One of the classic works of hagiography, Paul Bedjan’s seven volume work on collected acts of martyrs and saints is an invaluable Syraic resource. Containing many foundational stories of early Christianity, this work is approved by the Roman Catholic Church and is highly valued in the Syrian Orthodox tradition.
A classic of hagiography, Bedjan’s massive seven-volume Acts of Martyrs and Saints is one of two main sources on the saints’ lives written in Syriac. Containing the stories of the saints from the perspective of the Eastern Church, Bedjan’s work frequently surpasses the magisterial work of Assemani because of the discovery of superior manuscripts. Ubiquitously referenced, this standard work is of acknowledged value by both Roman Catholic and Syrian Orthodox Christians. The lives of saints Peter, Thomas, Paul, Anthony, Ephrem, Rabbula, and Gregory; the martyrdom of saints George and Polycarp; Chaldean and Persian martyrs; the homilies of Jacob of Serug; and St. Cyril’s letter to Theodotian are a few of the highlights contained in these volumes. The final volume is a new publication of Paradisus Patrum, or the lives of the desert fathers. Together this Syriac collection makes up a major contribution to our knowledge of the early church and its traditions.
Paul Bedjan (1838-1920) was a Chaldean priest. A committed Orientalist, he worked with and collected many Syriac manuscripts. Many of his works are available from Gorgias Press.