The cult of the saints, as formulated in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, depended in large part on the production and dissemination of hagiographic texts. Such texts provided evidence that the hero or heroine had lived a virtuous life, or in the case of sinners like Mary Magdalene, that he or she had undergone a period of penance appropriate to his or her transgression.
Hagiographic texts also testified to the performance of miracles, both during and after a saint's lifetime. Such events became a decisive factor in determining who achieved sainthood, and were key to motivating the faithful to undertake pilgrimages. In fact, many collections of saints' lives were organized around the various feast days used to celebrate the saints, so that the reader would know when to pay homage to Demetrios and when to commemorate Sergios.
One of the most important collections of saints' lives is the Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend. Compiled by the Dominician friar Jacobus de Voragine around 1260, the Golden Legend started as a guide for clerics, but became a popular text among lay readers in later centuries. Its widespread use is apparent in the large number of surviving copies and its translation into multiple vernacular languages.
The first English translation of the Golden Legend appeared in 1483. Prepared by William of Caxton, this translation was one of the first printed books in Europe. Caxton's translation is also notable for the addition of material from a number of other sources, including the Bible, which he used to augment Voragine's text. Rather than viewing this as a deviation from the original, however, it is more productive to think of Caxton's translation as continuing in the tradition of hagiography to which Voragine belonged, with the purpose of such a text being to capture the reader's imagination.
You can read the entire Temple Classics 1900 edition of William of Caxton's translation of The Golden Legend online, thanks to the digitization efforts of Robert Blackmon for the Internet Medieval Source Book.
Saint Eustace According to legend, the Roman general Placidus was out hunting a stag when an image of Jesus on the cross appeared between the animal's antlers, inspiring him to convert to Christianity and adopt the name Eustace.
Saint Paul While travelling to Damascus, Paul had a vision of Christ and was temporarily blinded. When he recovered his sight, he converted to Christianity and began missionary activity throughout the Mediterranean.