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Just a question that ought to have a concrete answer and be a good example for how the process of canonization works for my Religious Ed. class:

  1. Who has been declared blessed for the longest period of time without being canonized?
  2. Who is the oldest person to have been declared blessed (died shortest after Christ)?

Bonus points if anyone knows who has been 'venerable' or 'servant of God' for the longest or is the oldest

(Bonus points may be stored up and redeemed in Heaven, where neither moth nor worm may spoil them)

  • Bede (d. 735) was called Venerable from the ninth century but not canonised until 1899, around 1000 years later. – Andrew Leach Oct 30 '13 at 13:48
  • The book in Latin only Index Causarum Sanctorum ac Beatorum would actually answer every single sub question you mention here. It would also eliminate any doubts in any answers you may receive. It it definitive on the subject of saints, blesseds, venerables and servants of God. – Ken Graham Nov 3 at 14:43
5

Wikipedia has an article entitled List of Blesseds in the Catholic Church. One can click on the heading of the column giving the date of beatification. Doing so, the earliest that shows up is Eutychius of Como, who died in 539; however, no specific date of beatification is given. The earliest date of beatification is 1259 for Bronislava of Poland.

The external references for the article are:

  1. Catholic Online list of saints and blesseds
  2. Patron Saints Index

Wikipedia also has an article entitled List of Venerable People. The person in that list with the earliest date of declaration is María de Ágreda, declared venerable in 1673.

  • Wikipedia‘s articles contain numerous errors within it. St. Eutychius of Como seems to have never had the status of blessed. – Ken Graham Nov 3 at 15:15
2

Who is the oldest Blessed?

Before answering this question, I would like to explain a few questions of nuance, so that one can understand where I am going with this.

First of all what is a Blessed?

The Difference Between a Blessed and a Saint If you ever had a chance to look at the Order of Preacher's Liturgical Calendar, you'd see a lot of people with the title Blessed. You most probably have never heard of any of them. They're certainly not on the Church's calendar of saints.

Why? That's the difference between "blessed" and "saint." A "blessed" is for a local community; a "saint" is for the universal church. In the explanation of the process, Sanctorum Mater, you'd read that a "blessed" has to have an approved miracle, and is honored in his cult, or community.

Thus the cult of a blessed may only be celebrated in the diocese or country where a particular blessed lived or a particular Religious Order that the particular blessed was attached to. Thus Dominican blesseds can only be celebrated by members of the Dominican Order. Visiting priests who are not Dominicans can not celebrate a Mass in honour of a Dominican Blessed when visiting a Dominican convent, unless they are Third Order Dominicans. Sometimes such blesseds are called saints, but in reality are blesseds.

A modern example of this is St. Hildegard of Bingen was listed in Benedictine liturgical calendars as a saint, but in reality was a blessed and thus limited to the Benedictine Order.

Although the history of her formal canonization is complicated, branches of the Roman Catholic Church have recognized her as a saint for centuries. On 10 May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard to the entire Catholic Church in a process known as "equivalent canonization". On 7 October 2012, he named her a Doctor of the Church, in recognition of "her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching." - St. Hildegardis of Bingen (Wikipedia)

One last point I would like to make here is that in the Early Church, canonization was acclaimed by the faithful as the now famous phrase goes: Vox Populi Vox Dei

With all this said, I will now proceed to give three examples of blesseds, who remained blessed the longest.

St. John Cassian (360-435) was considered a saint by some. His cult was never universally permitted. However, Rome permitted his cult in the diocese of Marseilles the city in which he died.

At Marseilles his feast is celebrated, with an octave, 23 July, and his name is found among the saints of the Greek Calendar. - Catholic Encyclopedia

Having his cult reserved to the Diocese of Marseilles made John Cassian, in fact, a blessed and not a saint. However the story does not end here. In the 2001 Roman Martyrology, the name of John Cassian was inscribed in the General Liturgical Calendar of the Church with the title of saint. Thus this holy blessed is now permitted to be honoured as a saint since 2001!

He is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, with a feast day on 29 February, a date assigned also in the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA). Because this day occurs only once every four years on leap years, official church calendars often transfer his feast to another date (usually 28 February).

The Roman Catholic Church also ranks him as a saint, with a feast day on 23 July. Like his contemporaries Augustine of Hippo and John Chrysostom, he was never formally canonized, a process that came into use several centuries after his death. Pope Urban V referred to him as sanctus (a saint) and he was included in the Gallican Martyrology He is included also in the Roman Martyrology [2001]with a feast-day on 23 July. Like the great majority of recognized saints of the church, he is not one of the saints in the General Roman Calendar, but the Archdiocese of Marseilles and some monastic orders celebrate his memorial on his feast day. - John Cassian (Wikipedia)

Number two on my list is the famous Catholic philosopher Boethius is considered a saint by some. But again, his cult was limited to the Diocese of Pavia. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius’ (480-525) best-known work is the "Consolations of Philosophy" written during his imprisonment — "by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen." It is a dialogue between Philosophy and Boethius, in which the Queen of Sciences strives to console the fallen statesman.

There can be no reasonable doubt, then, that Boethius died a Christian, though it is not easy to show from documentary sources that he died a martyr for the Catholic Faith. The absence of documentary evidence does not, however, prevent us from giving due value to the constant tradition on this point. The local cult of Boethius at Pavia was sanctioned when, in 1883, the Sacred Congregation of Rites confirmed the custom prevailing in that diocese of honouring St. Severinus Boethius, on the 23rd of October. Catholic Encyclopedia

Once again, even though called by some a saint, his cult is only liturgically allowed to be celebrated in the Diocese of Pavia. That again means he is only a blessed and not a saint.

The 2001 Roman Martyrology raise Blessed Boethius to the rank of a saint by permitting his cult to be celebrated by the Universal Catholic Church and his name was also inscribed in the General Liturgical Calendar of the Church.

All this said and done is fine and in case his is a little confusing, please allow me to offer one last example: Blessed Charlemagne.

Charlemagne or Charles the Great (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Beatification

Charlemagne was revered as a saint in the Holy Roman Empire and some other locations after the twelfth century. The Apostolic See did not recognise his invalid canonisation by Antipope Paschal III, done to gain the favour of Frederick Barbarossa in 1165. The Apostolic See annulled all of Paschal's ordinances at the Third Lateran Council in 1179. He is not enumerated among the 28 saints named "Charles" in the Roman Martyrology. His beatification has been acknowledged as cultus confirmed and is celebrated on 28 January. - Charlemagne (Wikipedia)

The liturgical cult of Blessed Charlemagne is permitted in certain dioceses in Germany only. He is still a blessed and not a saint as of today!

After all is said and done, please take your pick.

St. John Cassian was a blessed for 1566 years.

St. Boethius was a blessed for 1476 years.

Bl. Charlemagne has been a blessed for 1205 years and counting.

Addendum:

The book in Latin only Index Causarum Sanctorum ac Beatorum would actually answer every single sub question you mention here. It would also eliminate any doubts in any answers you may receive. It it definitive on the subject of saints, blesseds, venerables and servants of God. However it is extremely hard to come by as it is usually only found in very specific private Catholic libraries (mostly Religious Orders).

  • The Church declared that all who suffered death thru martyrdom are all "blessed". The very weak arguments on the absence of "historical facts" are easily quashed by numerous Popes starting from Pope Leo XII, Pope Gregory XVI, Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII and St.Pius X not to mention St.Vianney. All your above examples of "blessed" were not yet acknowledge by the Universal Church as "blessed" while St.Philomena cult was already raised to Universal Archconfraternity even St.Pius X granted a plenary indulgences on ALL faithful "universally" who would wear the Cord of St.Philomena. – jong ricafort Nov 5 at 0:22
  • Please do not use the comment section on questions for anything other than requesting clarification or suggesting improvements. They are not for topical discussions or mini-answers. This answer does not deal with Philomena. – Ken Graham Nov 5 at 1:13
  • The OP asked the oldest "blessed", it deals with all the "blessed" and St.Philomena is definitely included. I posted St.Philomena to challenge your ADDENDUM in counting the number of years as you posted 1566 years for St.John Cassian, it surpasses 1,526 years on my answer, So, I have to justified again my answer..it is now corrected the exact answers is 1,715 years. So, St.Philomena is the oldest "blessed". This is to guide the CSE viewers of the correct answer. – jong ricafort Nov 5 at 1:51
  • The op asks: 1. Who has been declared blessed for the longest period of time without being canonized? – Ken Graham Nov 5 at 11:44
  • Correct & exactly St.Phillomena perfectly fits the OP. St.Philomena died a "martyred" death a truly "blessed" soul who have not yet received a formal Canonical Official Ceremony up to now. Remember St.Pius X was the one who established AAS in 1908 and clearly defined "no one can alter his predecessors judgment on St.Philomena's cult". – jong ricafort Nov 5 at 17:18
1

Who is the oldest Blessed?

The straight answer is the Wonder Worker, her name is St. Philomena.

Exactly how long, She remained blessed prior to Church recognition and discovery of her blessed remains unknown? From her martyred death on August 10, 304 to her discovery in August 3, 1833 it is exactly 1,529 years. But the exact years if we take into account that up to this very day St.Philomena is not yet given a formal Canonical Ceremony as "Saint", then by simple mathematical subtraction 2019 minus 304 AD the answer is 1,715 years and 3 months to be exact and still counting.

To answer your other specific question;

Just a question that ought to have a concrete answer and be a good example for how the process of canonization works for my Religious Ed. class:

  1. Who has been declared blessed for the longest period of time without being canonized?

The answer again is St. Philomena, as there is still no formal Canonical Ceremony of Canonization declaring her sainthood up to this day.

  1. Who is the oldest person to have been declared blessed (died shortest after Christ)?

St. Philomena can be considered died shortest after Christ considering the year of her martyred death was year 304 AD. And up to now her official Canonical Status formally is still "Blessed", but of course St. Philomena is no doubt an acknowledged Saint already by the Universal Church and the Pope numerous devotion and the granting of indulgences is a testament to her sainthood.

EXPLANATION

Let's read and study the life of St.Philomena;

The Facts of St. Philomena In spite of much research, little is known of the life of St. Philomena before the discovery of her celebrated tomb in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome. Details about her are derived from the revelation that she herself made to the Servant of God, Sister Maria Luisa of Jesus, her fervent devotee, on August 3, 1833.

Virgin and martyr

Born c. January 10, 291 (Corfu, Greece)

Died c. August 10, 304 (aged 13); Rome, Italy

Venerated in some local calendars of the Catholic Church from January 13, 1837 until February 14, 1961[1]

Major shrine Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano del Cardinale

Feast August 11

Attributes Youth, palm of martyrdom, flower crown, orange or white robes, palm, arrows, anchor, sometimes a partially slit throat

Patronage Children, youth, babies, infants, priests, lost causes, sterility, virgins,and Mary as mary is a vigin' Children of Mary, The Universal Living Rosary Association, Sibonga, Cebu, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental - St. Philomena, Patroness and Protectress of the Living Rosary

Dates to remember

St. Philomena died a martyred death in August 10, 304 and was only discovered in Ausgust 3, 1833, this is a span of over one and one-half millenium or to be exact a span 1,529 years.

If as Ken Graham’s answered stated, the Church defined "Blessed" as venerated by the local Church, the year 304 were the local Church saw and experienced the miracles that happened to the death of a young Virgin & Martyr, St. Philomena. Her remains where a "blood vial" was kept is a testament for her blessedness & pious life.

Let's read the vision of the Martyrdom and the Wonder of the pious life of St. Philomena.

The Story of St. Philomena

It is said that Saint Philomena revealed Her story to three people who did not know one another and who resided in different parts of the world. These private revelations unveiled the story of Saint Philomena’s life in great detail and were amazingly identical accounts.

"Filomena" [Ital.] "Philomène" [Fr.] "Philomena" [Eng.]

One of the most well-known recipients of this revelation was the Foundress of the Oblates of Our Lady of Sorrows, Mother Maria Luisa di Gesù, a Dominican Tertiary.

On August 3, 1833, after having received the Eucharist, the nun Maria was praying before Saint Philomena’s statue and at that moment felt a strong desire to know the true date of the Saint’s martyrdom. August 10 was the day St. Philomena’s relics had arrived in Mugnano, Italy. This date was significant to the people of Mugnano, but not to those who lived elsewhere. As Maria contemplated this, she closed her eyes and suddenly a gracious and gentle voice came from the direction of the statue, saying:

"Dear Sister, August the tenth was the day of my rest, my triumph, my birth into Heaven, my entering into the possession of such eternal goods as the human mind cannot possibly imagine. That is why my Heavenly Spouse disposed, by His most high decrees that my coming to Mugnano should be on the day which had seen my coming to Heaven! He prepared so many circumstances which should make my arrival at Mugnano glorious and triumphant; giving joy to all the people, even though the priest who brought me had absolutely decided that my translation should take place on the fifth of the month very quietly in his own house. My omnipotent Spouse impeded him with so many obstacles that the priest, although he did all he could to carry out his plan, could not do so. And so it came about that the said translation was made on the tenth, the day of my feast in Heaven." -St. Philomena, Patroness and Protectress of the Living Rosary

  • Her cult did not exist until 1837. There is no historical data on the person of Philomena. Private revelation is not historical data here. This is why St. Christopher has been taken off the General Roman Calendar, although he is still in the Roman Martyrology, where Philomena is not. The existence of Philomena is dubious at best. Rome has suppressed her cult as a blessed or saint altogether. This is just a statement for those reading this response to do their own research on this matter. Let others decide the matter on their own! – Ken Graham Nov 3 at 13:44
  • By the way, you contradict yourself with your own answer. You state that ”there is still no formal Canonical Ceremony of Canonization declaring her sainthood up to this day.” Yet you say that ”St. Philomena is no doubt an acknowledged a Saint already by the Universal Church and the Pope numerous devotion and the granting of indulgences is a testament to her sainthood.“ Which one is true? – Ken Graham Nov 3 at 14:14
  • If the Early Church supposedly venerated Philomena, it would have been as a saint until Rome decreed otherwise. She was an unknown person until her remains were discovered in the 1800s. Thus her cult did not exist. There are no historical writings about prior to her discovery in the catacombs. Everything is based on interpretation of things found in the catacombs and private revelation. – Ken Graham Nov 3 at 16:10
  • @KenGraham Let's reveal your confusions on my posted answer. What to you is the current status of Philomena in the Catholic Church? Is She a "Blessed" or a "Saint" according to your understanding of Church stands on the case of Philomena? – jong ricafort Nov 3 at 22:44
  • @KenGraham I never conrtradicted myself I stated facts. There;s no formal Canonical Ceremony and St.Pius X granting of indulgences acknowledged the sainthood of St.Philomena. Both of my statement are supported by facts and both are true. – jong ricafort Nov 3 at 22:46

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