The Byzness

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The Byzness, 10 February 2013
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The cathedral of Mren is now in danger of collapse. Constructed in c. 638, Mren is a masterpiece of world art and a product of the “Golden Age” of Armenian architecture. Bearing an inscription naming the Roman emperor Heraclius, and a unique sculpted relief image of Heraclius returning the True Cross to Jerusalem, Mren preserves precious material evidence for one of the most dramatic and yet poorly-documented moments in history. It is also the largest domed basilica surviving from the region, and a key example of the architectural achievements of the seventh century. But Mren may not be standing for much longer. Photographs from the 1990s to the first decade of the twenty-first century show the progressive collapse of the south façade. Now the entire south aisle is in rubble on the ground, severely compromising the domed superstructure of the monument and opening the interior and its wall painting to the elements. The prospect of stabilizing what is left is at present doubtful, however, because of Mren’s position within a military zone in eastern Turkey (Kars province) next to the closed Armenian-Turkish border. Visiting the site is forbidden. Please raise awareness of the precarious condition of this precious monument. Mren has stood for over a millennium, bearing world history on its walls. Its collapse would represent a tragic loss to human knowledge.
Christina Maranci
Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art
Department of Art History
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155


Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia to open for prayers

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency

Hagia Sophia Museum, in Istanbul, was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360 AD. Hürriyet photo

The historical Hagia Sophia in Trabzon will soon be opened up for prayers, according to the Foundations Directorate Head Adnan Ertem, while a parliamentary commission is also considering an application to reopen Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum for prayers.

Ertem said five of the seven Hagia Sophias nationwide were currently functioning as mosques, but two were still inactive, adding that the Culture Minister was the “occupying force” in the decision to reopen Trabzon’s mosque.

“We have won the court case regarding the situation,” Ertem said. “We are planning to open the place for prayers again after the necessary processes are completed.”

Ertem refrained from commenting on whether or not the same situation could be said about Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.

“The Hagia Sofia Mosque in Istanbul is a mosque, and will remain one forever,” Ertem said. “However, we are not the authority [to open the mosque to prayers]. We can only voice the state of it, and the fact that it is accepted as a mosque by everyone, but we cannot decide on it.”

Three citizens living in the northwestern province of Kocaeli recently applied to a parliamentary commission with a request to change the status of Hagia Sophia, attaching a survey of 400 people favoring the active use of the mosque. The application has been taken under consideration by Parliament’s Petition Commission, with several online petitions also lending support, Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday. The commission will be asking for the opinions of the related institutions on the issue.

The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360 A.D. Until the year of 1453 it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople. Following the city’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire, the building was converted into a mosque in 1453 and remained so until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was reopened by the republican authorities in 1935 as a museum.

Read Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art Third to Seventh Century Free Online
Please find it here, along with other Byzantine articles:


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Russian Orthodox Bishop Visit to Keble College
Full Details here


Exegesis, from East to West
Heythrop College, London, 16th February 2013

The Society’s fourth one-day conference will take place on 16th February 2013 at Heythrop College, South Kensington, London. The conference will consider the influence of modes of exegesis originating in one religious tradition on the reading of the scriptures of another. Areas covered will be Latin and Greek Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism, involving examples of both dialogue and polemic.

The speakers will include: Reinhart Ceulemans (Goettingen), Martin Ganeri (Heythrop), Anthony Lappin (Manchester), Sergio la Porta (Fresno, CA), Lesley Smith (Oxford), David Thomas (Birmingham), Joanna Weinberg (Oxford).

Registration is now open for this event. The full delegate fee, including lunch and refreshements is £30, with members of the Society receiving a reduction of a third and paying £20. Those wishing to attend can send a cheque made payable to ‘SSMLL’ at the Society’s address or sign up now by using the button below.

The Society will be providing travel grants to assist graduates wishing to attend the conference. For more information, please contact the Society.


“Sailing to Byzantium”: Understanding a Lost Empire
Wednesday 20 February 2013

5.30pm, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre


Dr. Helen C. Evans (Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Since The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s founding in 1870 its collection of Byzantine Art has been presented in dramatically differing ways. The changes reflected, or led, the interest of scholars and the public in the arts of an empire whose state ended more than half a millennium ago. This paper considers the Metropolitan Museum’s installations and exhibitions as they relate to the evolution of our understanding of Byzantium and its periphery and possible future areas of exploration and installation.

Helen C. Evans is a specialist in Early Christian, Byzantine and Armenian art, she received her masters and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. After joining the curatorial staff of the Museum in 1991, she installed the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Byzantine Art, the first galleries dedicated to Byzantine art in an encyclopedic museum, in 2000 and expanded them in 2008. She has curated three landmark exhibitions on Byzantine Art – Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th – 9th Century) in 2012, Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) in 2004, and The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era (843-1261). Her other exhibitions include: Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts; Textiles of Late Antiquity; and The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Collecting, in honor of the director’s retirement in 2008. Dr. Evans has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has taught at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, Columbia University, Hunter College, the University of Chicago, and Oberlin College. She is a member of the Board of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Holy Cross College; treasurer and a founding member of the Association of Art Museum Curators; and former chair of the Editorial Board of the Art Bulletin.

This lecture is presented by The Courtauld Institute of Art in association with the International Center of Medieval Art, New York, and with the support of The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Research Forum. The International Center of Medieval Art promotes the study of the visual arts of the Middle Ages in Europe. Its worldwide membership includes academics, museum professionals, students, and other enthusiasts. The lecture series ‘ICMA at The Courtauld’ is made possible through the generosity of Dr. William M. Voelkle.

The lecture will be followed by a reception sponsored by Sam Fogg

Open to all, free admission

ICMA publishes a scholarly journal Gesta, a newsletter, supports a website, and sponsors lectures and conference sessions.  email: and web: Annual membership application forms for ICMA will be available at the lecture: Students $20 Others (non-US) $70.  Local arrangements:  Dr Joanna Cannon, The Courtauld Institute of Art,


Sexaginta: Translated Texts for Historians and the Late-Antique East
Saturday 9 March 2013
Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Translated Texts for Historians celebrates its sixtieth volume by asking contributors two classic questions. What difference does it make when another late-antique text joins the range of available reading? And what next? It takes as its focus the late-antique East. This region witnessed some of the most significant political and cultural transformations of the era, set against the background of Rome’s rivalry with Sassanid Persia and the rise of Islam, while concurrently it also saw the flourishing of new languages and literatures. Whereas for earlier periods of Roman history we are largely dependent on sources in Latin and Greek written by (and for) metropolitan elites, for late antiquity we have texts composed in Armenian, Georgian, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Arabic. These provide a number of challenges to the Mediterranean-centred perspective that prevails for earlier centuries. The purpose of this colloquium is to celebrate and build-upon TTH’s accomplishments in this field. Papers will trace the experiences of communities across the late-antique East as they endured Romano-Persian wars, witnessed the increasing dominance of Christianity, or came under Muslim rule. Papers, responses, and discussion will shape a volume in TTH’s sister-series TTC, Translated Texts in Context.

Coffee and registration from 10.30 a.m.
11.00 Introduction: Averil Cameron (Oxford)
Session 1 (11.15 –12.45 pm): Other languages, other perspectives
Jeff Childers (Abilene Christian) Georgian: Porphyry of Gaza
Christopher Haas (Villanova) Beyond the edge of the map: TTH and a larger late antiquity
Respondent: Claudia Rapp (Vienna)

Lunch break (12.30 – 2 p.m.)

Session 2 (2– 3.30 p.m.) Many languages, many perspectives?
Giusto Traina (Paris) Thoughts on ps.-Sebeos (title tbc)
Petra Sijpesteijn (Leiden): Multi-lingual papyri
Respondent: Arietta Papaconstantinou  (Reading)

Tea break (3.30 – 4 p.m.)

Session 3 (4 –5.30 p.m.) Where next?
Philip Wood (Cambridge) The Chronicle of Seert
Phil Booth (Oxford) TTH and the study of the early medieval East
Respondent: James Howard-Johnston  (Oxford)

Discussion, followed by wine reception, courtesy of Liverpool University Press

The colloquium is free, but since space is limited, you are asked to email Neil McLynn (

 to register.  A sandwich lunch is available at Corpus at £5 per head.  This must be booked when registering.


The representation of real people in the Late Antique and Byzantine Art

Private Portrait
14.-15. February 2013
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Sonnenfelsgasse 19
1010 Vienna

Full Details Here.

Vasiliki Tsamakda and Norbert Zimmermann
Institute of the Academy of Ancient Culture
Baker Street 13
1010 Vienna


Temple and Tomb: Reimagining the Sacred Buildings of Jerusalem
A two-day conference to be held on 15-16 March at The Courtauld Institute of Art
Ticket/entry details: £26 (£16 students, Courtauld staff and concessions): Book online here: information and programme here:


The World of Caesarius of Arles:

a short conference organised by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

Date:  Friday 15th-Saturday 16th March, 2013

The starting point for this conference is the lively and controversial figure of Caesarius, bishop of Arles from 502-542. Both Caesarius and the time in which he lived have been seen as emblematic of the cusp between the ancient and medieval eras. This conference brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in order to throw light on this fascinating figure, an eventful period of late antique history, and the rich material culture of southern Gaul.

Friday 15th March Opening Lecture, 5pm

William Klingshirn (Catholic University of America): ‘Caesarius of Arles: 1970-2042: retrospect and prospect’

Saturday 16th March Day Conference (9am-6pm)

Lisa Bailey (Auckland): ‘Scripture in the sermons of Caesarius of Arles’

Kate Cooper (Manchester): ‘Caesarius and the late Roman household’

Lucy Grig (Edinburgh): ‘Celebrating the Kalends of January in late antique Gaul’

Peter Heather (KCL): ‘Caesarius, Theodoric and the Papacy’

Edward James (TCD): ‘The self-representation of a bishop: Caesarius of Arles compared to Gregory of Tours’

Simon Loseby (Sheffield): ‘Arles in the time of Caesarius’

There will be a registration fee of £20 (£15 for students), to include a wine reception (Friday), morning coffee, buffet lunch and afternoon tea (Saturday).

To register for the conference please e-mail or write to the conference organiser, Lucy Grig, and send a cheque made out to ‘The University of Edinburgh’ to her at the address below. Please also contact her for additional information or if you wish to join the speakers for the conference dinner:

Dr Lucy Grig


University of Edinburgh

William Robertson Wing

Teviot Place




2013 Byzantine Symposium

The New Testament in Byzantium

Co-Symposiarchs: Robert Nelson and Derek Krueger

April 26 – 28, 2013

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.  

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Byzantine symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., from Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, 2013.  Please note that the symposium will be two full days and one partial day session: sessions will begin at 9 am on Friday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.

The New Testament lay at the center of Byzantine Christian thought and practice.  Scribes copied its gospels and epistles. Lectionaries apportioned much of its contents over the course of the liturgical calendar; its narratives structured the experience of liturgical time and shaped the nature of Christian preaching. Quoted, alluded to, and expounded, it inspired and fueled the genres of hagiography and hymnography. Patrons and illustrators brought scenes from the life of Christ and his apostles to manuscripts, icons, and the walls of churches.  Preachers, theologians and political theorists drew inspiration and authority from its teachings. Considering such varied legacies, this symposium assesses the impact of the New Testament on Byzantine civilization. 

Following the successful symposium and volume on the Old Testament in Byzantium, we extend the investigation of the Bible in Byzantine history.  We raise the following questions: What was the New Testament for Byzantine Christians?  What of it was known, how, when, where, and by whom?  How was this knowledge mediated through text, image, and rite? What was the place of these sacred texts in Byzantine arts, letters, and thought?  We draw upon the current state of textual scholarship and explore aspects of New Testament manuscripts.  But manuscripts of complete biblical texts, collections of texts, or entire Bibles were not the only or even the most important way in which the New Testament was understood, and accordingly, we explore the transformation of the New Testament as read, heard, imaged, and imagined in lectionaries, hymns, homilies, saints’ lives, and illustrations in miniatures and monuments. We turn also to the role of the New Testament in framing theological inquiry, ecclesiastical controversy, and political thought.  Central is our conviction that liturgy, liturgical arts, and intellectual culture offered places where exegesis continued, long after the tradition of Patristic biblical commentary had ceased.  Our interdisciplinary conversation will yield fuller knowledge of the New Testament and its varied reception over the long history of Byzantium.

Space for this event is limited, and registration will be handled on a first come, first served basis. For further information, please visit our website ( or contact the Byzantine Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks (, 202-339-6940).


Sevgi Gonul Byzantine Studies Symposium 2013
Draft Programme is available here.
The program and the abstracts can also be reached from the webpage of the Symposium ([+]
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*Study Tour: Ancient Cities of South-West Turkey*
*Centre for Late Antique Archaeology, University of Kent*

Dr Luke Lavan is organising a study tour of the Ancient Cities of
South-West Turkey for 6 days from the 15th to 20th April 2013. We will
consider all periods of classical urban history, but have a special
focus on late antiquity.

We will be visiting the following archaeological sites (subject to
contingency): Tlos, Xanthos, Letoon, Patara, Arykanda, Myra (Saint
Nicholas), Andriake, Chimaera (Olympos), Perge, Sagalassos, Hierapolis,
Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Priene, Herakleia.

The cost of the trip (which is offered at cost price) will be
approximately 500 GBP (depending on the exchange rate) and will include
the flights from London Gatwick (we travel on the same flights), hotel
(shared rooms, no singles), transport in Turkey, site tickets, and some

A slide show of some of the sites we will visit is available at

You should be a third year undergraduate or post-graduate student, with
an established interest in classical antiquity or the early medieval
period, interested in continuing your studies. This trip is open to
students at any university in the UK or abroad.

To secure a place please write to Jo Stoner before
Monday 18th of February outlining your interest in the subject and
enclosing a CV. 


Two Fellowship Opportunities
The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) is pleased to announce two new fellowship opportunities:

1. The Swenson Family Fellowship in Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies provides grants of $2500-5000 to junior scholars (graduate students and postdoctoral scholars within three years of having been awarded their doctorate) who need to consult HMML’s Eastern Christian manuscript collections for their research. Awards will be made twice annually, with deadlines for applications on April 15 and November 15. Details can be found at:
2. The Nicky B. Carpenter Endowed Fellowship in Manuscript Studies provides an annual award of $5000 to a senior scholar using any of HMML’s manuscript collections. The deadline for applications is April 15. Details can be found at:

Junior Scholars may also apply for one of HMML’s Heckman stipends:
Note that applications for the 2014 Dietrich Reinhart OSB Fellowship in Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies will open in fall 2013, and an announcement will be made here at that time.

Questions about these opportunities may be sent to:

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