The relics of St Nicholas of Myra were transferred to Bari in 1087. The feast of Transferring of his Relics was familiar to Greeks in Sicily and Southern Italy but never accepted by the Byzantine Orthodox Church. The Transfer of the Relics of St Nicholas changed his image: the Byzantine saint became known in Western Europe as ‘Nicola di Bari’ and in Russia as a ‘saint patron of Russia’, which can be seen also in his clothing: Catholic Episcopal or eastern Orthodox garb. The report is focused on how both Catholic and Orthodox Christians see themselves and others through the image of St. Nicholas.
One of the most important tasks for the friars of Vadstena Abbey, founded 1384, was preaching. A rich material of sermons has survived from the Abbey; approximately 12,500 sermons are preserved at Uppsala University Library. Even though studies have been done on the material, research focusing on specific themes, such as sermons on particular saints, is necessary to better understand the spirituality of the Abbey. In this paper I will compare sermons on St. Botolph of Ikanhoe, a 7th-century English monk and abbot, with sermons on two Swedish saints, i.e. St. Erik, king of Sweden in the 12th century, and St. Birgitta, founder of Vadstena Abbey in the 14th century. In this context, and with regard to chronology and geography, St. Botolph is the ‘other’. The main question is: how are saints from different geographical areas and times treated in the sermons from the Birgittine Abbey of Vadstena? The comparison focuses primarily on theology, rhetoric, and the usage of the saints’ legends. This is part of an ongoing PhD thesis.
Intellectuals form one of the most peculiar groups of saints in the Christian world of the first millennium AD. Apart from some obvious examples – such as Cyril, Basil, or John of Damascus – who left extensive collections of theological writings, there are many individual personages who were active in the literary field in addition to their other activities. They produced or translated works of the various genres. Known in their own communities, but also across whole regions, often beyond the political and denominational boundaries, they are to be found in Byzantium, Armenia, Syria, Ethiopia, and the other provinces of the eastern Mediterranean. Some of them were revered because of the literary or intellectual aspect of their lives and their cult was prompted by and from time to time institutionalised around the intellectual values (Mesrob Maštoc, co-called Surp Taghmarčats), some of them gained popularity and veneration regardless of their literary activities. In a few interesting cases, the authors of their lives pass over their output at all. The paper addresses the issue in a wider context, with focus on possible intellectual and anti-intellectual attitudes of the contemporaries and co-believers, as well as on the phenomenon of the international distribution of the cults.