Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity (ASEC), Saturday, 21 November 2015, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

President Valeria Nollan opened the meeting at 4:02 PM.

Welcome and Introduction of Current Board Members

Valeria introduced the current officers, whose terms end this year: Scott Kenworthy, Associate Professor of Comparative Religion at Miami University of Ohio, is the vice-president and president-elect; Roland Clark, Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University, is treasurer; Eugene Clay, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University, is secretary; and Charles (Chuck) Arndt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian at Vassar College, is newsletter editor. Roland and Chuck were unable to attend the meeting.

Update on Distinguished Scholar Prize

The winner of the 2014 Distinguished Scholar Prize is Valentina Izmirlieva for her article “Christian Hajjis—the Other Orthodox Pilgrims to Jerusalem.” Slavic Review 73, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 322-46.  Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock received Honorable mention for her article, “The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion, and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism.” Russian Review (April 2014): 171-97.

The ASEC prize committee (Eugene Clay, Randall Poole, and William Wagner) welcomes nominations and self-nominations for an outstanding English-language article-length publication relating to a society or societies that are influenced by Eastern Christian culture, although the article need not be on religion specifically.  Articles published between September 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015 are eligible for consideration for the next prize, to be awarded at the 2016 ASEC annual business meeting.  Please send nominations to Eugene Clay (clay@asu.edu).


The minutes of the 2014 business meeting were approved unanimously.  Scott assumed his office as president of ASEC.

Eugene, as secretary, reported that the ASEC electronic list has over 170 names, including some lapsed members. We will send out a call for dues by February 2016, and we are continuing to develop a website for ASEC.  Valeria pointed out that we have 80 members in good standing

Valeria reported that the sixth biennial conference held in Memphis, Tennessee, was a great success. We raised approximately $6000 for the conference, with Hilandar Library providing $2000 of that sum. The total expense for the conference was approximately $9000, and ASEC provided about $4000 of that amount. The conference was well-attended, with an audience of 36 to 37 at each session.

Lucien Frary reported that our current treasurer, Roland Clark, has taken a job in the United Kingdom at the University of Liverpool and so will not be able to stand for election for another term.  Lucien expressed his willingness to serve as treasurer in an interim capacity.

Jenn Spock reported that The Tapestry of Eastern Christianity, the second volume in the Eastern Christianity subseries of Ohio Slavic Papers, is almost complete. This volume, edited by Donald Ostrowski, Nickolas Lupinin, and Jennifer B. Spock, is in the final stage of copy-editing.  (The first volume in the series is distributed by Slavica, which does not actively advertise the series, but will send the volume to any customer who requests and pays for it.) ASEC will need to pay a subvention of $1000 for the costs of printing Tapestry. Valeria Nollan, David Goldfrank, and Jenn Spock are in the final stages of editing the proceedings of the 2013 ASEC conference on Iosif Volotskii.  Scott asked about publication plans for the 2015 conference. Lucien Frary noted that such plans should be made quickly.

Election of Officers for the 2015-18 Term

The Nominating Committee presented its slate of officers:

Eugene Clay for Vice President/President-Elect;

Lucien Frary for Treasurer.

There were no nominations from the floor, and both nominees were elected unanimously. ASEC is still in need of a secretary; the nominating committee was unable to find a suitable candidate who is willing and able to serve in that capacity.  We hope to find someone and present him or her to the membership as soon as possible.

Old Business

Scott noted that the new officers would seek to 1) develop a website for ASEC; 2) reincorporate the organization; 3) re-establish its non-profit, tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization; and 4) explore the possibility of changing the name from the “Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture” to the shorter “Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity.”

New Business

  • Planning for the seventh biennial conference, to be held in 2017, has begun. The membership discussed possible dates, themes, and venues for the conference.
    1. A lively conversation ensued about whether the conference should take place in spring or fall. Most of the previous conferences have been held in the fall. Valeria pointed out that the organizer should be on site, whatever date is ultimately chosen. It is also important to avoid religious holidays and to reach a consensus on the date. In the Christian calendar, spring has more movable feasts, which makes scheduling more complicated. However, spring may be a better time for many members, since the ASEEES convention, where ASEC is required to hold its annual business meeting, always takes place in November. Likewise, the major Byzantine Studies conference occurs in late October.
    2. The year 2017 is the centenary of both Russian Revolutions (February and October) as well as the semi-millennial anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, so a potential theme might be Revolution and Reformation. The following year, 2018, is the centenary of the assassination of the Russian imperial family as well as the quadri-centenary of the Treaty of Deulino and the Defenestration of Prague. Alternatively, the conference may forego any particular theme to avoid discouraging any submissions that might not fit the theme.
    3. Scott will explore the possibility of holding the conference at the Havighurst Center at Miami University of Ohio.

As they plan for the next conference, the officers will explore these possibilities and may use an online survey monkey to get further feedback from the membership.

  • Scott suggested that we might institute a listserv or a group in H-Net. We would like to expand ASEC beyond the Slavic realm, perhaps by developing a presence at the American Academy of Religion or other relevant scholarly organizations.



Call for Papers: State, Religion, and Church. Cold War and Religion.  Dec 1.  The quarterly peer-reviewed journal State, Religion and Church in Russia and Worldwide / Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov’ v Rossii i za rubezhom (http://religion.rane.ru/?q=en/main) will dedicate a special issue in 2017 to the theme “Churches during the Cold War.” The editors are particularly interested in exploring how the Cold War influenced the relations between Christian churches and individual believers from the two conflicting “worlds.” The journal State, Religion and Church invites potential participants to submit an application by December 1, 2015 both to the editorial address religion@rane.ru and to the address of guest editors – beliacovana@gmail.com, religion07@rambler.ru. The application should include the name of the proposed article, an abstract (1200-1500 characters, including spaces), and a brief CV.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:23 PM.