Sebastē Program Registration Accommodations A Symposium in Honor of Ioli Kalavrezou

History of Art and Architecture Building on the campus of Harvard University

485 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
Saturday, April 29, 2023, 9.30 am-6pm
Confirmed speakers include:
Frances St. Amant, PhD Candidate, Harvard University
Diliana Angelova, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Merih Danalı, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University
Ivan Drpić, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Konstantina Karterouli, Research Associate, Dumbarton Oaks
Janet T. Marquardt, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Eastern Illinois University
Bissera V. Pentcheva, Professor, Stanford University
Katherine M. Taronas, Byzantine Studies Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks
Courtney Tomaselli, Instructor, Loyola University, Chicago
Nicolette S. Trahoulia, Professor, Deree-The American University of Greece
Alicia Walker, Professor, Bryn Mawr College
This event is free and open to the public; attendees are asked to register in advance.
For the complete symposium program and registration, go to: 
Sponsored by The Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, The Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, and The Byzantine Studies Program, Dumbarton Oaks

Questions? Please contact Ivan Drpić ( or Alicia Walker (

Byzantine Studies Lectures (NHRF), February 2023

The Byzantine Studies Lectures of the Institute of Historical Research (National Hellenic Research Foundation) continue on February 28 with a hybrid lecture on:

 Boundaries and borderlines in multi-religious environments: the case of Byzantium by Youval Rotman, University of Tel Aviv

18:00 EET, National Hellenic Research Foundation, 48, V. Constantinou Av. 11635, Athens.

To join via Zoom please follow the link:

You can view the series program for the spring semester of 2022-23 online:

In memoriam: John W. Nesbitt, PhD

In memoriam: John W. Nesbitt, PhD

June 12, 1939 – February 11, 2023

With heavy hearts, the Dumbarton Oaks research and learning community is sad to announce the passing of John W. Nesbitt, PhD. John first came to Dumbarton Oaks as a junior fellow in 1968 and joined the regular staff in 1973, first as Research Fellow—later Research Associate—with responsibility for the collection of seals. Until his retirement in 2009, John worked to catalogue and publish the collection, resulting in the first six volumes in the Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art (volumes 1–3 with Nicolas Oikonomides, volumes 4–5 with Oikonomides and Eric McGeer). After retirement, John remained involved with Dumbarton Oaks, continuing to advise and mentor scholars interested in Byzantine seals, as he had for over three decades. His generosity and well-judged advice will be deeply missed.

To learn more about John, please visit his obituary.

Summer University in Eastern Languages, Venice 2023

The Summer University in Eastern Languages 2023, which will take place in Venice, Italy, in July, has been announced. 18 ancient and modern languages of the Middle East are open for teaching this year, in a beautiful setting, the island of San Servolo. Minor courses, visits and a lecture are also on the program. The Summer University is French-speaking, but many instructors will be pleased to give classes in English, according to the needs of the students. More details online:

OUBS 25th International Graduate Conference

We are delighted to announce that registration for the Oxford University Byzantine Society’s 25th Annual International Graduate Conference for the 24th – 25th February ‘Passing Judgement: Distinctions, Separations, and Contradictions’ is now open!

Please use the links below to register for in person attendance (at the History Faculty, George Street OX12BE) or online. All papers will be delivered in-person, with the proceedings broadcast on a Zoom link that will circulate via email. We are greatly indebted to our sponsors and co-organisers and the team who have put their hard work into the two-day event.

The costs for attendance are as follows: 

In person attendance: £15 for students / £20 for non-students

Online attendance: £5 for students / £6 for non students

You can view the programme and abstracts of speakers at The programme may change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances, but we will endeavor to keep the programme on our website up to date to minimise disruption.

Please note, there is the option to pay either in advance through Eventbrite, or to pay on the day The second option is preferable as it saves the Eventbrite fee. Eventbrite charges 6.95% and £0.59 per ticket sold (plus VAT on the fee), which is almost £2 of each ticket. We now accept both card and cash (and have fixed our card machine). Please use the ‘Pay at Door’ option to register your interest even if not paying in advance, as this helps gauge participant numbers.

The conference is run on a tight budget and all funds go into its running, from the bursaries for travelling speakers, the lunches, refreshments, and the speakers’ dinner.

Please see above the programme, and we look forward to welcoming you to Oxford to celebrate a quarter-century of postgraduate Late Antique and Byzantine research with the OUBS. Long may it continue.

Best wishes,

Nathan, Tom, Jamie, and Yan.

OUBS Conference Committee


Oxford University Byzantine Society

Lecture: Dialogue in Homilies and Hymns on the Annunciation

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is pleased to announce the next lecture in its 2022–2023 lecture series.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | 12:00 PM EST | Zoom
Dialogue in Homilies and Hymns on the Annunciation: The Dynamics of a Divine Encounter
Mary Cunningham, University of Nottingham
The story of the Annunciation of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary is first recounted in the Gospel of Luke 1: 26-38. The event was formally adopted as a major feast in the Eastern Church, celebrated on 25 March (nine months before Christmas) in 560, during the reign of the Emperor Justinian. Homilies and hymns on the Annunciation were composed long before this date, however, not always in association with the feast. These texts build on Luke’s narrative, describing Mary as the ‘Second Eve’ who overturned the disobedience of her first ancestor by consenting to God’s will and conceiving Christ, the Son of God. They celebrate the event as the inauguration of the new dispensation, which will bring salvation to humanity and the rest of creation. Further elaboration, which appears especially in homilies – but later also in hymns – on the Annunciation, can be seen in the invention of dialogues between Gabriel and Mary or Mary and Joseph. These serve not only to convey the doctrine of the incarnation to audiences, but also to illustrate the Virgin’s human condition. She expresses shock and doubt at her first encounter with the archangel, but gradually accepts his message of salvation. This lecture will examine variations in liturgical writers’ handling of the issues of free will, gender, and Marian devotion in Byzantine homilies and hymns on the Annunciation. It will be illustrated by images of the scene, including in icons, manuscript illustrations, and monumental art.Mary B. Cunningham is Honorary Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham. Her latest monograph is The Virgin Mary in Byzantium, c. 400-1000. Hymns, Homilies, and Hagiography (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Advance registration required at

Contact Brandie Ratliff (, Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.

CFP: Speculations: The Centennial Issue of Speculum

Speculations: The Centennial Issue of Speculum

January 2026

The centenary of a scholarly journal offers the opportunity to recognize, reflect on, and reimagine scholarly methods and objects, including canonicity and the discursive possibilities of scholarship; the boundaries, borders and spaces that define our disciplines; the genres and taxonomies that shape our work.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Speculum, we aim to commemorate the journal by raising questions about the methods and parameters of our study in a prospective rather than retrospective manner. What might the future of medieval studies look like? What might the place of this journal in that future be? The volume focuses on the future of the journal and the field it helps to define by inviting a wide breadth of scholarship that can collectively speculate about how we can take medieval studies into the future. But of course those living in the medieval world broadly considered speculated on their future as well. How was the future conceived in the past and what might those past reflections about the future, and about the condition of futurity generally, have to teach us as we consider recent shifts in our field and a shifting institutional context.

The format of the centennial volume will model the kind of contributions we seek: instead of 4-5 long form articles, we plan to publish 50 short essays (of approximately 3000 words each) in an attempt to represent a broader range of voices, perspectives, methodologies, and areas of study. We welcome traditional essays as well as innovative forms of research and reflection (pedagogical speculations, creative or dialogic writing, speculative history, etc.).

We invite contributions that speculate on the past and future of scholarly work in medieval studies. We particularly welcome essays that address gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and that use comparative and interdisciplinary methods and that address at least one of the following questions:

  • What kinds of methods and theoretical models shape our work and will orient us in the future?
  • How might we call on more inclusive and expansive understandings of the Middle Ages in light of the global turn and critical reappraisals of periodization.
  • What histories do we examine, what histories do we obscure, and what criteria will most productively guide our examination of histories in the future?
  • How have scholarly understandings of medieval historicity and temporality shaped the parameters of our inquiry, and how might we critically engage these accounts?

Proposals of 300 words should be sent to by December 1, 2023.


Speculations editorial collective

Mohamad Ballan

Peggy McCracken

Cecily Hilsdale

Katherine Jansen

Sierra Lomuto

Cord J. Whitaker


The Medieval Academy of America |



Second Annual Mathews Byzantine Lecture


Alternate text

The Medieval Institute presents the Second Annual Mathews Byzantine Lecture

Olivier Delouis, Ph.D.

Research Fellow at the Maison française d’Oxford (CNRS)

Visiting Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Campion Hall

“Writing Byzantine History with the Archives of Mount Athos: The Odds and Perils of Uneven Sources”

Thursday, February 23, 2023

5:00–6:00 P.M. (U.S. Eastern)

Reception follows in person in the Medieval Institute Reading Room (715 Hesburgh Library) and streamed live on our YouTube channel

About the Talk

Byzantine documents preserved in the archives of the monasteries of Mount Athos in Greece are by far the most extensive and valuable body of documentation from the Byzantine Empire. They represent about half of the entire collection of archival documents that have survived, span more than five centuries (10th–15th c.), and cover large areas of Macedonia and Thrace as well as some North-Aegean islands. Moreover, these documents are often our only source of information about rural and urban society, agrarian economy, demography, provincial administration, among other subjects. Their prevalence should be a matter of concern since monasteries–although common in Byzantium–are very specific by nature. This presentation will assess the current research on the documentation of Mount Athos and ask the following question: is monastic history– economic, social, administrative–representative of the Empire? How can we guess what is missing, based on these monastic archives?

About the Speaker

Olivier Delouis is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a former member of the French School of Archaeology of Athens, Greece. In Oxford, he is currently a Research Fellow at the Maison française d’Oxford (CNRS) and a Visiting Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Campion Hall. From 2013 to 2021, he directed  the Revue des études byzantines (Peeters Publishers). His current research includes the edition of the Great Catecheseis of Theodore the Stoudite, the edition of two volumes of Mount Athos archives collection (monastery of Chilandar), and the publication of the scientific correspondence of Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus (1856–1912). Among his  recent publications are three collective volumes on Monastic Mobility (Rome, 2019), Monastic Daily Life, 4th–10th c. (Cairo-Athens, 2019), and Athos Monastic Archives and their Reception (Paris, 2019), as well as various articles on Theodore the Stoudite.

About the Series

The Mathews Lectures bring a distinguished scholar of Byzantine studies to campus each year to deliver a talk, supported by the Rev. Constantine Mathews Endowment for Excellence in Byzantine Christianity in the Medieval Institute. Vasilios Mathews and Nikiforos Mathews established the endowment to honor their father, the Reverend Constantine Mathews, who earned a Masters Degree in Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame in 1977. During a half-century of dedicated ministry, Father Mathews served as presiding parish priest at St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church in South Bend, followed by the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Stamford, Connecticut.

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715 Hesburgh Library | Notre Dame, IN 46556 US

Icons & Retablos: Images of Devotion Exhibition

The Museum of Russian Icons presents Icons & Retablos: Images of Devotion

March 2—August 27, 2023 

CLINTON, MA –The Museum of Russian Icons presents Icons & Retablos: Images of Devotion, March 2–August 27, 2023. This exhibition, created in collaboration with New Mexico State University, will explore the beauty and spirituality of Orthodox icons and Mexican retablos, devotional works of art with similar themes but different materials, styles,and iconographies.

Orthodox icons, typically made with egg tempera on wood panels, feature a stylized representation of the divine against a golden background, symbolizing the intangible and mysterious world of heaven. Icons, an integral part of worship in the Orthodox Church, offer us a glimpse of the divine and transcend ordinary, earthly reality.

Retablos, on the other hand, are religious images painted in oil on industrial pieces of tinplate. They depict an idealized likeness of the divine against blue skies, symbolizing truth and heaven, and facilitating a human connection with God and the saints. This unique and richly varied artistic tradition flourished in Mexico during the nineteenth century.

Guest curated by Dr. Elizabeth Calil Zarur, the exhibition will shed light on the understudied iconographic and ideological contrasts between icons and retablos, contextualizing the traditions of devotion in Latin America and the Eastern Orthodox world through comparative artistic methodologies. Despite their differences, the mutual influence and inspiration of Eastern and Western Christian art is apparent in both icons and retablos.

Icons & Retablos: Images of Devotion is grouped into four themes: the joy of the Annunciation; the loving tenderness of the Mother and Child; the suffering and death of Jesus on behalf of humankind; and documented miracles, or ex-votos. This installation encourages visitors to compare these sacred paintings and to explore these two styles of devotion through diverse materials, themes, and artistic expressions.  All of the exhibition text and materials will be available in English and Spanish.

The Museum of Russian Icons and the University Art Museum at New Mexico State University (NMSU) are caretakers of two significant collections, both portraying religious subjects which conform to theological principles and traditional iconography. The Museum of Russian Icons is home to the largest collection of icons outside of Russia; while NMSU maintains the largest collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century Mexican tin retablos of any U.S. museum.


Icons, from the Greek “eikon” meaning “image or likeness” are sacred paintings of heavenly beings and biblical events. Orthodox Christian icons are displayed in churches on a screen, called an iconostasis, which separates the main part of the church from the altar. In the Orthodox tradition, the home is seen as a satellite of the church. Icons are placed on a shelf in a prominent place known as the “icon corner” or “beautiful corner,” reserved for personal and family prayer.

The Spanish word retablo was derived from the Latin term “retro tabula” for “behind the altar.” It was originally used to designate elaborate wood screens placed behind the main altar displaying sculptures and paintings of saints and other images of devotion. However, in nineteenth-century Mexico, sacred images painted on tin and displayed on home altars were also referred to as retablos. Largely created by self-taught artists, these paintings were used primarily by the Mexican people as objects of veneration in their homes or placed at pilgrimage sites as votive offerings.

Artists of both icons and retablos often remained anonymous with the goal of rendering the image of the divine with simplicity, clarity, and emotional stimulus to piety. Historically, these images were not seen as art but as a means to connect heaven and earth.



Dr. Elizabeth Calil Zarur holds a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing, an MFA in Fiber Arts, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Art.  During her 30-year career teaching art history at New Mexico State University and Wheaton College in Massachusetts, she published extensively and curated several exhibitions.  Her research focuses on the arts and culture of Latin America and Portugal with the publication of books and articles on the nineteenth-century Mexican retablo, the colonial architecture and religious rituals of Brazil, women artists in baroque Portugal, and the feather art of the Indians of Central Brazil. She has curated several national and international exhibitions accompanied by comprehensive catalogues; and attended conferences and delivered lectures in Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, and the United States.


Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the University Art Museum’s mission is to serve as an academic environment for the critical analysis of visual art while making culturally relevant and conceptual practice accessible to the New Mexico State University and surrounding regional and border communities. The UAM actively acquires and stewards a permanent collection of contemporary visual art, houses the country’s largest collection of Mexican retablos, and facilitates educational programming aligned with the teaching missions of both the Department of Art and NMSU.


The Museum of Russian Icons preserves and exhibits one of the world’s largest collections of Orthodox Christian icons, bronze crosses, and Slavic folk arts. Spanning over six centuries, the collection showcases the development of the Russian icon from its Egyptian and Byzantine roots and explores the spread of Orthodoxy across cultures.

The Museum serves as a leading center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies and other institutional collaborations. It is the only Museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons, and the largest collection of icons outside of Russia.


Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Closed Monday–Wednesday.

Admission: Adults $12, seniors (59+) $10, Students $5, Children (13-17) $5, Children under 13 Free.

Follow the Museum of Russian Icons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Visit the website,, home of the online collection (including research papers on individual icons), a virtual tour of the Museum, the Journal of Icon Studies, and the British Museum’s Catalogue of Byzantine and Greek Icons.

*Please note the revised title of the exhibition. 

Image credits: 

Mother of God of Sign, Anonymous, Russia. 1800, Collection: Museum of Russian Icons

Soul of Mary (Our Lady of the Incarnation) Anonymous, Mexico, Nineteenth Century, Courtesy NMSU/UAM University Museum of Art.


The Museum of Russian Icons vehemently condemns the military aggression on the sovereign country of Ukraine. We stand with the courageous citizens of Ukraine and Russia who oppose this senseless act of war.




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