Acta Sanctorum (Acts of the Saints) is an encyclopedic text in 68 folio volumes of documents examining the lives of Christian saints, in essence a critical hagiography, which is organised according to each saint's feast day. The project was conceived and begun by Jesuit Heribert Rosweyde. After his death in 1629, the Jesuit scholar Jean Bolland ('Bollandus', 1596–1665) continued the work, which was gradually finished over the centuries by the Bollandists, who continue to edit and publish the Acta Sanctorum.
The Acta Sanctorum began with two January volumes (for saints whose feast days were in January), published in 1643. From 1643 to 1794, 53 folio volumes of Acta Sanctorum had been published, covering the saints from January 1 to October 14. The main work ended with the Propylaeum to December published in 1940. The Bollandists oversaw the project, first in Antwerp and then in Brussels. After the creation of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Bollandists were permitted to reassemble, working from the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. When the Jesuits were suppressed by the Habsburg governor of the Low Countries in 1788, the Bollandists continued their work in the Tongerlo Abbey.
Hagiography //, from the Greek (h)ağios (ἅγιος, “holy” or “saint”) and graphēin (γράφειν, “to write”), refers to the biographies of saints and ecclesiastical leaders. The term hagiology, the study of hagiography, is also current in English, although less common.
Christian hagiographies focus on the lives, and notably the miracles of men and women canonized by the Roman Catholic church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Church of the East. Other religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism also create and maintain hagiographical texts (such as the Sikh Janamsakhis) concerning saints, gurus and other individuals believed to be imbued with sacred power.
The Bollandists are an association of scholars, philologists, and historians (originally all Jesuits, but now including non-Jesuits) who since the early seventeenth century have studied hagiography and the cult of the saints in Christianity. Their most important publication has been the Acta Sanctorum (The Lives of the Saints). They are named after Jean Bolland or Bollandus (1596–1665).
Daniel Papebroch, S.J., (17 March 1628–28 June 1714) was a Flemish Jesuit hagiographer, one of the Bollandists. He was a leading revisionist figure, bringing historical criticism to bear on traditions of saints of the Catholic Church.
Victor de Buck (21 April 1817, Oudenaarde, Flanders – 28 June 1876) was a Jesuit theologian and Bollandist hagiographer. His family was one of the most distinguished in the city of Oudenaarde. After a distinguished course in the humanities, begun at the municipal College of Soignies and the petit seminaire of Roeselare and completed in 1835 at the college of the Society of Jesus at Aalst, he entered the Society on 11 October 1835. After two years in the novitiate, then at Nivelles, and a year at Tronchiennes reviewing and finishing his literary studies, he went to Namur in September 1838 to study philosophy and the natural sciences.
The work of the Bollandists had just been revived and, in spite of his youth, Victor de Buck was summoned to act as assistant to the hagiographers. He remained at this work in Brussels from September 1840, to September 1845. After devoting four years to theological studies at Leuven where he was ordained priest in 1848, and making his third year of probation in the Society of Jesus, he was permanently assigned to the Bollandist work in 1850. He remained engaged upon it until the time of his death. He had already published in part second of Vol. VII of the October Acta Sanctorum, which appeared in 1845, sixteen commentaries or notices that are easily distinguishable because they are without a signature, unlike those written by the Bollandists.
Algeria · Nigeria · Sudan · Ethiopia · Seychelles
Uganda · Zambia · Kenya · South Africa
Afghanistan · Pakistan · India
Nepal · Sri Lanka · Vietnam
China · Hong Kong · Macau · Taiwan
North Korea · South Korea · Japan
Malaysia · Singapore · Philippines · Thailand
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with 1.2 billion members. The Catholic hierarchy includes cardinals and bishops and is led by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. The Church teaches that it is the one true church divinely founded by Jesus Christ. It also teaches that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles and that the Bishop of Rome, as the successor to the head of the apostles, Saint Peter, has supreme authority over the Church. The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible. Within the Church there are a variety of doctrinal and theological traditions, including the Eastern Catholic Churches, the personal ordinariates and religious communities.
The Catholic Church is Trinitarian and defines its mission as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity. Catholic worship is highly liturgical, focusing on the Mass or Divine Liturgy, in which the sacrament of the Eucharist is celebrated. The Church teaches that when consecrated by a validly ordained priest the bread and wine used during the Mass become the body and blood of Christ through transubstantiation. The Catholic Church practises closed communion and only baptised members of the Church in a state of grace are ordinarily permitted to receive the Eucharist. It holds the Virgin Mary, as mother of Jesus Christ, in special regard and has defined four specific Marian dogmatic teachings, namely her Immaculate Conception without original sin, her status as the Mother of God, her perpetual virginity and her bodily Assumption into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.