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Olivera Koprivica

Female Bodies and Angelic Likeness: The Place and Role of the Body in Everyday Life of Orthodox Women Monasticism – A Qualitative Study

This study focuses on the subject of contemporary orthodox female monasticism and its anthropological, theological and spiritual particularities by researching how corporeality is experienced in monastic everyday life – how the body is felt, perceived, understood and interpreted.

The body is a social and political construction, in which both a collective and an individual dimension of experiences, symbols and social structures are interlaced. The knowledge which is learned by the body becomes the way of inhabiting a world, a part of what one is. Based on these premises, this research will consider the body as the fundamental site of experiencing religion and as the principal site of monastic spirituality.

The main research focus will be the processes of embodied socialization that generate concepts of God, the world and self. The relationship between corporeality and religiosity will be taken into account by investigating how nuns see and feel their spirituality; how they understand and interpret themselves, their connection to transcendence, their orthodox faith and their monastic identity; how they experience sacred, other people and nature; how they perceive the material dimensions of their life.

Although religious life of Orthodox monasticism is predominantly contemplative, devotional and deeply personal, it is experienced within a strict religious organization where all social interactions, daily activities and organisational structures are governed according to the universal Typica (a collection of monastic rules of conduct), through which the Orthodox Church has institutionalized its supervision over ascetic spirituality: monasteries are subordinated to the competency of the local bishop and his authority. Reflecting on this aspect of monastic life, this study will determine how a social structure of monasticism is internalized and incorporated into subjects: how nuns understand mandatory monastic rules which govern their everyday life, how they understand the institution of monasticism and its hierarchical relations, and which role the aspects of church canonicity, normativity and authority play in defining the identity and self-understanding of nuns and their interpretation of the world around them.


Research interests

- Monasticism

- The body and religious belief

- Worship and gender practices

- Religious symbolism and iconography


Short  CV

June 2008. - Magister degree in Liturgical Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Leipzig (Magister thesis: Gottesdienstliches Gebet bei Georg Rietschel)

April 2004. - Graduated theologian, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Belgrade (Diploma thesis: The Problem of the epiclesis in the Roman Mass)

Koordination Erfurt

Dr. Elisabeth Begemann


Koordination Graz

Dr. Anna-Katharina Rieger

Mobil:+43 (0)316 380-2391

Zwei DoktorandInnenstellen für das Studienjahr 2020/21 am MWK Erfurt ausgeschrieben!

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