Canonization

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Icon of St. Cyprian of Carthage, who urged diligence in the process of canonization Stcyprian.jpg
Icon of St. Cyprian of Carthage, who urged diligence in the process of canonization

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.

Saint one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue

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.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian 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.

Contents

Historical development

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.

Roman Rite Most widespread liturgical rite in the Latin Church

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 (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

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, mother of Jesus Mother of Jesus, according to the Christian New Testament

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". [2]

Confessor is a title used within Christianity in several ways.

Hilarion anchorite who spent most of his life in the desert

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 Syriac deacon and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century

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

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 archaeological site in Tunisia

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.

Relic ancient religious object preserved for purposes of veneration

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 Early Christian theologian, philosopher and Church Father

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.

Metropolitan bishop ecclesiastical office

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 (bishop) High-ranking bishop in certain Christian churches

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.

Altar structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes

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.

Anglican Communion

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. [3]

Catholic Church

Nature

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. [4]

Procedure prior to reservation to the Apostolic See

Pope Pius II canonizes Catherine of Siena Pintoricchio 018 detail.jpg
Pope Pius II canonizes Catherine of Siena

For several centuries the Bishops, or in some places only the Primates and Patriarchs, [5] 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. [6] 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.

Exclusive reservation to the Apostolic See

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: [7] [8] "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." [7] 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." [9] Theologians disagree as to the full import of the decretal of Pope Alexander III: either a new law was instituted, [10] 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.

Procedure from 1734 to 1738 to 1983

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, [11] 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.

Since 1983

The Apostolic constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister of Pope John Paul II of 25 January 1983 [12] and 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. [13] 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. [14]

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. [20] [21]

Regarding the Eastern Catholic Churches, individual sui juris churches have the right to "glorify" saints for their own jurisdictions, though this has rarely happened.

Equipollent canonization

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:

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria (1876). On 3 April 2011, Batak massacre victims were canonized as saints. Piotrovskii. batakskaia reznia. 1889 god.jpeg
The Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria (1876). On 3 April 2011, Batak massacre victims were canonized as saints.
On 4 November 1992, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously declared Christians that were tortured and massacred by the Turks in the Great fire of Smyrna in 1922 as saints. Smyrna-massacre greeks-killed line.jpg
On 4 November 1992, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously declared Christians that were tortured and massacred by the Turks in the Great fire of Smyrna in 1922 as saints.

The following terms are used for canonization by the autocephalous national Orthodox Churches: канонизация [28] or прославление [29] "glorification" [30] (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 [31] (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. [32]

Oriental Orthodox Church

Within the Armenian Apostolic Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy, there had been discussions since the 1980s about canonizing the victims of the Armenian Genocide. [33] On April 23, 2015, all of the victims of the genocide were canonized. [34] [35] [36]

United Methodist Church

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). [37] [38]

See also

Notes

  1. Kemp (1948).
  2. For the history of such canonization, see Kemp. [1]
  3. Mitchell, Jolyon (29 November 2012). Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN   9780191642449. In 1660 the convocations of Canterbury and York canonized King Charles.
  4. "Beatification, in the present discipline, differs from canonization in this: that the former implies (1) a locally restricted, not a universal, permission to venerate, which is (2) a mere permission, and no precept; while canonization implies a universal precept" (Beccari, Camillo. "Beatification and Canonization". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Accessed 27 May 2009.).
  5. August., Brevic. Collat. cum Donatistis, III, 13, no. 25 in PL, XLIII, 628.
  6. Gonzalez Tellez, Comm. Perpet. in singulos textus libr. Decr., III, xlv, in Cap. 1, De reliquiis et vener. Sanct.
  7. 1 2 "William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (Murray, 1875), p. 283" . Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  8. "Pope Alexander III". Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  9. Pope Gregory IX, Decretales, 3, "De reliquiis et veneratione sanctorum". It is alternatively quoted as follows: "For the future you will not presume to pay him reverence, as, even though miracles were worked through him, it would not allow you to revere him as a saint unless with the authority of the Roman Church". (C. 1, tit. cit., X, III, xlv.)
  10. St. Robert Bellarmine, De Eccles. Triumph., I, 8.
  11. Aimable Musoni, "Saints without Borders", pp. 9–10.
  12. "DIVINUS PERFECTIONIS MAGISTER" . Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  13. "Divinus Perfectionis Magister" . Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  14. "Devil's Advocate Is Puglia: 'It will test the virtues of aspiring saints'", la Repubblica, 5 November 2012.
  15. Pope John Paul II, Divinus Perfectionis Magister (25 January 1983), Art. 1, Sec. 1.
  16. Pietro Cardinal Palazzini, Norms to be observed in inquiries made by bishops in the causes of saints, 1983 Archived 22 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine , §9(a).
  17. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), Biography, Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Internet Office of the Holy See
  18. "Sister Lucia's Beatification Process to Begin". ZENIT – The World Seen from Rome. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  19. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, CMF, Response of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Examination of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God John Paul II, 2005 Archived 5 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  20. Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  21. "Beatification and Canonization", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2. New York, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. P. 366.
  22. Angelo Amato, "La canonizzazione equipollente della mistica Angela da Foligno" in L'Osservatore Romano (12 October 2013).
  23. "Pope Canonizes Jose de Anchieta, Known as Brazil's Apostle". Fox News Latino. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  24. "P. E. Hallett, "The Canonization of Saints"" . Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  25. J. R. MacMahon, "Beatification and Canonisation"
  26. Αγ. Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης Archived 21 July 2011 at Archive.today . Municipality of Triglia. Retrieved: 7 September 2012.
  27. (in Greek) Κων/τίνος Β. Χιώλος. "Ο μαρτυρικός θάνατος του Μητροπολίτου Σμύρνης". Δημοσια Κεντρικη Βιβλιοθηκη Σερρων. Τετάρτη, 13 Σεπτεμβρίου 2006.
  28. "Почему был канонизирован Николай Второй?" by Protodeacon Andrey Kuraev at Pravmir.ru (17 July 2009)
  29. "Прославление святых – это не дело узкого круга специалистов, это дело всей Церкви" by Julija Birjukova at Pravmir.ru (9 Dec. 2013)
  30. "On the Glorification of Saints" by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
  31. Georgios Babiniotis. Dictionary of Modern Greek , Athens: Lexicology Centre, 1998, p. 53.
  32. "The Glorification of Saints in the Orthodox Church" Archived 8 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine by Fr. Joseph Frawley
  33. Roberta R. Ervine, Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2006, p. 346 n. 17.
  34. Davlashyan, Naira. "Armenian Church makes saints of 1.5 million genocide victims – Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  35. "Armenian Genocide victims canonized in Holy Etchmiadzin". Panarmenian.Net. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  36. "Canonized: Armenian Church proclaims collective martyrdom of Genocide victims – Genocide". ArmeniaNow.com. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  37. Hodges, Sam (2008). "Dietrich Bonhoeffer first martyr officially recognized by United Methodists". Dallas News . Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  38. Mulenga, Maidstone (1 May 2012). "United Methodists declare MLK Jr. a modern-day martyr". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 4 May 2018.

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References

Catholic Church