The Info List - 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 "canon", or list, of recognized saints. Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Anglican Communion, the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Church.


1 Historical development 2 Anglican Communion 3 Catholic Church

3.1 Nature 3.2 Procedure prior to reservation to the Apostolic See 3.3 Exclusive reservation to the Apostolic See 3.4 Procedure from 1734–38 to 1983 3.5 Since 1983 3.6 Equipollent canonization

4 Eastern Orthodox Church 5 Oriental Orthodox Church 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Historical development[edit] The first persons honored as saints were the martyrs. Pious legends of their deaths were considered affirmations of the truth of their faith in Christ. The Roman Rite's Canon of the Mass contains only the names of martyrs, along with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary
and, since 1962, that of St. Joseph
St. Joseph
her spouse. 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
and Saint
Ephrem the Syrian
Ephrem the Syrian
in the East, and Saint
Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours
and Saint
Hilary of Poitiers
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] 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. Saint
Augustine of Hippo
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. 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. 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[edit] Main article: Saints in Anglicanism The Church of England, the Mother Church
Mother Church
of the Anglican Communion, canonized Charles I as a saint, in the Convocations of Canterbury and York of 1660.[3] Catholic Church[edit]

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v t e

Nature[edit] In the Catholic Church, both Latin
and Eastern Churches, the act of canonization is reserved to the Apostolic See
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 he is worthy to be recognized as a saint. The Church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the person is now in Heaven
and that he 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[edit]

Pope Pius II
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
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[edit] Hugh de Boves, Archbishop of Rouen, canonized Walter of Pontoise, or St. Gaultier, in 1153, the final saint in Western Europe
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 St. Cunegunda
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
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 1734–38 to 1983[edit] 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 1734–38 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, Bl. Pope
Paul VI initiated a simplification of the procedures. Since 1983[edit] The Apostolic constitution
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 Bl. 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:

"Servant of God" ("Servus Dei"): The process of canonization commences at the diocesan level. A bishop with jurisdiction, usually the bishop of the place where the candidate died or is buried, although another ordinary can be given this authority, gives permission to open an investigation into the virtues of the individual in response to a petition of members of the faithful, either actually or pro forma.[15] This investigation usually commences no sooner than five years after the death of the person being investigated.[16] The Pope, qua Bishop of Rome, may also open a process and has the authority to waive the waiting period of five years, e. g., as was done for St. Teresa of Calcutta by Pope
John Paul II,[17] and for Lúcia Santos
Lúcia Santos
and for Pope John Paul II himself by Pope
Benedict XVI.[18][19] Normally, an association to promote the cause of the candidate is instituted, an exhaustive search of the candidate's writings, speeches, and sermons is undertaken, a detailed biography is written, and eyewitness accounts are collected. When sufficient evidence has been collected, the local bishop presents the investigation of the candidate, who is titled "Servant of God" (Latin: "Servus Dei"), to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints of the Roman Curia, where the cause is assigned a postulator, whose office is to collect further evidence of the life of the Servant of God. Religious orders that regularly deal with the Congregation often designate their own Postulator
General. At some time, permission is then granted for the body of the Servant of God to be exhumed and examined. A certification "non cultus" is made that no superstitious or heretical worship, or improper cult of the Servant of God or his tomb has emerged, and relics are taken and preserved. "Venerable" ("Venerabilis"; abbreviated "Ven.") or "Heroic in Virtue": When sufficient evidence has been collected, the Congregation recommends to the Pope
that he proclaim the heroic virtue of the Servant of God; that is, that the Servant of God exercised to a heroic degree the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance). From this time the one said to be "heroic in virtue" is entitled "Venerable" (Latin: "Venerabilis"). A Venerable
does not yet have a feast day, permission to erect churches in his honor has not yet been granted, and the Church does not yet issue a statement on his probable or certain presence in Heaven, but prayer cards and other materials may be printed to encourage the faithful to pray for a miracle wrought by his intercession as a sign of God's will that the person be canonized. "Blessed" ("Beatus" or "Beata"; abbreviated "Bl."): Beatification
is a statement of the Church that it is "worthy of belief" that the Venerable
is in Heaven
and saved. Attaining this grade depends on whether the Venerable
is a martyr:

For a martyr, the Pope
has only to make a declaration of martyrdom, which is a certification that the Venerable
gave his life voluntarily as a witness of the Faith or in an act of heroic charity for others. For a non-martyr, all of them being denominated "confessors" because they "confessed", i. e., bore witness to the Faith by how they lived, proof is required of the occurrence of a miracle through the intercession of the Venerable; that is, that God granted a sign that the person is enjoying the Beatific Vision
Beatific Vision
by performing a miracle for which the Venerable
interceded. Presently, these miracles are almost always miraculous cures of infirmity, because these are the easiest to judge given the Church's evidentiary requirements for miracles; e. g., a patient was sick with an illness for which no cure was known; prayers were directed to the Venerable; the patient was cured; the cure was spontaneous, instantaneous, complete, and enduring; and physicians cannot discover any natural explanation therefor.

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 him, or to the churches or houses of the Blessed's religious order if he belonged to one. Parishes may not normally be named in honor of beati.

"Saint" ("Sanctus" or "Sancta"; abbreviated "St." or "S."): To be canonized as a saint, ordinarily at least two miracles must have been performed through the intercession of the Blessed after his death, but for beati confessors, i. e., beati who were not declared martyrs, only one miracle is required, ordinarily being additional to that upon which beatification was premised. Very rarely, a pope may waive the requirement for a second miracle after beatification if he, the Sacred College of Cardinals, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints all agree that the Blessed lived a life of great merit proven by certain actions. This extraordinary procedure was used in Pope Francis' canonization of Pope
John XXIII, who convoked the first part of the Second Vatican Council.

is a statement of the Church that the person certainly enjoys the Beatific Vision
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
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[edit] 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:

in 1595, Norbert
in 1621, Bruno in 1623, Peter Nolasco
Peter Nolasco
in 1655, Raymond Nonnatus
Raymond Nonnatus
in 1681, King Stephen of Hungary
Stephen of Hungary
in 1686, Queen Margaret of Scotland in 1691, John of Matha
John of Matha
and Felix of Valois
Felix of Valois
in 1694, Pope
Gregory VII in 1728, Duke Wenceslaus of Bohemia in 1729, and Gertrude of Helfta
Gertrude of Helfta
in 1738.

Later equipollent canonizations include those of Saints:

Peter Damian
Peter Damian
and Boniface
in 1828; Cyril and Methodius
Cyril and Methodius
in 1880; Ephrem the Syrian
Ephrem the Syrian
in 1920; Albert the Great
Albert the Great
in 1931; Margaret of Hungary in 1943; John of Ávila
John of Ávila
and Nikola Tavelić
Nikola Tavelić
and his three companion martyrs in 1970; Marko Krizin, István Pongrácz, and Melchior Grodziecki in 1995; and Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard of Bingen
in 2012.

Francis added Saints:

Angela of Foligno[22] and Peter Faber
Peter Faber
in 2013 and José de Anchieta,[23] Marie of the Incarnation, and Francis-Xavier de Montmorency-Laval in 2014.[24][25]

Eastern Orthodox Church[edit]

The Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria (1876). On 3 April 2011, Batak massacre victims were canonized as saints.

The following terms are used for canonization by the autocephalous national Orthodox Churches: канонизация[26] or прославление[27] "glorification"[28] (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[29] (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
Orthodox Church
in America, an Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
partly recognized as autocephalous, uses the term "glorification" for granting official recognition to someone as a saint—see glorification.[30][31] Oriental Orthodox Church[edit] Within the Armenian Apostolic Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy, there have been discussions since the 1980s about canonizing the victims of the Armenian Genocide.[32] See also[edit]

Saints portal

Beatification Devil's advocate Glorification List of canonizations List of Christian saints after A.D. 450 (incomplete list) List of Christian saints before A.D. 450 Litany of the Saints


^ Kemp (1948). ^ For the history of such canonization, see Kemp.[1] ^ 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.  ^ "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.). ^ August., Brevic. Collat. cum Donatistis, III, 13, no. 25 in PL, XLIII, 628. ^ Gonzalez Tellez, Comm. Perpet. in singulos textus libr. Decr., III, xlv, in Cap. 1, De reliquiis et vener. Sanct. ^ a b "William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (Murray, 1875), p. 283". Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ " Pope
Alexander III". Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ 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.) ^ St. Robert Bellarmine, De Eccles. Triumph., I, 8. ^ Aimable Musoni, "Saints without Borders", pp. 9-10. ^ "DIVINUS PERFECTIONIS MAGISTER". Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ "Divinus Perfectionis Magister". Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ "Devil's Advocate Is Puglia: 'It will test the virtues of aspiring saints'", la Repubblica, 5 November 2012. ^ Pope
John Paul II, Divinus Perfectionis Magister (25 January 1983), Art. 1, Sec. 1. ^ 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). ^ Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), Biography, Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Internet Office of the Holy See ^ "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.  ^ 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. ^ 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. ^ " Beatification
and Canonization", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2. New York, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. P. 366. ^ Angelo Amato, "La canonizzazione equipollente della mistica Angela da Foligno" in L'Osservatore Romano (12 October 2013). ^ " Pope
Canonizes Jose de Anchieta, Known as Brazil's Apostle". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ "P. E. Hallett, "The Canonization
of Saints"". Retrieved 4 October 2014.  ^ J. R. MacMahon, " Beatification
and Canonisation" ^ "Почему был канонизирован Николай Второй?" by Protodeacon
Andrey Kuraev
Andrey Kuraev
at Pravmir.ru (17 July 2009) ^ "Прославление святых – это не дело узкого круга специалистов, это дело всей Церкви" by Julija Birjukova at Pravmir.ru (9 Dec. 2013) ^ "On the Glorification
of Saints" by Protopresbyter
Michael Pomazansky ^ Georgios Babiniotis. Dictionary of Modern Greek, Athens: Lexicology Centre, 1998, p. 53. ^ "What does "Glorification" Mean?" by Fr. Alexy Young ^ "The Glorification
of Saints in the Orthodox Church" by Fr. Joseph Frawley ^ Roberta R. Ervine, Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2006, p. 346 n. 17.


Kemp, Eric Waldram (1948), Canonization
and Authority in the Western Church, Oxford: Oxford University Press 

External links[edit]

Look up canonization in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Texts on Wikisource:

"Canonization", Encyclopædia Britannica, 5 (9th ed.), 1878, pp. 22–23  Delehaye, Hippolyte (1911), "Canonization", Encyclopædia Britannica, 5 (11th ed.), pp. 192–193  Beccari, Camillo (1907). " Beatification
and Canonization". Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. 

Catholic Church

Divinus Perfectionis Magister – Apostolic Constitution of Pope
John Paul II (English) Congregation for the Causes of Saints – Vatican Website Historical Sketch of Canonization
– Friarsminor.org

Stages of canonization in the Catholic Church

Servant of God   →   Venerable
  →   Blessed   →   Saint

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