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The “Uniates” and the Invention of Eastern Orthodoxy: Late Byzantine and Kyivan Advocates of Church Union in the Crossfire between Rome, Constantinople, and Moscow

When Mar 13, 2017
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Latimer Room, Clare College, Cambridge
Contact Name
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The concept of "Eastern Orthodoxy," as a counterpart to "Roman Catholicism" and "Protestantism," is a product of a much later development than most of us are wont to think today. Applying the contrasting binaries of "Catholic—Orthodox" and "Protestant—Orthodox" to the study of Byzantine and early Slavonic religious history is particularly problematic. Such dichotomies anachronistically project the clear-cut denominational map of present-day Christianity into the late Medieval and Early Modern era. In this context, Byzantine and Slavonic intellectuals and ecclesiastical figures who advocated union with the Roman Church in the period from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-seventeenth century present a special challenge for historical exegesis. Stigmatized as "traitors" by their contemporaries and caught in the crossfire of religious disputes and quarrels of their day, the "uniates," as an intellectually coherent group, have hardly received the attention they deserve in modern research. Historians have often proved to be clueless when confronted with a reality that does not fit into the conventional confessional paradigm.

This lecture offers a critical re-evaluation of the scholarship and suggests new approaches and research questions within this thought-provoking area of study. Engagement with the historical destiny of the uniates leads to a reconsideration of the influential "confessionalization paradigm" (Konfessionalisierungsparadigma) in Eastern European context and casts new light on the birth of "Eastern Orthodoxy" as ecclesial reality and theological idea.

For queries please contact Dr Olenka Z. Pevny,