Ten Medieval Saints You May Not Have Heard of

medieval saints

Sometimes overshadowed, sometimes eccentric, and perhaps a little unbelievable – here are ten medieval saints you should know more about.

Soldier saints and holy warriors: Warfare and sanctity in Anglo-Saxon England

Saint Guthlac - Roundel from Guthlac Roll, depicting St Guthlac in contemplation - British Library

This study examines hagiographers’ changing literary tropes as subtle but important reflections of medieval Christianity’s evolution from rejecting the sword to tolerating and even wielding it. H

The Saint’s Play in Medieval England

medieval drama

Plays about saints—their lives, martyrdoms, and miracles—flourished in England for more than three centuries side-by-side with the Corpus Christi cycles.

The Horror of Saints, Slashers, and Virgins

psycho scene

In our modern world, the repression of sexuality is still prevalent, although it is better masked than it was in the Middle Ages, and we still use the image of women and virginity to terrorize or save.

Painful Pleasure: Saintly Torture on the Verge of Pornography

Saint Agatha torture scene - Illumination from the Passionary of Weissenau (Weißenauer Passionale); Fondation Bodmer, Coligny, Switzerland; Cod. Bodmer 127, fol. 39v

Within female hagiographical narratives, stimulating, pornographic and often sadistic endeavours can be detected, gendering the tortured body parts such as tongue, teeth or the breast and thus supporting the development of (negative) erotic phantasies.

The Audiences for the Medieval Cult of Saints

olden statue reliquary of St. Foy, from the treasury of Conques.

In the Middle Ages the cult of saints was quintessentially a public phenomenon. Its arena was not a private sphere of spirituality but a public orchestration of ceremony.

The Cults of New Saints and the Christianization of Scandinavia

Murder of Canute the Holy by Christian Albrecht von Benzon, 1843

This research project examines aspects of the cults of local saints that developed in Scandinavia during the latter stages of the Christianization of the region.

What a Bunch of Tools: Zombie Saints and Their Use Within Medieval Communities

Saint Anthony Finds the Hermit Saint Paul Dead in the Arms of Angels

This thesis focuses on this phenomenon through the scope of the living dead saints of the Middle Ages, concentrating directly on instances of undead saints found in the most widely disseminated, read, and recounted collection of saints lives of the time, The Golden Legend.

The Friars Preachers: The First Hundred Years of the Dominican Order


When Dominic of Caleruega began preaching in southern France in the early 1200s, he would have had no idea of the far reaching influence that the band of men he would attract would leave such a broad and enduring influence on medieval history.

Irish Hagiographical Lives in the Twelfth Century: Church Reform before the Anglo-Norman Invasion

Saint Brendan and the whale from a 15th century manuscript

In order to further disentangle the reality and fiction of this view of culture versus barbarity and of reform versus wickedness, I shall analyse twelfth-century Irish vitae.

Silk Tunics of Saint Ambrose to be restored and studied

In Milan’s Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio: Prof. Dr. Sabine Schrenk (r.) of the University of Bonn and Cologne textile restorer Ulrike Reichert with the valuable tunics. Photo © JochenSchaal-Reichert

Archaeologists from the University of Bonn, working with restorers, are preserving and studying 4th-century tunics ascribed to St. Ambrose. In the course of examining these valuable silk garments, they have made surprising scholarly discoveries regarding the development of early relic worship.

Miracula, Saints’ Cults and Socio-Political Landscapes: Bobbio, Conques and post-Carolingian society

Medieval depiction of the martyrdom of St. Faith with a red hot poker

Despite the centrality of monastic sources to debates about social and political transformation in post-Carolingian Europe, few studies have approached the political and economic status of monasteries and their saints’ cults in this context, to which this thesis offers a comparative approach.

Amending the Ascetic: Community and Character in the Old English Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Saint Mary of Egypt - British library

Among the most eligible saints for such treatment, Mary of Egypt deserves particular consideration: her popularity is evidenced by over a hundred extant Greek manuscripts of her Life and her uniquely prominent position in the Lenten liturgical cycle in the Eastern Church.

The influence of the Bible on Medieval Women’s Literacy

saint anne teaching mary to read

The image of Saint Anne, who teaches Virgin Mary to read, suggests the feminine culture of the medieval Christian tradition, in which mothers have the mission to educate their girls.

Casualties among children in the light of Polish medieval ‘Catalogues of miracles’

St Hedwig

‘Catalogues of miracles’ show the number of children which was injured or killed. Parents or relatives turned to the saints with pleas for curing or bringing their child back to life. I discuss the categories of the accidents, the age of injured, the types of pleas, parent’s feelings and vows.

Old English Words for Relics of the Saints

Text page with Latin and Old English glosses.

This study begins with a review of some Latin terms and of certain material traits common to early medieval relic-cults, since these profoundly shaped the Old English vocabulary surveyed in the second part of the paper.

The Wolf Miracle in Magnuss saga lengri


The account of the consumption and regurgitation by wolves of a murdered man, before he is revived by Saint Magnus, is to be found at the very end of the series of miracles tales which concludes Magnuss saga lengri

An Unknown Female Martyr from Jerusalem


In the present article we edit the fragment of a text related to an unnamed female new martyr from Jerusalem from the time of John XIII.

Dreams in medieval Saints’ lives: Saint Francis of Assisi

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Basilique Assise, Legend of St Francis, Stigmatization of St Francis

How do medieval descriptions of dreams or visions reflect spiritual growth? What images are used as rhetorical or hagiographical means? And what can we learn from the interpretation of these spiritual images in a late medieval literary context?

Holy rulers and the integration of the medieval Serbian space

Nemanjic Dynasty - Serbia

This paper proposes a new line of analysis of the rich body of medieval Serbian royal hagiography.

Top 10 Strangest Miracles of the Middle Ages

strangest medieval miracles

Holy hairs, Virgin’s milk and how a bird asked for St.Thomas’ help – Top 10 Strangest Miracles in the Middle Ages

Medieval Saints Quiz

medieval saints quiz

Time to test your knowledge of medieval hagiography.

New Project to look at Medieval Miracles in the British Isles

Miracle from the Life of St. Cuthbert

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have started creating an online database to categorize the miracles found in saints’ lives that were written in Britain and Ireland between 500 and 1300.

Physical Disability and Marriage in Later Medieval (c. 1200–1500) Miracle Testimonies

Detail of a miniature of Christ healing the man born blind.

In September 1470, a man called Laurencius Rawaldi from Linköping in Sweden was struck by a severe condition in his eyes. The illness left him blind for three years, during which he—according to his own testimony—was useless for both himself and others.

St. Patrick’s Irish Pride

St Patrick

In honour of the day, it seems fitting to throw out some interesting facts about St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.

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