In a joint collaboration of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) under the directorship of Dr. Dimitriy Voyakin and the University of Salzburg’s Center for Eastern Christian Studies (Austria/Europe) headed by Prof Dr. Dietmar W. Winkler, world-class scholars on the study of Syriac Christianity along the Silk Road are currently meeting in a scientific conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. They come from the scientific disciplines such as archaeology, religious studies, philology, epigraphics, history, manuscripts studies, Uighur, Sogdian and Syriac studies.
“Church of the East" was the name given in antiquity to the Christendom that spread outside the Roman Empire in the East. Already in the 7th century, this so-called East Syrian Christianity reached Central Asia, India and the Chinese imperial court of the Tang Dynasty via the Silk Road. In the time of the Mongols, the Church of the East was the geographically largest church of Christianity. They were formerly falsely identified as “Nestorians” and encompassed an array of peoples along the Silk Roads that included Iranian, Sogdian, Syriac, Turkic, Uighur, Mongolian and Chinese speakers.
Since 20 years, the “Salzburg International Conferences on Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia” organized by Dr. Li Tang and Prof. Dietmar Winkler (Austria) study the complexity of the spread of the Church of the East along the Silk Road in an interdisciplinary way. In cooperation with IICAS, the 6th Salzburg Conference was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2019. 7th Salzburg Conference brings together about 50 internationally renowned top-class scientists in Samarkand. They come from Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Turkey, USA, Uzbekistan etc. This ensures a unique international and interdisciplinary academic exchange on the latest scientific results across disciplines in order to develop a comprehensive picture of ancient Christianity on the Silk Road.