Hagiography: Definition and Its Examples

Hagiography: A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader, and by extension, an adulatory and idealized biography of a founder, saint, monk, nun,  bishops, princes, or virgins; and accounts of miracles connected with saints’ tombs, relics, icons, or statues. or icon in any of the world’s religions. It sometimes includes martyrology, lives of the martyrs.

Originally written and collected by monks in the early and medieval churches, such collections of lives were also made of post Reformation saints, for example, Puritans and Quakers. Hagiographies have been written from the 2nd century AD to instruct and edify readers and glorify the saints

Examples of Hagiographies are  Eusebius of Caesarea’s account of the martyrs of Palestine (4th century AD) and Pope Gregory I the Great’s Dialogues, a collection of stories about Saint Benedict and other 6th-century Latin monks. Perhaps the most important hagiographic collection is the Legenda aurea (Golden Legend) of Jacobus de Voragine in the 13th century. Modern critical hagiography began in 17th-century Flanders with the Jesuit ecclesiastic Jean Bolland and his successors, who became known as Bollandists.