Baltic accent

2017 Vol. 8 №1

Back to the list Download an article

Problems of Studying Russian Hagiography



This article outlines the major problems of studying Russian hagiography. The author responds to the challenge of performing a comprehensive analysis of a hagiographic text, while preserving the unity of the content and the form. Considering hagiography as an ecclesiastical genre and a form of the Sacred Tradition, the author addresses the analysis methodology and proposes to combine the principles of hagiology and literary and philological research on hagiographic texts. The primary focus is on understanding the category of hagiographic topoi, which is linked to the concept of literary etiquette. This concept is examined from a polemic standpoint since it does not fully conform to the genesis and function of hagiographic topoi. It is concluded that the worldview and mindset of the hagiographer play a crucial role in the creation of a vita belonging to a particular historical period and church traditions. The author addresses the problem of studying Russian hagiographic literature of the modern and contemporary periods.


1. Andronik (Trubachev), hegumen, 2000. Hagiology. In: Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, ed. Pravoslavnaya entsiklopediya [Orthodox Encyclopedia]. Moscow. Vol. 1, pp. 252—253.
2. Afinogenov, D. E., 2000. Acta Sanctorum. In: Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, ed. Pravoslavnaya entsiklopediya [Orthodox Encyclopedia]. Moscow. Vol. 1, p. 420.
3. Afinogenov, D. E., 2008. Hagiographic literature. In: Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, ed. Pravoslavnaya entsiklopediya [Orthodox Encyclopedia]. Moscow. Vol. 19, pp. 283—345.
4. Bulanin, D. M., 1995. Ancient Rus. In Yu. Levin, ed. Istoriya russkoi perevodnoi khudozhestvennoi literatury: Drevnyaya Rus’. XVIII vek. Proza [History of Russian translated imaginative literature: Ancient Rus. XVIII century. Prose]. St. Petersburg. Vol. 1, pp. 17—73.
5. Gladkov O. V., 2013. Zhitiye Evstafiya Plakidy v russkoi i slavyanskoi knizhnosti i literature IX — ХХ vekov [Hagiography of Evstafiy Plakida in Russian and Slavic literacy and literature IX — XX centuries]. Moscow.
6. Zhivov, V. M., 1994. Svyatost’. Kratkii slovar’ agiograficheskikh terminov [Holiness. A brief dictionary of hagiographic terms]. Moscow.
7. Moldovan, A. M. ed., 1999. Hagiography of Andrey Holy Fool. In: D. S. Likhachev et al., eds. Biblioteka literatury Drevney Rusi [Library of the Ancient Rus literature]. St. Petersburg. Vol. 2, pp. 330—543 ; 541—544.
8. Karavashkin, A. V., 2011. Literaturnyi obychai Drevnei Rusi (XI—XVI vv.) [Literary custom of Ancient Rus (XI—XVI centuries)]. Moscow.
9. Karavashkin, A. V. and Yurganov, A. L., 2003. Opyt istoricheskoi fenomenologii: Trudnyi put’ k ochevidnosti [Experience of historical phenomenology: a difficult path to obviousness]. Moscow.
10. Likhachev, D. S., 1979. Poetika drevnerusskoi literatury [Poetics of ancient russian literature]. 3rd ed. Moscow.
11. Likhachev, D. S., 1970. Chelovek v literature Drevnei Rusi [Man in the literature of Ancient Russia]. Moscow.
12. Lur’e, V. M., 2009. Vvedenie v kriticheskuyu agiografiyu [Introduction to critical hagiography]. St. Petersburg.
13. Nikol’skii, N. K., 1901. Historical features in the formulation of church teaching in Moscow Rus and their significance for the modern homiletics. Khristianskoye chtenie [Christian reading], 2, pp. 220—236.
14. Rudi, T. R., 2005. Topology of russian hagiographies (questions of typology). In: S. A. Semyachko and T. R. Rudi, eds. Russkaya agiografiya. Issledovaniya. Publikatsii. Polemika [Russian hagiography. Research. Publications. Controversy]. St. Petersburg. pp. 59—101.
15. Tvorogov, O. V., 2008. Translated hagiographies of saints in ancient russian bookishness XI—XV centuries. In: N. V. Ponyrko, ed. Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury [Proceedings of the Department of ancient russian literature]. St. Petersburg. Vol. 59, pp. 115—132.