Ott 092022

25 October 2022




Themis Dallas
“Churches are oriented to the east. But where is east?”


25 October 2022, 16:00 – 18:00
Aula Magna “Gaetano Cima”
Via Corte d’Appello 87, Cagliari

Christian churches are oriented to the east, but as the Sun rises at a different point of the horizon each day of the year, how is east defined? Suggestions include the sunrise of: equinox, solstices, major feasts, the feast of the patron saint, the day of the church foundation. In spite that the demand of eastwards orientation appears very early in the Christian corpus, the first instructions that east is defined by the position of sunrise at the equinox are given by Isidore of Seville in the 7th c., and yet the term equinox is ambiguous. A statistical analysis of the orientation of early Christian churches may give an answer on what rules were applied in the beginning of the church history and how these were subsequently modified. This type of research needs as large a sample as possible, and the use of remote satellite methods can give fast results, albeit not as accurate as in situ surveys


Themis Dallas holds a PhD in theoretical astrophysics, but for the past 18 years he is a laboratory teacher at the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly in Volos. His current research is on cultural astronomy: he examines possible astral connections of ancient myths and cults, but mainly focuses on the orientation of early Christian churches in the east Mediterranean.


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