Call for papers 5th HAGIOTHECA Conference: Church Reforms and the Cult of Saints



Church Reforms and the Cult of Saints


Zadar, 17-21 September 2014


Conference organized by

Croatian Hagiography Society Hagiotheca

University of Zadar

University of Turku - Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

University of Tampere - Hagiographica Septentrionalia


The question of church reforms has been repeatedly emerging in recent scholarship, from the early medieval monastic reform movements to the reforms promulgated by the Tridentine Council. While exploring the processes and effects of various ecclesiastical reforms, former studies did not specifically focus on a comparative analysis of the reforming actions and strategies. To this purpose, seeing the vast scholarly field covering the ecclesiastical reform movements, we have considered it necessary to establish certain parameters or comparative points that would serve as a basis for precise analysis. As one of the most important aspects of church history in general, the cult of saints could provide an adequate foothold for exploring the similarities and differences between various reformist strategies.

Following the already established tradition of Hagiotheca's previous conferences exploring the relationship between the cult of the saints and diverse social, cultural, and political phenomena, the upcoming conference aims at juxtaposing the ways in which the church reformers approached the cult of the saints and used them in order to achieve their reformist goals. We propose to address three main problems: the creation of new cults, the suppression of new/old cults, and the transformation of the existing cults.

These problems can be tackled with the following, as well as any other subquestions:

• What was the place of the saints' cults in the chronology of a church reform? Were the cults involved in the reformist actions from the beginning, or strategically tackled at a later phase?

• What were the actual strategical moves regarding the cults?

• Was the creation/suppresion/transformation of the cults spreading from the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy or was it rather capillary?

• What was the role of popular devotion in these actions? What was the attitude of the reformed church towards the popular veneration of the reformist saints?

• What was the role of the ˝future saints“ in these reforms, and in what ways did their own engagement eventually contribute to their canonisation?

• Finally, how important was the cult of saints as a means of promoting of the reformist ideas?


We invite papers discussing the role of the saints' cults in major church reforms, as well as their minor reflections, including, but not limited to:

• Reforms and reform-like phenomena in Late Antiquity

• Monastic refoms in the early Middle Ages (8th - 11th c.)

• Gregorian and post-Gregorian reform of clerical life

• Observant reforms - Mendicant orders, Benedictine Observance (Congregation of St Justine)

• Reformation (including all the related late medieval movements)

• Counter-Reformation (notably the Tridentine Council)


We welcome 300-word abstracts of papers (20 minutes) and poster presentations (display requirements will be given later), with an additional short CV. The working language of the conference is English. All proposals will be reviewed by an international scientific commitee. Proposals should be sent by e-mail to before 15 April 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 25 April 2014. Publication of the proceedings in the series Bibliotheca Hagiotheca – Colloquia is planned for 2016 (for the previous proceedings, see

The conference will take place at the University of Zadar, and will include keynote lectures (to be announced) and a guided visit to the medieval churches, museums and art collections of Zadar. A half-day excursion is planned for Sunday.

The organisers offer accommodation for the participants at Hotel Kolovare**** ( at 40% discount. Alternative accommodation for a limited number of participants will be available at the University campus.

The participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements.

The registration fee is 60 EURO (40 EURO for doctoral students and independent researchers).


Scientific committee:

Mladen Ančić (University of Zadar)

Marjo Kaartinen (University of Turku - Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Sari Katajala Peltomaa (University of Tampere – Hagiographica Septentrionalia)

Gábor Klaniczay (Central European University)

Ana Marinković (University of Zagreb - Hagiotheca)

Marika Räsänen (University of Turku - Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Trpimir Vedriš (University of Zagreb - Hagiotheca)


Organising committee:

Teemu Immonen (University of Turku - Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Ines Ivić (University of Zagreb – Hagiotheca)

Jenni Kuuliala (University of Bremen – Hagiographica Septentrionalia)

Ana Marinković (University of Zagreb - Hagiotheca)

Matko Matija Marušić (University of Zagreb - Hagiotheca)

Ana Mišković (University of Zadar)

Marika Räsänen (University of Turku - Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Trpimir Vedriš (University of Zagreb - Hagiotheca)


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