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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Ruler Saints (Martyrs) on the Periphery of Medieval Europe: Kievan Rus', Norway, Dioclea

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.11.00  Humanities  Theology   

Code Science Field
H180  Humanities  History of the Christian church 

Code Science Field
6.03  Humanities  Philosophy, Ethics and Religion 
Keywords
ruler saints, martyrs, historical theology, medieval studies, cultural history, Kievan Rus', Norway, Dioclea
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  39082  PhD Simon Malmenvall  Theology  Head  2019 - 2021  286 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  3046  Faculty of Law and Economics  Ljubljana  3619567  112 
Abstract
The connectedness between religion and political power represents one of the most recognizable characteristics of the Middle Ages. This was also reflected on the eastern and northern periphery of Europe approximately between AD 900 and 1100. At the time, this periphery was composed of polities where Christianity seemed a notable social innovation. Here a special type of veneration of the saints or martyrs emerged. This type of sainthood refers to saints characterized by a martyr’s death caused out of political self-interest by Christians themselves. This type of sainthood was unknown both in (Latin) southern Europe and the Byzantine Empire. This proposed postdoctoral project is dedicated to the analysis of three saints and their cults, forming three mutually intertwined comparative studies: Boris and Gleb, Magnus Erlendsson, and Jovan Vladimir. These saints and their cults serve as representative examples in accordance with the following criteria: richness and literary variety of the sources through which their story is narrated (hagiographies, chronicles/annals, Norse sagas); variety of geographical space concerned (Kievan Rus’ as part of eastern, Norway as part of northern, Dioclea as part of south-eastern Europe); coverage of various confessional areas (Kievan Rus’ as part of the Eastern Orthodox world, Norway as part of the Catholic world, and Dioclea as a transitional territory between the two). All three saints and their cults are studied in a holistic key—in the light of their theological, sociopolitical and literary dimensions. All of these saints share the same fundamental characteristics: in the face of mortal danger, they did not resort to revenge or fratricide as a means of struggle for power, but rather accepted their death for the benefit of peace in their homelands. Passion-bearers were regarded by their contemporaries as promoters of the new ideal of the Christian ruler and as symbols of the rejection of the recent pagan past. The eastern and northern periphery of Europe of the time formed a space of comparable social and cultural-spiritual circumstances transcending the political and confessional borders. The studied phenomenon of the ruler martyrs emphasizes the transient value of political power, thus promoting the primacy of faith. This phenomenon is connected with the self-esteem of the ecclesiastical and secular elite of the newly Christianized polities—they saw their homelands, despite their relatively late adoption of Christianity, as religiously “mature” and therefore on equal footing with the others (for example, the Byzantine Empire), which was to a large extent possible due to the emergence of the first local saints. This research project represents the first-ever synthesis of the cultural-spiritual phenomenon of the ruler saints on the eastern and northern periphery of medieval Europe. Although historical theology, and ecclesiastical history along with it, serves as the primary field of this study, other branches of the humanities are also included, such as political and social history, literary studies, etc. In this respect, the three saints and their cults are studied in a holistic way enabling the complementarity of approaches of different disciplines. This project as a whole is built on a consistent use and interpretation of the original literary sources (chronicles/annals, hagiographies, etc.) in their original languages (mostly Church Slavic and Latin). One of the most important and integral parts of the proposed project is the inclusion of and author’s commentaries on passages from the relevant sources together with their first-ever translation to the Slovene language. This research project enables a greater integration of Slovene human science into a broader European range of research subjects. On this basis, the proposed project fosters European transnational cooperation and promotes consciousness about the common European heritage.
Significance for science
This research project represents the first-ever synthesis of the cultural-spiritual phenomenon of the ruler saints (martyrs) on the eastern and northern periphery of medieval Europe. It can serve as an innovative basis for the further development of historical theology and other branches of the humanities. Although historical theology, and ecclesiastical history along with it, serves as the primary field of this study, other branches of the humanities are also included, such as political and social history, literary studies, etc. Consequently, this proposed project aims to be a “bridge” (at least) between theology, historiography and literary science. In this respect, the three saints and their cults are studied in a holistic way enabling the complementarity of approaches of different disciplines. The studied subject of this project itself aims to bring a notable originality. 1) The first main aspect of the originality is related to the humanities in the context of Slovenia where it has never been addressed. 2) The second main aspect of originality concerns the transnational context of historical theology and medieval studies, where such subjects and approaches are (still) underdeveloped. This project follows two fundamental epistemological notions or directions with broader implications in relation to a proper understanding of the medieval culture. 1) The mentality or the conceptual framework of educated medieval writers and members of the ruling elite of the time was decisively formed by religion—thus the necessity to include theology in any relevant research concerning medieval culture. 2) The eastern and northern periphery of Europe of the time formed a space of mutual/comparable social and cultural-spiritual circumstances transcending the nominal confessional borders—thus the necessity of a transregional, transnational and interconfessional approach.
Significance for the country
This research project represents the first-ever synthesis of the cultural-spiritual phenomenon of the ruler saints (martyrs) on the eastern and northern periphery of medieval Europe. It can serve as an innovative basis for the further development of historical theology and other branches of the humanities. Although historical theology, and ecclesiastical history along with it, serves as the primary field of this study, other branches of the humanities are also included, such as political and social history, literary studies, etc. Consequently, this proposed project aims to be a “bridge” (at least) between theology, historiography and literary science. In this respect, the three saints and their cults are studied in a holistic way enabling the complementarity of approaches of different disciplines. The studied subject of this project itself aims to bring a notable originality. 1) The first main aspect of the originality is related to the humanities in the context of Slovenia where it has never been addressed. 2) The second main aspect of originality concerns the transnational context of historical theology and medieval studies, where such subjects and approaches are (still) underdeveloped. This project follows two fundamental epistemological notions or directions with broader implications in relation to a proper understanding of the medieval culture. 1) The mentality or the conceptual framework of educated medieval writers and members of the ruling elite of the time was decisively formed by religion—thus the necessity to include theology in any relevant research concerning medieval culture. 2) The eastern and northern periphery of Europe of the time formed a space of mutual/comparable social and cultural-spiritual circumstances transcending the nominal confessional borders—thus the necessity of a transregional, transnational and interconfessional approach.
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