Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
The Roman Rite's Canon of the Mass contains only the names of martyrs, along with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, since 1962, that of Saint Joseph her spouse.
The Roman Rite is the main liturgical rite of the Latin Church, the main particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It is the most widespread liturgical rite in Christianity as a whole. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church, developed out of many local variants from Early Christianity on, not amounting to distinctive rites, that existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as in some Lutheran, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.
Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Qur'an.
By the fourth century, however, "confessors"—people who had confessed their faith not by dying but by word and life—began to be venerated publicly. Examples of such people are Saint Hilarion and Saint Ephrem the Syrian in the East, and Saint Martin of Tours and Saint Hilary of Poitiers in the West. Their names were inserted in the diptychs, the lists of saints explicitly venerated in the liturgy, and their tombs were honoured in like manner as those of the martyrs. Since the witness of their lives was not as unequivocal as that of the martyrs, they were venerated publicly only with the approval by the local bishop. This process is often referred to as "local canonization".
Confessor is a title used within Christianity in several ways.
Hilarion the Great (291–371) was an anchorite who spent most of his life in the desert according to the example of Anthony the Great (c. 251–356). While St Anthony is considered to have established Christian monasticism in the Egyptian desert, St Hilarion is considered by some to be the founder of Palestinian monasticism and venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
Ephrem the Syrian was a Syriac Christian deacon and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the fourth century.
This approval was required even for veneration of a reputed martyr. In his history of the Donatist heresy, Saint Optatus recounts that at Carthage a Catholic matron, named Lucilla, incurred the censures of the Church for having kissed the relics of a reputed martyr whose claims to martyrdom had not been juridically proved. And Saint Cyprian (died 258) recommended that the utmost diligence be observed in investigating the claims of those who were said to have died for the faith. All the circumstances accompanying the martyrdom were to be inquired into; the faith of those who suffered, and the motives that animated them were to be rigorously examined, in order to prevent the recognition of undeserving persons. Evidence was sought from the court records of the trials or from people who had been present at the trials.
Donatism was a heresy leading to schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.
Carthage was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. Carthage was widely considered the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and was arguably one of the most affluent cities of the Ancient World.
In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shamanism, and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", and a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Augustine of Hippo (died 430) tells of the procedure which was followed in his day for the recognition of a martyr. The bishop of the diocese in which the martyrdom took place set up a canonical process for conducting the inquiry with the utmost severity. The acts of the process were sent either to the metropolitan or primate, who carefully examined the cause, and, after consultation with the suffragan bishops, declared whether the deceased was worthy of the name of 'martyr' and public veneration.
Augustine of Hippo was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and Neoplatonic philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of the Western Church and Western philosophy, and indirectly all of Western Christianity. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers of the Latin Church for his writings in the Patristic Period. Among his most important works are The City of God, De doctrina Christiana, and Confessions.
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some archbishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or (usually) ceremonial precedence.
Acts of formal recognition, such as the erection of an altar over the saint's tomb or transferring the saint's relics to a church, were preceded by formal inquiries into the sanctity of the person's life and the miracles attributed to that person's intercession.
An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches and other places of worship. They are used particularly in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Modern Paganism. Many historical faiths also made use of them, including Roman, Greek and Norse religion.
Such acts of recognition of a saint were authoritative, in the strict sense, only for the diocese or ecclesiastical province for which they were issued, but with the spread of the fame of a saint, were often accepted elsewhere also.
The Church of England, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, canonized Charles I as a saint, in the Convocations of Canterbury and York of 1660.
In the Catholic Church, both Latin and constituent Eastern churches, the act of canonization is reserved to the Apostolic See and occurs at the conclusion of a long process requiring extensive proof that the candidate for canonization lived and died in such an exemplary and holy way that they are worthy to be recognized as a saint. The Church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the person is now in Heaven and that they may be publicly invoked and mentioned officially in the liturgy of the Church, including in the Litany of the Saints .
In the Catholic Church, canonization is a decree that allows universal veneration of the saint in the liturgy of the Roman Rite. For permission to venerate merely locally, only beatification is needed.
For several centuries the Bishops, or in some places only the Primates and Patriarchs,could grant martyrs and confessors public ecclesiastical honor; such honor, however, was always decreed only for the local territory of which the grantors had jurisdiction. Only acceptance of the cultus by the Pope made the cultus universal, because he alone can rule the universal Catholic Church. Abuses, however, crept into this discipline, due as well to indiscretions of popular fervor as to the negligence of some bishops in inquiring into the lives of those whom they permitted to be honoured as saints.
In the Medieval West, the Apostolic See was asked to intervene in the question of canonizations so as to ensure more authoritative decisions. The canonization of Saint Udalric, Bishop of Augsburg by Pope John XV in 993 was the first undoubted example of Papal canonization of a saint from outside of Rome; some historians maintain further that the first Papal canonization was of St. Swibert by Pope Leo III in 804.
Thereafter, recourse to the judgment of the Pope was had more frequently. Toward the end of the eleventh century the Popes judged it necessary to restrict episcopal authority regarding canonization, and therefore decreed that the virtues and miracles of persons proposed for public veneration should be examined in councils, more specifically in general councils. Pope Urban II, Pope Calixtus II, and Pope Eugene III conformed to this discipline.
Hugh de Boves, Archbishop of Rouen, canonized Walter of Pontoise, or St. Gaultier, in 1153, the final saint in Western Europe to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope:"The last case of canonization by a metropolitan is said to have been that of St. Gaultier, or Gaucher, [A]bbot of Pontoise, by the Archbishop of Rouen. A decree of Pope Alexander III [in] 1170 gave the prerogative to the [P]ope thenceforth, so far as the Western Church was concerned." In a decretal of 1173, Pope Alexander III reprimanded some bishops for permitting veneration of a man who was merely killed while intoxicated, prohibited veneration of the man, and most significantly decreed that "you shall not therefore presume to honor him in the future; for, even if miracles were worked through him, it is not lawful for you to venerate him as a saint without the authority of the Catholic Church." Theologians disagree as to the full import of the decretal of Pope Alexander III: either a new law was instituted, in which case the Pope then for the first time reserved the right of beatification to himself, or an existing law was confirmed.
However, the procedure initiated by the decretal of Pope Alexander III was confirmed by a bull of Pope Innocent III issued on the occasion of the canonization of Cunigunde of Luxembourg in 1200. The bull of Pope Innocent III resulted in increasingly elaborate inquiries to the Apostolic See concerning canonizations. Because the decretal of Pope Alexander III did not end all controversy and some bishops did not obey it in so far as it regarded beatification, the right of which they had certainly possessed hitherto, Pope Urban VIII issued the Apostolic letter Caelestis Hierusalem cives of 5 July 1634 that exclusively reserved to the Apostolic See both its immemorial right of canonization and that of beatification. He further regulated both of these acts by issuing his Decreta servanda in beatificatione et canonizatione Sanctorum on 12 March 1642.
In his De Servorum Dei beatificatione et de Beatorum canonizatione of five volumes the eminent canonist Prospero Lambertini (1675–1758), who later became Pope Benedict XIV, elaborated on the procedural norms of Pope Urban VIII's Apostolic letter Caelestis Hierusalem cives of 1634 and Decreta servanda in beatificatione et canonizatione Sanctorum of 1642, and on the conventional practice of the time. His work published from 1734 to 1738 governed the proceedings until 1917. The article "Beatification and canonization process in 1914" describes the procedures followed until the promulgation of the Codex of 1917. The substance of De Servorum Dei beatifιcatione et de Beatorum canonizatione was incorporated into the Codex Iuris Canonici (Code of Canon Law) of 1917,which governed until the promulgation of the revised Codex Iuris Canonici in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. Prior to promulgation of the revised Codex in 1983, Pope St. Paul VI initiated a simplification of the procedures.
The Apostolic constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of Pope John Paul II of 25 January 1983and the norms issued by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 7 February 1983 to implement the constitution in dioceses, continued the simplification of the process initiated by Pope Paul VI. Contrary to popular belief, the reforms did not eliminate the office of the Promoter of the Faith (Latin: Promotor Fidei), popularly known as the "Devil's advocate", whose office is to question the material presented in favor of canonization. The reforms were intended to reduce the adversarial nature of the process. In November 2012 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Carmello Pellegrino as Promoter of the Faith.
Candidates for canonization undergo the following process:
The satisfaction of the applicable conditions permits beatification, which then bestows on the Venerable the title of "Blessed" (Latin: "Beatus" or "Beata"). A feast day will be designated, but its observance is ordinarily only permitted for the Blessed's home diocese, to specific locations associated with them, or to the churches or houses of the Blessed's religious order if they belonged to one. Parishes may not normally be named in honor of beati.
Canonization is a statement of the Church that the person certainly enjoys the Beatific Vision of Heaven. The title of "Saint" (Latin: "Sanctus" or "Sancta") is then proper, reflecting that the Saint is a refulgence of the holiness (sanctitas) of God Himself, which alone comes from God's gift. The Saint is assigned a feast day which may be celebrated anywhere in the universal Church, although it is not necessarily added to the General Roman Calendar or local calendars as an "obligatory" feast; parish churches may be erected in his honor; and the faithful may freely celebrate and honor the Saint.
Although recognition of sainthood by the Pope does not directly concern a fact of Divine revelation, nonetheless it must be "definitively held" by the faithful as infallible pursuant to, at the least, the Universal Magisterium of the Church, because it is a truth related to revelation by historical necessity.
Regarding the Eastern Catholic Churches, individual sui juris churches have the right to "glorify" saints for their own jurisdictions, though this has rarely happened.
Popes have several times permitted to the universal Church, without executing the ordinary judicial process of canonization described above, the veneration as a saint, the " cultus " of one long venerated as such locally. This act of a pope is denominated "equipollent" or "equivalent canonization" and "confirmation of cultus". According to the rules Pope Benedict XIV (regnat 17 August 1740 – 3 May 1758) instituted, there are three conditions for an equipollent canonization: (1) existence of an ancient cultus of the person, (2) a general and constant attestation to the virtues or martyrdom of the person by credible historians, and (3) uninterrupted fame of the person as a worker of miracles.
As examples, prior to his pontificate, of this mode of canonization, Pope Benedict XIV himself enumerated the equipollent canonizations of Saints:
Later equipollent canonizations include those of Saints:
Pope Francis added Saints:
The following terms are used for canonization by the autocephalous national Orthodox Churches: канонизацияor прославление "glorification" (Russian Orthodox Church), კანონიზაცია kanonizats’ia (Georgian Orthodox Church), канонизација (Serbian Orthodox Church), canonizare (Romanian Orthodox Church), and Канонизация (Bulgarian Orthodox Church). The following terms are used for canonization by other autocephalous Orthodox Churches: αγιοκατάταξη (Katharevousa: ἁγιοκατάταξις) agiokatataxi/agiokatataxis, "ranking among saints" (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Church of Cyprus, Church of Greece), kanonizim (Albanian Orthodox Church), kanonizacja (Polish Orthodox Church), and kanonizace/kanonizácia (Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church).
The Orthodox Church in America, an Eastern Orthodox Church partly recognized as autocephalous, uses the term "glorification" for granting official recognition to someone as a saint—see glorification.
Within the Armenian Apostolic Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy, there had been discussions since the 1980s about canonizing the victims of the Armenian Genocide.On April 23, 2015, all of the victims of the genocide were canonized.
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has formally declared individuals martyrs , including Dietrich Bonhoeffer (in 2008) and Martin Luther King Jr. (in 2012).
In 1660 the convocations of Canterbury and York canonized King Charles.
Saint Philomena was a young consecrated virgin whose remains were discovered on May 24/25 1802 in the Catacomb of Priscilla. Three tiles enclosing the tomb bore an inscription, Pax Tecum Filumena, that was taken to indicate that her name was Filumena, the English form of which is Philomena. Philomena is the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth.
Simon of Trent ; also known as Simeon; was a boy from the city of Trent, Prince-Bishopric of Trent, whose disappearance and murder was blamed on the leaders of the city's Jewish community, based on his dead body allegedly being found in the cellar of a Jewish family's house, and the confessions of Jews obtained under judicial torture.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia that oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification. After preparing a case, including the approval of miracles, the case is presented to the Pope, who decides whether or not to proceed with beatification or canonization. This is one of nine Vatican Curial congregations.
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles, and is used as a word of praise in some cases.
The process of beatification and canonization has undergone various reforms in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. For current practice, as well as a discussion of similar processes in other churches, see the article on canonization. This article describes the process as it was in 1914, before the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983.
"Servant of God" is a term used for individuals by various religions for people believed to be pious in the faith's tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates an individual who is being investigated by the Church for possible canonization as a saint. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this term is used to refer to any Eastern Orthodox Christian. The Arabic name Abdullah, the Hebrew name Obadiah (עובדיה), the German name Gottschalk, and the Sanskrit name Devadasa are all variations of "servant of God".
July 10 - Eastern Orthodox Church calendar - July 12
August 10 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - August 12
Saint Pedro Calungsod, also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity. From the Catholic canonization to the similar sainthood of the Eastern Orthodox Church to salvation in Christianity in Protestant beliefs, the glorification of the human condition can be a long and arduous process.
Saint Bartholomew of Braga - born Bartolomeu Fernandes and in religious Bartolomeu dos Mártires - was a Portuguese Roman Catholic and a professed member from the Order of Preachers as well as the Archbishop Emeritus of Braga. Fernandes participated in the Council of Trent and also collaborated with Saint Charles Borromeo at the council while also establishing a series of hospitals and hospices in Braga while publishing a range of works from catechism to other topics.
Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, born Neelakanta Pillai in the Kingdom of Travancore, is a beatified Indian layman of the Latin Church. Born into a Hindu family in the 18th century, he converted to Catholicism and is considered a martyr of the Christian faith. Pillai was an official in the court of the King of Travancore, Maharaja Marthanda Varma, when he came under the influence of Dutch naval commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He is believed to have been killed by the Travancore state for upholding his Christian faith.
The Martyrs of Japan were Christian missionaries and followers who were persecuted and executed for being more loyal to Jesus than the Shogunate, mostly during the Tokugawa shogunate period in the 17th century.
The canonization process of Pope Pius XII dates to shortly after his death in 1958. He was declared a Servant of God in 1990 and Venerable in 2009. Father Peter Gumpel is currently the relator of Pius XII's cause for canonization.
The cause for the canonization of Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978, commenced in 1993 and he was canonized on 14 October 2018. After having been proclaimed a Servant of God and declared Venerable, he was beatified on 19 October 2014, after the recognition of a miracle had been attributed to his intercession, and declared a saint by Pope Francis I on 14 October 2018.
Zygmunt Łoziński was a Polish Roman Catholic bishop who served as the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev that later was aggregated to the Diocese of Pinsk. Soviet authorities arrested him on two occasions during his episcopate.
Maiorem hac dilectionem is an apostolic letter issued in the form of a motu proprio of Pope Francis, dated 11 July 2017. The document creates a new path towards sainthood under the canonization procedures of the Roman Catholic Church, through the path of oblatio vitae. This means the offering of one's life on a premature life for another individual; it is to give one's life as a sacrifice for another.
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