Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How to Honour a Saint - a Medieval Hagiographer's View


Recently, I came across a rather interesting description by a medieval hagiographer of the various ways in which a saint may be honoured:
The author of a vita of St. Nicholas, composed sometime in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, tells us how he views the various ways of honouring a saint. If someone celebrated the memory of the saint with all his heart and soul, says this anonymous author, he will not go away disappointed. If someone builds a chapel in the saint's name, he will confound the devil as well as all his enemies, and God will increase his possessions as he did for Job. If someone writes down the life and miracles of the saint, he will be granted release from sins on the Day of Judgment. And if someone expounds the saint's life and miracles before other men, he will earn his reward in heaven and eternal life. In short, to honour the saint on his feast day is fine; to build something in his name is better; to write down his life is better still - but to declaim it before others is the best of all.
Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, The Vita Icon and the Painter as Hagiographer, Dumbarton Oaks Papers Vol. 53 (1999), pp. 149-165 at page 149.

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2 comments:

  1. Dear Marcella, may you receive many graces for all your good work for the Saints of Ireland - and for their compatriots today.

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  2. Thanks very much, I have been struggling to keep the blog running recently so appreciate this blessing.

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