Servant of God

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Pope Benedict XIII, one of only two Popes to be currently declared a Servant of God. Benedetto XIII.jpg
Pope Benedict XIII, one of only two Popes to be currently declared a Servant of God.

"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. [note 1] The Arabic name Abdullah [1] (from عبد الله, ʿAbd Allāh, "Servant of God"), the Hebrew name Obadiah (עובדיה), the German name Gottschalk , and the Sanskrit name Devadasa are all variations of "servant of God".

Contents

Christianity

Bible

The expression "servant of God" appears nine times in the Bible, the first five in the Old Testament, the last four in the New. The Hebrew Bible refers to "Moses the servant of Elohim" (עֶֽבֶד הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים ‘eḇeḏ-hā’ĕlōhîm; 1 Chronicles 6:49 , 2 Chronicles 24:9 , Nehemiah 10:29 , and Daniel 9:11 ). Judges 2:8 refers to Joshua as ‘eḇeḏ Yahweh (עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֑ה).

The New Testament also describes Moses in this way in Revelation 15:3 (τοῦ δούλου τοῦ Θεοῦ, tou doulou tou Theou). Paul calls himself "a servant of God" in Titus 1:1 (δοῦλος Θεοῦ, doulos Theou), while James calls himself "a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ δοῦλος, Theou kai Kyriou Iēsou Christou doulos) in James 1:1 . 1 Peter 2:16 describes "servants of God" (Θεοῦ δοῦλοι, Theou douloi) being free to act within the bounds of God's will. Following usage conventions established in the King James Bible, the word "servant" is never capitalized or used as a title of nobility. ("The servant is not greater than his lord.") [2]

Catholic Church

"Servant of God" is an expression used for a member of the Catholic Church whose life and works are being investigated in consideration for official recognition by the Pope and the Catholic Church as a saint in Heaven. [3] [4] The term "Servant of God" (Latin : Servus Dei) should not be confused with Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God), one of the titles of the Pope.

The term Servant of God is used in the first of the four steps in the canonization process. The next step is being declared Venerable , upon a decree of heroism or martyrdom by the honored. That is followed by beatification, with the title of Blessed . After the confirmation of miracles resulting from the intercession of the honored, the final step is canonization, where the honored would receive the title of Saint . [5] [6] The process for canonization is under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

An incomplete list can be found in the List of Servants of God and Candidates for sainthood.

Servant of God is not considered a canonical title in a strict sense by the Catholic Church (as for instance Venerable or Blessed are), but only a technical term used in the process of beatification. Hence, any of the faithful can be named a "Servant of God" in a larger frame of meaning. [7]

Hinduism

A guru or sat guru in various traditions of Hinduism is given the name Dasa, [8] or "servant of God". A teacher also can be called uda ka das, which means "the servant of God". [9] In Sanskrit, the word dasa (IAST dāsa) means "servant," and this meaning is retained in all Indian languages where devotion to a personal God is practiced. In Tamil, tontai, dasa, servant, or "slave," commonly are used to refer to devotees of Vishnu or Krishna. [10] According to Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, as expressed in the Smriti statement dāsa-bhūto harer eva nānyasvaiva kadācana, living entities (bhuto) are eternally in the service (dasa) of the Supreme Lord (Hari). [11] Thus, designation for Vaishnavas was the status title dasa as part of their names, such as Hari dasa, Narayana dasa, Ram das, Gopal das, etc. [12]

See also

Notes

  1. See e.g. the standard use of "servant of God" or, in Greek, "δούλος του Θεού" in the Orthodox rites of baptism, marriage, or communion; the female form, in English, is sometimes rendered "handmaid of God".

Related Research Articles

Canonization Act by which churches declare that a person who has died is a saint

Canonization, in its most exact historical sense, refers to a papal declaration that the Catholic faithful may venerate a particular deceased member of the church. Popes began making such decrees in the tenth century. Up to that point, the local bishops governed the veneration of holy men and women within their own dioceses; and there may have been, for any particular saint, no formal decree at all. In subsequent centuries, the procedures became increasingly regularized and the popes began restricting to themselves the right to declare someone a Catholic saint. In contemporary usage, the term is understood to refer to the act by which any Christian church declares that a person who has died is a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon." Today, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion speak of "canonized" saints, in addition to the Roman Catholic Church.

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.

Josemaría Escrivá Spanish priest and catholic saint

Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest who founded Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God and that ordinary life can result in sanctity. He was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who declared Saint Josemaría should be "counted among the great witnesses of Christianity."

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

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.

Devils advocate former official position within the Catholic Church

The advocatus diaboli is a former official position within the Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith: one who "argued against the canonization (sainthood) of a candidate in order to uncover any character flaws or misrepresentation of the evidence favoring canonization".

The Venerable title used for religious leaders and clergy

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 before the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983.

Józef Bilczewski Catholic archbishop and professor of theology

Saint Józef Bilczewski was a Polish Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Lviv from 1900 until his death. He served as a theological and dogmatics professor in the Lviv college after himself having earned two doctorates in the course of his own studies. He earned a reputation as a learned and cultured man; these qualities led to Emperor Franz Joseph I nominating him for the Lviv archdiocese as its head. Pope Leo XIII named him as its archbishop and he set to work prioritizing a range of different pastoral initiatives aimed at revitalizing the faith within people and also prioritizing ecumenical cooperation with other denominations.

Canonization of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer discusses John Paul II's decision to canonize Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, more commonly known as Opus Dei.

Thomas Kurialacherry Archbishop of Changanassery

Venerable Thomas of Kurialacherry
ܡܵܪܝ ܬܐܘܿܡܐܵ ܐܲܦܸܣܩܘܿܦܵܐ
was a Catholic bishop, born in the Indian village of Champakulam.

Alfonso Maria Fusco was a Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Sisters of Saint John the Baptist – also known as the Baptistine Sisters. Their mission was to evangelize and educate as well as to promote the faith amongst adolescents with a particular emphasis on those who were poor or abandoned.

Josep Manyanet i Vives Catalan priest

Saint Josep Manyanet i Vives was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Sons of the Holy Family and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family. He served in a range of capacities as a parish priest before establishing both religious orders in order to spread devotion to the Holy Family to whom he fostered an intense devotion.

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.

In the Catholic Church, a positio is a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable, the second of the four steps on the path to canonization as a saint. It collects the evidence obtained by a diocesan inquiry into a candidate's heroic virtues in a form suitable for presentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Upon presentation, the positio is examined by a committee of expert historians and theologians, and if they find the evidence presented suitable, they may then make a recommendation to the Pope that the candidate be declared Venerable.

Giovanni Battista Piamarta Italian saint

Saint Giovanni Battista Piamarta was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and educator. Piamarta was also the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Piamarta established his congregation in 1900 in order to promote Christian education across the Italian peninsula. Piamarta also founded the Humble Servants of the Lord.

Beatification of Pope Paul VI

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.

Maria Giuseppa Rossello was an Italian Religious Sister who founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. She has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Euzebiusz Huchracki martyr of World War II

Euzebiusz Huchracki, was a Polish Franciscan friar, superior of the monastery in Miejska Górka, chaplain of the Secular Franciscan Order, who shortly after the Nazi invasion of Poland was arrested by the Gestapo, imprisoned at several places of detention, and lastly deported to the Dachau concentration camp, and murdered.

Carlo Acutis servant of God of the Catholic Church

Venerable Carlo Acutis was an Italian Roman Catholic teenager. He was best known for documenting Eucharistic miracles around the world and cataloging them all onto a website that he himself created in the months before his death from leukemia. He was noted for his cheerfulness and for his computer skills as well as for his deep devotion to the Eucharist which became a core theme of his life.

References

  1. The Vision of Islam. Sachiko Murata i William C. Chitthick. J.B. Tauris. pg. 125
  2. John 13:16 ; John 15:20 ; Matthew 25:21
  3. "Pressing Sainthood for a Beloved Archbishop". (12 December 2004) by Marek Fuchs. The New York Times. Accessed 28 February 2010
  4. CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS: NEW PROCEDURES IN THE RITE OF BEATIFICATION
  5. "John Paul II declared Venerable, moves one step closer to sainthood". CNA. Retrieved 28 February 2010
  6. Mercedarian Missionaries' founder to be beatified. Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine 5 October 2006. Saipan Tribune. Retrieved 28 February 2010
  7. Congregatio de Causis Sanctorum – Vincenzo Criscuolo, Daniel Ols, Robert J. Sarno (ed.), Le Cause dei Santi. Sussidio per lo Studium, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 3rd edition, Rome 2014, p. 342.
  8. Able exponent of Dwaita philosophy Thursday, 7 September 2000. The Hindu
  9. Essays And Lectures On The Religions Of The Hindus: Religious Sects of the Hindus V1. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. 2006. p. 353. ISBN   1-4286-1308-0.
  10. Steven P. Hopkins (2007). An ornament for jewels: love poems for the Lord of Gods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 160. ISBN   0-19-532639-3.
  11. Bhaktivedanta Swami, A. C. (1972). The Bhagavad-gita As It Is , second edition. New York City: Macmillan.
  12. Talbot, Cynthia (2001). Precolonial India in practice: society, region, and identity in medieval Andhra. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 81. ISBN   0-19-513661-6.