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Commemorative religious processions in Byzantine Constantinople

King's Building, Strand Campus , London

5 Feb
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Sappho statue
Part of CHS Late Antique & Byzantine Studies Seminar Series

The lite, the liturgical supplicatory procession that took place in Constantinople in times of danger and joy and on their annual commemoration, transformed the whole landscape into a space for worship. People were processing in their present, remembering their past for their future. Churches, fora and streets became the spaces where the city would access and preserve social memory by participating in emotional communities. These processions were both expressive and affective insofar as they were linked to the populace’s emotions of fear, repentance and gratitude. This paper explores the processions of the two liturgical cycles of the tenth – century cathedral rite in Constantinople. By tracing their origins, it aims to establish an understanding of the way memory spaces were created in the city. Digital tools and methods of analysis are used in order to examine their spatiotemporal relationships and their meaning, proposing at the same time new ways for their visualisation. Through examining art, text, archaeology and the role of memory and emotion, the argument is based on discussions of the way the Byzantines perceived processions and the way they engaged with space and the practice itself.

Vicky Manolopoulou is a Lecturer in Byzantine History at King’s College London. She studied History and Archaeology at the University of Athens and then Archaeology at Newcastle University. Her research focuses on the way different processes of ritual experience shaped people’s perception of landscapes in Byzantium. She is particularly interested in understanding the relationship between memory, emotion and motion of the body within space. She has participated in various archaeological projects including the Apalirou Environs Project (Naxos) and is running the Hagia Theodora Project. Her thesis-monograph, an examination of the way religious processions shaped the sacred character of the landscape of Byzantine Constantinople, is under contract with Routledge. She is also co-editing a volume on Identities in Antiquity.

Part of the Late Antique and Byzantine Studies seminar series.

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