At the time of the high spiritual fervor in the first centuries of persecutions against Christians, such were the "martyrs also. The martyr's death became a door to the higher Mansions, and Christians at once began to invoke them as holy men pleasing to God. Miracles and signs confirmed this faith of the Christians and were a proof of their sanctity.
Subsequently, the great ascetics likewise, began to be revered. No one decreed the veneration as saints such as Anthony the Great, Macarius the Great, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Nicholas the Wonder-worker, and many others like them, but East and West equally revered them. Their sanctity can be denied only by those who do not believe in sanctity.
The choir of saints pleasing to God grew unceasingly; in every place, where Christians were, its own new ascetics appeared, also. However, the general life of Christians began to decline; the spiritual burning began to grow faint. There no longer was a clear sense of what Divine righteousness was. So the general consciousness of the faithful could not always distinguish who was a righteous man and pleasing to God. In some places, there appeared dubious persons who by false ascetic exploits attracted a part of the flock. For this reason, the Church authority began to keep watch over the veneration of saints, showing concern to guard the flocks from superstition.
Which authority should and could do this was not precisely determined; in any case it was an episcopal authority.
There have been canonizations performed by the higher Church authority of an entire Local Church, and the names of the newly canonized were then entered into the Church calendar of that entire Church. Others were canonized in one or another locality and their veneration gradually spread to other places. Ordinarily, the canonization was performed in the place where the righteous one lived or suffered. But it also happened in other ways.
In the last two centuries, when Russia lived in glory and prosperity, the canonization of new saints was usually performed quite solemnly by the decree of the Higher Authority. Sometimes (but not always) taking place throughout the whole of Russia, especially in the place where the wonderworking relics were obtained. However, this does not alter the general order in the Church. If the Russian people under the godless yoke of power today cannot openly praise and invoke a Saint of God, glorified by God, it is the duty of the part of the Russian Church that is free, to universally revere and invoke a Wonderworker like St. Nicholas, who is revered in the whole world, to pray to St. John the Righteous one [of Kronstadt] for the correction of our life and the cessation of calamities which (according to prophecy) have befallen our Fatherland.
May the Lord grant, that that longed-for day come, when from the Carpathians to the Pacific Ocean will thunder out: "We magnify thee, O righteous Father John, and we venerate thy holy memory, for thou dost pray for us to Christ our God!"
St. John Maximovich