A Roman Saint on the Move

Sometimes it takes long, but it is worth waiting. This article was just published in Annali di storia dell’esegesi 38/2 and goes back to my very first conference presentation as a brand new postdoc@KU Leuven, which was held at the 6th (and so far last) Hagiotheca conference in October 2017 in Rome. This conference was also the last organised by Marianne Sághy, much more than a college and ‘honorary mentor’, who died tragically a year later. I have dedicated this article to her memory.

Here goes the abstract: “Although the cult of bishop Callixtus I of Rome (217? – 222?) is little known today, in antiquity his cult spread rapidly across the Carolingian Franca. Indeed, by the end of the first millennium, Callixtus became one of the more popular Roman martyrs both within and outside Rome. But how did this happen? And, more importantly, why? This contribution aims to answer both these questions by outlining the origins, development, and especially the expansion of Callixtus’ cult North of the Alps. It also sheds light on patterns of distribution of Callixtus’s cult, the interplay between the distribution of his relics and the dissemination of his cult, and the most important mechanisms underlying this spread. Specifically, this contribution argues that a combination of three factors boosted the cult’s quick dissemination: his office as a pope, his demonstrable martyrdom, and the Roman origins of his relics.”