The Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History

and Culture, Inc. (ASEC) Tenth Biennial Conference

The Body and Eastern Christianity

Thursday-Saturday, February 1-3, 2024


Blackwell Inn and Pfahl Conference Center

The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio, USA





Thursday, February 1, 2024


5-7:30pm              Opening Reception                            Pfahl 3rd Floor Foyer


7-7:30pm              Discussion of “Exarch,” a ten-minute film


Friday, February 2, 2024


7:30-8:30am          Breakfast                                           Pfahl 1st Floor Foyer


8:30am                 Opening Remarks                              Pfahl 140


8:45-9:55am          Session 1. Byzantine Christianity     Pfahl 140

Chair: Russell Martin, Westminster College


Shawn McAvoy, Patrick Henry Community College (via Zoom)

“By the Concession of the Holy God, He Receives the Authority to Deceive the World”: A 5th- to 6th-Century Byzantine Antichrist


Özlem Eren, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Byzantine, Romanesque or Rus’ Architecture? 12th-Century Galicia-Volhynia



10:10-11:45am     Session 2. Bodies Transformed: Transubstantiation, Materia Magica, and the Returning Dead in Early Modern Eastern Europe and Russia

Chair: Jenn Spock, Eastern Kentucky University


Valerie Kivelson, University of Michigan

Magic and Body Parts


Clare Griffin, Indiana University

Vampires Between Religious Problem and Scientific Oddity in Early Eighteenth-Century Russia and Eastern Europe


Matthew Romaniello, Weber State University

“A Little Too Partial to the Ceremonies of Their Own Church”: John Glen King’s Investigation of the Russian Orthodox Liturgy in the 1760s


12-1:05pm            Lunch                                               Pfahl 330


1:15-3:15pm         Session 3. Orthodoxy and Empires: Law, Practice, and Boundaries

Chair: Nadia Kizenko, SUNY Albany


Camilla Pletuhina-Tonev, Princeton University

Between Sin and Crime: Outlawing the Acts “Against the Orthodox Rite”

in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Empire


Luke Jeske, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

Orthodoxy and Empire: Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich’s 1859 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land


Joshua Donovan, Boston College

Old Wine in New Wineskins: Orthodox Identity in the French-Partitioned Levant


Heather Bailey, University of Illinois Springfield

Political Crime, Physicality, and Punishment in Comparative Perspective: France and Russia in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century


3:30-5:05pm         Session 4. Hunger and Fasting         Pfahl 140

Chair: Heather Bailey, University of Illinois Springfield


Victoria Legkikh, Technical University of Munich

You Were the Praise of Fasting: St. Euthymius of Suzdal


Page Herrlinger, Bowdoin College

Faith and Hunger: Orthodox Bodies and Souls in a Condition of Extreme Deprivation (1910-1940s)


Vaughan Koga, Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies and Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Orthodox Fasting: The Body and a Pathway to a More Sustainable World


5:45pm                 Keynote Address                               Pfahl 140

Katherine Karam McCray, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto (Canada)

Disability and the Interpretive Body 


7-8pm                  Reception                                         Pfahl 3rd Floor Foyer


Saturday, February 3, 2024


7:30-9am              Breakfast                                          Pfahl 1st Floor Foyer


9-10:40am            Session 5. Disability and Liturgy     Pfahl 140

Chair: Scott Kenworthy, Miami University


Nadieszda Kizenko, SUNY Albany

Churches in Institutions for the Disabled in Late Imperial St. Petersburg and Their Liturgies


  1. Eugene Clay, Arizona State University

The New York Institution for the Blind: A Source for Russian Mystical Sectarian Songs


Abbess Evfrosinia Molchanov, Lesna Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God (France)

Orthodox Monasteries and the Disabled


10:50-12pm          Session 6. Sexuality                          Pfahl 140

Chair: Thomas Bremer, University of Muenster


Aram Sarkisian, Washington University in St. Louis

“Troubled with This”: Clerical Sexual Abuse as an Orthodox Problem in the United States


12-1pm                 Lunch                                               Pfahl 330


1:15-3:20pm         Session 7. Modern Theology            Pfahl 140

Chair: J. Eugene Clay, Arizona State University


John Burgess, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Kenotic Love: Pavel Florensky’s Prison Correspondence


Oleksandra Shtepenko, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland)

(via Zoom)

Through the Prism of the Body: The Celebration of the 1000th Anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus as a Chance to Legalize the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church


Sean Griffin, University of Notre Dame

The Dark Double: Russian Orthodoxy in Andrei Zviagintsev’s Leviathan


Ksenia Medvedeva, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw) and Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)

Green Orthodoxy: Ecological Conversion of Eastern Orthodox Churches (The Case of Greece)


3:30-5:05pm         Session 8. Russia and America         Pfahl 140

Chair: Luke Jeske, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill


Scott Kenworthy, Miami University

Patriarch Tikhon and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad    


Russell Martin, Westminster College

St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco and the Future of the Russian Monarchy


Nina Shultz, American Theological Library Association

Indigenous Orthodox Saints in Alaskan Religious Life


5:20pm                 Special Session. In Memoriam: Roy R. Robson


6-8pm                   Banquet                                            Pfahl 330





The Ohio State University’s Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies,

Hilandar Research Library, Department of History, Department of

Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures,

Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Center for the Study of Religion, and University Libraries