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In the Hands of God's Servants

Starts: 23 May 2013
Ends:  24 May 2013

Bishops Conference

Cardiff University is pleased to host this major international conference on the power of the bishop in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. 

Bishops occupied a prominent place in the hierarchy of the medieval church, but they were also able to exercise power in a secular context as judges, warriors, advisors to princes and as lords who exploited a broad range of rights over land and people. Although the careers of the most famous of their number have attracted much interest in modern historiography, the nature, extent and significance of episcopal power at a local level, which formed the basis for the bishop’s pre-eminence in medieval society, has not been fully considered. The aim of this conference is to gain aclearer understanding of the construction, enhancement and expression of episcopal power at a local level in Western Europe. Since a bishop’s local power was intimately connected to the episcopal office and the duties it entailed, the conference will be focused in particular on these activities, such as a bishop’s pastoral responsibilities and his role in the liturgy, and their role in the formation and development of episcopal power. However, the effect on episcopal power of other aspects of a bishop’s role in local society will also be considered, such as his relationship with aristocratic families. 

We welcome contributions dealing with any aspect of the bishop’s activities and interactions at a local level. Potential topics include representations of power in architecture and literature, episcopal power and local saints’ cults, episcopal jurisdiction, the episcopal household and the relationship between a bishop and his cathedral chapter. 

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words for papers, in English, of approximately twenty minutes in length to: 

Angelo Silvestri ( 

Melissa Julian-Jones ( 

Chris Dennis ( 

Hannah Buckingham ( 

Deadline for Submissions: 28 February, 2013

We anticipate this event will be free. However we can only confirm this in February 2013. To register your interest, sign up here now:

Conference Poster:


Other information

Open To: Public