2010 About

Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies

About the Symposium

                                                                                             In recent years, scholars and the general public have begun to recognize the shared patrimony of Christians and Muslims in Turkey. When the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 dictated that the Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) population should be expelled to Greece, and Muslims in Greece should be forced to Turkey, close to two million people were immediately displaced, leaving behind their homes, belongings, churches and mosques, and the way of life they had been practicing for centuries.  The competing nationalism of Greece and Turkey for the next 80 years fully transformed these communities. Recently, however, a thaw in Greek-Turkish relations from the late 1990’s has allowed scholars to reevaluate the dominant historical paradigm of Christian-Muslim relations in Asia Minor, a paradigm constructed on the image of political isolation and conflict engendered largely by competing nationalisms.

        A fertile area for renewed examination is the religious culture of non-Muslims during the post-Byzantine and Ottoman era, particularly, when dealing with the subject of monuments and memory.  An example of the most conspicuous non-Muslim monuments are Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) churches, that appear as a regular part of modern Turkey’s landscape, whether in Istanbul or in the Anatolian countryside.  By their size and construction, it is often clear they are community buildings, built by people with real desires, fears, and hopes who placed these feelings deep into the bricks, mortar, timber and tiles of the structure. How these buildings came to exist depended on Ottoman imperial policies allowing for building and rebuilding of church structures.  With the twentieth-century traumas, however, the churches often became silent, or at least no longer represented the purpose of the original community; serving now as mosques, warehouses, cinemas, stores, and even barns.

        Examining the Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) religious culture during the Ottoman period is of great significance for 1) the scholarly study and preservation of monuments and material culture of these communities,  2) the study of confessional communities and historical memory and 3) the history of the Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) church in the Anatolian provinces.   Therefore, the aim of this symposium is to examine Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) religious culture in post-Byzantine/ Ottoman Anatolia, with special emphasis on the following issues:

-Art and Architectural analysis of Anatolian churches
-Architects, Builders, and Patrons
-Religious/church history- Hierarchies (Patriarchate of Constantinople) and  local churches
-Greek Orthodox (Rum Ortodoks) religious objects, practices and beliefs
-Culture and Syncretism (Religion, Music, etc.)
-Interrelations of faith communities
-Monuments, Preservation, Memory, and Recollections
-Tourism and its impact
-Research methods and practices  (fieldwork, ethnography and archives)