Vankova Anna

On the status of so-called “double” monasteries in Byzantine Empire of the 4th — 6th centuries

Vankova Anna (2018) "On the status of so-called “double” monasteries in Byzantine Empire of the 4th — 6th centuries ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 83, pp. 11-25 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201883.11-25


In the early Byzantine Empire (4th — 6th cc.), besides (male) monasteries and (female) convents, there were certain variants of coexistence of monastic communities for men and women. The aim of this paper is to analyse data from the relevant sources and clarify what the term dipla monasteria referred to and whether it was equivalent to the concept of “double monasteries” in modern historiography as well as to introduce the concept twin-monasteries. The article also raises the question if there were changes in the number of such monasteries and if this depended on the geographical location of the community. The sources for this study are a broad range of texts, namely Justinian’s laws; canons of church councils; patristic works (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great); hagiographic literature. The article comes to the conclusion that dipla monasteria referred to mixed monasteries. However, there was a range of variants of coexistence of men’s and women’s monastic communities. The sources contain information about double monasteries and twinmonasteries. Double ans mixed monasteries were mostly spread in Asia Minor of the 4th century, whereas in Byzantium on the whole other forms of monasticism prevailed.


Byzantine Empire, law, monasteries, convents, mixed monasteries, double monasteries, twin monasteries


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Information about the author

Vankova Anna

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences; 32A Leninsky Prospect, Moscow 119334, Russian Federation;
Post: Research Fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3948-9427;
Email: avankova@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


The research is supported by a grant from the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research (RFBR) “Byzantine monasticism, the 4th-15th cent.: tra-ditions and innovation”.