained up at the center.

After Titanomachy, Zeus won the throne from Cronus and successfully deposed him. He decided to seal his father's weapon, along with all his power and Cosmo away in the safest place of all the Sanctuary. Cronus' Soma, the aforementioned scythe, Megas Drepanon, is sealed here in this chamber. Almost the entire Episode G revolves around this weapon.[44]


  1. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 2, p.61, by Megumu Okada
  2. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 2, by Megumu Okada
  3. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.2, gaiden, by Megumu Okada
  4. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.102, by Megumu Okada
  5. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.104, by Megumu Okada
  6. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.71, by Masami Kurumada
  7. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.79 and p.87, by Masami Kurumada
  8. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.79, by Masami Kurumada
  9. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.19, p.103-111, by Masami Kurumada
  10. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.148-149, by Megumu Okada
  11. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.74-75, by Masami Kurumada
  12. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.73 and p.81-83, by Masami Kurumada
  13. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.19, p.13 and p.24, by Masami Kurumada
  14. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.21, p.8, by Masami Kurumada
  15. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.75, by Masami Kurumada
  16. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.102, by Megumu Okada
  17. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 5, p.146-148, by Megumu Okada
  18. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.171, by Megumu Okada
  19. ^ Saint Seiya Next Dimension, vol.7 by Masami Kurumada
  20. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.74-75, by Masami Kurumada
  21. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.19, p.72, by Masami Kurumada
  22. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.12, p.14 and p.81-83, by Masami Kurumada
  23. ^ Saint Seiya the Lost Canvas: Hades Mythology, vol.3, chapter18, p.57, by Shiori Teshirogi
  24. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.19, p.72, by Masami Kurumada
  25. ^ Saint Seiya the Lost Canvas: Hades Mythology, vol.1, chapter 6, p.191, by Shiori Teshirogi
  26. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.8, p.74-75, by Masami Kurumada
  27. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.119, by Megumu Okada
  28. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.12, p.103-105, by Masami Kurumada
  29. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.22, p.65-170, by Masami Kurumada
  30. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.119-120, by Megumu Okada
  31. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.12, p.109, by Masami Kurumada
  32. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.13, p.49-53, by Masami Kurumada
  33. ^ Saint Seiya Next Dimension vol.2 by Masami Kurumada
  34. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.18, p.26, by Masami Kurumada
  35. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.17, p.172, by Masami Kurumada
  36. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.18, p.28-31, by Masami Kurumada
  37. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.18, p.27, by Masami Kurumada
  38. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.17, p.173, by Masami Kurumada
  39. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.2, chapter 7, p.80-84, by Megumu Okada
  40. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.19, p.30, by Masami Kurumada
  41. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.21, p.83-84, by Masami Kurumada
  42. ^ Saint Seiya, vol.21, p.83-140, by Masami Kurumada
  43. ^ Saint Seiya Next Dimension vol.7 by Masami Kurumada
  44. ^ Saint Seiya Episode G, vol.1, chapter 4, p.120, by Megumu Okada