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Hagiography

HAGIOGRAPHY

Various types of narratives with documentary and commemorative functions for the Orthodox Church are also regarded as important literary works in the medieval Russian canon. Sacred biographies (vitae ) were written about persons who had followed Christ's example in life and shown evidence of powers after death to intercede for believers, attributes that qualified them for sainthood. A short summary of the saint's life was read initially at the ceremonial inauguration of the feast day and thereafter to honor the saint's memory. Longer vitae circulated in religious anthologies of devotional readings. Eulogistic biographies of rulers, initially written for the funeral service, were recorded in chronicles, then revised for hagiographical anthologies. Tales from the Patericon record episodes from the lives of holy monks, their teachings, or the history of a monastic community. The vitae also include extended accounts of miracles worked by icons, some of which are viewed as local or national symbols, as well as tales of individual miracles.

When the Kievans converted to Christianity during the reign of Vladimir I (d. 1015), they received Greek Orthodox protocols for the recognition and veneration of saints, as well as a corpus of hagiographical texts. Beginning in the eleventh century, Kievan monks produced their own records of native saints. Veneration for the appanage princes Boris and Gleb, murdered in the internecine struggles following the death of their father Vladimir, inspired three extended lives that are regarded as literary classics. Also influential was the life of Theodosius (d. 1074), who became a monk and helped to found the renowned Kiev Cave Monastery. His biography, together with stories of the monastery's miraculous founding and of its monks, was anthologized in the Kiev Cave Monastery Patericon. The earliest hagiographical works from the city-state of Novgorod, surviving in thirteenth-century copies, focus on the bishops and abbots of important cloisters. Lives of Suzdalian saints, such as the Rostov bishops Leontius, Isaiah, and Ignatius, and the holy monk Abraham, preserve collective memories of clerics who converted the people of the area to Christianity.

In the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, Russian monks fled the cities, moving into wilderness areas to live as hermits, then founded monasteries to house their disciples. The writings produced in these monastery scriptoria promoted asceticism as the highest model to which a Christian could aspire. Biographies of saints were supplemented with long prefaces, prayers, laments, and digressive praises employing the poetic imagery and complex syntactic structures characteristic of hymnography. An introductory commonplace, declaring the writer's wish to write an account that will be a fitting crown or garland of praise for the saint, has inspired some scholars to group these lives into a hagiographical school whose trademark is "word-weaving" (pletenie sloves ). The most prominent writers of this school include Metropolitan Cyprian (c. 13301406), identified by some as a Bulgarian and others as a Serb, who wrote a revised life of the holy Metropolitan Peter in 1381; Epiphanius the Wise (second half of the fourteenth century to the first quarter of the fifteenth century), author of the first life of St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Stephen of Perm (1390s); and Pachomius the Logothete, an Athonian monk sometimes identified as a Serb, who was commissioned to rewrite the lives of widely venerated holy men from Novgorod, Moscow, and leading monasteries between 1429 and 1484.

Sixteenth-century Muscovite hagiographers composed expansive narratives celebrating saints and icons viewed as protectors of the Russian tsardom. The most influential promoter of the Muscovite school was Macarius. While serving as archbishop of Novgorod (15371542), Macarius ordered the collection of saints' lives and icon legends, as well as other translated and original religious texts, for a twelve-volume anthology known as the Great Menology (Velikie Minei Chetii ). The first "Sophia" version was donated to the Novgorod Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in 1541. During his tenure as metropolitan of Moscow (15421563), Macarius commissioned additional lives of saints who were recognized as national patrons at the Church Councils of 1547 and 1549, for a second expanded version of this anthology, which he donated to the Kremlin Cathedral of the Dormition in 1552. A third fair copy was prepared between 1550 and 1554 for presentation to Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Between 1556 and 1563, expanded sacred biographies of Kievan rulers Olga and Vladimir I, appanage princes and princesses and four Moscow metropolitans, as well as an ornate narrative about the miracles of the nationally venerated icon Our Lady of Vladimir, were composed for Macarius's Book of Degrees. These lives stressed the unity of the Russian metropolitan see and the theme that the line of Moscow princes had prospered because they followed the guidance of the Church.

In the seventeenth century, two twelve-volume hagiographical anthologies were produced by clerics affiliated with the Trinity-Sergius Monastery: the Trinity monk German Tulupov and the priest Ioann Milyutin. Their still unpublished menologies preserve lives of native Russian saints and legends of local wonder-working icons not included in earlier collections. In 1684 the Kiev Cave Monastery monk Dmitry (Daniel Savvich Tuptalo), who would be consecrated metropolitan of Rostov and Yaroslavl in 1702, began to research Muscovite, Western, and Greek hagiographical sources. Dmitry's goal was to retell the lives of saints and legends of wonder-working icons in a form accessible to a broad audience of Orthodox readers. The first version of his reading menology was printed in 1705 at the Kiev Cave Monastery. In 1759, a corrected edition printed in Moscow became the authorized collection of hagiography for the Russian Orthodox Church. Also noteworthy as sources on the spirituality of the seventeenth century are the lives of Old Believer martyrs (Archpriest Avvakum, burned as a heretic on April 1, 1682, and Lady Theodosia Morozova who died in prison on November 2, 1675) and the life of the charitable lay-woman Yulianya Osorina, written by her son Kallistrat, district elder (gubnaya starosta ) of Murom between 1610 and 1640.

See also: kievan caves patericon; orthodoxy; russian orthodox church; saints

bibliography

Bosley, Richard. (1997). "The Changing Profile of the Liturgical Calendar in Muscovy's Formative Years." In Culture and Identity in Muscovy: 13591584, eds. A. M. Kleimola and G. D. Lenhoff. Moscow: ITZGarant.

Ebbinghaus, Andreas. (1997). "Reception and Ideology in the Literature of Muscovite Rus." In Culture and Identity in Muscovy: 13591584, eds. A. M. Kleimola and G. D. Lenhoff. Moscow: ITZ-Garant.

Fennell, John. (1995). A History of the Russian Church to 1448. New York: Longman.

Hollingsworth, Paul, tr. and ed. (1992). The Hagiography of Kievan Rus'. Harvard Library of Early Ukrainian Literature II. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lenhoff, Gail D. (1997). Early Russian Hagiography: The Lives of Prince Fedor the Black (Slavistiche Veröffentlichungen 82). Berlin-Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Prestel, David K. (1992). "Biblical Typology in the Kievan Caves Patericon." The Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union 4:97-102. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Gail Lenhoff

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"Hagiography." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Hagiography

HAGIOGRAPHY

HAGIOGRAPHY. In the wake of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, when attitudes to the cult of saints provided one of the clearest boundaries marking the confessional divide for the people of early modern Europe, hagiographers were forced to refurbish and discipline their skills. However, the external spur of Protestant polemic (expressed most brilliantly and influentially perhaps in John Calvin's Traicté des reliques [Treatise on relics] of 1543) was not alone responsible for this development. Far more significant than even the humanist critique by Juan Luis Vives (14921540) and other medieval collections of saints' lives such as the Golden Legend (1265) was Roman Catholic liturgical reform. This principally took the form of an extensive pruning of the calendar of saints and lay at the center of the revision of service books such as the Roman Breviary (1568), the missal (1570), and the Roman Martyrology (1584). This was accompanied by extensive rewriting, in the spirit of concision and greater chronological precision, of the short Latin accounts of saints' deeds read out at matins and by the more centralized control of the cult of saints.

Supervised jointly by the two papal standing committees of cardinals, the Congregation of the Holy Office (founded 1542) and the Congregation of Rites and Ceremonies, the reform of sanctity centered on the tightening up of canonization procedure and the closely related imposition of a clear hierarchy of devotion between "saints," who could be universally venerated, and the "blessed," who were only permitted local or regional public veneration. Whereas central regulation had previously been focused primarily on universal cults, particular devotions were now also subject to careful control. This compelled local churches (and religious orders) throughout the Roman Catholic world to account for their cults and devotions.

They did so for the most part by adopting a polemical weapon that had initially been unsheathed by the Protestantshistory. The years 15521559 saw the publication of four major Protestant martyrologies by Ludwig Rabus, Jean Crespin, Adriaen van Haemstede, and John Foxe. All of them attempted to make sense of the persecution of their fellow coreligionists by inserting their experience in a firmly historical interpretative template. In the case of Foxe (15161587), his first English edition of the Actes and Monuments (1563) traced the contemporary Roman Catholic persecution of true believers back from the reign of "Bloody Mary"Queen Mary Tudor (ruled 15531558)to 1000 c.e.

Similarly, to evoke and justify the antiquity of their devotions, regional and local Catholic counterparts to Foxe and his colleagues deployed not just straightforward saints' lives but also the full range of historico-literary conventions, which contemporaries grouped together under the umbrella term historia sacra (sacred history). Written in both Latin and the vernacular, these included civic chronicle, episcopal calendar, collective biography, sacred drama (both spoken and sung), and topographical description as well as individual saints' lives (which not uncommonly appeared together with hagiographical readings from the relevant officethe religious service chanted or read by monks, nuns, and priestsby way of an appendix).

This renaissance in local or regional hagiography had its universal counterpart in the massive Jesuit initiative that is the ongoing Acta sanctorum (1643ff.; Deeds of the saints). The origins of this work lie with Héribert Rosweyde (15691629), in whose regional survey of holy men and women of his native Belgium (at that time ruled as the Southern Netherlands by the Spanish Habsburgs), the Fasti sanctorum quorum vitae in belgicis bibliotecis manuscriptae (1607; Deeds of saints whose manuscript lives are in Belgian libraries), he outlined his idea for what became the Acta sanctorum.

Proceeding according to the calendar year beginning on 1 January, the Acta sanctorum, under the direction of Jean de Bolland (15961665), sought to provide its users with the most authentic, philologically accurate (multiple) accounts of the lives of the saints treated (1,170 for January alone). Each account was prefaced by a historical commentary and followed by exhaustive explanatory notes. However, the very scale and learning of this project (fifty-three volumes from 1643 to 1794, providing coverage down to 14 October) should not detract from its utilitarian, down-to-earth purpose. Rosweyde sought to reassert the Roman Catholic identity of the southern provinces, which were then a "frontier" zone bordering the Calvinist northern provinces controlled by Holland, through the celebration of their saintly heritage. What he sought to achieve for Belgium in the Fasti, he hoped to achieve for the entire Christian world (including, by implication, those areas that had recently been lost to the Protestant heretics) in the Acta.

Robert Bellarmine (15421621), the leading Catholic controversialist of his age, criticized Rosweyde's plan on the grounds that the Acta, through their very comprehensiveness, would provide too many hostages to fortune for the benefit of Protestant polemicists. Bellarmine held up as models the more selective, if still substantial, saints' life collections by Luigi Lippomano (15001559) and Laurentius Surius (15221578). The former's eight-volume Sanctorum priscorum patrum vitae (15511560; Lives of ancient and holy fathers) provided the basis for the latter's even larger De probatis sanctorum historiis (15701573; Proven histories of the saints). Significantly, both authors had been intimately involved with combating Protestantism; Lippomano as papal nuncio to Germany (15481550) and Surius as a convert from Lutheranism. Each volume of Lippomano's work contained an index relating particular passages to Roman Catholic dogma, while Surius sought to reclaim for Roman Catholicism its monopoly on the miraculous. Accordingly, the 699 lives he collected included accounts of no fewer than 6,538 miracles.

The latest scholarship has clearly demonstrated the protean role played by hagiography in early modern Europe as a focus of local, regional, or national pride as well as of confessional distinctiveness and spiritual food. To do justice to the very variety of the cultural work it carried out, it is more helpful to consider hagiography as a cluster of related literary genres than as a single one. Similarly, during this (or any earlier or later) period, the writing of saints' lives is more easily defined by its content than its forms, which were as various as its uses. Rather than ask what it was, it is more helpful to ask what hagiography did in early modern Europe (and beyond).

See also Bellarmine, Robert ; Biography and Autobiography ; Martyrs and Martyrology ; Reformation, Catholic .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cochrane, Eric W. Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance. Chicago, 1981. See especially Chapter 16, "Sacred History."

Ditchfield, Simon. Liturgy, Sanctity and History in Tridentine Italy. Cambridge, U.K., 1995.

Gregory, Brad S. Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, Mass., 1999.

Soergel, Philip M. Wondrous in His Saints: Counter-Reformation Propaganda in Bavaria. Berkeley, 1993.

Simon Ditchfield

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hagiography

hag·i·og·ra·phy / ˌhagēˈägrəfē; ˌhāgē-/ • n. the writing of the lives of saints. ∎ derog. adulatory writing about another person. ∎  a biography idealizing its subject. DERIVATIVES: hag·i·o·graph·ic / ˌhagēəˈgrafik; ˌhāgēə-/ adj. hag·i·o·graph·i·cal / ˌhagēəˈgrafəkəl; ˌhāgēə- / adj.

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hagiographer

hag·i·og·ra·pher / ˌhagēˈägrəfər; ˌhāgē-/ • n. 1. a writer of the lives of the saints. ∎ derog. a person who writes in an adulatory way about someone else, esp. in a biography. 2. Theol. a writer of any of the Hagiographa.

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Hagiography

Hagiography. The writing of the lives of Christian saints (hence a derogatory sense, ‘full of praise for, without sufficient criticism of, the subject’).

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hagiography

hagiography the writing of the lives of saints; a biography idealizing its subject. The word comes ultimately from Greek hagios ‘holy, saintly’.

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hagiographer

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hagiography

hagiographydaffy, taffy •Amalfi •Cavafy, Gaddafi •Effie •beefy, Fifi, leafy •cliffy, iffy, jiffy, Liffey, niffy, sniffy, spiffy, squiffy, stiffy, whiffy •salsify •coffee, toffee •wharfie •Sophie, strophe, trophy •Dufy, goofy, Sufi •fluffy, huffy, puffy, roughie, roughy, scruffy, snuffy, stuffy, toughie •comfy • atrophy •anastrophe, catastrophe •calligraphy, epigraphy, tachygraphy •dystrophy, epistrophe •autobiography, bibliography, biography, cardiography, cartography, chirography, choreography, chromatography, cinematography, cosmography, cryptography, demography, discography, filmography, geography, hagiography, historiography, hydrography, iconography, lexicography, lithography, oceanography, orthography, palaeography (US paleography), photography, pornography, radiography, reprography, stenography, topography, typography •apostrophe •gymnosophy, philosophy, theosophy •furphy, murphy, scurfy, surfy, turfy

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