• Greek: agios, holy; grapho, write


Writings or documents about holiness, holy persons, the saints. Beginning with martyrologies, or lists and brief records of those who suffered for the faith, and calendars giving the dates of their martyrdom or feasts, these writings soon included lives, passions, or acts, the narratives of their sufferings, known, when collected together, also as passionaries or legendaries and later as sanctorals, sanctuaria, or sanctilogia. The modern collections began in the 15th century. The Bollandists in the century following were the first to put the study of these writings on a scientific basis in their great collection of Acta Sanctorum. Mabillon, Ruinart, Assemani, have also done their share. Les Petits Bollandistes is a most useful collection, but Alban Butler‘s Lives of the Saints is for English readers a treasury of sacred lore and piety.

MLA Citation

  • “hagiography”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 August 2020. Web. 25 September 2021. <>