Canonization, in the Roman and Greek churches, the act and ceremony of proclaiming a deceased person who has previously been beatified, SEE BEATIFICATION, a saint, and enrolling such a one in the catalogue of saints to be honored. In the Roman Church' this is done by the pope only, who, after examination, "declares the person in question to have led a perfect life, and that God hath worked miracles at his intercession, either during his life or after his death, and that, consequently, he is worthy to be honored as a saint, which implies permission to exhibit his relics, to invoke him, and to celebrate mass and an office in his honor." In the Greek Church the ceremony of canonization takes place only in the presence of the patriarch, who, having assembled his bishops for this purpose in synod, causes the testimonies of the witnesses in favor of the person to be canonized to be examined. A thousand witnesses are required. The trouble and expense incident to this process are so great that canonizations in the East are few.
Anciently the reverence due to "saints" was thought to be fulfilled by putting the name of the saint on the Sacred Diptychs, or Album Sanctorum, or erecting oratories or churches under the invocation of the saint. "Canonization in the Roman sense was not known before the tenth century, but some hold that the first canonization was celebrated by Leo III, A.D. 804; and, from the close correspondence of its ceremonies with those which were performed at the apotheosis or deification of the ancient Romans, it is with great probability supposed to derive its origin thence. In consequence of the multiplication of saints during the Dark Ages, the canonizing of any deceased Christians was prohibited by a solemn ordinance in the ninth century, unless it were done with the consent of the bishop. This edict occasioned a new accession of power to the Roman pontiff, as it ultimately vested in him the exclusive right of canonizing whomsoever he pleased. John XV was the first pope who exercised this assumed right, and who, in the year 995, with great formality, enrolled Udalric, bishop of Augsburg, among the number of the saints. Before a beatified person can be canonized four consistories are held. In the first the pope causes the petition of the parties requesting the canonization to be examined by three auditors of the rota, and directs the cardinals to revise all the necessary instruments; in the second the cardinals report the matter to the Roman pontiff; in the third, which is a public consistory, the cardinals pay their adoration to the pope. One person, called the devil's advocate, says all he can against the person to be canonized, raises doubts on the genuineness of the miracles said to be wrought by him, and exposes any want of formality in the procedure. It is said that the ingenuity and eloquence of the devil's advocate nearly prevented the canonization of cardinal Borromeo in the seventeenth century. But another advocate makes a pompous oration in praise of the person who is to be created a saint, in which he largely expatiates on the miracles said to have been wrought by him, and even pretends to know from what motives he acted. In the fourth and last consistory, the pope, having convened all the cardinals, orders the report concerning the deceased to be read, and then proceeds to take their votes, whether he is to be canonized or not. Previously to pronouncing the sentence declaring the beatified party to be a saint, the pope makes a solemn protestation that, by this act of canonization, he does not intend to do anything contrary to faith, or to the Catholic [Romish] Church, or to the honor of God. On the day appointed for the ceremony the church of St. Peter at Rome is hung with tapestry, on which are emblazoned the arms of the pope, and of the sovereign or prince who desires the canonization, and is also brilliantly illuminated. Thousands of devout members of the Romish communion fill that capacious edifice, eager to profit by the intercessions of the new saint with the Almighty. During the ceremony of canonizing, the pope and cardinals are all dressed in white. The expenses, which are very considerable, are defrayed by the royal or princely personage at whose request the beatified person is enrolled among the saints. The cost of canonizing the saints Pedro de Alcantara and Maria Maddalena di Pazzi, under the pontificate of Clement IX, amounted to sixty-four thousand scudi" (or dollars) (Eadie, Ecclesiastes Dict. s.v.). No person can be canonized until at least fifty years after death, nor if he be believed to have passed into purgatory, nor if he be a baptized infant dead before reaching years of discretion, except in cases of martyrdom. The act of beatification precedes that of canonization. SEE BEATIFICATION.
The worship of "canonized saints" is enjoined by the Council of Trent (Sess. 25, De invocatione, etc.). Many Romanists have declared against this superstition; and the Protestant churches reject it as idolatrous. Canonization is a relic of Paganism. In the thirteenth century a Dualist came very near being canonized. In 1269 there died at Ferrara a wealthy citizen, Armanno Pungilovo, whose extraordinary charities endeared him to the poor, while his austere and exemplary life procured him a general reputation of sanctity. He was buried in the cathedral, in the presence of an immense crowd, who lamented their benefactor; and such was the public veneration that miracles were soon wrought, or appeared to be, on the spot where he was buried. An altar was built over his remains, and statues were erected in his honor throughout the churches of the diocese. The bishop and chapter of Ferrara proceeded to an investigation of the miracles wrought at his tomb, as a preliminary step to applying for his canonization, and professed themselves satisfied of the veracity of persons who testified that they had themselves been cured — some of blindness, others of paralysis. What was the general consternation when the Dominican AldoLrandini, inquisitor general of Lombardy, brought forward irresistible evidence that the deceased was a member of the Catharists (q.v.); that his house had been for years the asylum of their teachers; and that he had both received and administered the consolamentmn (q.v.). The clergy of Ferrara were slowly and unwillingly convinced, the people not at all; but, after repeated investigations, and a delay of more than thirty years, those remains, which had well-nigh been proposed to the adoration of the faithful, were dug up with ignominy and burned to ashes. See Heilmann, Ccnsecratio Santorum, etc. (Hal. 1754, 4to); Elliott, Delineation cf Romanisn, bk. 4, ch. 4; Hurd, Religious Rites and Ceremones, 244; Ferraris, Prornta Bibliotheca, s.v. Veneratio Sanctorum, 9:119 sq.; Chemnitius, Examen Concil. Trident. pt. 2, loc. 6; pt. in, loc. 4; Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 7:326; Eadie, Eccl. Dictionary, s.v.; Hook, Ch. Dictionary, s.v.