From Archaic Greece to Imperial Rome verse was the prime literary medium for immortalising people credited with great achievements and heroic acts. Although after the fourth century CE Christian saints met all the requirements for taking over the role of the ancient gods, heroes and emperors, the extant literature of Greek hagiography in verse can hardly compete with the bulk of hagiographical material surviving in prose. Notwithstanding their scarcity, poetic works in Greek dedicated to the lives, martyrdoms and miracles of Byzantine saints have long deserved separate discussion. Under the headings versi, versiculi, carmen and vita metrica or laudatio metrica, the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca lists some twenty entries relating to metrical texts of varying lengths, but, given its claim that no ‘metrical text devoted to a saint’ can be classified as ‘hagiography in verse’, the question arises as to which criteria should prevail in making such a classification.