The holy soldiers were venerated in the Byzantine Empire as guardians and allies in war. Descriptions of their miraculous interventions in battles most often concern SS George, Demetrius, Theodor Stratelat and Theodor Teron. Interest in the holy soldiers (holy knights) was connected in the Western Christian states with the emergence of chivalrous ideas and with the growing interest in the crusades in the 11th century. The crusaders had a profound respect for St George. Undoubtedly, they picked up the practice of invoking him in battle from the Byzantines. The crusaders also turned to SS Theodor, Mercurius and Demetrius. There are records of the direct intervention of these soldiers in the battles of the crusaders. As the cult of these saints did not have deep roots in the West, it soon vanished after the crusades were over. In the Western Christian states, the patron saints of the land played the role of guardian of the nation, hence guardian in war. From the 11th century on, there are also records of the direct participation of the patron saints of the land in battles. Descriptions of the miracles of the patron saints of the land imitate the Miracula of the Byzantine holy soldiers. Unlike the Byzantine holy soldiers, who were accepted as the patron saints of the ruling dynasties because of the aid they gave in battle, the interventions of the patron saints of the land were the result of their constant vigilance over their nation and their land.
M. Horinkova, Ústav dejin umeni AV CR, Husova 4, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier