Mt. Menoikeion Seminar 2023: “Beyond the Monastic Gate: Sacred Landscapes and Socioeconomic Networks”

May 27 - June 3, 2023

“Beyond the Monastic Gate: Sacred Landscapes and Socioeconomic Networks”

The Mt. Menoikeion 2023 seminar brought together a small group of Princeton students to explore the interconnected monastic and secular networks of northern Greece.  While the focus was on the history, archaeology, art and architecture of the Monastery of St. John Prodromos (St. John the Baptist) and its surroundings, they also explored other secular and sacred sites across the broader region.

As they returned to Mount Menoikeion after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, they were re-introduced to the wider context of the holy mountain and the main urban center of the region, the city of Serres. They traveled 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 their base in Serres, they visited 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 begun in Thessaloniki with a day and a half-long exploration of the city. From there they headed to Ouranoupolis with an overnight in the area of Chalkidike, before they made their way to Serres where they spent four nights. The group visited Prodromos Monastery, and studied the Byzantine, Ottoman and modern heritage of the city of Serres, while taking day-trips to Mt. Menoikeion and its region.  Seminar participants stayed in double-occupancy rooms at a hotel in Serres.

Accepted students were 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 made presentations reflecting upon what they have learned and connecting their own work to the themes of the seminar.  Additionally, they submitted 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

The seminar was led by Nikos Bakirtzis *06 (Cyprus Institute), Dimitri Gondicas (Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies) and Maria Alessia Rossi (Index of Medieval Art)


This is a Funder Initiated opportunity.  Admitted students will be notified via S.A.F.E. 


Eligibility was limited to Princeton graduate students.  Priority was given to currently enrolled students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Hellenic Studies. Also, other students who had vital, ongoing academic connections with the Seeger Center were encouraged to apply.  Other graduate students not affiliated with Hellenic Studies were also considered, if their research connects directly with the seminar themes. In extraordinary cases, advanced undergraduate Hellenic Studies certificate students may be considered, if there is an opening and available space.

How to Apply

Students wishing to participate should submit the application form by April 5, 2023, and upload a CV, budget and description of how this seminar will benefit them and their research or course of study. Selection of participants will be made shortly after the deadline.

Deadline:  April 5, 2023

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