Presbyters at IMC Leeds 2018, once again

In just more days, medievalists and Late Antique historians from all over the world will gather again at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds. Since the inaugural session organized by our project in Leeds in 2016, we eagerly presented ideas and preliminary results of our work in the “Presbyters in the Late Antique West”. We were inviting distinguished scholars to provide their insights into the role of the clergy in the late antique and early medieval society. In the first year, we were discussing social relations of clerics, last year we focused on their economic status and activity, while this year, in our two main sessions, we will take a closer look at the clerical households, see the previous post.

IMC at Leeds was always a great place to find an involved crowd of Congress participants who gladly contributed to the discussion, whose questions and comments made us think about new research paths and possibilities. No surprise then, that this year we prepared for the Congress with unwavering enthusiasm. Apart of two sessions looking at the clerical households, we co-organised with Kati Ihnat from Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen and Jamie Wood from the University of Lincoln two sessions about the religious praxis in the Early Medieval Iberia:

Session 1604, Thursday, July 5, 11.15–12.45, 

Religious Praxis and Pastoral Care in Early Medieval Iberia, I: Liturgy

Purificación Ubric Rabaneda, Departamento de Historia Antigua, Universidad de Granada, The Best Faith: Showing Christian Superiority through Liturgy in 5th-Century Iberia

Molly Lester, History Department, United States Naval Academy, Maryland, Effective Experience: Religious Orthodoxy, Ritual Performance, and Contacting the Divine in 7th-Century Iberia

Jeffrey A. Bowman, Department of History, Kenyon College, Ohio, Space, Cult, and Community in Early Medieval Iberia

Session 1704, Thursday, July 5, 14.15–15.45, 

Religious Praxis and Pastoral Care in Early Medieval Iberia, II: Learning

Marta Szada, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Do You Need a Priest to Be a Christian? Pastoral Care and Lay Piety in Visigothic Spain

Kati Ihnat, Afdeling Geschiedenis, Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen, Learning by Example?: Commemoration of Saints in Early Medieval Iberia

Graham Barrett, School of History & Heritage, University of Lincoln, Canons without Councils in Early Medieval Iberia

But this is not all! Jerzy Szafranowski from our project in cooperation with the Network for the Study of Late Antique & Early Medieval Monasticism organized a session about clerics and monks:

718: Tuesday, 3 July, 14:15–15:45

Relations between Clerics and Monks in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

Matheus Coutinho Figuinha, Departamento de História, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, Monasticism and Anti-Donatism in Augustine of Hippo

Jerzy Szafranowski, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwerstytet Warszawski, Grounds for Clerical Ordinations of Monks in Late Antique Gaul

Matthew Mattingly, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, A Crisis of Identity: Canons, Monks, and the 9th-Century Reform of Saint-Denis

We are already looking forward to great papers, fruitful discussions, and, of course, to the unique atmosphere of the IMC!


Prestigious scholarship awarded to Marta Szada!

Marta Szada, a research assistant and a Ph.D. candidate in the Presbyters Project, has been awarded the Etiuda doctoral scholarship from the National Science Center Poland. This highly esteemed endowment will finance her six months’ research stay at the Princeton University where she will be working under the supervision of Professor Helmut Reimitz. During her sojourn in Princeton, Marta will conduct research on conversions between the Nicene and the Homoian Christianity in the successor kingdoms from the 5th to the 7th century. Congratulations and Godspeed!


Prestigious scholarship in Munich for Jerzy Szafranowski

Jerzy Szafranowski, a research assistant and a Ph.D. student in the Presbyters Project, has been awarded the scholarship of the Kommission für Alte Geschichte of the Deutsche Archäologische Institut in Munich (Germany) financed by the Elise und Annemarie Jacobi-Stiftung and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. The next two months Jerzy will spend in Munich where he will work on his research project on the clerical ordinations of monks in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Gaul. Congratulations!


For the list of the fellows click HERE.

Sessions of the Presbyters Project at IMC Leeds 2017

This year again the project “Presbyters in the Late Antique West” will be present at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds. We are organizing two sessions on 5 July about income and property of clerics in Late Antiquity.

The schedule of the sessions:

Income and Property of Clerics  in Late Antiquity I, 5 July 2017, 09.00-10.30, Social Sciences Building, Room 10.05

  1. Ambrosiaster and the Problem of Clerical Profit
    • David Hunter, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Kentucky
  2. Church and Private Property in Ambrose of Milan (d. 397)
    • David Natal Villazala, Departamento de Prehistoria, Historia Antigua y Arqueología, Universidad de Salamanca
  3. The Workman Is Worthy of His Meat?: Economic Status of the Local Clergy in 7th-Century Spain
    • Marta Szada, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski

Income and Property of Clerics in Late Antiquity II, 5 July 2017, 11.15–12.45, Social Sciences Building, Room 10.05

  1. Income and Property of Late Antique Clergy: Epigraphical Realities
    • Isabelle Mossong, Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik, Deutsches Archäologisches InsKtut, München
  2. Financial Issues Concerning Presbyters in Papal Correspondence
    • Claire Sotinel, Centre de recherche en histoire européenne comparée (CRHEC), Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne
  3. Not a Grand Scandal, but Little Embarrassment: Paying Clerics for Ritual Expertise in Late Antiquity
    • Robert Wiśniewski, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski

Here the schedule in PDF: Income_Plaw

Presbyters and their authority in Paris


On 12 May Robert Wiśniewski presented the project at the yearly meeting of the society Textes pour l’histoire de l’Antiquité Tardive in Paris. He also delivered a paper La construction de l’autorité presbytérale. Robert argued that the presbyters had a very limited access to the means of persuasion and their authority resulted rather from their reputation of religious experts. This in turn was based not so much on their alleged sanctity or moral superiority as on the growing conviction that they differed from the rest of the society in all aspects of their life.

Early hagiography workshop at Durham

On 11-12 November 2016 Robert Wiśniewski took part in a workshop on late-antique hagiography at the University of Durham. In his paper Robert argued that, unlike monastic vitae, the lives of holy bishops and presbyters showed a sanctity, but rarely a model of life which could be proposed specifically to clergy. This resulted mostly from the conviction that, unlike monasticism, priesthood was not really a way to sanctity. One could become a saint by choosing the life of an eremite, but not by becoming cleric. The relation between priesthood and sanctity was opposite. Ideally, one was made a priest because he was a saint, and not the other way round. Consequently, a complete and specific hagiographical model of clerical life did not develop.

The workshop at Würzburg

On 6-7 October 2016, the member of the team, Stanisław Adamiak, travelled to Würzburg (Germany), where he participated in the workshop on the letters of Augustine, organised by the Zentrum für Augustinus-Forschung at the University of Würzburg ( The topic of the workshop was “Unfriendliness and Polemics in the Letters of Augustine”. Papers were delivered by Danuta Shanzer from Vienna, Ingo Schaaf from Konstanz, Christian Tornau and Christopher Nunn from Würzburg, Rafał Toczko from Toruń, Hildegund Müller from Notre-Dame (Ind), and Stanisław Adamiak, who talked about unfriendly and polemic elements in the letters of Augustine. His presentation was largely based on the data already present in our database.