Note – ideas, myths, celebrations
The source of all saints’ legends
November 1, 2023, 7:05 p.m
The fishbone of St. Blaise, the miracle of beer of St. Elizabeth, the divided cloak of St. Martin: almost everything that is said to this day about the great Christian saints can be found in the extensive collection of Jacobus von Voragin of the thirteenth century. Shortly after its creation around 1260, it became so widespread that it received the honorary title “Golden Legend” (Latin: Legenda Aurea).
On the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day, the Memoirs series invites you to take a journey through the literary source material of (almost) all Saints’ legends. The author Jacobus von Voragin (ca. 1230 to 1298) belonged to the Dominican order. He even became archbishop of his hometown of Genoa. His “Golden Legend” is arranged according to the end of the church year. In 177 chapters (starting with Advent) 144 saints are treated, and 33 chapters contain extensive theological treatises on other holidays (such as Easter or Christmas).
The “Golden Legend” is thus not just a “myth,” but also something like a “liturgical guide.” The target audience was primarily theologically educated clergy. The legends should be read in the church on the corresponding holidays. This is how the term itself is explained (derived from the Latin word meaning “to read”): a “myth” is a text that must be read (aloud).
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