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Konrad Siekierski: The Materiality of Armenian Christianity: Gospel Books as Sacred Objects
Armenian Gospel Books not only contain the Word of God to be read by priests and the faithful, but some also act as sacred objects endowed with supernatural power and agency. As such, they are venerated during the feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church and as ‘home saints’ – family relics held in unofficial shrines. Based on several years of ethnographic research in Armenia and recent anthropological literature on religion as a sensual and material phenomenon, Konrad Siekierski will discuss how Gospel Books (and some other religious texts) make visible the invisible, touchable the untouchable, and – ultimately – reachable the unreachable for Armenian Christians today. Furthermore, he will explore the Armenian veneration of home saints in the context of Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia’s changing socio-political landscape, the decay of traditional village life in the country, and the theft of many privately owned Gospel Books.

Jan 26, 2022 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Konrad Siekierski
Konrad Siekierski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London. Based upon ten years of ethnographic research, his doctoral thesis, A Vow to Go: Religion, Reunion, and Roots in Armenian Pilgrimage, examines the different forms that pilgrimage takes today in the Armenian culture. In 2021, he conducted a research project Gospel Books as Home Saints: Between Vernacular Christianity and Armenian National Heritage, funded by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research. Currently he is a recipient of The Orthodox Christian Studies NEH Dissertation Completion Fellowship at Fordham University. Konrad edited two collective volumes and authored several articles in academic journals.