Location: University of Texas–El Paso, El Paso, TX

Deadline: 20 June 2015

The conference focuses on 13th- and 14th-century clerical literature and culture of the Iberian Peninsula. Within the poetry of this literature and milieu, there are many works of hagiography, including the vitae of San Millán de la Cogolla, Santo Domingo de Silos, Santa Oria, and Saint Mary of Egypt. There are many other works that have hagiographical elements, including the Castilian versions of the Apollonius of Tyre narrative. Finally, the Libro de Buen Amor (The Book of Good Love in English), that darling of 14th-century Peninsular literature, lampoons the hagiographic genre in many sections.

For more information, view the conference PDF or “Learn More” button that will take you to a video about the topic on the conference Web site.

Please join us for EPISCOPUS sessions and events at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, between 14 and 17 May, 2015

  • Business Meeting, Friday, 12:00-1:30 – Bernhard Faculty Lounge (cost per attendee varies but is usually around $10-12; catered Asian buffet will be served)
  • Bishops and their Towns: Aspects of Episcopal Influence within Urban Environments (Session 269, Friday 1:30-3:00, Bernhard 106)
    • Michael Heil, “The Bishop as Judge and Litigant in the Towns of Early Medieval Italy”
    • Theo Riches, “Urban Danger, Urban Sanctity: Ecclesiastical Reform and the City in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries”
    • Carrie E. Benes, “Civic Advice from an Archbishop: Jacopo da Varagine’s History of Genoa”
  • Lateran IV and the English Secular Clergy (Session 324, Friday, 3:30-5:00, Bernhard 106)
    • Andrew Reeves, “Lusignans, Curiales, and Assorted Non-Saints: Must a Good Bishop be a Bad Man?”
    • William H. Campbell, “Lateran Reform in the Diocese of Exeter: The Fragmentary Statutes of Bishop William Brewer (ca. 1226)”
    • James Richardson, “Developing a Diocese: Bishops and Reform in Hereford and Winchester Dioceses, 1282-1317″
This international conference and series of public lectures explores bishops’ and popes’ palaces across Britain and Europe with a particular focus on The Auckland Project to research and restore this 900-year old residence of the Bishop of Durham.  Themes include how bishops’ palaces and houses differed from the palaces and houses of secular magnates; the relationship between bishops’ palaces and houses and their political and cultural context; their relationship to the landscapes and towns in which they were set; and the architectural forms of bishops’ palaces and houses across England, Wales, Scotland, and continental Europe.
For a detailed program and registration information, please visit,

Cardiff University is pleased to announce the up-coming symposium on the episcopal office in the Middle Ages, to be held 10-12 June 2015.

There is a tendency in modern historiography to approach the episcopal office, its associated duties, and episcopal power and authority abstractedly, detaching the office from the personalities which brought it to life. The conference aims to cast light on the extent to which the personalities of the men appointed to bishoprics shaped the episcopal office as it developed in Europe between c.1000 and c.1300. How was personality expressed through the episcopal office and its associated duties? Bishops were not divorced from the social context and political milieu in which they lived and operated. How did the personal relationships of an individual bishop with kings, princes, archbishops or popes, or the position of a bishop in an extended kin network, affect not only the development of the office, its functions and its societal status, but also the practice of episcopal duties? Can a personality be reconstructed in the first place – if so, then how accurately, and where might we begin? To answer such questions, we must draw on expertise from across the disciplines, and we are confident that many more issues will be raised as the conference progresses.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Episcopal personalities and the restoration of the secular church;
  • The impact of monastic personalities on the episcopal office;
  • Episcopal personalities and the development of monasticism or communities of secular canons;
  • The relationship between the topography of a city and an episcopal personality;
  • Ecclesiastical architecture as reflections of episcopal personalities;
  • Episcopal personalities and friendship networks;
  • The influence of episcopal personalities over secular rulers;
  • Episcopal personalities as causes of conflict or tools of peace-making.

Papers set in the context of the Eastern Church are particularly welcome for comparative purposes. Deadline March 8th 2015. Contact: powerofthebishop@gmail.com

The Annual General Meeting and Lecture of the Canterbury and York Society will be held on Wednesday 12 November at Oriel College, Oxford from 3.30 (tea from 3). After the (usually short) AGM, Dr David Robinson will present an address on ‘Ordination lists: key to the medieval clergy?’

Members are warmly encouraged to come and institutional members are encouraged to send representatives. Guests are also welcome and, if you can be in the Oxford area and would like to come, please contact Dr Charles Fonge, our Honorary Secretary.

This session is provisionally entitled “Pastoral Reform, 600-1300: Ideas and Practice” for Leeds, 2015

Care of souls has been designated as key to a number of historical reform narratives such as the Gregorian reform, the Fourth Lateran Council, the emergence of mendicant orders, or the establishment of faculties of theology. Despite this centrality, however, its scope remains unclear, partly because we are still in the dark as to the change pastoral care underwent from 600 to 1300. Our knowledge is best when it comes to England and the fourteenth century and beyond. This session seeks paper on any aspect on pastoral care and reform, preferably outside of England. Particularly welcoming are papers concerning its institutional and practical aspects, pastoral expectations of laity, on the pastoral role and activities of bishops, monks, canons and laity (the nobility, parishes and confraternities), and intellectual discourse on care of souls produced in the universities.

Please send a short abstract to Neslihan Senocak (ns2495@columbia.edu) by 20 September 2014.

Event Date: 14-17 May 2015

Event Location: Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)

Submission Deadline: 15 September 2014

In addition to the EPISCOPUS-sponsored panels at Kalamazoo 2015, EPISCOPUS members planning to travel to Kalamazoo may also be interested in the following additional panel focused on hagiographic narratives.

Building Hagiographies: Saintly Imagery in Monumental Contexts

One of the most innovative developments in the monumental arts of the thirteenth century was the incorporation of saints’ lives into the visual programs of buildings, including the stained glass and sculpture of such well-known structures as the cathedrals of Chartres, Reims, Amiens, and Bourges. Yet even at these well-known monuments, the resident imagery of local saints and the local interpretations of universal saints remain understudied topics. This session will consider the ways in which the imagery of saints was incorporated or reinterpreted in the visual programs of buildings, thereby constructing careful histories within regional and local contexts.

We encourage papers that consider regional and local interpretations of hagiographic imagery in a variety of monumental contexts (cathedrals, parish churches, monasteries) and across geographic regions (Europe, the British Isles, and the Mediterranean). Papers may address but are not limited to such issues as the use of hagiographic narratives to support the power and authority of the local clergy and/or the interaction of local saints’ imagery with liturgical performance, pilgrimage, preaching, and other devotional, didactic, or political concerns.

Proposals for papers should be sent to the organizers and follow guidelines listed here:


Jennifer M. Feltman, jennifer.feltman@gmail.com
Kara Morrow, kmorrow@wooster.edu

Event Date: 6-9 July 2015

Event Location: Leeds, England, UK

Submission Deadline: 12 Sept 2014

EPISCOPUS is organizing several sessions for Leeds 2015, some of which are included below.

  • The Bishop’s Eye and EPISCOPUS are interested in co-organising a panel on reform and renewal in the diocese of Lincoln. In keeping with the Bishop’s Eye rationale we are particularly interested in thinking about how reform and renewal intersected with other aspects of religious men’s identities (social status, gender, membership of particular orders, ethnicity, location etc). We are continuing to think of ‘religious men’ in a broad sense (i.e. monks/clerics and laymen) and would welcome papers from any medieval period and field. Papers could also consider men’s involvement with the reform of women/female orders. But we would encourage you to interpret these fairly general headings as you think best in relation to your own research!We hope to be able to put together sessions made up of papers dealing with comparative contexts and/or methodological approaches. We may decide to have respondents to some of the sessions, and are also planning to propose a round table. Please submit offers of papers by 12 September 2014. At this stage a title and a few sentences summarising the subject matter of the paper is sufficient. Proposals may be submitted to: Katherine J. Lewis, MA, DPhil, FHEA, FRHistS Senior Lecturer in History, Acting Research Co-ordinator
  • EPISCOPUS is sponsoring a session on “Methodological Frontiers in Medieval Church Reform and Renewal”Medieval reformers knew no boundaries in their attempts to renew their fellow Christians’ devotions to the Church. Modern researchers similarly push the boundaries of scholarship as they wrestle with questions of reform in their own work. Sometimes, that takes the form of experimentation with digital methodologies. In other cases, it means a revisiting well-known documents with new perspectives and new questions. This panel will feature speakers who have self-consciously applied methodologies and technologies to historical sources and debates concerning reform. From distant reading and data mining, to manuscript studies that question current transmission accounts, to reform accounts that tie several reform periods together, the goal of these papers is to challenge established explanatory paradigms of reform and renewal in the medieval church by stretching the geographic, temporal, and methodological frontiers of medieval reform scholarship. Please submit offers of papers by 12 September 2014. At this stage, a title and a few sentences summarising the subject matter of the paper is sufficient, although a 250-word abstract is ideal. Proposals should be submitted to: Kalani Craig, PhD (Hutton Honors College, Indiana University, craigkl@indiana.edu)
  • Finally, EPISCOPUS is sponsoring a session on “Reforming and re-negotiating celibacy, purity and masculinity”
    Recent work has questioned how we should imagine ‚reform‘ in the context of medieval religious history. We need to pay closer attention to the interrelation of different processes, actor constellations and portrayals of reform, as both longer reform processes, rewriting of ongoing reforms and recurring re-negotiations of the same themes are visible. One theme which recurs in various waves of religious reform and debate and thus shows many interconnected strands of reform is debate about bodily purity and sexual asceticism of religious elites, realized in forms of priestly celibacy or religious/monastic chastity and virginity. The link between gender and authority not only made it a prime arena of debate in reforms of pastoral care. Re-negotiations of the topic also seem to occur in connection with various situations of competition between different religious elites, and purity and chastity seem to be qualities which were debated hotly (and controversially) among both scholarly elites and the laity. Debates about purity, chastity and celibacy not only intensified with eleventh-century church reform and the fight against ’Nicolaitism’, but also with clashes between heterodox and orthodox religious elites in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, between mendicant and clerical pastors from the thirteenth century onwards, as well as between Christian, Jewish and Islamic elites wherever power shifts unbalanced existing arrangements. While we witness some intense attempts of individuals or groups to enforce celibacy, chastity or purity as a form of gendered religious identity, other debates seem to make polemical use of a growing arsenal of topoi which became embedded in traditions of clerical reform or of clerical, monastic or mendicant education.
    Yet most of these arenas of the reform of masculine religious identity are studied separately. The session aims to take a closer look at reform debates about celibacy, chastity, and masculine identity, and to study how they connect to reform movements and changing patterns of religious diversity. Scholars working on relevant fields are invited to submit abstracts, which might focus on

    • the use and importance of debates about chastity and celibacy in situations of reform, especially as a topic contested between scholarly and lay opinion
    • the re-use of established ideals of chastity, purity and masculinity
    • the embedding of such ideals in polemical or didactic traditions.

    Please submit abstracts to Sita Steckel,  sita.steckel@uni-muenster.de, by 12 Sept 2014.

Event Date: 14-17 May 2015

Event Location: Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)

Submission Deadline: 15 September 2014

EPISCOPUS invites the submission of abstracts for its sponsored panels at the 2015 Congress in Kalamazoo, MI. Submitted abstracts should be accompanied by a Participant Information Form (available at http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#Paper)

I. Bishops and their Towns (panel)

This session of the International Medieval Congress on Medieval Studies in 2015 will focus on bishops and secular clergy in their urban environments. Medieval bishops were very active in both their episcopal cities and the other towns in their dioceses. Bishops supported urban monasteries and leper houses, created (and disbanded) communes, built episcopal palaces, oversaw the development of parishes, and managed—with varying success—their cathedral canons. “Episcopus” welcomes paper proposals relating to the policies, activities, and relationships of secular clergy with urban communities, including, but not limited to: municipal governments and other secular authorities; other religious establishments; clerical interaction with and manipulation of urban space, including building campaigns; violence and communal aid, such as poor relief; ritual; and economic matters. Proposals are encouraged regarding all periods of the Middle Ages.

Please submit abstracts and participant forms to Kathy Salzer (kes30@psu.edu) by September 15, 2014.

II. Lateran IV and the English Secular Clergy, co-sponsored with the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Ontario, (panel)

Lateran IV, while a famous landmark ecumenical council, could only be as effective as the bishops, archdeacons, and other clergy chose to make it within their jurisdictions. This session, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Council, also observes the 80th anniversary of Gibbs and Lang’s Bishops and Reform and the 70th anniversary of Moorman’s Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century by continuing the task of investigating how, and to what extent, papal pronouncements of theology and canon law were manifested in the life of the English church, particularly as represented by bishops and other secular clergy, after the Council. This session will be chaired by Joseph Goering (St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto).

Please submit abstracts and participant forms to William H. Campbell (whc7@pitt.edu), Andrew Reeves (andrew.reeves1@mga.edu) or Michael Burger (mburger1@aum.edu)

The complete CFP for ICMS 2015 is available at http://wmich.edu/medieval/files/call-for-papers-2015.pdf.

Event Date: 13-14 March 2015

Event Location: Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

Submission Deadline: 15 September 2014

Saint Mary’s University Twickenham is hosting an international conference on Renaissance cardinals as diplomats and patrons. The conference will mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas Wolsey’s being made a cardinal by Pope Leo X. As ‘Princes of the Church’, cardinals were almost invariably important politicians and international representatives of the Papacy, of princely, national, republican and civic regimes, and of their own families. The conference, organised by the School of Arts and Humanities, will take an innovative, interdisciplinary, approach to cardinals as ‘super-diplomats’, powerful political and cultural brokers, who played a vital role in the transfer and adaptation of ideas and artefacts within and beyond their primary sphere of Western Europe.

Proposals on any aspect of the role of cardinals as early-modern papal, princely, civic and dynastic representatives and patrons (rather than as ecclesiastics per se) will be considered. Papers from research students and early-career researchers are especially welcome.

Some suggested areas of enquiry and discussion include:

  • Ritual and protocol in diplomatic encounters between cardinals, secular diplomats, and rulers
  • The development, training and careers as diplomats of individual cardinals
  • The role of Church diplomats in the circulation of texts, literary ideas and artefacts
  • The representation of cardinals as diplomats in literary texts and art
  • Early modern legal and philosophical attitudes to churchmen/cardinals as diplomats
  • The artistic and architectural patronage of cardinals, as diplomats
  • The impact of the European Reformation in all its phases on the diplomatic practices and traditions of the Catholic Church
  • The part played by cardinals in Western Europe’s encounter with the world beyond.

Enquiries and Proposals for 20 minute papers or panels of 3-4 papers should be sent to Glenn.Richardson@smuc.ac.uk or Eugenia.Russell@smuc.ac.uk by 15 September 2014. Individual paper proposals should be no more than 300 words. Panel proposals should include abstracts of all papers (max 300 words) and a brief rationale (max 100 words) for the panel. All proposals should be accompanied by a short statement of affiliation and career. Delegates will be notified by 15 October 2014.