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Sergio La Porta

Islam and Christianity in Competition: Armenian Martyrdoms of the Late 12th Century

Lecture | March 8 | 4-6 p.m. | 270 Stephens Hall


Sergio La Porta, Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies, California State University, Fresno

Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Armenian Studies Program


On October 24, 1170, a Muslim convert to Christianity called Joseph was martyred by the Turkish Atabeg of Azerbaijan for apostasy in the city of Duin. Joseph’s martyrdom is just one of a series of martyrdoms from the second half of the twelfth century preserved in Armenian synaxaria and homiliaries. This presentation will argue that rather than reflect a climate of religious persecution and Christian subjugation, these martyrdoms witness an environment of religious competition and fluid religious identities. It will further contend that the narratives themselves were intended to promote Christian evangelism and that their interpretation was contested within the contemporary Armenian Church.


510-642-3230