28 Dec 2015

Christianisation of Haemimont province in the fourth through the sixth century

01 January, 2013 – 01 January, 2016

Author: Prof. Julia Valeva, DSc, Fine Arts Department

It is time for a new study on the spread of Christianity in the ancient provinces across contemporary Bulgarian lands, including the rich newly found or newly interpreted archaeological and written materials. Addressing this issue in regard to the late-antique Haemimont province is a stage in the planned summary concerning the entire Thracian diocese. Like with the study on the province of Thrace, here also it is very important to analyse the cultural influence of Constantinople within the hinterland of which Haemimont has been located. The issue of the possible differences between the old Greek colonies on the Black Sea coastline and those in the hinterland of the country both in terms of the process of the spread of Christianity and the artistic specifics of the sites is very interesting including from a methodological point of view.
The study is interdisciplinary as it includes presentation and commentary of architecture, liturgical statuary, holy vessels, epigraphic material and literary sources (late antique church historians, decrees of the ecumenical councils, lives of saints).
Besides, the project seeks to contribute to the theoretical insights into the Christianisation of the late antique society, which enjoy active development in contemporary historical studies.
The planned work will deal with the spread of Christianity in the Balkans since the Apostolic Period until the sixth century, when probably the last mass conversions were made.
The following issues will be addressed:
1. Establishment of bishoprics;
2. Changes in town planning between the fourth and the sixth–seventh century, related to the Christianisation of the cities;
3. Religious architecture: types and regional spread; relations with Constantinople, with Greece and the construction tradition of the western frontier territories;
4. Christianity in a secular context: residential architecture;
5. Christianity in rural districts;
6. Rock-hewn monasteries;
7. Christian art.
The text of the planned work may well be published to be available for other studies on the Late Antiquity.