Christianity

Controversy continues over role of Hagia Sophia

Devout Muslims in Istanbul are calling for the re-opening of the historic 6th century Hagia Sofia as a mosque. The move would break a Turkish law prohibiting worship in the monument.

"Absolutely fantastic" digitization project by Oxford and Vatican libraries funded

A US$3.17 million , four-year project, funded by the Polonsky Foundation, will make available for the first time materials from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford.

16th century censorship

Long before the internet, writers with opinions contrary to those of the powers-that-be were victims of censorship. One such writer was the Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam whose writings were considered in conflict with the Catholic Church.

New book studies distortions of First Crusade histories

In a recent article for the New York Times Sunday Review, author and director of the Center for Byzantine Research at Oxford, Peter Frankopan,  discusses his new book The First Crusade: The Call From the East.

Remains of St. John the Baptist found (again)

Archaeologists excavating a church in Bulgaria have found a small ossuary with an inscription claiming to be the remains of St. John. Radio carbon and DNA testing have given some collaboration to the claim.

Class Central offers free university courses online

Eternal students who find themselves unable to attend traditional university classes may wish to consider the offerings of Class Central, a free, online project offered by Stanford's Coursera, MIT and Harvard led edX (MITx + Harvardx), and Udacity.

Scotland's first bullaun stone discovered on Isle of Canna

Scottish archeaologists are excited about the discovery of a bullaun or "cursing stone" linked to an early Christian cross on the Isle of Canna. The small, round stone, marked with a cross, dates to around 800 CE. (photo)

Exhibit reveals genius of Albrecht Dürer

A recent article in Christie's New Art Newspaper reviews a major exhibition of work by Germany's greatst artist Albrecht Dürer, The Early Dürer at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 24 May-2 September, 2012.

Hildegard von Bingen formally made a saint

Pope Benedict XVI has canonized Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German nun who is popularly known today as a mystic and composer.

New Glastonbury Thorn vandalized

In 2010 vandals damaged the fabled Holy Thorn tree of Glastonbury, England, said to have been a cutting of the thorn first planted by Joseph of Arimathea. Now the replacement tree, planted soon after, has also been vandalized.

King James Bible featured at Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas

The Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford are sponsoring the exibition The King James Bible: Its History and Influence February 28 - July 29, 2012 at the Harry Ransom Center of the university of Texas in Austin.

Cathedrals: "our greatest architectural glories”

In a recent article and podcast for BBC News Magazine, David Cannadine "looks at a selection of the world's cathedrals and the important contribution that they have made to the broader lives of their respective cities and countries."

800-year-old choir boys don't look a day over 19!

Even though the Thomanerchor of Leipzig in Germany is celebrating its 800th anniversary, its boys don't look a day over 19! Once conducted by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Thomanerchor is considered to be the oldest choir in the world.

Skeletons halt resurfacing of Scottish road

Authorities have halted resurfacing work around Greyfriars Garden in St. Andrews, Scotland after the discovery of skeletons believed to be Franciscan monks from the 15th century.

Living the monastic life at Penn

In a world where the college experience usually involves football and parties, students of Justin McDaniel's religious studies class at the University of Pennsylvania should expect something differrent: a firsthand experience of what it's like to be a monk.

Heart of St Laurence O'Toole stolen from Dublin cathedral

Police in Dublin, Ireland are puzzled by the theft of the heart of St Laurence O'Toole, a 12th century relic housed at Christ Church Cathedral. The heart, in a wooden box, was stolen March 2, 2012 when the protective metal bars were cut.

[DRA] Winchester Pilgrimage

Come all ye pilgrims and travellers, and join the Shire of West Dragonshire for a pilgrimage at the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty. 

Gold cross found in Anglo-Saxon bed grave

A grave of a young Anglo-Saxon woman lying on a bed has been found in Cambridgeshire. She was buried with a gold and garnet cross comparable in quality to the treasures found at Staffordshire and Sutton hoo. The cross was stitched to the woman's gown.

Vatican archive preserves missionary documents

A video from the series Rome Reports, posted on YouTube, describes objects contained in the Vatican's archive of documents and artifacts kept and sent by missionaries from 1622 until modern times. (video)

Lux in Arcana: Vatican secret documents displayed

Rome’s Capitoline Museums are offering the chance for scholars to view formerly secret and historic Vatican documents never before seen outside of the Holy See. The exhibition runs February - September 2012.

Portuguese medallion found in baby shark

Suseela Menon from Klebang, Malaysia was preparing lunch for her husband when she discovered a surprise in the stomach of a baby shark, the main course: a religious medallion believed to have been worn by Portuguese soldiers. (photo)

Irish Times reporter offers "A History of Ireland in 100 Objects "

Irish Times reporter Fintan O’Toole provides a history of his country one artifact at a time. In his A history of Ireland in 100 objects, O’Toole reports on one object, from the National Museum of Ireland, each Saturday and its significance in the history and culture of the country.

Catherine of Sienna one-woman show in Denver

On March 25, 2012 Saint Catherine's Parish of Denver will present Catherine of Siena: A Woman for Our Times, a one-woman performance of the life of Catherine of Siena starring Nancy Murray, OP.

"Unscrupulous foxes:" Contemporary views of medieval military orders

In the 12th and 13th centuries, European military orders such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller were powerful and rich. Did their contemporaries love them or hate them? Helen Nicholson of History Today does the research.

The glorious Sistine Chapel

Long to travel to Italy to study its Renaissance Art, but can't afford the travel expenses? Take a trip to the Vatican and see the wonders of the Sistine Chapel - virtually.

Pope Benedict to Canonize Hildegard of Bingen

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will appoint Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church in October of 2012. The 12th century German Benedictine nun is also expected to be canonized in 2012. (video)

Activists argue for exoneration of Germany's witches

Between 1500 and 1782 CE, 25,000 people, including children, were tortured and executed for witchcraft in what is today Germany. Now activists, such as retired Protestant minister Hartmut Hegeler, are seeking to exonerate as many as possible of the German "witches."

"Forgotten treasure" returns to Glastonbury

For the first time in 125 years, the Glastonbury Grace Cup, a 16th century, carved oak tankard, believed to have once belonged to the abbots of Glastonbury, is on display until January 31, 2012 in the abbey museum. (photo)

York Cause Papers: ecclesiastical history online

With the help of grant money, the York Cause Papers, records from the Church Courts of York from the 1300 to 1858, are now available online.

13th century seal matrix match to British Library Stone Priory seal

Experts at the British Library have matched a bronze seal matrix, dating to the 13th century, with a 19th century sulphur cast of a seal belonging to the Augustinian canons of Stone Priory in Staffordshire. The matrix was discovered recently in a Surrey field. (photos)