Seal of the prior provincial of Dacia. Click for larger picture.Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia

by PhD Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen

Department of Nordic Research, University of Copenhagen

Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia is a website-initiative with the purpose of promoting studies of Dominican activities in medieval Scandinavia. The first step will be an attempt to provide a comprehensive view of existing Nordic research and knowledge on our medieval Dominicans, the Friars Preachers (prædikebrødre, predikarbrödra) or Black Friars (sortebrødre, svartbrödra), as they eventually became known as in our part of the world. On a longer view, it is the hope to create a network for active and potential scholars of Dominican history in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region, in order to make the obtained knowledge from the various studies known and easier accessible for others. Hopefully, the Centre will furthermore generate new studies and enlist future students of our common Nordic-Dominican past.

The launching of Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia was part of my PhD-project at the Institute of History, Culture and Social Studies at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, running from 2005 to 2008, with a thesis titled The role of Friars Preachers in medieval Danish society. A description of the doctoral project and a presentation of my other Dominican studies can be found via the links below.


The role of Friars Preachers in medieval Danish society


My interest for and work with the Order of Preachers began during my master graduation at Roskilde University, where I had a part-time job as a substitute for the parish clerk in Holbæk, whose office is located in the remaining buildings of a medieval Dominican priory. Being a history student, I naturally could not resist to look deeper into the history of the local priory, which led to the writing of first a small tourist-leaflet about the priory's history, and later an article on the possible background and considerations in connection to the foundation of the Holbæk Convent (the latter in Danish only with an English summary).


Sortebrødreklostret i Holbæk






Da prædikebrødrene kom til Holbæk


In 2002, Professor Tore Nyberg informed me of a newly started project by the Dominican Historical Institute in Rome, the so-called Repertorium Locorum, started by Dr Simon Tugwell OP. The project aims to collect the basic data of all Dominican houses from the beginning (which in Dominican terms is in 1216) until today. I was lucky enough to become connected to the Repertorium Locorum in regard of the Scandinavian houses, which I am still working on. As off-springs of this, I have written a number of articles on the Dominican convents around Scandinavia.


The Dominican convents of medieval Norway






The Dominican convent in Roskilde






The Baltic Crusade and the first Friars Preachers in Visby


It is from the work with the Repertorium Locorum that I got the inspiration and idea for my PhD-thesis on the Dominicans in medieval Denmark, which will be continued in a postdoctoral project on Dominicans in Dacia : The role of Friars Preachers in medieval Scandinavian society, based at the University of Copenhagen 2009-2013.


Dominicans in Dacia (project-description)


One of the first questions one faces in such a study is connected to the province name: Why Dacia? Jarl Gallén accounted for this in a lexicographical article from 1957, but since this is in Swedish only and the issue also puzzles people outside Scandinavia, I have retold the peculiar story in English for a wider audience. Since Dacia originally was the name of an ancient kingdom in the region of present-day Romania, a translation of the story is also available in Romanian.


Why Dacia ?






De ce Dacia ?


My work with Dominican history in Scandinavia will undoubtedly continue long after the finalization of the postdoctoral thesis; in fact, I consider it my lifetime project! I have begun a systematic registration of all written material concerning Dominican history within the medieval province of Dacia (i.e. Scandinavia with Schleswig and north-western Estonia), including historical sources (diploma, annales, chronicles, etc.), modern literature, and archaeological reports from excavations on the priory sites. As a part of my postdoctoral project, it is the intention to make these registrations available on the web, eventually along with full-text transcripts of the medieval sources in what I call the Diplomatarium OP Dacie.


Diplomatarium OP Dacie


Also, a transcript of the chronicle Historia ordinis predicatorum in Dacia describing the arrival of the first friars in Dacia, and Bernard Gui's chronicle on the first Dacian priors provincials (both with parallell translations in Danish) are available, along with Latin versions of extant Dominican yearbooks and fragments of a necrology from the province.


Historia ordinis predicatorum in Dacia






Bernard Gui: Priores prouinciales in prouincia Dacie






Dominican annals of Dacia






Ex necrologium conventus OP Ripensis


As you will understand, this is not to be done in a few years' time, probably not even in one lifetime. But as Frater Wolfram Hoyer OP once told me: »If it needs a century, we will take a century«. As much as I love this philosophy (although I probably will find a hard time convincing my university employers of it), I am not expecting to have a 100 years left myself to invest in the work, and others shall therefore be most welcome to join the ambitious project of the Diplomatarium OP Dacie and the other projects within the Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia.

Such a welcome contribution has been given by Johannes Schütz (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen 2013), who for his doctoral dissertation has transcribed the only extant Dominican sermon collection from the province of Dacia, a Sermones de tempore made by Fr. Mathias Ripensis OP in the early fourteenth century.


Fr. Mathias Ripensis and his Sermones de tempore


Likewise, allthough not especially linked to the province of Dacia, Kurt Villads Jensen (University of Southern Denmark 2007) has made a long-needed transcription of a crusade-preaching manual by Humbert of Romans OP, from c.1266-67, called De predicatione crucis contra Saracenos, for the first time available in a full-length edition as part of the source publications of the Centre.


De predicatione crucis contra Saracenos


Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia aims to endorse studies of Dominican and monastic history in medieval Northern Europe on a whole. A way of doing this is to bring scholars with this common interest together in networks, seminars and conferences. As a product of this, the Centre has organized sessions held at the International Medieval Congress (IMC) in Leeds 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. A conference is planned for 2016 to be held in Odense.


Monks on the Move : Presentation of session at IMC 2010






Preachers of Poverty : Presentation of session at IMC 2011






Presentation of sessions at IMC 2012






Mendicant Networks with Lay Communities : Session at IMC 2014




Salutem in Domino sempiternam.



Centre for Dominican Studies of Dacia

Johnny G.G. Jakobsen, Department of Nordic Research, University of Copenhagen

Postal address: Njalsgade 136, DK-2300 Copenhagen, Denmark ● Email: