A List of Criteria for the Canonization of Saints in the Orthodox Church

Canonization was always considered by the Church to be the fact of the work of God’s holiness in the Church, revealed through a graceful ascetic of righteousness. This is why at all times the main condition for canonization was
true sanctification and holiness of a righteous person. Metropolitan Juvenalian of Krutetsk and Kolomenskoe stated the following criteria of the Orthodox ascetics’ holiness in his report during the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church:
 
1. Church’s faith in the holiness of the canonizing ascetics as people, who have pleased God and related to the coming of the Son of God on earth and the preaching of the Holy Gospel (canonization of forefathers, fathers, prophets and apostles).
 
2. Martyrdom for Christ and torments for Christ’s faith (canonization of martyrs and confessors).
 
3. Miracles performed through the prayers to the saint or by their Holy Relics (canonization of venerable saints, silentiary saints, pillar ascetics, passion-bearers, fool-for-Christ saints etc.)
 
4. High primatial and hierarchal service in the Church.
 
5. Special service to the Church and God’s people.
 
6. Virtuous, righteous and holy life.
 
7. In the 17th century, according to Patriarch Nektarios, the fololowing three things were acknowledged as the reasons of people’s true holiness:
 
– irreproachable Orthodox faith;
 
– performing all the virtues and fighting for faith even with his life;
 
– revealing supernatural signs and miracles by God.
 
8. Often it happened so that glorifying of a saint by people was considered the evidence of his holiness even during his lifetime.
 
Although there were many reasons for canonization of saints in various periods of the Church history, one thing remained unchanged: canonization of saints is the work of God’s holiness; it has always occurred with the blessing and according to the will of the Church. 
 
Translated by Catalog of Good Deeds
 
Editor

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The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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