The literary genre is usually understood as a way of classifying writing by more or less strict conventions of theme, approach, language and composition, which forms a part of the total literary output of specific historical periods. The emergence of Christianity and its expansion from the fourth century on played a crucial role in the survival, renewal and re-orientation of several kinds of writing. Moreover, the dissemination of Christianity was the generative force behind new forms of religio-literary expression, one of which was hagiography. The literary strength of hagiography was no doubt underpinned by its two large resource tanks, both of which strongly marked the historical origins of Christianity: martyrdom and monasticism. As reactions to the social status quo, they straddle the divide that splits Christian history into a period of persecution and marginality and a period of state sponsorship that led to Christianity’s rise to the status of a world religion.