Jewish Roots of Sainthood

Is it accurate to say that the practice of canonizing saints is rooted in Jewish Tradition?

If so, when declaring one a Saint, in Catholic Tradition, a miracle must be attributed to them after their death, correct?

What Jewish tradition of declaring one a Patriarch or Matriarch is this based on?

Do Jew attribute miracles to the Patriarchs after their death?

Although sainthood is not institutionally recognized by Judaism, “it is not exactly true to say ‘Jews do not believe in saints’” says Rabbi David Rosen, the International Director for Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Advisor to Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Rosen said “The word ‘’k’doshim’ is actually the name of the Shabbat portion we will read in synagogue and it means ‘saints’ or more precisely ‘holy ones’ and all Jews are commanded to be holy. Certainly we refer to the pious of the past and especially those
who were martyred for their commitment to Judaism, as ‘k’doshim’ means saints.

However, it is indeed a different concept from the term as used in Christianity."

Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a Pope may waive these requirements. (A miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, but one is required before his/her canonization.) Once this second miracle has been received through the candidate’s intercession, the Pope declares the person a “Saint.”

I’m not really asking if Jews believe in “saints”. What I want to know is…

  1. Is it true that the Church claims that the practice of canonizing saints is somehow derived from Jewish Tradition


  1. If that is the case, what basis is there for those claims?
  1. No
  2. Not applicable

The veneration of saints certainly is (there are whole chapters in Sirach devoted to this very thing), but the intercession of the saints is more tied to revelation that came with Christ, although you do see angels and even saints aiding the faithful in the OT (angels are very common, but, for example, Jeremiah is show aiding the Judas in 2 Maccabees).

Canonization is simply a process the Christian Church developed to help protect the integrity of the veneration of Saints so that it did not deviate from its intended purpose. I don’t think there is any claim that the process itself is directly related to any Jewish process.

Thanks! That pretty much clears things up :slight_smile:

Yes, the veneration of saints is clearly Biblical, and I agree the intercession of saints is a little bit tougher to tie to Judaism, but it is there if you seriously look into it.

But, canonization of saints deriving from Jewish Tradition, I wasn’t so sure about that.

It’s an interesting question, I think I’ll continue to dig.

What about Biblical basis for canonization… Anyone?

This article may be helpful.

This is helpful. I had looked on this site and read about the canonization process, but I hadn’t seen this article. Thanks.

There is a big practice Jews praying at cemeteries for the intercession of those deceased.

One who prays for others will be answered first, and will be relieved himself if in the same need, for “the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends” (Job xlii. 10; B. Ḳ. 92a). Moses is credited with praying for sinners, that they might repent, referring to he "made intercession for the transgressors (Isa. liii. 12; Soṭah 14a). In times of trouble, when a fast-day is ordered, the people go out to the cemetery to seek the intercession of the dead (Ta’an. 16a; see Death in Rabbinical Literature).

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