History of Western Religion

(Prof. Dr. Irene Dingel)

Orthodoxy and the Fight Against Heretics: Dealing with Heterodoxy under Byzantine Rulership

This PhD thesis will examine the campaigns against heretics of selected Byzantine rulers and identify patterns that gave dealing with heterodoxy the function of a role model for later Orthodox domains. This includes the construction of Orthodox counter-images, as they occur in the entire panegyric of the post-Byzantine Orthodox world, with recourse to Byzantium. As a result, the rulers of the time were offered, not only guidance for good government, but also an “instruction manual” to counteract apostate elements: cura religionis. This project will combine theological analysis and its practical expression in the practice of rule in terms of theologically legitimised use of force in religious conflicts.


“Praying Away” the Enemy: Prayer and War in Orthodox Liturgical Practice in Wartime

Praying for divine assistance against the enemy was common practice in the liturgical practice of the Orthodox Churches. This PhD thesis will explore what services were held in the face of approaching enemies and how they were liturgically designed, e.g., with which prayers, etc. This will be accompanied by a discourse analysis, asking what narratives, e.g., to discredit enemies or to legitimise their own position, were used. It is also to be asked how prayers against the enemies were related to their religious and denominational affiliation.