Biographies of the Saints

Biographies of the Saints are a special mediaeval literature genre. A Greek word for such biographies is hagiography. While a usual biography is just a description of one’s life, a hagiography describes a life of a saint. These biographies describe lives of Orthodox Church saints. All the vents are described in the way they are hued with the future, Eternal Life with God, introducing a reader to such a life. And really, who reads the hagiographies believing in God, identifies with the saint he/she is reading about and the saint then becomes his/her role model in life. Reading them, we realise that some saints are particularly dear to us, that we like them more than others, that they are familiar to us and through them God seems even closer and more familiar.


Biography – from Greek biоs – life and grаphеin – to write, whereas hagiography comes from hаgiоs – holy, saint, and grаphеin –to write.


From very early times, the Christians recorded the lives of the apostles, martyrs, the venerated and other holy persons. These record were kept safe. The first hagiography here was written by St Sava, The Life of St Simeon the Myrrh-Streamer. Later on, Domentian and Theodosius wrote about the life of St Sava.  In 14th century, archbishop Dаnilо II wrote the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops, and his disciples wrote hagiographies, as well. They were written also by monks, but usually they were just copied. In the last century, Saint Father Justin Pоpоvić translated from Greek and edited 12 large volumes of the Lives of the Saints, arranged by months, containing the lives of almost all the known Orthodox saints.