Anni Hella profile picture
PostDoctoral Researcher, History and Archaelogy


Areas of expertise

Medieval history
Byzantine history
East–West relations
Council of Ferrara–Florence
Ecclesiastical history
Monastery of Grottaferrata
Computational authorship attribution


I graduated in Cultural History from the University of Turku in 2016, and currently, I am a doctoral researcher in the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku.

I am also part of a research group "Strategies of survival: The papal curia and ecclesiastical institutions of Rome in the Great Western Schism (1378–1417)" (PI, Kirsi Salonen, European and World History, 2019–2023), funded by the Academy of Finland. 

I was also a member of the digital humanities consortium "Profiling Premodern Authors" (PI, Marjo Kaartinen, Cultural History, 2016–2019), funded by the Academy of Finland. 

In the beginning of the year 2024, I start as a researcher in the project "Pyhiinvaellus liikkeessä: Pyhiin vaeltamisen motiivit ja merkitykset Turussa keskiajalla ja nykyään" that studies medieval and contemporary pilgrimage in Turku.


I have participated in the teaching of our Department. I have given lectures on Antiquity, ancient heritage in Rome, medieval Byzantine sources. I have also presented the themes and theories of my study in the relevant courses. In addition, I guided master’s students interested in the Ancient and Medieval history in 2016–2017.


I study the Council of Ferrara–Florence (1438–1439) in which the union of the Eastern and Western Churches was negotiated and even achieved, though it was only a short-lived union. I focus on the manuscripts which were used in the Council and their differences and authority. The sacred scripture, patristic texts and the acts and decrees of the ecumenical councils were important to the theologians and other learned men present in the Council. They were used in the argumentation of theological dogmas and other ecclesiastical matters. Problem was that same text had different readings in different manuscripts. There were Greek and Latin manuscripts brought from East and West to the Council and translations of the important texts were even produced for the Council’s need. In my study, I am interested in the role which this Council and its theological disputes had in the development of humanist textual criticism. Though the humanists of the 15th century were interested in the classical texts of Antiquity, religious texts had a major impact on the humanist thinking and on the need to develop textual criticism and translation of Greek and Latin texts.

As a part of the project SCISMA, I will study the monastery of Grottaferrata and the Schism. The monastery of Grottaferrata, which followed the Byzantine rite but had close ties to the Roman papacy, was situated in the Roman countryside, surrounded by the lands of the Roman barons and not too far away from the Roman papal court. The Schism created a new reality in which the monastery had to find a way to survive by allying with the right pope. I will study the ways in which the monastery operated in order to survive and how it had to reshape its loyalties and even its identity during this crisis.

In the consortium "Profiling Premodern Authors", we worked with anonymous texts of Antiquity, Middle Ages and Early Modern period via computational methods and our aim was to retrace the author. I was responsible for preparing the data, Latin works of Medieval and Early Modern authors, for the project. Besides, I had my own attribution case from Early Modern period. Article about that is forthcoming.


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