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James of Voragine, Bl.


Dominican archbishop, chronicler; b. Varazze, Italy, c. 1230; d. Genoa, July 1314, 1298. After joining the dominicans in 1244, he completed all ranks of the ratio studiorum by 1264. As provincial of Lombardy (126777, 128186) he traveled extensively in Italy and bordering countries to attend the annual provincial chapters and the triennial general chapters. Named archbishop of Genoa by nicholas iv, he governed that see from 1292 until his death, devoted to pastoral care and clerical reform, to his writings, and to the restoration of peace between the guelfs and Ghibellines.

The Legenda aurea [Legenda sanctorum, ed. T. Graesse (Dresden, Leipzig 1846); tr. G. Ryan and H. Ripperger (New York 1941)], because of its wide circulation during the later Middle Ages, is James's best-known work. Although not a critical hagiographical piece, it was a stimulus for religious devotion in an age desirous of miracles. Its chief source is probably the Liber epilogorum in gesta sanctorum of bartholomew of trent [Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtforschung 65 (1957) 376377], the oldest manuscript in Einsiedeln (1288), first printed in 1470. In his Chronicon Januense [ed. G. Monleone, Jacopo da Varagine e la sua cronaca di Genova (Rome 1941) 2:404405], James lists as his own the following additional works: Sermones de omnibus sanctis, Sermones de omnibus evangeliis quae in singulis feriis in Quadragesima leguntur, Sermones de omnibus evangeliis dominicalibus, the Mariale, and the Chronica. Varying in importance are 11 other works that may be considered authentic.

His cult in Varazze and throughout Liguria, uninterrupted since the time of his death, was confirmed by pius vii in 1816.

Feast: July 13.

Bibliography: james of voragine, Tractatus de libris a beato Augustino episcopo editis, ed. m. j. a. mccormick (Washington 1964); Die altokzitanische Version B der "Legenda aurea," ed. m. tausend (Tübingen 1995). g. farris, ed., Significati spirituali nei "Sermones" di Jacopo da Varazze (Savona 1996, rev. 1998). j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedictorum, 5 v. (Paris 171923) 1.1:454459. g. airaldi, Jacopo da Varagine: tra santi e mercanti (Milan 1988). v. pelazza, Vita del beato Giacomo da Varazze (Genoa 1867). m. waresquiel, Le Bienheureux Jacques de Voragine (Paris 1902). i. pasotti, Il beato Giacomo da Varazze (Cogoleto 1974). e. c. richardson, Materials for a Life of Jacopo da Varagine (New York 1935), lacks bibliog. j. baudot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant, 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables Générales 1951) 8.1:309313. p. lorenzin, Mariologia Iacobi a Varagine, O.P. (Rome 1951). p. mallone, Predicatori e frescanti: Jacopo da Varagine e la pitturaligure-piemontese del Quattrocento (n.s. 1999), iconography.

[m. j. a. mccormick]

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