Aboagora 2012 – Inquisition Revisited by Pekka Tolonen, Reima Välimäki and working group

May 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

“By this letter, you are judicially called to appear before the inquisitor, in the place and time mentioned above, to tell pure and plain truth about yourself and others, concerning heresy you are publicly accused of.”

The workshop revisits the medieval inquisition of heretical depravity through the media of drama and fiction, but based on original sources interpreted by researchers of the topic. The office of inquisitor – shrouded by centuries of polemics and myths – may through reinterpretation create surprising connections to the contemporary world.

Pekka Tolonen, MA, is assistant of comparative religion. His academic interests include: new religious movements of the high middle ages; the organisation and actions of the early inquisition; the interplay of religion, sound and music.

Reima Välimäki graduated Master of Arts in General History at the University of Turku in 2011. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis in Cultural History on the control of lay religion in the late fourteenth-century inquisitions against Waldensians in Eastern and Southern Germany. In addition to late medieval history he is interested in medievalism and historiography of the Middle Ages. He has collaborated with the Medieval Market -festival at Turku in order to produce popularizations of medieval history, such as a dramatized disputation between a modern and a medieval doctor, presented during the last year’s festival.


Agora Lecture – Miri Rubin: Learning to Love: the Virgin Mary in European Culture

October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Miri Rubin is the Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History in Queen Mary, University of London. Her Agora lecture will explore – with images, texts and music – the heritage of love developed by Europeans over centuries around the most iconic female figure: the Virgin Mary.  At once mother, bride, daughter, and patron, the Virgin Mary allowed Europeans to express ideas about secular love and religious devotion, love of family and loyalty to lineage. They did so in the many styles and languages of Europe, ranging from the golden icons of Siena to the parish wall-paintings of Hattula. Europeans learned to express love – intimately as well publicly – as they learned about the Virgin Mary, and considered her delight in motherhood and herlament in bereavement. This heritage is alive in Europe and beyond, in a world largely secular, yet touched by these historic lessons of love, both sacred and profane.

Agora Lecture – Marion Bowman: Sacred Spaces in Secular Places – From Airports to Agoratopias

October 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Marion Bowman is the Head of Religious Studies at the Open University in the United Kingdom, working at the interstices of religious studies and folklore. Her research interests include vernacular religion, contemporary Celtic spirituality, pilgrimage, material culture, sacred space, airport chapels, the creation of myth and tradition. She has made a long term study of Glastonbury Festival, England, on which she has published extensively.

In her Agora lecture Bowman discusses how modern people find, create and experience sacred spaces in some unexpected places. She will look at two examples of this – airport chapels and the sacred spaces created at the famous Glastonbury Festival. In these two very different contexts, she explores ideas of what makes sacred space in terms of material culture, purpose and surroundings. She ponders why people feel the need for sacred spaces in secular places, and how people react to and interact with these spaces – whether as flyers or festival goers.

Agora Lecture – Juhani Pallasmaa: The Aura of the Sacred

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Architect, professor emeritus Juhani Pallasmaa has been an architect since the early 1960s. He established the Pallasmaa Architects in 1983. After leaving his position as Professor and Dean at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1997, he has held Visiting Professorships in various universities internationally. Pallasmaa has published widely, mainly on the implications of human embodiment in art and architecture, and has written essays on individual artists and architects. In his Agora lecture, Pallasmaa will discuss the experience of spirituality evoked by a work of art and architecture. He argues that religious sacredness implies the encounter of an object or space which has been specifically named or designated sacred, while the spirituality invoked by a secular artistic or architectural work is a personal and individual existential experience.

Agora Lecture – Gianni Vattimo: Christianity as Secularisation

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment


Italian philosopher and member of European Parliament Gianni Vattimo delivered the first Agora lecture. His speach discussed ideas related to the issue of modern secularisation. He started by paraphrasing Rene Girard’s idea of mimetic violence, the scapegoat mechanism as the origin of sacrifice and Christ as the innocent victim that made the notion of religious sacrafice obsolete.

According to Vattimo, one is able to combine Christianity with Nietzscheanism, for both positions disclaim the absoluteness of reality and celebrate the death of classical metaphysics. Furthermore, the incarnation of Christ means exactly the same thing as the death of God famously promoted by Nietzsche, if we understand by God an Aristotelian unmoved mover, i.e. unconditional and absolute foundation of the reality. From the classical metaphysical point of view, the Christian idea of God incarnating to a limited human being is a skandalon.

Vattimo also elaborated an ethical theory based on this unfoundationalism. From the moral perspective, the metaphysical idea of God as an unconditional being is equal to violence, that is limiting the potential of other possible actors. Vattimo quoted St. Paul’s idea of Christian caritas as an intersubjective theory of action that would recognise the equal rights of your neighbor.

Watch Vattimo’s Agora lecture:

Programme 2012: The Power of the Sacred and the Secular

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tuesday 14. August

The Donner Institute:

9:00–9:30 Registration

Sibelius Museum:

9:30–10:00 Introduction (Tiina Lindfors)

10:00–11:30 Agora, Gianni Vattimo: Christianity as Secularisation

11:30–13:00 Lunch at Hus Lindman

13.00–14.30 Workshop 1: The Sacred and the Human (Kari Enqvist with Tomi Kokkonen, Ilkka Pyysiäinen, and Tom Sjöblom)

14:30–15:00 Coffee

15.00-16.30 Workshop 2: Religion and Power: Challenges of Our Time (Andrew Yip with Danny Hall, Peter Nynäs, and Elina Pirjatanniemi)


19:00 Sigyn Hall: At the Orient Gates (Fazil Say, piano)


Wednesday 15. August

Sibelius Museum:

09:00–10:30 Agora, Juhani Pallasmaa: The Aura of the Sacred: Architecture, Art and Existential Sacredness

10:30–12:00 Workshop 3: Spirituality Outside Traditional Religious Spaces (Terhi Utriainen with Marion Bowman, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Benjamin Zeller)

12.00–13.30 Lunch at Hus Lindman

13:30–15:00 Workshop 4: The Cinema and the Sacred (Hannu Salmi with Ilona Hongisto and Antti Pönni)

15:00–15:30 Coffee

15:30–17:30 Agora, Marion Bowman: Sacred Spaces in Secular Places – From Airports to Agoratopias


19:00 Concert Hall: Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Rolando Villazón & Topi Lehtipuu, tenor; Sandrine Piau, soprano; Le Concert d’Astrée, cond. Emmanuelle Haïm)


Thursday 16. August

Sibelius Museum:

9:00–10:30  Workshop 5: Sacred and Profane Love (Miri Rubin with Virpi Hämeen-Anttila, Tom Linkinen, Erik Steinskog)

10:30–11:00 Coffee

11:00–12:30 Workshop 6: Inquisition Revisited (Pekka Tolonen, Reima Välimäki and working group)

12:30–14:00 Lunch at Hus Lindman

14:00–16:00 Agora, Miri Rubin: Learning to Love: the Virgin Mary in European Culture

16:00–16:30 Coffee

16:30–17:30 Conclusion (chair: Miri Rubin)

18:00–20:00 Reception (E. Ekblom Restaurant)

Night of the Arts


23:00 Turku Cathedral: Gamba in Candle Light (Atsushi Sakaï & Mikko Perkola, viola da gamba)

Registration closed

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Registration for Aboagora 2012 is now closed.

Thank you to all who have registered to join us! Final programme will be published soon.

For those still wishing to purchase concert tickets for evening programme, please contact ticket office of Turku Music Festival.

If you are unable to attend this year’s event, we really hope to see you at Aboagora 2013!

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