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canonization (kănˌənĭzāˈshən), in the Roman Catholic Church, process by which a person is classified as a saint. It is now performed at Rome alone, although in the Middle Ages and earlier bishops elsewhere used to canonize. Beatification, by which a person is called blessed and his or her cult is approved, requires proof of a miracle through the candidate's intercession (unless the candidate for sainthood was martyred) and proof that the candidate's life was exemplary, and must precede canonization. A candidate for sainthood may be declared venerable before beatification if the person led an exemplary life. Canonization requires proof of at least one additional miracle (occurring after beatification) attributable to the saint.

Until 1983 the process of canonization was like a trial at which the saint was said to be defended by the church; a prosecutor was appointed to attack all evidence alleged in favor of canonization. The prosecutor was popularly called advocatus diaboli [devil's advocate], his opponent the advocatus Dei [God's advocate]. The process has now been streamlined, and the position of devil's advocate eliminated.

The first solemn canonization seems to have been that of St. Ulrich late in the 10th cent. The method of formal canonization was set by the enactments of Urban VIII that came into force in 1634. In the Orthodox Eastern Church, a synod of bishops within a self-governing church has the authority to canonize.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in the Catholic and Orthodox churches the inclusion of some person in the list of saints. In Catholicism it is an act that has been strictly defined with respect to law and public worship. The church-wide method of canonization was introduced by Pope Alexander III during the second half of the 12th century and was fixed in 1200 by Innocent III; the right to canonize became the exclusive prerogative of the Roman popes. In implementing canonization the church always pursues political aims.

Orthodoxy does not have as strict a system of canonization as Catholicism. In Russia church-wide canonization was introduced in the 16th century and was placed under the tsar’s control; from the time of Peter I it was implemented by imperial decree upon the recommendation of the synod.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
On Sunday, Francis also canonised Father Faustino Miguez, a Spanish priest who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries, and Father Angelo d'Acri, an Italian itinerant preacher who died in 1739 after serving in some of the most remote areas of mountainous southern Italy.
Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia are both in the Blessed category now, a stage before being canonised as saints.
Another "martyr" who was canonised is the Philippines's Pedro Calungsod, a young missionary who was hacked to death by hostile tribesmen along with a Jesuit priest on the island of Guam in 1672 while they were trying to convert locals to the Catholic faith.
A French Jesuit, Jacques Berthieu, who was executed in 1896 in Madagascar by rebels from the Menalamba movement, was also canonised.
The cases of the five men being canonised Sunday began long before he became pope.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988 before the Vatican announced last February he would be canonised.
Pope Benedict also canonised new saints from France, Poland and Malta.
He was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and this is the only time that his relics have left the shrine of Paray-le-Monial in the last 300 years.
Spanish priest Escriva is the 468th saint proclaimed by the Pope, who has now canonised more men and women in 24 years than his predecessors did in 400 years.
THE Pope yesterday canonised Father Josemaria Escriva, the controversial founder of the Catholic Church's secret society Opus Dei.
Spanish-born Escriva is the 468th saint proclaimed by the Pope, who has now canonised more men and women in 24 years than his predecessors did in 400 years.
Pope John Paul II has canonised 455 saints in his period of office, more than all of the other popes put together.