The Byzness

= = = = =
The Byzness, 12 May 2013
= = = = =


= = = = =

Opening of the Deir al-Surian Library and Conservation Centre

Wadi el Natrun, Egypt

On Sunday 19 May, 2013, the Monastery of the Syrians (referred to thereafter as Deir al-Surian) will open its doors to guests attending the opening of the new state-of-the-art library.  The event will be held under the patronage of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark; His Grace Bishop Mattaos, Abbot of Deir al-Surian; and The Levantine Foundation.


The new library, partially funded by the Foundation, has been built within the tenth century walls of the sixth century Coptic monastery to house the priceless collection of ancient Christian Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic manuscripts, many of which date back to the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries A.D. The Levantine Foundation is strongly committed to the preservation and recording of these important manuscripts.


The purpose-built library will provide world class storage for the collection and facilities for all aspects of book conservation, including education and training which will enable unrivalled state-of-the-art care for the library’s precious collection. The building is equipped with an advanced temperature and humidity control system for long term preservation, a conservation laboratory, and public access areas such as reading rooms for visiting scholars. Biannual conservation field campaigns organised by The Levantine Foundation will give British, European,and Egyptian conservators unique professional development opportunities to acquire broader capability and ‘extended professionalism’ characterised by independent judgment, involvement in a community of practice, and the demonstration of practical or intellectual leadership.


Elizabeth Sobczynski, founder and CEO of The Levantine Foundation comments on the new library:


This is the most exciting moment since the inception of the organisation in 2002. For the past ten years it has been my dream to safely house this unique collection, to ensure its survival for future generations, and with modern technology, make it accessible to the world of scholarship. Now that my dream has been fulfilled, I look forward to working with the collection and training Egyptian conservators on how to best preserve their cultural heritage for future generations.


The library will be opened by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and the event will be attended by His Grace Bishop Mattaos; Sir Derek Plumbly, President of The Levantine Foundation; CEO Elizabeth Sobczynski; Dr Khalil Nougaim, Executive Director of The Levantine Foundation in Egypt; many distinguished heads of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and other eminent guests.


 For further information about the Opening of the Deir al-Surian Library and Conservation Centre please contact:


 Hana Salama: (London)


Elizabeth Sobczynski: (London)


Nevene Sami: (Cairo)


 Or visit the Levantine Foundation website:
= = = = =
Bessarion’s Treasure: editing, translating and interpreting Bessarion’s literary heritage

An International Conference organized by the Institute of Byzantine Studies of the University of Munich, Germany, and hosted by the German Center of Venetian Studies in Venice, Italy.

Venice, 4-5 April 2014

In his act of donation written in 1468, Bessarion underlined that the greatest treasure he had ever possessed in his life was his library, which he was now donating to Venice, the “alterum Byzantium”. While generations of historians and philologists have been ever grateful to Bessarion for this invaluable act of preserving for posterity one of the most significant vestiges of Byzantine civilization, it is not until recently that the literary heritage of Bessarion himself and his circle has begun to attract close attention of the scholarly world.

On the occasion of presenting the forthcoming critical edition, translation and philosophical commentary on Bessarion’s treatise De Natura et Arte, the members of the Munich research group responsible for the project invite contributions from colleagues who work on editing, translating and interpreting texts written by Bessarion and his circle.  Contributions are expected to be between 20 and 45 minutes in duration and may be delivered in English, German, Italian or French.

Confirmed key-note speaker: Prof. John Monfasani, Albany, USA

If you would like to participate, please send a short abstract (200 words) to by May 31, 2013. Inquiries about the possibility of obtaining financial support (travel and accommodation grants) should also be addressed to

The Conference is organized by Dr. Sergei Mariev, Dr. Katharina Luchner and Dr. Monica Marchetto on behalf of the Institute of Byzantine Studies of the University of Munich with the support of the Byzantine Studies Association of Germany  and the Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani, Venice.

IMBAS: NUI Galway:
‘Destruction, Renewal … and back again?’

29 Nov – 1 Dec 2013

Graduate Conference, Full Details:


Closing date for proposals: 30th September 2013

= = = = =
Ivory trade and exchange in Late Antiquity and Early Islam
International Conference hosted by the Warburg Institute, 18 – 19 June 2013


Convened by Hugh Kennedy and Myriam Wissa (SOAS)


Organised with the support of the London Middle East Institute at SOAS


Held in association with The Leverhulme Trust.
In recent years Andalusian and Siculo-Arabic ivory carving has received a huge


amount of attention from stylistic, iconographic and archaeological perspectives.


This conference is organised in the context of a major Leverhulme-funded


project, “Bridging Religious Difference in a Multicultural Eastern


Mediterranean Society. Communities of Artisans and their Commercial


Networks in Egypt from Justinian to the ‘Abbasids (6th-10th centuries)”, in


which Dr Myriam Wissa, the project researcher, and Professor Hugh Kennedy


are involved. It invites scholars to give their pertinent and innovative views on


ivory sources, local markets of the African hinterland, patterns of supply and


demand, method of provisioning, trade routes and the transit trade in Indian


Ocean ivory. The objectives of this conference is to go beyond the narrow


confines of art history and archaeology, focusing on the history of trade and


exchange, socio-political and diplomatic relations in Late Antiquity and early


Islam, whilst combining carving and the transmission of techniques.


The comparative and multi-disciplinary approaches allow, for the first time, a
thorough understanding of such issues.
Warburg Institute:
Reading Armenia: Armenian sources in Byzantine and Arabic Studies


Conference convened by Timothy Greenwood (St. Andrews), Hugh Kennedy (SOAS), Ioanna Rapti (KCL)


Friday 10- Saturday 11 May


Strand Campus King’s College London WC2R 2LS


Council Room K2.29
Full Details:
This entry was posted in Byzness. Bookmark the permalink.