Conference “In Search of Centres: Early Modern Kyivan Christianities” (organised by Ivan Almes, Svitlana Potapenko, Oksana Prokopyuk, Vitalii Tkachuck, and Valerii Zema)






Frankfurt am Main, Campus Westend, IG-Farben-Haus

The conference aims to join the ongoing discussions on the diversification of early modern Christianities by considering the Kyivan Christianities as communities of interaction. We strive for verification centres as social or symbolic constructions of communities of interaction. As interactions intensified, centres grew, and as they thinned out, boundaries emerged. The centres arose due to efforts of actors to achieve centrality; they marked the places where solutions were sought, proposals met demands, and communication concentrated. The growth and decline of the centres reveal the importance of the actors and their interactions, also in a comparative perspective. In this sense, polycentricity offers a way of describing plurality.

However, Kyiv has not had a monopoly on centrality, either real or imagined. Since local actors seek centres for very different reasons, the question is whether it is ecclesiastical memory, a particular social condition, religious practice and cultural tradition, or “imagined communities” for whom Kyiv was the second Jerusalem. We invite to look at the Kyivan Christianities without imposing any templates or artificial lines of demarcation where an inclusive research prism is appropriate. Finding out how (non-)Kyiv Christians identified themselves in the Kyivan Christianities and around which centres they united is no less critical. In other words, the idea is to ask the people of the time how they developed belonging to or distinguished themselves from the Kyivan Christianities. It does not mean determining the centres in advance but following them through the actors.

A conference report can be read here (in German).

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