News 21 February 2023

Sofia Puchkova: Productive TNA Stay, Full of Discoveries

TNA Scholar Sofia Puchkova, Wolfson College Oxford, spent two weeks at Fscire in Bologna, doing research on images of baptismal water in Syrian Christian traditions. When asked, she told us, the time for her has been productive and full of discoveries.


“My stay at FSCIRE in Bologna was productive in many ways. I met colleagues, historians of religion, presented a paper at the weekly research meeting, and worked in the Giuseppe Dossetti library on two projects – one on the biography of Theodore of Mopsuestia (AD 350-428) and another on Syrian baptismal metaphors ‒ that I am conducting now.

I benefited from the stay free of charge in the guesthouse Andreatta College with other researchers and staff of FSCIRE, which allowed me to have nice chats during the evening and morning meals. Daily I found out new things about the local lifestyle and cuisine, the specificities of work in FSCIRE, and their current research.

Other Discoveries

On the weekends, I discovered local Bolognian art in Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna and visited the basilica of St Ambrose in Milan, the basilicas, and other devotional buildings in Ravenna, well known for their ancient mosaics. Among the results of my visit, I may count the development of the research on Theodore’s biography and the encouraging beginning of the study of metaphors, as well as planned future collaborations with the researchers at the Foundation.


My special thanks go to Professor Davide Dainese and the members of the library team Irene Iarocci, Francesca Trigona, and Umberto Poncina, who helped me a lot during my stay.”


Thank you for the interview, Sofia! We wish you good luck in your continued research.

About Sofia Puchkova

Sofia obtained an Advanced Masters (2018) and a doctoral degree in Theology and Religious Studies (2022) from KU Leuven, Belgium. Her research interests lie in the field in Greek patristic exegesis of the Bible, patristic homilies and catechesis, baptismal theology in the Greco-Syrian East. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at Wolfson College working on the reinterpretation of female baptismal metaphors in early Syriac and Greek sources.