The Professor Diane Touliatos Endowed Annual 
Lecture in Greek Historical Studies:
Sanctity and Holiness in Byzantium
with Dr. James Skedros 

Dr. James Skedros is the Michael G. and Anastasia Cantonis Professor of Byzantine Studies at the
 Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox 
School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Monday, October 20, 2014
7 p.m. Reception | 7:30 p.m. Lecture

Century Room A, Millennium Student Center

University of Missouri–St. Louis

Contemporary popular views of sanctity in Byzantium are dominated by images and stories of extreme self-mortification and ascetic extravagance. The fifth-century Symeon the Stylite, who stood atop a pillar for thirty-seven years, has become synonymous with the definition of holiness in Byzantium. Joined by the likes of Mary of Egypt who, after rejecting her profligate lifestyle, spent the remaining years of her life in the Syrian desert living off the land like a grazing animal, these and other early Byzantine saints provide insight into notions of sanctity and holiness operative in the Christian East. However, the boundaries of sanctity in Byzantium were much more fluid than the tales of austere asceticism popularized in print and images today would lead one to believe. Byzantines understood sanctity and holiness in more mundane and manageable terms while drawing upon the ideals of the great ascetics of the Christian past.

Sponsored by the Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professorship in Greek Studies, International Studies and Programs, University of Missouri-St. Louis

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