HAGIOGRAPHYWhereas Old Kievan hagiography, in the main, preserved the simple and
pragmatic style of its classical Old Byzantine models, Muscovite hagiographical
literature developed in other directions, which can best be designated as popular
and official hagiography. Both of these deviated from their Old Kievan predecessor, the former in respect to theme, the latter in form.Popular hagiography had its roots in the Old Kievan tradition of simplicity
and factuality, but acquired a very distinct novelistic trait in placing the main
emphasis upon action and plot, frequently of folk origin; it was a specifically
narrative genre.Official hagiography, on the other hand, was derived from the New Byzantine
style and its South Slavic branch. During the fourteenth century Byzantine
and South Slavic hagiography had passed through the new school of rhetorical
and lyrical methods in which emphasis was placed on the panegyrical glorification
of the heroes of the Church rather than on the factual data concerning their
lives. This new approach soon became the distinguishing mark of all Muscovite
literature and was intended as a literary symbol of the grandeur of the tsardom
of Muscovia. It completely overshadowed popular hagiography which only later
influenced the novelistic art of New Muscovite hagiography.The following texts are illustrative of both genres:
|The anonymous Life of St. Mercurius of Smolensk|
|The anonymous Life of Peter, Prince of Murom, and His Wife Fevronia.|
| The Life of Peter, First Metropolitan of Moscow by Metropolitan Cyprian|
| The Life of St. Stefan of Perm' by Epiphanius the Sage|
| The Life of St. Sergius of Radoneǩ1 by Epiphanius the Sage|
| The Life and Death of Dimitrij, Tsar of Russia, whose author, generally
regarded as unknown, was in all likelihood also Epiphanius the Sage.|
THE LIFE OF ST. MERCURIUS OF SMOLENSK
The sainthood of Mercurius was not recognized officially in Smolensk before
the end of the fifteenth century. On the occasion of his canonization, his legendary
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Anthology of Old Russian Literature.
Contributors: Adolf Stender-Petersen - Editor.
Publisher: Columbia University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1954.
Page number: 189.
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