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Fabrics of Devotion: Religious Textiles in the Eastern Mediterranean – Dr. Nikolaos Vryzidis

Oktober 13, 2021 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Many historical vestments and church fabrics of the Greek Orthodox rite survive today in monastic sacristies and museums. Until now, textile and dress scholars have primarily focused on their ultimate origin, historic evolution, and dogmatic meaning. In my view, these important material remnants inform us on underexplored dynamics in the society that produced them and illuminate the ways in which trends originating from different milieus were appropriated within clerical context. As reflections of cultural, religious, and artistic identity, ecclesial fabrics can offer insights on the Church’s association to religious otherness and profane, or better, court aesthetics. Focusing on liturgical textiles and vestments, the lecture will discuss how the “Islamic” and “secular” elements were negotiated by the Church during Byzantine and Ottoman times. Essentially, our discussion will be centered on the tension between the usefulness and the limitations these taxonomies present when studying premodern church material culture.


Nikolaos Vryzidis is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of History and Archaeology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His scholarly work explores issues of identity in relation to material culture, and especially ecclesial textiles and metalwork, in the late medieval and early modern Mediterranean, subjects on which he has written more than twenty articles and book chapters. In 2016 he convened a conference on Mediterranean textiles, which resulted in an edited volume of essays (The Hidden Life of Textiles in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean) published by Brepols in 2020. He also pursues research in cross-cultural aspects of medieval art, part of which will be published in a forthcoming volume on the religious arts that he currently co-edits.

This lecture is part of the lecture series „Fabrics of Devotion: Religious Textiles in the Eastern Mediterranean“



Oktober 13, 2021
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm