Holiness on the Move: Travelling Saints in Byzantium

Holiness on the Move: Travelling Saints in Byzantium lead image

Holiness on the Move: Travelling Saints in Byzantium, Newcastle University, February 22, 2019

Travel is a noticeable feature of hagiographic accounts of the Byzantine period. Lives of saints couch diverse stories of geographic mobility, from those of itinerant or vagrant holy men and women, who willingly embrace travel as a way of life and a particular form of humility, to those of displaced monks, who are forcefully driven from their spiritual abodes. Byzantine hagiographic sources thus provide considerable material that would repay investigation within the renewed scholarly interest in Byzantine travel literature.

This one-day international workshop explores travel in Byzantium in connection to Byzantine ideals of sainthood, as reflected in hagiographic compositions, and addresses a set of questions related to monastic mobility, including: what are the particularities of monastic travel in terms of modes of mobility, travel range, logistics and practicalities of voyage, interactions, contacts, adversities and opportunities encountered along the way? What are the geographical coordinates and span of the travels, as well as possible patterns of mobility? Where is travel situated within Byzantine spirituality and monasticism? How does mobility impact the spiritual and monastic trajectory of holy men and women and contribute to the spread of religious practices and ideas? How are historical realities reflected (or constructed) in hagiographic accounts of travel, in terms of descriptions of landscape, places and geographical landmarks, travel experience, and sociopolitical context? What do these accounts reveal about Byzantine mentalities and attitudes regarding travel and mobility?

Register by February 15, 2019.