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Related article:"Orthodox Tradition of Saints Canonization"
The tradition of Saints Canonization differs greatly from that of the Roman Catholic Church.
The very first Saints to become Canonized were martyrs.
The main criteria for Sainthood is that if the person lived and died in such a holy way that the individual is worthy of Glorification.
The practice of Canonizing Saints for the most part, is only prevalent in the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Both of these Churches differ greatly in the theology and practice of recognizing Saints. Canonization refers to the declaration of a deceased individual to be elevated to the status of Saint and their name is included in the Canon, or list of recognized Saints.
Historically the very first Christians to become Sainted were known martyrs. Their self-sacrifice for Christ, without a doubt elevated them to Glorification. By the 4th century the tradition of honoring "confessors" came into practice. "Confessors" might not have died for their beliefs, but by how they lived demonstrated diligently the glorification of Christ.