13 June 2009

The REAL Acta Sanctorum!

For those who may not know, the title of this blog (in Latin) is translated as "acts of the saints." I will describe in a later post why I choose the name (here). This post, however, is about the real Acta Sanctorum.

The Acta Sanctorum is the collection of published documents which examines the lives of the Saints. In its printed form the Acta Sanctorum is 68 volumes. It has been organized according to each saint's feast day, running from January (consisting of two volumes published in 1643) through December (published in 1940).

The Bollandists (Societé des Bollandistes) is an association of philosophy, history, and other scholars - originally all Jesuit, but now including non-Jesuits - who have studied hagiography and the cult of saints in Christianity since the 17th century. The Bollandists have overseen the significant undertaking of compiling the Acta Sanctorum, first from Antwerp and later from Brussels. When Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits in 1773, the Bollandists moved from Antwerp to Brussels and continued work on the Acta Sanctorum in the monastary of the Coundenberg until 1788. Later the Bollandists appear to have been suppressed by the Austrian government as well.

The 53rd volume was published in 1794. Later the Bollandists were re-established under the patronage of the Belgium government, and the first new volumes of the Acta Sanctorum appeared in 1845.

The Acta Sanctorum Database is the electronic version of the printed documents. Trial memberships are available to browse. A portion of the Acta Sanctorum (not translated) comprising January through November is available online here.

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