“Enterprising Humility: Cultural Imprints of Religious Communities in Croatia and Europe”

By the decision of the Faculty Council of Faculty of Croatian Studies (University of Zagreb) of October 21 the project covering the cultural imprints of religious communities was launched to renew the research programme, which was founded twenty years ago by Professor Pavao Knezović. The original intention was to critically analyse mostly forgotten and neglected works of members of the Croatian religious communities, so that they could then be evaluated in their broader cultural context. Every year the conference took part, with particular emphasis on the members of the Franciscan Order. The proceedings were published along with critical editions or the editio princeps of a particular treatise. Seventeen volumes covered a wide range of topics (literature, croatology, philology, philosophy, history, theology, art, sociology, pedagogy). Desiring to continue researches on religious orders with special emphasis on the relationship between Croatian and European cultural context, the Department of History of the Faculty of Croatian Studies launched a project in October 2020 under the title: Enterprising Humility: Cultural Imprints of Religious Communities in Croatia and Europe.

Together with the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, Christianity represents the primary foundation on which European culture was built. Ecclesiastical institutions were the bearers of the intellectual, social, and religious development of European civilisation. They simultaneously created a universal Christian identity (in the words of the apostle Paul: „There is neither Jew nor Gentile…“) and separate national identities. Monasteries are among the main generators of development of both the institutional and spiritual forms of Christian society. Hence, the project intends to valorise not just the Franciscan contributions but also comparatively the opus and institutional forms of other religious orders and communities, such as Dominicans, Benedictines, Cistercians, Jesuits, Paulines, and others. The project, therefore, considers numerous aspects of religious culture (spiritual, institutional, territorial, organisational, literal, social etc.), linking the research of that which is universal Christian and the specificities of Croatian national identity. By connecting general European trends and Croatian culture, this project contributes to the research of the transmission of innovative ideas and organisational models from European religious centres into the Croatian vita religiosa.

The host of this project is the Department of History of the Faculty of Croatian Studies. It is headed by Dr. Marko Jerković, and the associates are Prof. Dr. Mirjana Matijević Sokol, Prof. Dr. Stipan Tadić, Dr. Lucija Krešić Nacevski, as well as MA’s Marko Marina, Petar Ušković Croata, and Petar Bilobrk. The estimated duration of the project is six years.

The research focuses on three components:

  • Biography, hagiography, charisma;
  • Norms, ideals, and authorities;
  • Historical narratives and identity.

With its thematic framework and approach, this project fits into the Strategic Program of Scientific Research of the Faculty of Croatian Studies, planned for the period from 2018 to 2023. Namely, the project is in accord with the main research directions outlined in the Strategic Program:

  1. Research of Croatian national identity
  2. Research of Croatian cultural history
  3. Cultural relations in a regional, European, and global context

The first conference entitled Biography, Hagiography, Charisma. Functionalization of the Text and Cultural Memory in Croatian and European Religious Communities) will take part on 20-21 May 2021, at the Faculty of Croatian Studies.


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