Chapter

How anchorites became saints

Tom Licence

in Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592364
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595639 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592364.003.0009
How anchorites became saints

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Chapter 8 studies the processes by which anchorites were recognized as saints, unravelling chronologically the concatenation of informal canonizations that spanned the long twelfth century. Elaborate storytelling and rumour were often essential components, but saint-making also served to boost the reputations of monastic communities (and orders), or to advance claims in territorial disputes. Monasteries culted anchorites to control their memory and harness their popularity lest it grew to rival that of their own house saints, especially where the initiative in the cults had come from local lay communities. Miracles were proclaimed, hagiography was prepared, and pilgrimage was eagerly encouraged, but the success of anchorite cults was no foregone conclusion. For while some of these cults blossomed, others—possibly the majority—were quickly forgotten.

Keywords: saints; cults; hagiography; miracles; healing; pilgrimage

Chapter.  12481 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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