Mapping Miracles: Cambridge project on Medieval hagiography

St GeorgeSaints and miracles in today’s Church are connected through the canonization process. Usually, for a person to be beatified, and then canonized, a miracle by their intercession must be verified.

But this saint-miracle connection is older than the process of canonization, and the stories of saints from the earliest times are often accompanied by tales of the miraculous. This was especially true in the Medieval world, where the art of writing about saints, called hagiography, often centred on the wondrous and incredible.

At Cambridge University, a project by several graduate students in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic to categorize and chart the thousands of miracle stories recorded about saints of the British Isles between 500 and 1300 was recently announced.

“I would hope…that people would find this an interesting way to look at the Medieval and see how it relates to the modern” ~Julianne Pigott

“The layered stories of saints’ acts served multiple purposes in medieval communities, from regulating orthodox religious behaviour to explaining the otherwise unexplainable in the natural world,” said Julianne Pigott, the senior student-leader of the project “Mapping Miracles”.

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