Colloquium: The Saints Envisioned

On Friday 12 June, the Cult of Saints Project, in association with the Empires of Faith Project, is co-organisinga colloquium dedicated to the iconography of saints in late antique art:

The Saints Envisioned: Visual Representations of Saints in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries

Six talks will be given by members of the two project teams (Jaś Elsner, Bryan Ward-Perkins, Maria Lidova, and Efthymios Rizos) and guest speakers (John Mitchell and Ine Jacobs), discussing aspects of the emergent iconography of saints in Christian art.


Time: 12 June 2015, 9.00 – 17.00

Venue: Ertegun House, 37a St. Giles’, Oxford.

Attendance is free, but space is limited, so registration is essential. To book a place, please, write to:


Project presented at key conferences in Vienna and Paris

Principal Investigator, Bryan Ward-Perkins, recently took part in two conferences (one in Vienna and one in Paris) at which he presented aspects of the Cult of Saints project.  The Vienna conference, held on 11-13 December 2014, was around the theme of ‘Linking the Mediterranean’ within the period 300-800 CE, and he opened the conference with a key-note lecture entitled ‘Did saints link the post-Roman world?’.  In this lecture he stressed that, while some saints successfully straddled wide geographical areas, the sphere of influence of most saints was purely local, or regional at best.  He also pointed out that the successful movement of saints was primarily from East to West and South to North, very seldom in the opposite directions.

At the Paris conference, on ‘Approches topographiques du fait religieux’ (which examined the topography of religious practice from archaic times to Late Antiquity), he outlined how the Cult of Saints database, currently under construction, will allow scholars and the interested public to track the spread of saints’ cults throughout the Christian world, including into regions that are sometimes wrongly considered peripheral by western scholarship.  He also explored some of the problems in defining ‘cult’ and in differentiating it from what might be termed ‘encyclopaedic’ interest in the saints of other regions.’

Recent conference presentations

Project team members Marta Tycner and Robert Wiśniewski took part in the conference `Miracles and Wonders in Antiquity and Byzantium’ at the University of Cyprus (Nicosia, 16-18 October 2014). Marta was talking on the “Solomon’s throne of the Byzantine emperors: Wonder, miracle and technology” and Robert on “Spreading the belief in miracles toward the West”.

Robert Wiśniewski also presented two papers at the Central European University in Budapest: “Handling the bones. How did the late antique Christians start to touch relics?” (Institue for Advanced Study, 29 October 2014) and “And we saw it with our own eyes… The sense of vision and the cult relics in Late Antiquity” (The Cult of saints Colloquia, Department of Medieval Studies, 25 November 2014).

Forthcoming events of interest