On the Canonization of the Recently Deceased Patriarch of the West, John Paul II

        Wickipedia notes:

        Eastern (Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox) form of Canonization

In Byzantine Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, canonization continues to be practiced much as it was during the first millennium of Christianity: People are recognized as saints primarily because they are seen to have preserved the image of God in themselves, and in that sense are living icons. This recognition happens through the simple process of adding a person's name to the list or canon of saints who are honored throughout the year. Canonization does not make a person a saint; canonization simply recognizes that a person is already a saint. There is no single comprehensive list of all Orthodox saints, and no bureaucratic process to go through before adding a saint to the canon.

The process traditionally is a matter of "ripple effect" more than anything. Individual Orthodox Christians may venerate someone on a purely personal level. Eventually, a parish priest or two may include commemoration at the local parish. A Bishop may determine that the saint in question is suitable for commemoration throughout his entire diocese, at which point he will have a "Glorification" ceremony to announce this. A synod of Bishops may determine that the saint is of sufficient importance to be commemorated throughout their jurisdiction or sub- jurisdiction and likewise have a broader Glorification ceremony. Once this has happened, it is usual for most other jurisdictions to simply accept the saint as appropriate for personal veneration, although the saint still might not be added To their calendars. In theory, all synods of all Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions could hold a massive co- Glorification ceremony and announce the suitability of a person to be venerated in all jurisdictions. In practice, addition to additional calendars beyond this point has been a matter of quiet administrative detail.


        One notes that the people of Rome, and the pilgrims at the funeral of John Paul II, the recently deceased Patriarch of the West, called loudly and continually for his immediate canonization.

        There is a long and very careful process which JP II mandated for declaring Roman Catholic saints:


        This process will take several years to grind through its bureaucratic procedures, and no doubt the mills will grind the evidence exceedingly fine.  That they will eventually Beatify and Canonize him, I have little doubt.

        Not having (or wanting, really) a bureaucracy to grind things for me, I have decided to follow the Orthodox practice of adding John Paul II's name to the list of saints honored in my Masses.

        The Orthodox see the Laity as the "defenders of the Faith" -- they remained true to the faith when the hierarchy went chasing after Arianism in the 3rd and 4th Centuries, and they demanded the return of Trinitarian devotion.  The West, since Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century, has become very rationalistic, legalistic, and seems to want to define everything by rules and binary logic, drawn up by the Curia in Rome.

        As an Old Catholic Bishop (Ultrajectine), I am not bound by Ultramontane formalisms and rulings, so I have determined to listen to the voice of the People of God, heard in St. Peter's Square at the funeral, and honor in the Liturgy the Servant of God, Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II, Patriarch of the West, as an example of heroic faith, and as a Saint of the Church. I have also added the name of Mother Teresa of Calcutta -- surely also an example of heroic virtue, well worthy of veneration.

        I invite other bishops and priests to do likewise.

+Samuel Bassett
Old Catholic Bishop of Zzyzx in California