ABSTRACT

Just when the cult of St Katherine reached Western Europe is an open question. One complication is that the cult may have been transmitted down multiple routes. It is possible to identify three potential areas for early western penetration: Rome, Southern Italy and the German-speaking lands. 1 Each of these areas had a variety of contacts, both official and unofficial, with the Byzantine Empire through which veneration of Katherine and knowledge of her cult could have been spread. There is insufficient evidence to determine which route the cult first took and, indeed, it is perfectly possible that there were multiple entry points. The first hint of the cult is very slight and consists of a reference to the saint in the index of an early ninth-century Latin passionary, now in Munich. 2 As this is of unknown provenance, it does not help to clarify how the cult was being spread; however, it does confirm the existence of the Passio by the end of the eighth century.