Zara Pogossian

Project Coordinator; Subproject Caucasus

Zara Pogossian is a specialist in medieval Armenian history, culture and religion, especially in relation to other peoples, cultures and religions in the Near East and Asia Minor. In her research Dr. Pogossian has explored such diverse topics as female asceticism and ascetic communities in early Christian Armenia, the role of women in the spread of Christianity in Armenia, monastic establishments and territory control, as well as monasteries in an inter-religious perspective. She has contributed significantly to the study of apocalyptic traditions in Armenian, especially between the 11th and 13th centuries, including a focus on inter-religious polemic hidden in these texts. Her critical edition, with comments and a thorough historical study of Agat‘angel, On the End of the World, an anonymous Armenian apocalyptic text, is forthcoming. Pogossian is the author of a book acclaimed by reviewers ("The Letter of Love and Concord", Brill 2011), as well as numerous articles and book reviews. She holds an MA and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). She has been the recipient of several prestigious fellowships, such as from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (at the University of Tübingen), Käte Hamburger Collegium at the Center for Religious Studies: Study of the Dynamics in the History of Religions (at the University of Bochum, Germany) and the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities: Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe (University of Erlangen, Germany). She has organised several international conferences and workshops in Germany, Hungary, Italy and France. Pogossian is on the editorial board of the on-line journal Entangled Religions and is the treasurer of the Armenian National Committee of Byzantine Studies (part of the International Association of Byzantine Studies). She regularly serves on the evaluation committees of the European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) and the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation (Tbilisi, Georgia).


Dr. Zara Pogossian

Ruhr-Universität Bochum CERES
Universitätsstr. 90a
D-44789 Bochum

Room 4.11
+49 (0)234 - 32-21919

Vita and Publications



  • Since September 2015 - Research Fellow, Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr Universität Bochum (Germany)

  • May - August 2013 - Visiting Fellow at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities: Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe. University of Erlangen (Germany)

  • 2011-2012 - Visiting Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Collegium at the Center for Religious Studies: Study of Dynamics in the History of Religions. University of Bochum (Germany)

  • 2010-2011 - Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship. University of Tübingen (Germany)

Education and degrees

  • 1999-2005 - Ph.D. magna cum laude in Medieval Studies. Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; dissertation topic: Revised Diplomatic Edition, historical and textual comments, and English translation of the “Letter of Love and Concord between Emperor Constantine the Great and the Armenian King Trdat, and Pope St. Sylvester and St. Gregory the Illuminator”

  • 2002-2003 - Fellowship from the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy) for Ph.D. research at the Pontificio Istituto Orientale (Rome) and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

  • 2000-2002 - Visiting student at the Pontificio Istituto Orientale,Rome, Italy

  • 1998–1999 - M.A. with distinction in Medieval Studies. Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; thesis topic: The Tondrakite (heretical) Movement in Armenia and the Paulicians: A Comparative Study.

  • 1994–1997 - M.A. in International Development with concentration on cultural institutions and economic development. American University, Washington, DC, USA; thesis: The Reception of the Russian Opera of St. Petersburg in the West.

  • 1990-1994 - B.A. in International Business. Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA, USA. 


  • The Letter of Love and Concord: A Revised Diplomatic Edition with Historical and Textual Comments and English Translation (Medieval Mediterranean vol. 88). Leiden: Brill 2010.

Articles/book chapters

  • “Государство и религия: основание монастырей и покровительство им как способ контроля над территориями в Армении во второй половине IX в.” [State and Religion: Foundation and Patronage of Monasteries as a Method of Territory Control in 9th c. Armenia], Государствo, Религия, Церовь [Gosudarstvo, Religija, Tserkov'] 22/33 (2015): 34-60.

  • Book Review of Barbara Crostini and Sergio La Porta (eds), Negotiating Co-Existence: Communities, Cultures and Convivencia in Byzantine Society. Bochumer Altertumswissentschaftliches Colloquium. Vol. 96. Trier: Wissentschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2013, in Medieval Encounters 21 (2015): 313-9.

  • “An “Un-known and Unbridled People” with a Biblical Genealogy, Original Homeland and No Religious Warship: The Thirteenth Century Armenian Theologian Vardan Arewelc‘i and his Colophon on the Mongols.” Journal of the Society of Armenian Studies 23 (2014): 7-48.

  • “Locating Religion, Controlling Territory: Conquest and Legitimation in Late Ninth Century Vaspurakan and its Inter-religious Context.” In Locating Religions: Contact, Diversity and Translocality. Leiden: Brill, 2015 [forthcoming].

  • Book Review of Michael E. Stone. Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Abraham. (Early Judaism and Its Literature). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012. Theologische Literaturzeitung, cols. 714-6.

  • “Jews in Armenian Apocalyptic Traditions of the 12th century: a Fictional ‘Old’ Enemy or New Encounters?” In Volker der Endzeit. Eds. F. Schmieder and W. Brandes [forthcoming].

  • “The Last Emperor or the Last Armenian King? Considerations on Apocalyptic Themes in Armenian Texts from the Cilician Period.” In Armenian Apocalyptic Tradition: A Comparative Perspective. Leiden: Brill, 2014, 457-503.

  • Book Review of John C. Reeves. Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism. (Comparative Islamic Studies). Sheffield-Oakville: Equinox, 2011. Medieval Encounters 19 (2013): 371-7.

  • “Female Asceticism and Piety in Medieval Armenia.” Le Muséon 125.1/2 (2012): 169-213.

  • “The Foundation of the Monastery of Sevan: A Case Study on Monasteries, Economy and Political Power in IX-X Century Armenia.” In Le Valli dei Monaci: Atti del III Convegno Internazionale di Studio “De Re Monastica”, Roma-Subiaco, 17-19 maggio, 2010. Vol. 1, 181-215. Spoleto: Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 2012.

  • “Armenians, Mongols and the End of Times: An Overview of 13th Century Sources.” In Representation of the Mongols in the Caucasus: Armenia and Georgia. Edited by Sophia Vashalomidze, Manfred Zimmer and Jürgen Tubach, 169-98. [in: Stefan Leder und Bernhard Streck (ed.): Nomads and Sedentaries]. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2012.

  • “Armenians and the IV Crusade Based on Two Contemporary Sources.” In Quarta Crociata: Venezia-Bisanzio-Impero Latino. Edited by Gh. Ortalli, G. Ravegnani, P. Schreiner, pp. 583-605. Venezia: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2006.

  • “The Conceptual Frontier: The Armenian Church and its Relations with the Holy See (XI-XIIIth Centuries).” In Frontiers in the Middle Ages. Edited by O. Merisalo, pp. 259-290. Louvain-la-Neuve: 2006.

  • Book Review. “Mi karevor t‘argmanut‘yan bnagri hratarakut‘yune” [The edition of a translation of an important source]. Review of “Pseudo-Zeno Anonymous Philosophical Treatise. M.E. Stone and M.E. Shirinian. Translated with the collaboration of J. Mansfeld and D.T. Runia. Brill: 2000”. Ejmiacin 12 (2006): 99-101.

  • “A Brief Note on Female Monasteries in Armenia: V-XIV cc.” In In Search of the Precious Pearl: Fifth Encounter of Monks from East and West at Dzaghgatzor Monastery Armenia. Edited by E. Farrugia, S.J., pp. 109-17. Rome: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 2005.

  • “The “Foreign” Element in Christianisation Legends of Armenia: Hagiography and Ancient Historiography.” Sanctorum. Rivista dell’Associazione per lo Studio della Santità, dei Culti e dell’Agiografia 1 (2004): pp. 137-152.

  • “Women at the Beginning of Christianity in Armenia.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica vol. 69, Fasc. II (2003): 355-380.

  • “Il ruolo delle donne nella conversione al cristianesimo dell’Armenia: agiografia e fonti storiche.” Rassegna di teologia 44 (2003): 77-88.

  • “The Frontier Existence of Paulician Heretics.” Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU 6 (2000): 203-6.