Call for Papers:
Sacred Architecture, Rite and Music between Byzantium and the West (sixth
to fifteenth century)
International and Interdisciplinary Conference
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz / Leibniz Institute of European History
(IEG), 21–23 January 2021
Conception and Organisation: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann and Dr. Tobias C.
Weißmann (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) 

From late antiquity to the late Middle Ages, rite and mass piety in the
Byzantine Eastern and Latin Western Church were decisively influenced by
the interaction of liturgical and musical practice with the sacred space.
Byzantium exerted a lasting influence on church buildings in the West,
especially in the architecture and the decoration with monumental
gold-ground mosaics, exemplified by the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, St
Mark’s Basilica in Venice or the cathedrals in Périgueux and Aachen. The
relationship of Byzantine to ancient Roman and Gregorian chant as well as
the later development of vocal church music in East and West has
increasingly become the focus of research in recent years. As several
studies have shown, Byzantine sacred buildings not only responded to
liturgical, ceremonial and musical requirements, but architectural
innovations also affected the rite and church music. Such phenomena have
also been observed in various sacred spaces in the Mediterranean regions of
the Latin West.

The conference focuses on the interplay of sacred architecture, rite and
music for the first time in a comparative perspective between Byzantium and
the West from late antiquity to the late Middle Ages and examines transfer
processes between the Byzantine Empire and the European Mediterranean
region. Emphasis is placed on the sacred space in its performative function
within the liturgical and ceremonial context. The guiding questions are: To
what extent did synodal or conciliar resolutions and liturgical innovations
in the East and the West influence the construction or modification of
church buildings and modify musical composition and performance practice in
sacred spaces? Which spaces were intended for musical performance and how
did contemporaries perceive this? How should the relationship of monumental
wall paintings or mosaics with texts and chants of liturgical celebrations
be evaluated? In this context, what similarities, differences and
interactions can be identified between the Byzantine Eastern and Roman
Western Church?

Papers of 30 minutes will be accepted in German and English. Interested
speakers are invited to submit an abstract of their proposed paper (max.
500 words) and a short CV (max. 300 words) by 15 May 2020 to:
klaus.pietschmann -at- / tobias.weissmann -at- uni-

Contributions by junior researchers will receive special attention. Travel
and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed subject to successful


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