Holy Images, Holy Relics and Sacred Space in the Orthodox Tradition (DL9460A)

Holy Images

Semester: 1, 2022 (21 Feb – 27 May)

Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm

Campus: N/A

Mode: Online

Level: Postgraduate

Credit: 24

Census: 15 March 2022

13 weekly sessions offered in asynchronous and synchronous modes combining live and pre-recorded lectures, group discussions, readings and online forums

Holy images and the relics of saints are an essential component of liturgical life and worship in the Christian Orthodoxy, representing at the same time one of the most important elements of the different hierotopic projects. By investigating the form, purpose, and nature of the holy icons and sacred relics, this unit will critically evaluate the cult related to them in both Coptic and Byzantine Orthodox Traditions.

The leading idea of this unit is that the creation of the sacred space in Orthodoxy represents one of the most creative expressions of its theology. At the same time, the unit will ask how the visual and sensory context in Orthodox worship communicates meaning.

Learning outcomes
  • Analyse the form and function of holy images and relics in sacred spaces in the Orthodox Tradition
  • Critically compare and evaluate the patristic texts relating to the theology of the icon/relics of the saints in Orthodox Tradition
  • Analyse the liturgical aspects of holy icons and relics in their historical context
  • Demonstrate research capabilities in the academic field of hierotopy
  • Critically apply the principles of hierotopy in devotional, liturgical, pastoral, and educational settings
  • Demonstrate a capacity to research a specific topic in a critically rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Written assessment Essay 2,500 35
Written assessment Essay 4,500 65

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