The year 2016 has been dedicated to the disssemination of research results and their integration in the international flow of information.


Maria Crăciun has given a paper called ‘From Sacred to Ritual Space: The Transformation of the Chancel in Transylvanian Lutheran Churches of the Early Modern Period’ at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference, an international scholarly gathering that has taken place at Bruges (Belgium) between 18-20 August 2016.

Maria Crăciun has also given a paper called „Lutheran Retables and Confessional Iconographic Programmes in Early Modern Transylvania” at the Reformation Studies Colloquium 2016, an international conference which has taken place at the University of Newcastle (UK) between 14-16 September 2016.

Ovidiu Ghitta has given a paper called „The Teachings of Bishop Petru Pavel Aaron to His Clergy” at The First International “Epaminonda Lucaciu” History Symposium: Historical Stages and Moments of Romanian Greek-Catholic Church in North America an international conference which took place at Cleveland, Ohio (USA) between 12-14 May 2016.

Ovidiu Ghitta has also given a paper called „Despre lege şi fărădelege într-o epistolă a lui Petru Pavel Aaron” at Violenţă, societate şi modernizare în spaţiul românesc (sec. XVI-XX) Marele război, sfârşitul modernităţii? a national conference organised by the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca between 2-3 June 2016.

Carmen Florea has attended an international conference La missione di Giovanii da Capestrano e il processo di Europe Making nel quatrtrocento: lo stato dell'arte nell storia e nella storiografia nell Europa danubiana e balcanica, organised by the University of Macerata, held at Macerata (Italy) on 25 November 2015, with a paper called „St. John of Capistran's Mission to Transylvania: a Historiographic Perspective”.

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called „Domonkosok a középkori Erdélyben” (Dominicans in Medieval Transylvania) at the international conference Domonkos szentek és szent helyek organised by the Institute of Religion and Theology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from Debrecen and the St Ladislas Dominican Plebany of Debrecen, held at Debrecen (Hungary) on 20 May 2016.

Mária Lupescu Makó has also given a paper called ”Pro memoria futurorum.” Piety and Remembrance of the Transylvanian Testators in the Late Middle Ages” at the international conference Les couvents mendiants dans l’économie du sacré en Europe centrale (v.1220-v.1550), organised by the University of Rennes 2 within the programs CERHIO CNRS UMR 6258 and MARGEC of the French National Agency for Research, held at Rennes, France on 2-3 June 2016.

Ciprian Firea has given a paper called „Bisericile urbane medievale din Transilvania și memoria donatorilor. Studiu asupra mărturiilor vizuale și documentare” at the national conference Locuri ale memoriei în spațiul urban, which was held at Bistrița between 3-4 June 2016.

Ciprian Firea has also given a paper called „Breasla pictorilor din Bistriţa la sfarşitul evului mediu și un statut nou descoperit” at the national conference Zilele Academice Clujene 2016. Simpozionul Național de Istoria Artei Medievale și Premoderne, which was held at Cluj Napoca on 19 May 2016.

Research visits

Ovidiu Ghitta has benefited from a research visit to Rome between 1-11 July 2016 and undertaken research at the Archivio Storico "De Propaganda Fide".

Maria Crăciun has benefited from a research visit to Berlin between 25 July and 23 August 2016, where the Staatsbibliothek has allowed her to become familiar with recent literature essential to the finalising of her research project concerning the art present in Transylvanian Lutheran churches and a brief stay in London 17-20 September 2016, where she was able to consult the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Institute.

Between 30 August and 1 September 2016 Maria Crăciun and Ciprian Firea have undertaken field research in the villages of Beia, Boarta, Brădeni, Bunești, Buzd, Cloașterf, Daia, Homorod, Mediaș, Rupea, Ruși, Saschiz, Seleuș, Sibiu.


The year 2015 has been dedicated to individual research in various libraries, archives and museums as well as field work. In this sense, Mária Lupescu Makó has worked in libaries in Budapest and Leeds, Maria Crăciun has worked in the State Library in Berlin and the CEU/ELTE library in Budapest, Ovidiu Ghitta has worked in archives in Cluj and Satu Mare, Carmen Florea has worked in the archives of Cluj while Ciprian Firea has worked in the Brukenthal Museum of Sibiu. Moreover, on 30 and 31 July 2015, Ciprian Firea and Maria Crăciun have undertaken a research trip in the area of Sibiu and Braşov photographing the churches and their furnishings, particularly altarpieces in Turnişor, Alţâna, Movile, Seliştat, Râşnov, Rotbav, Rupea, Homorod, Viscri and Sighişoara.


Carmen Florea has given a paper entitled ‘The Mendicant Ideal of Poverty in Late Medieval Transylvanian Towns’ at the conference La pauvreté au quotidien/Everyday poverty (ca. 1220-ca. 1550), Wroclaw, 21-23 May 2015.

Ovidiu Ghitta has held a public lecture ‘Egy “szabálytalan” összeírás tanulságai. Simon, tományi görög katolikus lelkész konskripciója 1773-ból’ at the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Történettudományi Intézet, Budapest, 13 February 2015.

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called ‘Erdélyi Szent Márton kultuszhelyek’ (The Transylvanian cult sites of St Martin) at the international conference Via Sancti Martini - Szent Márton útjai térben és időben (Via Sancti Martini – St Martin’s Travels through Space and Time), organized by the Historical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Mayor’s Office of Szombathely, The St Martin Programmes’Office and the Bishopric of Szombathely, at Szombathely, Hungary (15-17 April 2015)

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called ‘Renewal after Reform in Medieval Transylvania’ at the International Medieval Congress Reform and Renewal, organized by the Institute of Medieval Studies of the University of Leeds, at Leeds, Great Britain (6-9 July 2015)

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called ‘Zis şi scris: Vorbirea şi scrierea în testamente’ at the international conference Writing and Society in Transylvania, 13th-17th Centuries, orgeniased by the ”George Bariţiu” Institute of History of the Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca Branch and the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, România (17-18 September 2015)

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called ‘Sending Greetings during the Great War’ (with Radu Mârza) at the international conference World War I. The Other Face of the War, organised by the Centre of Transylvania Studies of the Romanian Academy, The Institute of History of the Karl Franzens University of Graz and the faculty of History and Philosophy of the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj, România (12-14 October 2015)

Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper called ‘Egy régi-új forrástípus kutatása: testamentumok. Erdélyi körkép’ (Researching an old-new source. Transylvanian panorama) at the international conference Erdély történetével kapcsolatos kutatások helyzete napjainkban (16-19. század) (Today’s State of Research Regarding Transylvanian History, sixteenth to nineteenth century), organised by the Institute of History and the Doctoral School of the Eszterházy Károly University, Eger, Hungary (5-6 November 2015).

Ciprian Firea has given a paper called ‘Scris şi public în Transilvania evului mediu târziu. Câteva exemple de scriere monumentală şi semnificaţiile lor’ at the international conference Writing and Society in Transylvania 13th-17th Centuries, Cluj (17-18 September, 2015) (
Ciprian Firea has given a paper called ‘Simboluri şi programe heraldice în Transilvania evului mediu târziu – câteva deschideri’ at the national colloquium Puterea cuvântului, a exemplului şi a simbolului, Iaşi (29 October 2015) (


Monthly meetings

The year 2014 has been dedicated to individual research and finalising some of the work undertaken in previous years with the help of innovative approach and methods. According to the already established tradition, the research team has met regularly to discuss research in progress. For example, on 24 May 2014 Ciprian Firea has presented a previously unpublished and less known document ”Protocollum Capituli Cibiniensis ab anno 1523 usque ad annum 1536” , the problems he has encountered in transcribing and analysing it and the possibilities he foresees for its use. Benefiting from the discussion during the meetings and from the comments and suggestions made by the members of the team these presentations have contributed significantly to the final draft of articles submitted for publication. Thus, Maria Crăciun has submitted to the Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History a study entitled ‘The Price of Sin: Sexual Misconduct and Its Social Consequences in Sixteenth-Century Transylvanian Towns’ after she had presented, during the meeting of 27 June 2014 the outline of the argument and the problems raised by the comparison of two distinct sets of prescriptive documents with both clerical and secular authors in order to capture the lay view on transgression of both ecclesiastical and social norms. Carmen Florea has initiated a discussion of the bibliography consulted during the research visits undertaken in 2013 to the libraries of the Medieval Studies Department at the Central European University and the University Library at Rennes (France) attempting to refine the comparative approach to the study of the cult of saints in the later Middle Ages. Mária Lupescu Makó has proposed a discussion of late medieval testaments from Transylvania analysing funeral and commemorative practices as well as, on the basis of the preambles, views on both earthly existence and the afterlife. Ovidiu Ghitta has discussed his project to publish a critical edition of Petru Pavel Aaron’s work Păstoriceasca datorie dumnezeieştii turme vestită, following the intricacies of an ecclesiastical discourse conceived with the intent to impose the law, the rule and to outline ‚lawlessness’, that is, the transgression of norms by the laity. Moreover, during the meeting the team has discussed the ways to capture the influences, the ideological trajectories and the models detectable in the structure of the text.

The program of these regular meetings has included guests from partner universities. Thus, on 2 October 2014 the research team has met with Professor Letizia Pellegrini (University of Macerata) in order to discuss a research topic with which she has applied for European research funding, The Mission of St. John of Capestrano in Transylvania and opportunities for cooperation with the scholars engaged in the project Beyond the Norms: Religious Practice in Late Medieval and Early Modern Transylvania.



Between September 3rd and 6th 2014 Mária Lupescu Makó has attended the International Conference Cities in Europe - Cities in the World. 12th International Conference on Urban History, organized by the European Association for Urban History at Lisbon, Portugal. Mária Lupescu Makó's presentation “Remembrance Culture in Late Medieval Transylvanian Towns” has been presented in the session: Material Culture and Social Change in Western Europe (13th – 17th Centuries). Details on the conference at:


Mária Lupescu Makó has given a paper entitled “Piety and Remembrance of the Transylvanian Noble Testators in the Late Middle Ages.”, at the conference Cultural Heritage and the Innovation of Humanities in the 21th Century, organized by the University of Debrecen between 8-9 October 2014. For details see


Maria Crăciun has presented a paper entitled 'Interpreting Luther's Small Catechism: Definitions of sin within the Saxon community of Early Modern Transylvania' at the conference Comparing Catechism-Entangling Christian History (Oslo, 14-16 May 2014).


Maria Crăciun has given a paper called ‘Aural or Visual? The Experience of Worship in Early Modern Transylvanian Lutheran Churches’ at the Reformation Studies Colloquium held in Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, 10-12 September 2014.

Maria Crăciun has presented a paper dedicated to ‘Saints in the Church and in the Prayers of Mankind: attitudes towards God’s creatures’ in early modern Transylvania’ at the international conference Church Reforms and the Cults of Saints organized by the Croatian Hagiographic Society, Hagiotheca, held at the University of Zadar, 17-21 September 2014.

Ovidiu Ghitta has given a paper called „Îndemnurile episcopului Petru Pavel Aron către preoţii săi” - at the Symposium dedicated to Petru Pavel Aaron, held at Blaj, 9-10 March 2014.

Ciprian Firea has given a paper which dealt with Femei donatoare de “artă“ în Transilvania medieval târzie at the “Simpozionul Naţional de Istoria Artei medievale şi premoderne” which was part of the Days of Cluj Academia, held at Cluj-Napoca, 12-13 June 2014.



Monthly Meetings

For the year 2013 the research team has decided to continue with its monthly meetings which were dedicated to presenting work in progress and discussing this with other team members and other colleagues. The meetings in January and February were dedicated to administrative matters and to planning the year's activities. The meeting in April was dedicated to discussing the changes to the initial research and dissemination plan required by the adjustment of the project's budget. In March, May and June, Ciprian Firea, Carmen Florea and Mária Lupescu Makó presented their research.


Donations for the salvation of the soul in medieval Transylvania

Mária Lupescu Makó
June 27th 2013

This presentation was delivered in one of the monthly meetings of the research team and had as its subject the emergence of a particular type of donation for the slavation of the soul, where servants were given to the churches by the testator or by his/her relatives with the clear purpose of organising yearly almsgiving to ensure happines in afterlife for their former master and his kin.

Donations for the soul (donatio pro remedio anime facta) started to spread as soon as Christianity took roots in Hungary. By endowing the church, testators hoped to ensure salvation for themselves and their families. This served, on the one hand as a good deed, as a work of mercy and, on the other as a bequest made to the church in order to enhance its wealth. The church was thus obligated to commemorate the death of the donors in various liturgical ceremonies and to pray for their souls. The oblation made to ensure liturgical acts, which also took into account the status of the deceased could encompass food, candles, valuables, livestock, money, land and, initially even serves. In Hungary a group of these serves was connected to the funerary rituals in a very special way. These serves were given to the church by various testators or by the relatives of the deceased between the eleventh and the beginning of the fourteenth century, with the clear purpose of organising annual commemoration services. Called torló or dusnok in Hungarian, these serves had certain sepcific duties, such as providing as alms a quantity of meat, in the form of livestock, bread and wine or beer for the priests who officiated these commemorative liturgies. They thus had a special duty to organize alms in the form of a meal, tor in Hungarian. Their name as ecclesiastical serves, that of torló derives from this, as they were responsible for carrying out these duties. It is worth stressing that neither their Latin nor their Hungarian name refers to their occupation, as they were all peasants, but rather to their specific duties. This social group was special in the sense that it is peculiar to Hungary and has no known analogies in other parts of Europe.

Although the documents are rather discreet concerning this aspect, it is nevertheless certain that these dusnok had become the property of the church following the donation made for the salvation of the soul. Their social status was often improved through their partial liberation on account of the pro remedio animae donation, which highlighted the set of obligations owed for the salvation of the soul. The sacral function of the service was however not sufficient to qualify someone as a torló. The donation itself had a double purpose, earthly and heavenly. While the name torló and its Latin equivalent designated a person who made the bequest and thus derived from the earthly nature of the obligation, the name dusnok refered primarily to the purpose of the deed, the salvation of the soul and thus depended on the transcendental character of the obligation.

The almsgiving held immediately after the funeral and on its annual commemoration (in anniversario), one of the most important feasts of the Middle Ages, was covered by the donation pro remedio animae of the testators or of their relatives. The donation offered other possibilities to procure the necessary commodities for the feast. The donors – partly of their own initiative, partly advised by the clergy – changed the status of the serves which would become the posession of the church when they made the endowment. They thus made use of the numerous and varied forms of freeing serves available to them. Although free, the latter had to still offer various services. Their former masters carefully outlined their duties and through giving them land and tools they ensured the material support for the fulfillment of these duties. Varying from case to case, the alsmgiving could be supplemented by other types of services. In direct relation with the commemoration of the deceased, the dusnok had to offer candles and wax, or paid the church for a recviem. At other times, the dusnok were obliged to carry the cross in the Sunday procession. They also had to make sure that the goods in question reached the church where the deceased was commemorated. Consequently, their sacred duties, perceptible in material reality, that is, in the alms with double function, could rightly explain the various names given to this special social group.

The basic prerequisite for the giving of alms was that the dusnok had a homestead of their own. Consequently, the donor and the testator would make sure that this was the case. The serves who had no land would benefit from endowments and those who already owned land were given to the church together with their holdings. The arrable land was sometimes accompanied by meadowns and forests and even mills. If the dusnok had to provide wine they would be given vineyards, while possession of livestock was also obligatory. Usually, the testator would have given him 2-4 oxen or some sheep or pigs. The holdings of the dusnok, together with the obligations would be passed on from father to son. The ecclesiastical overlord could dispose of these goods only of the dusnok failed in fulfilling their duties or if the family died out in the male line. In this case the holdings, together with the duties would go to other dusnok, sometimes to the son in law of the heirless dusnok or it would be used in a different way from the original intention. As a rule, the date for paying their dues coincided with the date of the funeral, and thus its commemoration. This went without saying and thus it was hardly ever specified explicitly in written documents. In the event that the salvation of the soul of a rich donor fell into the care of two or more dusnok it was required that alms would be given on several occasions.

The dusnok were first mentioned in written documents around 1067 and for the last time in 1326. After this date, the names and expressions which refer to them are no longer in actual use as transcriptions of documents from the second half of the fourteenth century or later ones refer to passive use of this term. The last information about a serf who had been made dusnok by his master dates from 1309. As most documents refering to dusnok date to before the Tatar invasion, a period rather poor in documents, one could state that the role of dusnok had been decisive in this early period of the Arpád dynasty. After the Tatar invasion, the nobles hardly ever designated any of their serves for the institution of the dusnok, because they now had other, less costly means at their disposal to endow the priests and ensure annual commemoration services. If the dusnok were left without heirs in these new cricumstances, the new lord or ecclesiastical master did not attempt to force the succesor who had settled on the land left without an owner to fulfill the archaic duties of the dusnok. Thus, after the Tatar invasion, the dusnok as a category tended to disappear and by the first half of the fourteenth century, it had compeletly ceased to exist. This special social category had become extinct and only a small part of the group, losing both its name and its speific duties was integrated into the unitary serfdom of the kingdom, which had developped during the thirteenth and fourteenth century from a juridical point of view.


The Civic Control of Sanctity in Late Medieval Transylvania

Carmen Florea
May 24th 2013

The monthly meetings organised by the team of the project Beyond the Norms: Religious Practice in Late-Medieval and Early Modern Transylvania offered me the opportunity to present the research I am conducting within the framework of this project, namely the way in which a civic religion was articulated in the towns of medieval Transylvania between the 14th and the 16th centuries. The methodological discussion on the interpretative possibilities of civic religion in the Transylvanian urban environment is a natural continuation of the critical evaluation of the sources, which was undertaken during the first year of this research project, and is, at the same time, an inherent part of the objectives set by the project team for the year 2013.

The starting point for my endeavour is the current debate in historiography concerning civic religion, whose reference points have been outlined by the attempt to define civic religion in the Italian territories (by the studies of André Vauchez, Michael Goodich, Ana Benvenuti, Gary Dickson), but also the attempts carried out during the last years to clarify this definition by studying civic religion in the transalpine territories (the case of the towns on the coast of the Adriatic Sea or the northern European ones).

Although the historiographical works on urban religious life in the medieval kingdom of Hungary emphasised the feature of religious microcosm of these towns (in the definition given by Marie Madeleine de Cevins), to this date there is no systematic debate on the ways in which civic religion is to be studied, and consequently, one may adapt the definitions proposed for other geographical areas. A possible method of investigation is, therefore, expanding from the results of the researches on the religious life of the laity in the Transylvanian towns, researches which highlighted both the significance of their mono-parochial profile, as well as the religious autonomy they enjoyed. As it has already been pointed out in earlier, but also in more recent art historical studies (Virgil Vătăşianu, Vasile Drăguţ, Ciprian Firea, Ágnes Bálint, Matthew Palmer), the reconstruction of the parish churches in the most important towns (Sibiu, Braşov, Bistriţa and Cluj) was motivated by the wish of a privileged community to represent its status through religious edifices.

These suggestions can be further exploited by looking at the control the magistracy exercised on the functioning of the parish church, having as a key-element the cult of the parish saint. The involvement of the town government in organising the public celebration of the patron-saint (as in Bistriţa), of the most important socio-economic groups (the case of Braşov and Cluj), or religious ones (the case of the Marian confraternity from Sibiu), opens the tempting possibility of investigating the characteristics of civic religion and its impact on urban religious life.

Last, but not least, it should be remarked that investigating the Transylvanian case not only clarifies an aspect less studied or not researched at all, that of lay participation in the religious life (in this case by celebrating the cult of the parish patron saint), but it also brings significant nuances to the ways in which this participation also alters the attitude of the parish clergy. The comparative perspective also has the merit of facilitating an outlining of a definition for civic religion, circumscribed not only to a geographic area, but also to the local ecclesiastical and lay institutional specificity.


Donatio pro memoria. Lay and Female Patronage in Late Medieval Transylvania. A Research of the Visual and Documentary Sources (14th - 16th centuries).

Ciprian Firea
The 22nd of March, 2013, Cluj-Napoca

This examination is part of the series of papers presented within the project Beyond the Norms: Religious Practice in Late Medieval and Early Modern Transylvania, with the aim of refining the methodological framework of the research project.

The paper aimed to identify and exploit visual and documentary sources concerning the religious practices of the laity in late medieval Transylvania, following two main directions: 1. the investigation of the personal strategies regarding the salvation/redemption of the individuals by ensuring the perpetuity of memory and 2. the highlighting of the role of women in elaborating, instrumenting and financing these salvation strategies.


During the last three decades scholars have become more and more interested in the study of memory, regarded as a complete phenomenon, a key-element not only for understanding medieval theology, but also for every aspect of medieval life. The body of specialised literature on this topic (see below) has inspired to a great extent the method of investigation of the sources used in the paper.

Through remembrance or commemoration, the deceased was in effect present in the life of the family, parish, town or village, convent, confraternity or guild. The paper proposed a short review of the mnemonic “tools” (inscriptions, coats of arms, donors' “portraits”, tombstones etc.) preserved in the medieval churches from Transylvania, examining them primarily from the perspective of preserving the donors' memory. I considered several cases, with regard to which I tried to emphasise the memory-related strategies of the donors. A large part of the research focused on identifying these donors by corroborating different sources: documents, prosopography, heraldry etc.

Female patronage

Starting from the exceptional case of Katerine Lemmel from Nuremberg (“one of the best documented cases of a bourgeois (female) donor, fund raiser and commissioner of memorials in the Early Modern Era”, Schleif 2005), my goal was to point out that, by studying the sources carefully, we can identify female donors with substantial contributions in conceiving and financing memory-related ‘undertakings’ in late medieval Transylvania as well. The discussion revolved around the patronage of Clara Apafi (Macedoniai), which can be noticed on the polyptych of Mălâncrav (approx. 1460/65), but also around cases of nuns of noble origin (Caterina Farkas de Herina), who employed family resources in the patronage of some ecclesiastical institutions.

List of works

Chiffoleau 1980

Chiffoleau, Jacques, La comptabilité de l’au-delà. Les hommes, la mort et la religion dans la région d’Avignon à la fin du Moyen-Âge (vers 1320 – vers 1480), Collection de l’École Française de Rome, Rome, 1980.

Oexle 1983

Oexle, Otto Gerhard, Die Gegenwart der Toten, in Hermann Braet and Werner Verbeke (eds.), Death in the Middle Ages, Mediaevalia Lovanensia Series I, Studia 9, Louvain, 1983, p. 19-77.

Schleif 1990

Schleif, Corine, Donatio et Memoria. Stifter, Stiftungen und Motivationen an Beispielen aus der Lorenzkirche in Nürnberg, Deutscher Kunstverlag, München, 1990.

Geary 1994

Geary Patrick J., Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the First Millennium, Princeton, 1994.

Lupescu Makó 2001

Lupescu Makó, Mária, “Item lego...” Gifts for the Soul in Late Medieval Transylvania, in Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU Budapest, VII, 2001, p. 161-185

Bijsterveld 2001

Bijsterveld, Arnoud-Jan, The Medieval Gift as Agent of Social Bonding and Political Power: a Comparative Approach, in Esther Cohen and Mayke de Jong (eds.), Medieval Transformations: Texts, Power and Gifts in Context, Leiden, 2001, p. 124-156.

Van Bueren 2005

Van Bueren, Truus (ed.), Care for the Here and the Hereafter. Memoria, Art and Ritual in the Middle Ages, Brepols, Turnhout, 2005.

Van Bueren 2005 a

Van Bueren, Truus, Care for the Here and the Hereafter: a Multitude of Possibilities, in van Bueren 2005, p. 13-28

Schleif 2005

Schleif, Corine, Forgotten Roles of Women as Donors: Sister Katerina Lemmel’s Negotiated Exchanges in the Care for the Here and the Hereafter, in van Bueren 2005, p. 137-152

Schier 2005

Schier, Volker, Memorials Sung and Unsung: Liturgical Remembrance and Its History, in van Bueren 2005, p. 125-133

Schleif – Schier 2005

Schleif Corine, Schier Volker, Views and Voices from Within: Sister Katerina Lemmel on the Glazing of the Cloister at Maria Mai, in Rüdiger Becksmann (Hrsg.), Glasmalerei im Kontext. Bildprogramme und Raumfunktionen (Akten des XXII. Internationalen Colloquiums des Corpus Vitrearum) Nürnberg, 2005.

Schleif – Schier 2009

Schleif Corine, Schier Volker, Katerina's Windows: Donation and Devotion, Art and Music, as Heard and Seen Through the Writings of a Birgittine Nun, University Park, Penn State University Press, 2009



On 15 November 2013 the members of the team have organized a workshop entitled Text, Image, and Object: itineraries in exploring medieval and early modern religiosity (approach and methods). The meeting was attended by a number of scholars from institutions in Bucharest and Sibiu, such as Violeta Barbu from the Nicolae Iorga Institute of History, Cristina Codarcea from the Institute of South-East European Studies and Ioan Albu from the University of Sibiu. For optimum dissemination of the project’s results a number of scholars from various local institutions have also been invited, such as Ioan-Aurel Pop, Doru Radosav and Greta Miron from the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj, as well as Sanda Salontai from the Institute of Archaeology and Art History in Cluj. The discussion has also benefited from the presence of younger scholars, mostly undertaking post-doctoral research, such as Diana Covaci (Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj), Ana Maria Gruia (The National History Museum of Transylvania, Cluj) or engaged in doctoral programs, such as Elena Firea (Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj), Sever Oancea (University of Frankfurt a.M.), Diana Dăian (Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj) and several MA students from the Society, Art, Identities in Central Europe program, such as Paula Cotoi, Maria Frînc and Alexandru Ştefan. All the members of the project as well as some of the invited guests have presented their research with an emphasis on approach to the sources and methods deployed in their analysis. The highlight of the day was provided by Diana Covaci who has delighted the audience with Dumitru and Elenuţa: a Transylvanian love story at the end of the nineteenth century. Her detective work has enabled her to identify the protagonists of the story, trace their biographies and reconstruct the story from scattered scraps of information. By approaching the issue of civic religion, Carmen Florea has clarified a concept and defined an analytical category applicable to local sources and essential for the theme she has chosen within this project. Thus the members of the team have succeeded in achieving the view from below which has been the principal aim of this project. By focusing on the artisans and their alleged eagerness to embrace evangelical ideas Maria Crăciun has compared two sets of prescriptive sources, those written by the Church and those produced by the guilds in order to measure the extent to which the prerequisites of the clergy were present in the documents encapsulating the world view of the artisans. By tackling devotional behaviour in the context of funeral practices, Mária Lupescu Makó has refined methods of approaching testaments in order to obtain data concerning actual, rather than prescribed behaviour. By focusing on the concepts of law and transgression Ovidiu Ghitta has devised new understandings of prescriptive sources, relying on textual analysis to read between the lines and reach their hidden core of meaning. Using both textual and visual sources, Ciprian Firea has attempted to shed some light on a previously little addressed topic, that of female donors of religious art in late medieval Transylvania. The relevance of the workshop was best highlighted by the lively discussion that ensued. The interventions of Violeta Barbu and Cristina Codarcea were particualry interesting as they brought to this debate a different research experience and distinct methods of approaching the documents as well as familiarity with other regions, such as the Romanian Principalities and the Balkans.



Maria Crăciun gave a paper entitled „At Home and Abroad: the academic peregrinations of Transylvanian Saxons (1545-1700)” at the conference called Intellectual Networks in the Long Seventeenth Century held at the University of Durham between 30 June-2 July 2013.

On 12-13 April 2013 Ovidiu Ghitta attended the symposium „Şcoala Ardeleană”, the VIIIth edition, which was held at Oradea, presenting a paper called „Devotional models, liturgical behaviour and canonic discipline in the Romanian letters of the Bishop of Mukacevo, Andrei Bacsinszky”.

On 25 March 2013 Carmen Florea and Mária Lupescu Makó attended the international workshop The Material Running of the Mendicant Friaries in Central Europe (c. 1220 – c. 1550). Towards an Inventory of Textual Sources held at Prague as part of the MARGEC (Marginalité, économie et christianisme. La vie matérielle des couvents mendiants en Europe centrale (v. 1220 - v. 1550) project. Within this workshop Carmen Florea held a presentation called Urban Charters and the Material Running of Transylvanian Friaries while Mária Lupescu Makó spoke about Testaments and Donations Concerning the Dominicans, Franciscans and Augustinian Hermits in Transylvania.

Mária Lupescu Makó and Ciprian Firea attended the conference Arhitectura religioasă medievală din Transilvania/ Középkori egyházi építészet erdélyben held at Satu Mare (Romania) and Papos (Hungary) between 8 and 10 March 2013. Mária Lupescu Makó gave a paper entitled „Pro reparatione et refectione monasterium...” Célirányos kegyes adományok a középkori Erdélyben / „Pro reparatione et refectione monasterium...” Donaţii pioase cu destinaţie specială în Transilvania medievală (Pious donations with specific purpose in medeival Transylvania) while Ciprian Firea presented his research in “Donatori şi memorie în bisericile medievale din Transilvania. O cercetare a surselor vizuale şi documentare (sec. XIV-XVI)” (Donors and Memory in Transylvanian medieval churches. An exploration of visual and documentary sources, Fourteenth to Sixteenth centuries).

On 1 February 2013 Carmen Florea attended the international workshop Saints anciens et saints modernes: permanences, teransferts, concurrences held at the University of Rennes (France).



Research visits

Between the 28th of July and the 4th of August 2012 Mária Lupescu Makó benefited from a research trip to Paris where she was able to use the François Mitterrand Library within the French National Library. She read especially periodicals (Annales, Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, Journal of Ecclesiastical History), but also literature on testaments and the religious and material culture at the end of the Middle-Ages.

Ovidiu Ghitta also benefited from a research trip to Paris between the 10th and the 24th of September 2012, where he visited the ‘Bibliotheque – Centre d’anthropologie religieuse’ and the ‘Bibliotheque Publique d’Information’ (Centre Pompidou). During these study weeks in Paris, he looked at the latest collections of specialised publications: Revue Historique, Revue d’Histoire de l’Eglise en France, Journal of Modern European History, Religions et Histoire, Revue d’histoire ecclesiastique, as well as at works of French historians from the last two decades, analysing ‘popular (rural) beliefs and cults’ in various regions in the early modern period (Authors: Yvan Brohard, Solange Lebreton, Fr. Lebrun, M. Delpastre, Veronique Willemin, M. Venard); he also looked at recent historical literature concerning the relationship religion-culture in early modern Europe (Kaspar von Greyerz), coexistence and conflict in religious border areas (Keith Luria) and the terminology and analytical perspectives employed by the French and German historiography when at the core of their analysis lay the institutions, norms and religious practices in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century (‘Religion ou confession. Un billan franco-allemand sur l’epoque moderne’ Paris, 2010).

Ciprian Firea undertook a study trip to Budapest at the Medieval Studies Library of ELTE-CEU, between the 6th and 19thof November 2012. The books he was interested in focus on topics that are relevant for his research within the project, such as popular culture and questions of representation and self-representation of the laity in the late Middle-Ages.

Between the 26th of November and the 3rd of December 2012 Maria Crăciun benefited from a research trip to Paris, where she was able to use the INHA Library and consult the collections there, being particularly interested in works that discuss the art produced during the Lutheran Reformation and the involvement of craftsmen in the reforming process.




2nd of November 2012

The international workshop which took place in Cluj-Napoca on the 2nd of November 2012 as part of the project, substantiated the scholarly and organisational endeavour of the team. Following the call for papers launched earlier that year (more precisely in July), the configuration of the workshop highlighted a growing interest for discussing the concept of popular religion, both at national, and at regional, Central-European, level. The participants to this workshop came from the most diverse historiographical areas, Gabriella Erdélyi, from the Historical Institute of the Hungarian Academy in Budapest, Cristina Codarcea, from the Institute of South-East European Studies in Bucharest, Fabrizio Conti, trained in the Department of Medieval Studies of the Central-European University, Budapest, and Ülle Sillasoo from the University of Tallinn, Estonia. The members of the research team, Maria Crăciun, Carmen Florea, Ovidiu Ghitta, Mária Lupescu Makó, Ciprian Firea and Ünige Bencze were joined by Violeta Barbu from the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History, Bucharest, Alexandru Florin Platon and Elena Bedreag from the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Iaşi and Ioan Albu from the “Lucian Blaga” University from Sibiu, as well as by several other scholars from Cluj, such as Raluca Betea, Anca Gogâltan, Ana Maria Gruia, Elena Firea and Tünde Komáromi.


The discussions in the framework of the workshop had a starting point in the surveys of the literature from various historiographical areas. Thus, Gabriella Erdélyi analysed in her paper the Hungarian literature of the last decades related to the religion of the laity, highlighting the transition from a social-historical approach to the phenomenon, to one influenced by cultural studies. Fabrizio Conti's intervention underlined the priorities of the Italian historiography of the last three decades, emphasising the historiographical tendencies rooted in a view articulated around social classes (the dominant, educated vs. the subordinated, who shared a folk culture), the growing influence of ethnology and sociology in approaching the religiosity of the laity, and not least, the identification of cultural differences that resulted from the institutional development of the Church.

2Ülle Sillasoo's presentation dedicated to the interest shown towards religious practices in the Estonian historiography underscored the particularities of this region with regard to the existence/survival of written sources, but also with regard to the extant analyses inspired by the particular situation of this area situated at the border of Latin Christianity. Last but not least, Cristina Codarcea's presentation of the religion of the Balkan communities in the early modern period spotted the nuances one can add to defining the relationship between the official and the popular religion. The issues debated within the framework of this workshop underlay the conclusions formulated by Violeta Barbu. These concentrated on the ways an exploration of popular religion can be directed towards a comparative perspective by highlighting the common grounds existing in the regional research of the religious experience of the laity, as well as within general trends such as religious anthropology and social history, the relationship between the sources and the way they are questioned, the temporal and the regional perspective, but also the effort towards an analysis which should emphasise in a dynamical manner the reference to micro-history and at the same time, the study of bigger communities.



Ciprian Firea attended the international conference International Medieval Meeting Lleida. Consolidated Medieval Studies Research Group ‘Space, Power and Culture’ (Spain, 25 June – 1 July 2012) with the paper „Dispersed Parts of a Medieval Liturgical Ensemble. The Altarpieces of St. Mary Church in Sibiu/Hermannstadt (Transylvania)”.

Between the 15th and the 20th of July 2012, Mária Lupescu Makó took part in the Congress of the International Art History Committee, attending the section „The Challenge of the Object. Die Herausforderung des Objekts”. The congress took place in Nuremberg (Germany).

Between the 4th and the 6th of September 2012, Maria Crăciun attended the Reformation Studies Colloquium, held at St Chad’s College, Durham (UK), where she presented the paper „The Price of Sin: Crime and Punishment in Sixteenth-Century Transylvanian Towns”.

Between the 17th and the 22th of October 2012, Maria Crăciun and Carmen Florea participated in the conference Cuius patrocinio tota gaudet regio. Saints’ Cults and the Dynamics of Regional Cohesion, organised in Dubrovnik by the Croatian Hagiography Society Hagiotheca and the Cultsymbol Project, developed within the framework of ESF EuroCORECODE Programme, as well as the OTKA Saints project, developed by CEU Budapest. Carmen Florea presented the paper „Patrons in the Diocese: the Transylvanian Episcopate and the Channeling of Saints' Cults”, and Maria Crăciun gave a paper entitled „Elizabeth and the Saxons of Late Medieval Transylvania”.

Mária Lupescu Makó delivered the paper called „‘refrigerium anime ipsorum...’ Középkori lélekváltság-adományok” at the national conference Ziua Culturii Maghiare în Transilvania (The Days of Transylvanian Hungarian Culture), organised by the Transylvanian Museum Society, which took place in Cluj-Napoca between the 23rd and 24th of November 2012.

Maria Crăciun gave a lecture entitled „Lutheran Liturgical Practice as a Marker of Confessional Identity” at the Atelier des Médiévistes, EHESS, Paris, 27 November 2012.