INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM – CALL FOR PAPERS
Dates: 17–18 October 2019
Organizer / location: School of Theology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu campus (venue to be announced later)
Deadline for abstracts: 2 September 2019
Languages: Finnish and English
Fees: No participation fee
In 2019, two new saints were canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Orthodox Church in Finland: St John of Valaam (d. 1958) and St John of Sonkajanranta (d. 1918). The former, a monk at both old and new Valaam Monastery, was a renowned spiritual counsellor for both monastics and, through his extensive correspondence, laypeople. The latter was a school teacher, whose Orthodox missionary activities provoked doubts of his loyalty to the Finnish nation/state, and ultimately led to his execution during the Finnish Civil War.
Sainthood and canonization, especially of historically contemporary figures, or figures with real or alleged political power, such as the late Russian tsar Nicholas II or the influential Serbian bishop of Žiča, Nikolaj (Velimirović, d. 1956), consist of multilayered processes that may comprise problematic or controversial features and are, in any case, in need of interpretation. Why does the Church canonize persons whose political achievements are controversial and occasionally shadow their religious merits? Who benefits from such canonizations? Why are they canonized at a particular moment? What actually makes up their sainthood, or sainthood in general?
This symposium focuses on construction and materialization of ‘making’ saints and sainthood, ancient and modern, in Orthodox tradition. It is open for all kinds of approaches and disciplines.
The organizers expect the participants to address the topic above all from the following perspectives:
• How is sainthood manifested or ‘made up’?
• How and by whom is saint/hood evaluated or propagated in different contexts (history, area, institution)?
• Who defines sainthood and on what grounds (theological, national, local, political, institutional, etc.)?
• How is the cult of the saint constructed (visual, hymnographical, narrative, ritual)?
The programme will feature papers (20 min. + 10 min. discussion) presented in Finnish or in English according to the following (initial) schedule:
Thursday 17 October (presentations in Finnish)
12:00–13:30 session I
14:45–16:15 session II
Friday 18 October (presentations in English)
10:00–12:00 Keynote lectures
13:00–14:30 Session III
15:00–17:00 Session IV
The keynote speakers are Thomas Bremer (Professor of Ecumenical Theology, Eastern Churches Studies and Peace Studies, Münster University, Germany) and [lecturer yet to be confirmed].
The abstract (c. 250 words, in Finnish or English), including your name, affiliation, and contact information, should be sent to the organizers at by 2 September 2019. Authors will be informed about the acceptance of their proposals by 9 September.