Motherhood and Sanctity in the Cult of Saint Anne: The Reception of the Saint's Legend Based on Its Earliest Sources from Medieval Hungary, the Teleki, Kazinczy and Érdy codices

The veneration of St. Anne was far from being uncontroversial in the Middle Ages, due to her apocryphal origin, her vitae, and the theological debates regarding the conception of her daughter, the Virgin Mary. The surviving textual sources of her cult from late medieval Hungary are mostly sermons and legends written in Franciscan environments. The few existing studies on the written sources of St. Anne's cult in medieval Hungary surveyed only her legends preserved in manuscripts of Hungarian provenance. The earliest Anne legends in the Teleki and Kazinczy codices were written in Franciscan environment for the use of Tertiaries and Clarisse sisters. St Anne's legend in the Carthausian Érdy codex was intended to be read by a larger audience, namely nuns and lay brothers. In my paper I examine these works in the broader context of theological debates around Saint Anne's figure, and focus on the manners scribes presented the saint's vita in monastic environment. The anthropological appoach to Anne's legends allows us to contextualize the saint's cult; to identify the main ideas about the saint's cult, her most important attributes, transmitted by the scribes to the targeted segment of society. The philological analyzes carried out by Lajos Katona, János Horváth, and Anna Veres aimed to trace the sources of Anne's legends in the three Hungarian codices. Nevertheless, they did not analyze these texts by taking into consideration the intended readers, and by contextualizing them in the late medieval sainthood. The latter analytic approach was not developed until now.


Keywords: Saint Anne, legend, trinubium, miracles, Immaculate Conception, Fransiscan Order, Clarisses, Fransiscan female Third Order, codices, social context