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On 1 July 2005 the "Research Centre for Comparative History of Religious Orders" (FOVOG) started to work at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. In 2010 it was transferred to the Technical University of Dresden, where its academic roots were laid in the form of thematically relevant sub-projects in two collaborative Research Centers since 1994.

The "Research Centre for Comparative History of Religious Orders," provides an organizational framework for a number of individual projects, and a graduate program whose research goals are brought together synergistically. Their work is financially supported by the Technical University of Dresden, and from various funding institutions (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Union der deutschen Akademien, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft), and by the General Curia of the Carmelite order.

The Research Centre is publisher of the scientific series "Vita regularis", it is involved legislatively in the "Revue Mabillon," where an annual work report is published, and maintains the service home page It also offers fellowships and organizes a summer school. The overall scientific goal of research is the comparative analysis of institutional forms of monastic life, as it developed during the centuries between antiquity and the early modern period.

However, it should not only be of concern to bring the branches of religious orders the medieval-occidental church brought forth in relation. The FOVOG conducts a research of monastic orders that - in its widest approach including the whole christian ecumene - is devoted to the comprehensive social and cultural importance of the monastic and religious life and the complex structure of relationships between the monastery and society as the main focus of their investigations. This in particular will address the questions how monastic life has been implemented by communities since late antiquity in manifold ways according to fixed rules and norms, how it shaped the understanding of community and civilization and therefore how it provided a significant contribution to the formation of our cultural identity.

Such questions have to be asked from a cultural sociology point of view. They require a perspective which is particularly focused on the considerable benefits of rationalization achievments of religious orders and monasteries - such as the internal organizational structures, the regular life, worship, liturgy, music, history, the religious and philosophical thinking and not least in the monastic economy. Part of the research are also cross-systematic aspects - such as the relationship of general guidlines and social norms, of individual and community, of charisma and institutionalisation – as well as form of symbolization, rituals and other ways of self-representation.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gert Melville

Academic Manager and Research Coordinator:
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Cristina Andenna

Technische Universität
D - 01062 Dresden
Email: fovog-dresden(at)

Tel: +49 (0) 351 4793 4180
Fax: +49 (0) 351 4793 4189

The FOVOG is a centrally incorporated institute of the Technical University of Dresden
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