Famous Catholic saints are often surrounded by various popular beliefs. Or sometime there is little that is actually known about the life of a saint (e.g. we don't seem to know that much about Thomas Aquinas). Is there an official website where the Vatican provides the official canonization documents of saints (old or recent)?

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    I don't think so. The Vatican is neither good in transparence nor in digitalization of documents. And old canonication records may also not be extremely fact-based. – K-HB Jun 6 '20 at 18:17
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    suggest that you go to that older method of research; books. 8^D – KorvinStarmast Jun 6 '20 at 19:49
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    "we don't seem to know that much about Thomas Aquinas" St. Thomas Aquinas's life is very well-documented; cf. Torrell, O.P.'s Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work. His Acta Sanctorum entry is Guilelmus Tocco's Ystoria sancti Thome de Aquino. – Geremia Jun 6 '20 at 22:26

Where can we find the official records of canonizations?

If one were to look with some difficulty and in very specific Catholic libraries, such as some traditional monastic or seminaries, you may be able to find a copy in the reference section the source you are looking for.

The following book published by the Vatican (Congregatio pro Causis Sanctorum) every so many years has the information you desire:

The status of every single person proposed for sainthood is in there. When cults of saints are suppressed, it will state why. Every canonization and beatification is alphabetically listed. It is however only in Latin and is hard to find.

The Holy See is not a fan of putting all their richness of information online. Thus many researchers must make use of the now slower method: books and other documents!


The Acta Sanctorum is a collection of official saints' lives by various authors used for their processes of beatification or canonization.

The Acta Sanctorum Database is an online, subscriber-only edition.

The Roman Martyrology, read daily at the canonical office of prime, although not exhaustive, contains only canonized saints.

  • Thank you, it is in Latin indeed. – user50040 Jun 6 '20 at 20:39
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    @Geremia The Acta Sanctorum you mean is a critical edition of sources on the live of the saints, done by a group of researchers "Société des Bollandistes" since the 17th century. It is by no means "official" and does not connect to the modern process of canonization. – K-HB Jun 6 '20 at 21:37
  • @K-HB It's a collection of saints' lives used in their processes of beatification or canonization. Just because it's not published by the Vatican, does that make it unofficial? – Geremia Jun 6 '20 at 22:20
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    @Geremia From the official website of the Bollandists: Their aim was the "greatest ever collection of texts and critical studies related to saints". (bollandistes.org/history/development) Many of the old saints didn't even have a processes of beatification or canonization. Where does the idea come from that it collects the acts of the processes? – K-HB Jun 7 '20 at 7:40
  • does that make it unofficial ? Well, Geremia, does it have an Impramatur and Nihil Obstat in the beginning of the book? @K-HB I don't have a copy of either, but that kind of endorsement often goes a long way. – KorvinStarmast Jun 8 '20 at 21:00

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