CANONIZATION. In the Roman Catholic Clench, the act of the Pope by which a deceased person is solemnly declared to be a saint. it had its origin in the practice in the early Church of inserting ill the commemorative prayer of the liturgy the names of those who had died as mar tyrs, or distinguished themselves as confessors of the faith. In the case of a doubtful claim to this honor• the decision at first rested with the bishop of the diocese, but was later reserved to the metropolitans. They were not seldom as sisted by a council, and the question was some times referred to Rome. The first recorded Papal canonization, however, is that of Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, by John XV.. in 993; but no claim to exclusive right was ma:le until Alex ander III. laid down in 1170 the principle which has ever since formed the basis of the law in the matter. Here and there holy men and women were revered as saints in their own neighbor hoods, even after this, until Urban VIII. put a stop to the practice in 1634.
Canonization, as understood iu modern times, is the culmination of a lengthy process. The prospective saint must first pass through the earlier stages of being declared a 'venerable ser vant of God.' and of beatification (q.v.). The last step involves an exceedingly minute inquiry, conducted with the most elaborate legal formali ties; the rules of evidence applied to the testi mony in support of alleged miracles (at least two of which must be proved to have been wrought since the beatification) are more strict than in any American or English court. An
ecclesiastic known as the promotor fidei, and sometimes as the adrocatus diaboli. is specially appointed to urge every possible objection and test to the utmost the validity of the claims ad vanced. When a favorable decision is pronounced (which is never less than fifty years after the person's death). the ceremony of canonization is performed in Saint Peter's with great pomp. Among the Eastern churches the principle of canonization is recognized. The right to perform the ceremony is supposed to be vested in the Patriarch of Constantinople, but it is rarely exercised. For the rules and ceremonies of Roman Catholic canonization, consult the stand ard authority. Pope Benedict XIV.. De Serrorum Dei Bcatifirationc et Beatorum Canonizatione (Bolooma. 1734-3S1. of which a portion has been translated under the title Heroic Virtue (3 vols.. London, 1S50). •