Reflections of Identity on Silk: Towards a Re-Reading of the “Islamic” and the “Secular” in Greek Orthodox Church Fabrics

Nikolaos Vryzidis Discussion

Reflections of Identity on Silk: Towards a Re-Reading of the “Islamic” and the “Secular” in Greek Orthodox Church Fabrics

Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 19:00 (Turkish time, GMT+3)

Lecture by Nikolaos Vryzidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Abstract: Many historical vestments and church fabrics of the Greek Orthodox rite survive today in monastic sacristies and museums. Until now, textile and dress scholars have primarily focused on their ultimate origin, historic evolution, and dogmatic meaning. In my view, these important material remnants inform us on underexplored dynamics in the society that produced them and illuminate the ways in which trends originating from different milieus were appropriated within clerical context. As reflections of cultural, religious, and artistic identity, ecclesial fabrics can offer insights on the Church’s association to religious otherness and profane, or better, court aesthetics. Focusing on liturgical textiles and vestments, the lecture will discuss how the “Islamic” and “secular” elements were negotiated by the Church during Byzantine and Ottoman times. Essentially, its narrative will be centered on the tension between the usefulness and the limitations these taxonomies present when studying premodern church material culture.

This lecture is part of the lecture series “Fabrics of Devotion: Religious Textiles in the Eastern Mediterranean”, convened by Esther Voswinckel Filiz (Orient-Institut Istanbul)

Program: OII-Fabrics-of-Devotion-Program-1.pdf (

Lecture poster: Nikolaos_v2.jpg (802×468) (

Registration Information

The lecture will be held online via Zoom. To attend, prior registration is necessary. Please send an email specifying your name and academic affiliation to two days before each lecture, i.e., by Monday (11 October 2021). For technical reasons, the number of participants is limited. You will be informed about the organizational and technical procedure a day before the lecture starts.