Rethinking Late Antiquity as Early Christendom

Court Room, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU
7 June 2022, 18:00

The SPBS, in association with the Hellenic Society and the Roman Society is pleased to announce a public lecture by Professor Judith Herrin, ‘Rethinking Late Antiquity as Early Christendom’.

If you are unable to attend the lecture in person, it will be streamed via Zoom. Please email Dr Fiona Haarer for joining instructions.

Spring Symposium Update

Please note the ‘Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond’, the unfortunately postponed 54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, will now take place on 17-19 March 2023. We encourage you to mark the date in your diary!

Assistance for Ukrainian Academics

The Council for At Risk Academics (CARA) is a UK-based organisation which offers academic, financial, and practical support, to academics and their families who are in immediate danger, forced into exile, or who continue to work in their home countries despite serious risk.

Several members of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS) are affiliated with universities who are part of the CARA network. For further information on CARA and other resources available, please see (available in English, Ukrainian and Russian).

SPBS statment on the war in Ukraine

The Executive Committee of Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies strongly condemns Russia’s military assault on Ukraine. We stand with the people of Ukraine and with the people of Russia who oppose this war. In light of the repeated justificatory use of Byzantino-Rus history and monuments by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, we at the SPBS wish to affirm our support for scholars and scholarship of the Byzantine World that defies partisan, imperialist, and nationalist objectives. The study of early Rus has a long history in the United Kingdom, pioneered by figures such as Professor Dimitri Obolensky, and we at the SPBS are committed to promoting publications and scholarly exchanges on all aspects of the Byzantine World, including early Rus. As such, we have a compiled a short list of academic books by international authors (highlighting those from Ukraine) on early Rus, which may be of use to those interested in the academic study of this topic:

An introductory bibliography of early Rus…

  • Fedir Androshchuk, Jonathan Shepard, and Monica White (eds.), Byzantium and the Viking World (Uppsala, 2016)
  • Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard, The Emergence of Rus 750-1200 (London, 1996)
  • Sean Griffin, The Liturgical Past in Byzantium and Early Rus (Cambridge, 2019)
  • Dimitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe 500-1500 (London, 1971)
  • Ricardo Picchio and Harvey Goldblatt, Aspects of the Slavonic Languages: Formation and Development, vol. I and Church Slavonic – South Slavic – West Slavic, vol. II (New Haven, 1984)
  • Christian Raffensperger, Reimagining Europe. Kievan Rus’ in the Medieval World (Cambridge, MA, 2012)
  • Sophia Senyk, A History of the Church in Ukraine. vol. I: To the End of the Thirteenth Century (Rome, 1993)
  • Jonathan Shepard, “Rus’,” in Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ c. 900-1200 (Cambridge, 2007), 369-414
  • Oleksiy Tolochko, Очерки начальной Руси (Kyiv, 2015)
  • Oleksiy Tolochko, ‘The Primary Chronicle’s ‘Ethnography’ Revisited: Slavs and Varangians in the Middle Dnieper Region and the Origin of the Rus’ State,’ in Franks, Northmen, and Slavs: Identities and State Formation in Early Medieval Europe (Brepols, 2008), 169-189.
  • Tatiana Vilkul, Люди и князь в древнерусских летописях середины XI-XIII вв. (Moscow, 2009)

The SPBS is committed to providing a platform for international scholars of Byzantine History, including those from Ukraine and Russia, and will continue to act as a venue for the peaceful exchange of ideas. During times of war the severing of ties between people is most acute and it is at this precise moment that academic collaboration must be maintained. The SPBS invites membership from international scholars, including those not resident in the UK.

We would also like to draw your attention to our on-going Solidarity Fund, which aims to provide full coverage for scholars based in Turkey (of any nationality) wishing to attend the 2022 International Byzantine Studies Congress in Venice/Padua: Applications from early career scholars resident in Turkey will be sent to the AIEB which will disburse the fund.

— Dr Alexandra Vukovich for the SPBS

Update: Spring Symposium

Dear Colleagues, dear Friends,

We are writing with an update on the upcoming 2022 SPBS Spring Symposium on Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond.

After much consultation and deliberation, we have decided to postpone this year’s Spring Symposium to the Spring of 2023. Although we regret not being able to meet this year, continuing COVID19-related uncertainties and restrictions in the UK and beyond put the feasibility of meeting in person in doubt, and it has proved impossible to organise a viable hybrid format at this relatively short notice. We will post an announcement of the revised dates shortly.

Mindful that the 24th International Congress of Byzantine Studies meets in August 2022, the SPBS Executive Committee has agreed that there will be no symposium this year, and we are especially grateful to the organisers of the Spring Symposium scheduled for the year after Oxford (Kent, with Anne Alwis as Symposiarch) who have generously agreed to defer their meeting to 2024.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Oxford in the Spring of 2023.

Jaś Elsner, Ine Jacobs, Julia Smith

Into The Labyrinth: a Journey into Stoudite ‘Cancel Culture’

29 November 2021, 17:00 GMT

A reminder that Rosemary Morris has kindly agreed to re-present the SPBS Autumn Lecture, Into The Labyrinth: a Journey into Stoudite ‘Cancel Culture’, on Monday, 29 November at 5 p.m. (1700) London time. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session. We have done our best to ensure that neither the lecture nor the discussion that follows will be disrupted this time round!

Zoom details are below, and please do urge anyone else whom you think might be interested to join us as well! If there are any problems with access, please contact Dan Reynolds, at

Join Zoom Meeting

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Passcode: 277530
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SPBS Autumn Lecture (reprise)

29th November 2021, 17:00 (GMT)


Dr Rosemary Morris
Into The Labyrinth: a Journey into Stoudite “Cancel Culture”

Owing to technical problems during the presentation of our recent Autumn Lecture, the online experience was very poor and only the audience in Birmingham were able to enjoy the lecture as intended. Dr Morris has, therefore, kindly agreed to repeat her presentation on 29 November.

Please register via EventBrite:

SPBS Autumn Lecture

10th November 2021, 17:15 (GMT)

University of Birmingham, Teaching & Learning Building 202 (limited spaces) and online

Dr Rosemary Morris
Into The Labyrinth: a Journey into Stoudite ”Cancel Culture’

This year’s autumn lecture will be a hybrid event. We have some limited availability for attendance in person, but we ask that you reserve your ticket in advance. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will be unable to accommodate additional visitors in the lecture theatre on the day. The lecture will also be streamed live via Zoom and questions from both the live and virtual audience will be taken by the chair.

To register your attendance (virtual or in person), please visit Eventbrite:

Spring Symposium videos

Owing to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s Spring Symposium was held exclusively online. Although this is far from our preference for future Symposia, a happy consequence is that the proceedigs were recorded for the first time. We are endeavouring to bring these recordings to a wider audience, once they have been appropriately edited and we have obtained permission from the speakers. Videos will be uploaded to our new YouTube channel.

Present highlights include Dr Dimitra Kotoula’s keynote (linked to this virtual exhibition, hosted by the British School at Athens) and the tributes of friends, students, and colleagues to the dearly-missed Dr Ruth Macrides, to whose memory the Symposium was dedicated.

A new page on this website also collects all of our recorded events together in one place: