2023 Summer Seminar: “Beyond The Monastic Gate: Sacred Landscapes And Socioeconomic Networks”
May 27 - June 3, 2023
This year’s Mt. Menoikeion seminar will bring together a small group of Princeton students to explore the interconnected monastic and secular networks of northern Greece. While our focus will be on the history, archaeology, art and architecture of the Monastery of St. John Prodromos (St. John the Baptist) and its surroundings, we will also explore other secular and sacred sites across the broader region.
As we return to Mount Menoikeion after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, we will be re-introduced to the wider context of the holy mountain and the main urban center of the region, the city of Serres. We will travel along the Strymon river valley all the way to the peninsula of Chalkidike visiting the site of Stageira and the town Ouranoupoli, along with the site of the Monastery of Zygos. From our base in Serres, we will visit the Byzantine and Ottoman monuments of the city, as well as key towns such as Siderokastro and Zichne and mountain villages such as Chionochori, in order to trace the social, economic and cultural networks that supported and benefitted from Prodromos Monastery over its centuries-long history, from its founding ca. 1270 to the present.
The seminar will begin in Thessaloniki with a day and a half-long exploration of the city. From there we will head to Ouranoupolis with an overnight in the area of Chalkidike, before we make our way to Serres where we will spend four nights. We will visit Prodromos Monastery, and study the Byzantine, Ottoman and modern heritage of the city of Serres, while taking day-trips to Mt. Menoikeion and its region. Seminar participants will stay in double-occupancy rooms at a hotel in Serres.
Accepted students will be expected to participate actively and contribute to all seminar activities, engaging intellectually, sharing their research-in-progress, and interacting respectfully with the monastic community. Near the end of the seminar, they will make presentations reflecting upon what they have learned and connecting their own work to the themes of the seminar. Additionally, they will submit by June 26, 2023 a report to the Seeger Center, along with a written version of their presentation to be posted on the Mt. Menoikeion website.
Nikolas Bakirtzis (Professor, The Cyprus Institute)
Dimitri Gondicas (Professor, Hellenic Studies)
Alessia Rossi (Index of Medieval Art)
Historian / Local Expert:
Xenophon Moniaros (University of Thrace)
Megan Coates (Art History and Archaeology)
Radka Pallova (History)
Nicolette Volero-Levy (Art History, The Cyprus Institute)