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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1004: Bishops, Popes, and Saints: Christian Churches in the North Western Balkans from Gregory the Great to the 'Bosnian Church', 6th-15th Centuries

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Daniel Syrbe, Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum für Kultur & Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas e.V. (GWZO), Universität Leipzig
Moderator/Chair:Nadine Ulrike Holzmeier, Historisches Institut, FernUniversität Hagen
Paper 1004-aGregory the Great: Writing Letters to the Bishops of Dalmatia and Illyricum
(Language: English)
Daniel Syrbe, Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum für Kultur & Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas e.V. (GWZO), Universität Leipzig
Index terms: Administration, Byzantine Studies, Ecclesiastical History, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 1004-bSt Gregory: The Patron Saint of Bosnia
(Language: English)
Emir O. Filipović, Filozofski fakultet, Univerzitet u Sarajevu
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Social History

In Antiquity and the Middle Ages the North Western Balkans with the Dalmatian coast and its hinterland formed a contact zone of the Latin West and the Greek East of Europe. This situation also had consequences for the development of Christianity in the region, which was influenced by the Western, Roman 'catholic' as well as the Eastern, Constantinopolitanian 'orthodox' church. This session explores the development of Christianity in this area, focussing on the mountainous inland areas, which in Late Antiquity belonged to the various dioceses of the Roman province Dalmatia, later becoming part of different Slavic principalities, and developing into the Bosnian banate from the mid-12th century onwards. Thematically emphasis will be on the development of church structures and hierarchies, saints's cults, and relations of the regional church to the Latin west and the Greek east.

Abstract to paper a: The letters of Gregory the Great as a source corpus are of central importance regarding the relations of the Bishop of Rome to the bishoprics of the former Roman world, which at the end of the 6th century to the beginning of 7th century had undergone far-reaching transformations. Focussing on the area of Dalmatia and Illyricum, this paper explores the very different lines of conflict Gregory was confronted with and traces how different political players in this area responded to Gregory's attempts to centralise ecclesiastical authority on the see of Rome.
Abstract to paper b: The first half of the 13th century, the most tumultuous period in Bosnian relations with papacy, ended with a decision by pope Innocent IV to relocate the see of the Bosnian diocese to the realm of the Hungarian king. It is probable that even the pope himself was not aware that this move would result in an almost 800 year long absence of catholic hierarchy in the Bosnian territory. In this paper we will research one more proximate consequence - the rise of the Bosnian church, schismatic church organisation that filled the gap created after the departure of the Bosnian bishop. The time period we will investigate is the century between the aforementioned relocation and the creation of the Bosnian kingdom.
Abstract to paper c: Numerous written documents and numismatic evidence from the 14th and 15th century testifies that the patron saint of Bosnia in that period was St Gregory. However, these sources also show that during those two centuries at least three different saints of the same name were revered as patrons - St Gregory of Nazianus, St Gregory Thaumaturgus, and St Gregory the Great. The choice of these specific patron saints was obviously motivated by the peculiar religious conditions in Bosnia where the existence of the indigenous but schismatic Bosnian Church increased external pressure on the ruling structures within the Kingdom of Bosnia to finally accept Latin Christianity as the official state religion. This paper will seek to demonstrate how the fluctuating religious policy of the Bosnian rulers in the 15th century reflected on the identity of the patron saint and will attempt to understand these changes within the context of the complex religious situation in Bosnia.