views updated May 23 2018

Canonization. The action by which the Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint. (The word can also refer broadly to a church's official approval of a doctrine, writing, etc.) In the Roman Catholic Church since c.13th cent. it has been reserved to the pope. According to present canon law the process begins with beatification. This allows the pope to confer the title ‘Blessed’ and to permit the public veneration of the beatified person in a particular place or among a religious order. Thereafter, if further miracles are attested, the cause may be taken up again, and if it is favourably concluded, the servant of God is declared a saint. In the Orthodox Church canonizations are usually made by synods of bishops of an autocephalous church, but sometimes a cult comes to be accepted without formal authority.


views updated May 11 2018

canonization Official action by which a member of a Christian Church is created a cult figure or saint and added to the canon. In the Orthodox Church, a person's sainthood may be proclaimed by a bishop after examining the candidate's case. In the Anglican Church, a commission determines whether someone is to be admitted into the list of saints. In the Roman Catholic Church, officials analyse the evidence of a candidate's reputation for sanctity or virtue and seek out evidence for any miracles done. The results are submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and, after the pope ratifies their findings, the candidate is beatified. Further proof of additional miracles is required before full canonization.


views updated Jun 08 2018

canonization in the Roman Catholic Church, the official declaration that a dead person is a saint; the process typically involves a rigorous investigation of the life and record of the prospective saint and any cult surrounding them. In the early Church, sanctity was often established through the growth of a spontaneous cult; in the late 12th century, it was declared that the formal pronouncement of the Church was required for public veneration.

Recorded from late Middle English, the word comes from late Latin canonizare ‘admit as authoritative’ (in medieval Latin ‘admit to the list of recognized saints’), from Latin canon (see canon1).