1st Edition

Holiness on the Move: Mobility and Space in Byzantine Hagiography

Edited By Mihail Mitrea Copyright 2023
    272 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Holiness on the Move: Mobility and Space in Byzantine Hagiography explores the literary, religious, and social functions of monastic mobility in Byzantine hagiography, touching on aspects of space, narrative, and identity. The ten chapters included in this volume highlight the multifaceted and rich nature of travel narratives, exploring topics such as authorship and audience, narrative structure and function, identity-making and practicalities of and discourse on travel. In terms of geographical span, the case studies cover Constantinople and its hinterland, Asia Minor, mainland Greece, Trebizond, the Balkans, and southern Italy and range chronologically from the end of the sixth to the fourteenth century.

    The contributions offer novel insights and perspectives on the importance of mobility in the literary construction of holiness in the Byzantine world and the wider medieval Mediterranean, the spatial dimension of sacred mobility, and the ways in which mobility is employed in the narrative construction of hagiographical texts. As such, the volume joins the burgeoning research on sacred mobilities and will interest students and scholars of Byzantine and medieval literature, religion, and history, as well as a wider readership with an interest in the study of space and mobility.


    Mihail Mitrea

    Part I: Mobility and Space: Narratological Approaches

    1. A saint in space: mobility and distance in the Life of Cyril Phileotes

    Margaret Mullett

    2. Space, narrative, and compositional structure: constructing authority in the Life of Lazaros of Mount Galesion (BHG 979)

    Florin Leonte

    3. Boundaries of holiness: biography and narrative structure in John Xiphilinos’ Miracula and Passio of St Eugenios of Trebizond

    Mircea Duluș

    4. "I went aboard a ship and reached Byzantium:" the motif of travel in edifying stories

    Markéta Kulhánková

    Part II: Monastic Mobility and Identity

    5. The Oration on St John of Damascus by Constantine Akropolites (BHG 885) and its source (BHG 884): a spatial reading

    Lev Lukhovitskiy

    6. Holiness abroad: Greek saints and hagiography in Norman Italy

    James Morton

    7. Local pilgrimage and historical identity in Slavonic hagiography in Greek translation: two accounts from the Archbishopric of Ohrid

    Grigori Simeonov

    Part III: Monastic Mobility: Experience and Representation

    8. Pilgrimage in thirteenth-century Byzantine Greece: the Life of Barnabas and Sophronios

    Georgios Makris

    9. Theodore the Stoudite on exile

    Paraskevi Toma

    10. The metaphor of road in Byzantine hagiography

    Yulia Mantova


    Mihail Mitrea is a Lecturer in Byzantine history at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and a senior researcher in Byzantine philology at the Institute for South-East European Studies of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. He holds a PhD in Classics from the University of Edinburgh (2018). His research was funded by the European Commission (MSCA – IF), Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation. He is currently an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cologne. His research was published in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, and Travaux et Mémoires. His research interests include hagiography, epistolography, and prayers in late Byzantium, manuscript studies, and textual criticism.

    ‘The period covered is wide: from the edifying stories of the Desert Fathers, to a revisiting of the life of St John of Damascus in the early 14th century. The geographical coverage is extensive; we move from Constantinople and its hinterland, to Asia Minor, Greece, the Northern Balkans and Southern Italy. The wide-ranging nature of the contributions is one of the greatest assets of the volume … This is a book full of new information, new insights and, most importantly, new voices’ – The Byzantine Review.