Featuring a talk by Nikolas Bakirtzis, "The Mt. Menoikeion Seminar at St. John Prodromos Monastery"

Since the summer of 2005, the "Mt. Menoikeion Seminar" explores aspects of the rich cultural heritage of the homonymous mountainous region near Serres in Northern Greece. Bringing together Princeton undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, the seminar’s focal point is the Monastery of St. John Prodromos, being the center of religious and cultural life for the broader area since the end of the 13th century CE. Organized by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton and hosted by the Holy Monastery of Prodromos, the seminar aims at immersing participants into the life of a functioning monastery and its broader socio-economic context, and to provide a unique learning experience in the field. The Prodromos Monastery preserves a rich tradition established in the Middle Byzantine period, and re-founded by monk Ioannikios between 1270 and 1275. Continuously inhabited since then, the monastery evolved to become one of the major monastic centers of the Balkans. Today, Prodromos’ sisterhood under Abbess Fevronia sustains this long tradition, but also the intricate socioeconomic relations with neighboring villages and the city of Serres. The well-preserved monastic complex, surrounded by a relatively untouched rural environment, is considered a primary example of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monastic art and architecture. The broader region of Serres and the Strymon Valley is an important resource for the history and the archaeology of the Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek periods.

Nikolas Bakirtzis is Associate Professor and Director of the ‘Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories’ at The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. His research and publications explore issues of heritage and cultural identity in Mediterranean cities, the development of Byzantine monasticism, and the use of science and technology in art history.