The Cult of St Anna in Byzantium is the first undertaking in Byzantine research to study the phenomenon of St Anna’s cult from the sixth to the fifteenth centuries. It was prompted by the need to enrich our knowledge of a female saint who had already been studied in the West but remained virtually unknown in Eastern Christendom. It focuses on a figure little-studied in scholarship and examines the formation, establishment and promotion of an apocryphal saint who made her way to the pantheon of Orthodox saints. Visual and material culture, relics and texts track the gradual social and ideological transformation of Byzantium from early Christianity until the fifteenth century. This book not only examines various aspects of early Christian and Byzantine civilisation, but also investigates how the cult of saints greatly influenced cultural changes in order to suit theological, social and political demands.
The cult of St Anna influenced many diverse elements of Christian life in Constantinople, including the creation of sacred spaces and the location of haghiasmata (fountains of holy water) in the city; imperial patronage; the social reception of St Anna’s story; and relic narratives. This monograph breaks new ground in explaining how and why Byzantium and the Orthodox Church attributed scriptural authority to a minor figure known only from a non-canonical work.