The Organizing Committee of the International Congress of Byzantine Studies has announced that it has postponed this year’s congress and Istanbul will no longer hold the event.
“After careful discussion with all colleagues involved with the organization of the 2021 International Congress of Byzantine Studies in Istanbul, that the Congress should be postponed until 2022, and that it will no longer be held in Istanbul. A new venue will be announced as soon as it can be confirmed, probably in September 2020,” the organizing committee said in a written statement.
The committee said that the novel coronavirus and “other concerns associated with issues of heritage management” were the reasons why this decision was taken.
The move came after the Turkish government converted Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, one of the most important architectural achievements in the world and an iconic example of Byzantine architecture, into a mosque.
The International Association of Byzantine Studies (AIEB) was established in 1948, shortly after World War II. Its foundation emerged from the Byzantine congresses taking place at that time.
The International Bureau, consisting of representatives of all member national committees, constitutes the permanent executive body of the AIEB
The bureau represents over 1,000 scholars form 38 countries across Europe and internally.
The association holds congresses quinquennially and this year’s quinquennial meeting in Istanbul was expected to get more than 1,100 participants.