Lives of the Saints

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lives of the Saints


biographies of clerical and lay persons canonized by the Christian church. Such works began to be written in the Roman Empire as stories about Christian martyrs (martyrology).

Beginning with the fourth century, the three basic types of collections of lives began to appear: minei, lives arranged in a calendar fashion, of an extended length suitable for reading in religious services; sinaksari, shorter lives, also arranged in calendar fashion; andpateriki, collections of lives selected by their compilers. The Byzantine writer Simeon Metaphrastes reworked many of the lives in the tenth century, giving them a didactic and panegyric character. His collection served as a model for both eastern and western hagiographers. Creating idealized saints, they moved farther and farther away from the real circumstances of their lives and wrote stylized biographies. At the same time, the works absorbed a number of literary subjects and poetic images, many of them preChristian (myths about battles against dragons, for example), as well as medieval parables, short stories, and anecdotes.

The lives of the saints first came to Old Rus’ after the introduction of writing and were transmitted by way of the South Slavs or in translations from Greek. However, in the llth century, the lives of the first Russian saints, Boris and Gleb and Feodosii Pecherskii, were written down firsthand. In the 16th century, Metropolitan Makarii greatly expanded the number of Russian saints and directed the compilation of their biographies, which were collected in the so-called Velikie Chet’ i-Minei (12 vols.).

The lives of,the saints served, and in some cases, continue to serve, the purposes of religious and political propaganda. To a degree this type of literature has value as a historical source. It is particularly suited for the study of the history of culture, reflecting as it does the various social ideas and aesthetic standards of its day. The subjects of some lives have been reworked by later writers—for example, A. I. Herzen’s Legend, written in 1835, is based on the Life of St. Theodore.


Kliuchevskii, V. O. Drevnerusskie zhitiia sviatykh kak istoricheskii istochnik. Moscow, 1871.
Serebrianskii, N. Drevnerusskie kniazheskie zhitiia. (Obzor redaktsii i teksty.) Moscow, 1915.
Likhachev, D. S. Chelovek v literature drevneiRusi. Moscow, 1970.
Ranovich, A. Kak sozdavalis’ zhitiia sviatykh. Moscow, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Haphazard among the sermons and homilies, the travels, the lives of the Saints, the Fathers, the histories of the church, were old-fashioned novels; and these Philip at last discovered.
Alpatych, having sent his family away, was alone at Bald Hills and was sitting indoors reading the Lives of the Saints. On hearing that Prince Andrew had come, he went out with his spectacles on his nose, buttoning his coat, and, hastily stepping up, without a word began weeping and kissing Prince Andrew's knee.
An officer who saw me, with a jealous eye, reading the LIVES OF THE SAINTS to the mistress of the house, entered suddenly and without being announced.
I do not know you.' 'I am,' said I, 'the little abbe who reads LIVES OF THE SAINTS, and translates Judith into verse.' 'Ah, ah!
Assenting, on probable evidence, to so many of the judgments of the religious sense, he failed to see the equally probable evidence there is for the beliefs, the peculiar direction of men's hopes, which complete those judgments harmoniously, and bring them into connection with the facts, the venerable institutions of the past--with the lives of the saints. By failure, as we think, of that historic sense, of [34] which he could speak so well, he got no further in this direction than the glacial condition of rationalistic Geneva.
Can it be true, as I have read in the Lives of the Saints, that the devil takes on the form of a woman?
Which Anglo-Saxon abbot wrote Catholic Homilies and Lives of the Saints? A Aelfric B Alfred C Ethelred D Athelstan 10.
This symbolism brings life to our remembrance of the important lives of the saints, honoring our spiritual mentors.
Julius learned that the lives of the saints were hard, their struggles were hardest, with their faith always challenged.
The Coptic cathedral or heavenly cathedral as it is known for, was perched on a hilltop, it conjoins a painted ceiling and walls that illustrate stories from Bible and lives of the saints. Coptic Cathedral AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA} Max Pexil Website 3-Papyrus Museum: Loc in El-Souk Elkadeem in Sharm El-Sheikh, it is a gate to the world of papyrus.
Dr Janina Ramirez is giving two lectures at the Anglo-Saxon site, one based around her bestselling book The Private Lives of the Saints, and the other around her top-charting podcast Art Detective.
Recuperating, he reads the 'Lives of the Saints' and a retelling of the life of Jesus, and forms a vision in his mind: He will abjure all things material (even his love for women) and embark on a life of contemplation, reflection and teaching.