Canonization is the formal declaration of a deceased person’s sanctity, whereby his or her name is added to the roll of the saints of the Church and commended for veneration by the faithful. In the Roman Catholic Church, the authority to canonize is the prerogative of the Pope of Rome, who follows a very complicated procedure that dates back to the Middle Ages.

No historical literature on the process of canonization in the Coptic Church exists. In most of the hagiographical texts, it says that a church was built and named after a certain martyr. In the Coptic tradition, it is stated that St. Macarius the Great, according to Palladius, invited the brethren to the “martyrdom of the little strangers” (considering them as martyrs and saints).

No text can be found in Coptic canon law organizing this procedure. Many relics were venerated (some recently discovered), among them the martyrs of Fayoum and Beshnufa. In recent times, the authority to canonize in the Coptic Church has rested with the Holy Synod.


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