Church History

Living ideology and cultural history from the Byzantine Empire to the present

Church History is a theological academic subject that studies Christianity using the methods of the study on history. Research subjects include the operation of churches, religious communities and individual Christians ranging from the classical age to the modern day. Church History examines theological thinking, culture and society both from a perspective of continuity and change.

Focus areas of Orthodox church history

The focus of Orthodox Church History at the University of Eastern Finland is on Byzantine Empire (330–1453) and the history of its impact on Russia and Eastern Europe. The academic subject has also involved studies on the church and state relations and freedom of religion issues in the EU region and the former Eastern Europe. The professor of the academic subject is specialised in these questions in particular.

Key fields of research of Orthodox Church History include Russian ideological history and the history of religion, the history of orthodoxy in Karelia and Finland (in particular monasticism and hagiography research), research on the Byzantine Empire and its impact on Russian ideological history (in particular the so-called period of ”pseudomorphosis”). The pain spots of integrating Europe in the Balkans (the area of the former Yugoslavia) and Ukraine are also at the centre of research.

The discipline engages in extensive international research collaboration. Research partners include the European Consortium for Church and State Research (Milan) and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (USA).

If you are interested in the history of the Byzantine Empire or the relationship between church and state and issues related to the freedom of religion, this is the right academic subject for you.

From basic studies to advanced studies

During the basic studies of Church History, a student learns about the various periods of general church history. In addition to the central lines of development, the focus is on the early and medieval church history and the history of orthodoxy in Karelia and Finland.

During intermediate studies, a student learns how to apply the methods of Church History and learns about the key phenomena of Orthodox church history.

During advanced studies, a student learns more about the history of the Byzantine Empire and the history of its impact, the phenomena, ideologies and turning points of Russian, Eastern European and Finnish church history. A student can select their preferred field of study and focus on an extensive research question about which they will prepare a master’s thesis.

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