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The Life of Lazaros of Mt. Galesion

An Eleventh-Century Pillar Saint

Richard P. H. Greenfield, editor

Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Saints' Lives in Translation

Art History, Byzantine Studies, Byzantine History

This book may be freely downloaded here.


Lazaros of Mt. Galesion was widely recognized as a star of contemporary Byzantine monasticism by the time he died in 1053. His reputation for sanctity rested primarily on his extraordinary perseverance as a pillar ascetic, as he spent the last forty or so years of his life on top of a column on the barren mountain of Galesion.

The vita of Lazaros, here translated into English for the first time, was written shortly after his death by a disciple, Gregory the Cellarer. The vita makes it clear that Lazaros’s reputation was questioned during his lifetime and reveals the existence of a sometimes startling hostility toward him on the part of local church officials, neighboring monasteries, and even his own monks. It is a refreshing piece of hagiography that provides a fascinating and unusual glimpse into the dynamics of the making, or breaking, of a holy man’s reputation.

Byzantine Saints' Lives in Translation, 3

 

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