Accounts of saints' lives have been favorite reading material for many, and at times their composition (hagiography) has become a real art. Apart from those that are simple, contemporary records, they often become miracle-studded tales. Two immortal collections of saints' lives are the Golden Legend and the Little Flowers of St. Francis (see Francis, Saint). In the modern Roman Catholic Church the Bollandists have been charged with the task of separating the true from the false in hagiography. The effort entails the revision of official books, e.g., the Roman Martyrology, a compendium of saints' lives.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.