Message from our Director
Dear Friends of the Bollandists,

Until recently, the Director of the Société des Bollandistes also held the position of President.  However, in order to be more effective, our General Assembly elected Fr. Mark Rotsaert, a well-known specialist in the spirituality of St. Ignatius, to be our President.  We welcomed him with joy and have no doubt that he will be able to use his talents to best promote our Society.
At the time of writing, the great project of cataloguing our ancient collection is coming to an end. This feat, inconceivable until a few years ago, was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Baillet Latour Fund. It took only three years for the three cataloguers to complete just over 22,500 bibliographic units prior to 1800.  This exceptional collection is now available online to researchers around the world.  An international study day, in Louvain-la-Neuve on 14 February 2020, will demonstrate the importance of this resource.
A particularly generous benefactor has enabled us to develop a new computer platform that allows us not only to catalogue books and journals, but also to integrate the selective search of periodicals and collective works, which regularly enriches our thematic catalogue.  This new tool is now available online and, funding permitting, we are planning to include a scan of the entire thematic card catalogue, maintained until recently.  The scientific community will then have at its disposal an unparalleled hagiographical bibliography.
Last August, the Clavis Clavium (ClaCla), a collaboration between KULeuven, the publisher Brepols and the Société des Bollandistes, was presented in Oxford.  This unprecedented computer tool aims in the long term to provide a repertoire of all ancient and medieval Christian literature.  In its first version, it integrates the two claves of the Greek and Latin Fathers, as well as the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina and the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca.  The updating of these instruments will now be more efficient and faster thanks to this new database.  However, there is considerable work to be done to include references to more than a thousand publications since the last printed supplements.  Here too, we will need help.
As I was finishing this letter, our printer rang the doorbell to deliver the copies, hot off the press, of a new volume of our Subsidia Hagiographica collection. The author is Sophie Métivier and it is titled: Aristocracy and Holiness in Byzantium (8th-11th century).  Our printer did not leave the premises empty-handed: we entrusted him with the text of the second annual issue of the Analecta Bollandiana, traditionally published in December.
Thank you for your support, your gifts, and your friendship, of which we have received much evidence during the past year.  Next year we will do even better, supported, we hope, by more and more Friends. I would like to wish you, your families and your colleagues at work a very happy Christmas holiday and a fruitful 2020.

Robert Godding, SJ

New publication: Aristocracy and Holiness in Byzantium (8th-11th century) Sophie Métivier, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, specialist in Byzantine history, has just published her latest book in our Subsidia Hagiographica collection: In the abundant cohort of Byzantine saints a new figure emerged in the first centuries of the Middle Ages; some secular aristocrats, military leaders, landowners or men of letters, by their position in the world and their functions, were declared saints and united the power of the aristocrat  with the authority of the saint. The book examines this exceptional holiness, its members (Eudokimos, Philaret, Kallistos and the XLII martyrs of Amorion, Simeon the Metaphrast…), its genesis and its grounding in the Byzantine aristocratic environment of the 8th  to 11th centuries, as well as its relations with imperial authority and the ecclesiastical hierarchy. This need for sacredness and holiness asserted by this socially dominant group at this particular point in the history of the Empire offers a new perspective on the ideology and political culture of the Byzantine world.

A stimulating symposium on the ‘aggiornamento’ of the saints in the modern era A symposium entitled “The cult of the holy founders and patrons prior to the year 1000, in the era of the Catholic reform” organised by the Bollandist Society and the Université Saint-Louis was held on 24-25 October 2019 in Brussels.  Academics from France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland shed light upon aspects of the cult of the ancient saints during the tumultuous 16th and 17th centuries.  From the Bollandists, both Mr. François De Vriendt and Fr. Marc Lindeijer presented a paper. The presentations and discussions, rich and stimulating, confirmed once again the importance of the modern era as regards the representation and perception of saints.  The records will be published in our series Subsidia hagiographica.

An award winning Subsidia Hagiographica The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres awarded the Charles Diehl Medal to Anna Lampadaridi for her book titled “The Conversion of Gaza to Christianity: The Life of S. Porphyry of Gaza by Mark the Deacon”, recently published in our Subsidia Hagiographica collection. The award, which each year honours a monograph dedicated to the Byzantine world, was presented at the formal sitting on November 29, held under the dome of the Institute. We warmly congratulate  Anna Lampadaridi.

Our new online catalogue In addition to the books and journals already included in the online catalogue of the UCLouvain, the new catalogue of our library ( offers an ever growing number of articles from journals and collective volumes, specifically indexed by the Bollandists based on their hagiographical content. As of now, more than 70,000 records can be found online. With half a million volumes in our library, this work is still ongoing: some sections of the library still need to be processed, and not all articles are indexed.  We plan to scan the thematic card catalogue, which has been maintained until very recently, so that it can be consulted online.  This will provide an exceptional bibliographical tool for hagiographic studies.

Save the date! February 14, 2020: A treasure brought to light.  The ancient collection of the Bollandists’ Library International study day.  Louvain-la-Neuve, February 14, 2020, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dean’s Room 22, Place des Doyens, 1. This conference will show, through a few targeted interventions, the importance of the ancient collection of the Bibliothèque des Bollandistes, recently catalogued thanks to a grant from the Baillet Latour Fund.

Join the “Friends of the Bollandists” by supporting the Bollandist Fund under the auspices of the King Baudouin Foundation If you have already done so please renew your membership! For more information go to: or, contact: Irini de Saint Sernin at : Modest monthly contributions can be a very effective way of helping us! A minimum annual amount of 40 € (even if paid in several instalments) is tax exempt.