How to Become a Saint in the Orthodox Church
To become a saint in the Orthodox Church, one must be exceptionally holy and fit one of the seven categories. These categories include apostles, prophets who predicted Jesus’ coming, martyrs, fathers of the early Christian church, monastics, and just people.
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Criteria for sainthood
Sainthood in the Orthodox Church has many requirements. First, a person must have been baptized into the Church. According to the Gospel according to St. Mark, without baptism you cannot enter the kingdom of God. In the same way, being a martyr was considered to be a baptism of blood. Saint John Chrysostom also described the martyr Lucian as a saint of the Church.
While the Orthodox Church has its own criteria for sainthood, the criteria that are used by Western Christian churches are a little different. These criteria are based on the Orthodox Tradition, which is humanist, moral, and theological in nature. However, even the criteria can be misconstrued in subtle ways.
The waiting period to become a saint in the Orthodox Church is usually five years, though it can be waived by the pope. Popes have waived the waiting period for several people, including Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. Once the potential candidate for sainthood has been accepted by the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints (formerly known as the Sacred Congregation of Rites), their cause is officially accepted and a special papal decree is issued declaring their candidacy.
After a candidate has been nominated, the church must review and verify their reputation for holiness and intercession. This process involves a theological review and witness testimony, such as a written account or firsthand account. The congregation also looks into the candidate’s writings and other materials about him or her.
Canonization as a saint in the Orthodox Church is a process of recognizing an individual’s sanctity. The process is similar to a legal trial; supporters of a candidate must prove that he or she was a saint and had performed acts of holiness worthy of emulation. Canonization is a theologically and practically significant event in the life of a person, since it validates his or her sanctity and the validity of his or her prayers.
The process of canonization differs for different denominations. In the Orthodox Church, a person may be declared a saint by a bishop. The name of the person is included in the Canon and that person’s name is placed before the faithful as an example. In the Roman Catholic Church, the process is different, but the same principles apply.
Diversions from Orthodox Tradition
The practice of canonization is a process through which holy men and women are recognized for their spiritual achievements and sanctity. This process is distinct from the canonization of non-saints, which confuses Orthodox spirituality with demonic practices.
Orthodox Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and are committed to upholding His ministry. The Scriptures reflect this close association by using images that declare Christ to be the Head, Body, and Bridegroom. In other words, the Church does not exist apart from Christ.
In the Orthodox Church, any person baptized in the faith has the right to become a saint. Saints are recognized by their dedication and devotion to the cause of Christ and by the grace of God. They are praised and honored by the Christian people as a model of living a Christian life. The Orthodox Church has many canonized Saints, including the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, the writers of the Gospels, and Saint Basil the Great.
Prayers to a saint
Orthodox Christians believe in praying to Saints as well as God. They pray to specific saints for specific problems or afflictions. While some people might consider this a superstition, it isn’t superstitious in the Orthodox sense. It is simply a matter of faith in the power of prayer, and it isn’t based on the superstitions of other cultures.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, any person who lived in the tradition of Christ throughout history is a Saint. Some of these saints are officially canonized. However, every faithful Orthodox Christian is considered a Saint and belongs to the royal priesthood Christ established with the establishment of His Church. In addition to Saint Basil, other canonized Saints are the Virgin Mary, the apostles, writers of the Gospels, and many others.