Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Byzantium as Seen by the White Russians in Constantinople
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Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th Street, 12th floor

This event is in-person for CUID card holders only. In-person attendees must be in compliance with Columbia University’s health protocols for returning to campus. Pre-registration, valid CUID card, and valid green pass are required for admittance. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.


Please join us for a discussion with historian Sergey A. Ivanov, moderated by Valentina Izmirlieva, Director of the Harriman Institute.

For the broad public in pre-revolutionary Russia, Byzantium belonged to religious discourse; it also became a battle cry for Russian imperialism. And, by an irony of history, it was that long-coveted Byzantium that greeted the White Russians as they, orphaned refugees, disembarked in Constantinople following their defeat in the Civil War. What sentiments did the Byzantine monuments inspire in them? It appears that their attitudes were more nuanced than pure nostalgia or dismissal.


Sergey A. Ivanov is a member of the British Academy. He has published more than 200 scholarly works on Byzantine culture and the relations between Byzantium and the Slavs. Among his monographs are Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond (Oxford, 2006), “Pearls Before Swine:” Missionary Work in Byzantium (Paris, 2015) and “Византийская культура и агиография” (Moscow, 2020, Byzantine Culture and Hagiography). His guidebook “В поисках Константинополя” was first published in Russian in 2011, went through three editions and was translated into Bulgarian and Turkish. It was published in English as In Search of Constantinople. A Guidebook Through Byzantine Istanbul and Its Surroundings in March 2022.

Featured Image: Hagia Sophia (1920) by Alexis Gritchenko. Accessed through


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