In the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, a deceased Catholic may be declared a Servant of God by a bishop and proposed for beatification by the Pope through the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Venerable is the style used for such a servant of God declared to be "heroic in virtue" during the investigation and process leading to possible canonization as a saint. Before a person is considered to be venerable, that person must be declared as such by a proclamation, approved by the Pope, of having lived a life that was "heroic in virtue", the virtues being the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The next steps are beatification, from which point the person is referred to as The Blessed, and finally canonization, from which point he is referred to as Saint. For example, Popes Pius XII and John Paul II were both declared venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2009 and declared saints in 2014.
The 7th/8th century English monk St. Bede was referred to as venerable soon after his death and is traditionally still referred to as "the Venerable Bede" despite having since been canonized.
In the Orthodox Church the term "Venerable" is commonly used as the English-language translation of the title given to monastic saints (Greek: Hosios, Church Slavonic: Prepodobni; both Greek and Church Slavonic forms are masculinum).
A monastic saint who was martyred for the Orthodox Faith is referred to as "Venerable Martyr".
In the 20th century, some English-language Orthodox sources began to use the term "Venerable" to refer to a righteous person who was a candidate for glorification (canonization), most famously in the case of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco; however, this has not altered the original usage of this term in reference to monastic saints.
In Buddhism, the Western style of Venerable (also abbreviated as Ven.) is entitled to ordained Buddhist monks and nuns and also to novices (Śrāmaṇeras). The title of Master may be followed[clarification needed] for senior members of the Sangha. "Venerable", along with "Reverend" (Rev.) is used as a western alternative to Mahathera in the Theravada branch and Făshī (法師) in Chinese Mahayana branch.
- "Report: Pope Francis Says John Paul II to Be Canonized April 27". National Catholic Register. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Titles of the Monks and Nuns of the Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering
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