Monastic Life 2014




Monastic Life, Art and Technology at Bizere Monastery (Arad County, Romania) is an interdisciplinary three-years research project supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS-UEFICDI, that aims to investigate the remains of Bizere abbey (Frumușeni, Arad County).

The Bizere abbey was founded by Benedictines prior to the middle of twelfth century on an island located in the valley of the River Mureş - an important salt route. It functioned with numerous disruptions until the sixteenth century when it gradually fell into ruin. Archaeological excavations conducted in 1981 and 2001-2009 already uncovered many parts of the buildings’ foundations that belonged to the abbey. Among buildings one can note the presence of a rectangular construction (probably the abbot`s palace), a Romanesque main church (a three-nave basilica with two in situ floor mosaics) and a Romanesque chapel; a cloister including the refectory, but also additional built spaces on the eastern, southern, and western sides, connected to the cloister or built as independent constructions. Other buildings still remain unexcavated. Furthermore, the archaeological investigations unearthed many fragments of Romanesque stone carvings, as well as a wide variety of ceramic, metal, and bone artefacts. Some of them suggest that the abbey was a production centre of various everyday life objects.

In close connection with some of the objectives and questions of the Bizere monastery project, the research team members warmly invite scholars from different fields of research to submit proposals for the international conference entitled:


The conference will be held at

University “1 Decembrie 1918” of Alba Iulia

Department of History, Archaeology and Museology

16th-18th October 2014

We welcome proposals for individual papers (15-20 minutes in length) and poster presentations (10 minutes in length) on the following topics: 

1. Monastic landscape; spatial organization of monastic complexes

2. Monastic wealth sources

3. Monastery as production centre; resources, craft and technology

4. Usage of art in the monastic milieu; artistic connections

The conference will include plenary lectures (to be announced) and thematic sessions for papers and posters of registered delegates.

Working language: English

Proposal submission

Please include the following information with your proposal:

a) full title of your paper or poster presentation;

b) abstract (ca. 250 words);

c) name of the author, position, institutional affiliation, a short biography (ca. 150 words), and a list of five publications related with the subtopics of conference.

The proposals saved in MS Word or PDF format will be sent by e-mail to:; subject header: “Paper abstract” or “Poster presentation abstract”.

Poster proposals

Posters provide an alternative to presenting a new research or a study case at the conference. They could be displayed during the session posters. Individuals will have then the option to introduce themselves and their poster in during maximum 10 minutes. Poster display requirements will be given later.


Deadline for proposals: 20 March 2014

Notification of acceptance: 28 April 2014


All proposals will be peer-reviewed.


Selected papers delivered at the conference will be eligible for publication. Deadline: 5 December 2014.

Registration fee

Registration: 40 Euros

Accepted speakers should pay the registration fee after the acceptance notification. Enrolment deadline and payment methods are to be specified later.

Student fee: 20 Euros

Keynote speakers:

Eric Fernie (Emeritus Prof., The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, Monastic buildings: questions of function and design from an Anglo-French perspective

Xavier Barral i Altet (Emeritus Prof., Universities of Rennes 2 France and Venice Ca'Foscari Italy), Les mosaiques de pavement romanes de Bizere: un programme iconographique et décoratif occidental de style très original aux portes de l'Orient byzantin

Scientific Committee

PhD Béla Zsolt Szakács (Central European University Budapest, HU) 

PhD József Laszlovszky (Central European University Budapest, HU)

PhD Pál Lövei (Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HU)

PhD Adrian Andrei Rusu (Institute of Archaeology and History of Art of Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca, RO)

Organising Committee

PhD Ileana Burnichioiu, Head of Organising Committee (University ”1 Decembrie 1918” of Alba Iulia, RO,;

PhD Peter Hügel (Arad Museum Complex, RO) 

PhD Oana Toda (University ”1 Decembrie 1918” of Alba Iulia, RO)


Planned visits at the Roman-Catholic St. Michael`s Cathedral and the Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia, will be taking place during the conference.


An exhibition with artifacts from Bizere will be organised in conjunction with the international conference.

Travel and accommodation 

All speakers are responsible for their own travel arrangements and accommodation.

Other information

For further information please contact the organizers at:;

To download the Call for Papers as a .pdf Document click here.


List of participants:


Xavier Barral i Altet (Emeritus Prof., Universities of Rennes 2 France and Venice Ca'Foscari Italy)

Les mosaiques de pavement romanes de Bizere: un programme iconographique et décoratif occidental de style très original aux portes de l'Orient byzantin


Eric Fernie (Emeritus Prof., The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London), Monastic buildings: questions of function and design


Valerie Serdon-Provost (Lorraine University, France), Architectural design and the cult of holy relics in Saint-Vanne abbey (Verdun)


Vinni Lucherini (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy), The Role of Consecration Ceremonies in the Development of Romanesque Monastic Architecture. The Case of Montecassino (1071)

Alessandra Cioanciosi (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Department of Humanities), The Nonantola Project: the Middle Ages of a Great Abbey


Tajana Pleše (Croatian Conservation Institute  - Department for Archaeology, Zagreb), Comparative ground-plan analysis of Pauline monasteries in Late Medieval Slavonia

Silvija Pisk (Sciences University of Zagreb,Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb), Pauline monasteries in Medieval Croatia: Monastic wealth sources

Andrej Janeš (Croatian Conservation Institute Archaeological Heritage, Department of Land Archaeology, Zagreb), Shaping of a monastic landscape in medieval Slavonia


Béla Zsolt Szakács (Central European University, Budapest)

József Lászlovszky (Central European University Budapest)

Pál Lövei (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Budapest)

Ernő Marosi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Budapest)

Imre Takács (Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest), The 13th Century Fountain of the Pilis Abbey. Art and Technology in a Cistercian Monastery

Krisztina Havasi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Budapest), Marble Works and Marble Floors in Medieval Hungary in the Late 12th Century. Fragments of a Choir Screen and Opus Sectile from Eger Medieval Cathedral and its Artistic Connections

Zsuzsa Eszter Pető (Central European University, Budapest), Medieval Landscape of the Pauline Monasteries in the Pilis Forest)

Bencze Ünige (Central European University, Budapest), Laszló Lenkey (ELTE University, Budapest, Department of Geophysics and Space Science), Reconstructing a monastic landscape: the case of Cârţa (Kerc, Kerz) Abbey

Beatrix F. Romhányi (Institute of History, Károli Gáspár Calvinist University, Budapest), Monasteries and the Salt in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary


Piotr Pajor (Jagiellonian University Cracow, Institute of Art History), A Turn to Fratres Minores. Franciscans in 13. Century Lesser Poland and the Duke Boleslaus the Chaste patronage


Zlata Gersdorfova (University of West Bohemia), The spiritual environment and artistic patronage in South Bohemia in the 14th century


Maroš Volovár (East Slovak Association VALAL), A petrified ideology. Artistic and iconographical connections of stonemasonry décor in Dominican church in Košice

Marián Čurný (Institute of Archaeology of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Research of Eastern Slovakia), Localization and spatial identification of the Augustinian monastery of St. Stanislaus in Veľký Šariš

Peter Bednár (Comenius University in Bratislava, Department of Archaeology), Jozef Gajdoš (Catholic University in Ružomberok), Petra Smetanová (Institute of Archaeology in Nitra, Slovakia), The archaeological research of the monastery in Hronský Beňadik


Adrian Andrei Rusu (Institute of Archaeology and Art History of Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca)

Ileana Burnichioiu (University “1 Decembrie 1918” of Alba Iulia), Decorative heritage of Bizere monastery

Peter Hügel (Museum Complex of Arad)

Oana Toda (University “1 Decembrie 1918” of Alba Iulia), The river island monastery: long distance connections and micro-regional isolation in the case of Bizere Abbey?

Peter Levente Szócs (Satu Mare County Museum), Monasteries under private patronage within the topography of domains and patrons' residence: the case of several sites in medieval Hungary

Tamás Emődi (Design-Research Workshop Restitutor Oradea), Praemonstratensian convents in eastern Hungary. The cloister in Abram (Ábrány)

Mihaela Sanda Salontai (Institute of Archaeology and Art History of Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca), Friars at work: Craftsmen of the Dominican Order in early sixteenth-century Transylvania

Soos Zoltan (Mures County Museum)



Register (for plenary lectures, 16th October, Amphitheater A9)