Kirsi Salonen profile picture
Senior Advisor, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies
Professor, PhD, LLD


+358 29 450 3379
+358 50 331 2834
Arcanuminkuja 1

Areas of expertise

Medieval history
ecclesiastical history
history of law


I graduated in general history in 1997, defended my PhD in 2001 and was granted the tile of Docent in 2004, all at the University of Tampere, Finland. In 2012 I finished my doctoral degree in law, and I was appointed as Associated professor (tenure track) at the School of History, Culture and Arts Studies at the University of Turku, and in 2017 my appointment was confirmed as full professor in European and World History in the University of Turku. Since 2021 autumn, I work only part time due to appointment at the University of Bergen.


I supervise masteral students in European and World History (both masteral seminars and gradu-afternoons).


My main research interest concern medieval papacy and ecclesiastical history but also sins, crimes, law and everyday life. Therefore, I have spent over a decade in the Vatican Secret Archives. I have published various books and articles for example about the "papal tribunal of conscience" (the Apostolic Penitentiary) and the highest ecclesiastical tribunal, the Sacra Romana Rota. In addition to institutional history, the papal source material has offered interesting glimpses of everyday life such as the story of the broken thumb of the provost of Turku, Paulus Scheel, or of the illegitimate children of Turku canons. At the moment I am leading a 4-year research project financed by the Academy of Finland, "Strategies of survival: The papal curia and ecclesiastical institutions of
Rome in the Great Western Schism (1378-1417)” (2019-2023).

In addition to the Middle Ages, I have also been studying the inter-war period, more precisely, the papal diplomacy during the pontificates of Benedict XV and Pius IX. My main figure here has been Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII), who was papal nuncius in Germany in 1917-29. This interest was part of a research project financed by the Academy of Finland, Religion, Politics, and Nationalism: The Vatican's Foreign Policy and Nationalistic Tensions in Inter-War Europe (2010-2013).


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