Juliette Day

Juliette Day

Docent in Church History

  • PL 3 (Fabianinkatu 33)



1996 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Juliette J Day is docent in Church History at the University of Helsinki and Senior Research Fellow in Christian Liturgy at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford. Whilst completing her PhD at Kings College London, she was engaged as Tutor in Theology at the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford and Tutor in Liturgy, at St Stephen's House, Oxford. Subsequently, she lectured in Church History and Liturgy, and directed the Open Learning Theology programme, at the University of Wales, Lampeter, and then instituted the Master's in Christian Liturgy at Sarum College, Salisbury, UK. Day joined the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki as University Lecturer in Church History in 2011. In 2016, she was selected as a Senior Research Fellow at Yale University's Institute for Sacred Music.

Day's research and publication interests revolve around the connections between text, ritual, space and materiality in the late antique and early medieval periods. Her international reputation as a leading scholar of Christian liturgical history was established by the publication of her doctoral thesis as The Baptismal Liturgy of Jerusalem (Ashgate, 2007), followed by numerous articles on aspects of the early history of baptismal and eucharistic rites which attended primarily to the textual analysis. Day's concern with methodology in Liturgical Studies led to the publication of Reading the Liturgy: An Exploration of Texts in Christian Worship (Bloomsbury, ) where she promoted attention to liturgical performance and the liturgical text as literature. Day engaged with the challenges proposed by Ritual Studies to traditional methods and conclusions of liturgical studies as co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Ritual Studies, contributing chapters on 'Time and Ritual' and 'Women's Ritualizing' in the 3rd to 5th centuries.

 Over recent years, Day has moved from the text to aspects of the contextualisation and experience of liturgical performance in the 4th to 8th centuries by exploring the space in which liturgy was performed, the material objects used, the function of different ministers and the sensorial experience of lay participants. Her collation of the evidence for over 80 late antique baptismal installations in the Roman provinces of Palestina and Arabia (Israel, Palestine & Jordan) is to be published in the Catologue of Early Christian Baptisteries, edited by Robin Jensen of Notre Dame University (Brill, due 2022). In Finland, she has embarked upon a study of the social, theological and ritual significance of Baroque-era pulpits. Recent conference presentations and articles have considered the catechetical and liturgical authority of bishops, the institutional and ritual authority of priests in women's monasteries and the status and function of doorkeepers in the early western church; the latter were in collaboration with the Presbyters in Late Antiquity project led by Robert Wiśniewski at the University of Warsaw. Day's most recent work concerns the how material and visual evidence of late antique and early medieval ritual practice can be used to interpret the physical and especially sensorial experience of lay participants. This has been facilitated through collaboration with the Centre for Early Medieval Studies in the Department of Art History at Masaryk University, and with the Materiality of Devotion project at the Institute for Medieval Studies at Lisbon Nova university. A more thorough investigation of one sensory aspect of liturgical ritual is forthcoming in 2022: Hearing our Prayers: An Examination of Listening in Christian Worship.

These research interests are reflected in teaching and supervision. Courses delivered in the Faculty of Theology include: Prayer and Worship in the Early Church; Popular Christianity in Late Antiquity through Material Culture; The Senses in Christian History; Christian Rome, Early and Medieval with Tuomas Heikkilä; Byzantine Christianity. She supervises and examines doctoral studies in liturgical history, and early and medieval history. In 2014, she was chosen as Teacher of the Year (Vuoden oppettaja) by the Theology Faculty students' association (Teologian Ylioppilaiden Tiedekuntayhdistys).

Day actively promotes the publication of new research, especially by new scholars, through a number of editorial activites. She was founding editor of Anaphora, the journal of the Society for Liturgical Study and remained the lead editor for 10 years, and has also been on the editorial committee of Studia Liturgica. In addition to being co-editor of a number of books, she is also editor of the liturgy entries in the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity and sits the editorial board of the monograph series Studiae Traditonis Theologiae (Brepols). For many years she has been a trustee of the Alcuin Club: founded in 1897 to promote the academic study of liturgy, the 'Club' publishes a number of new books annually.

Day is a member, and former chairperson of the Society for Liturgical Study; a member and former committee member of the Finnish Church History Society (Suomen kirkkohistoriallisen seuran); a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys.

Academic research into Christian liturgy also connects to the interests of the contemporary churches in informal and formal ways. For many years Day was a member of the Standing Liturgical Advisory Committee of the Church in Wales during a period of reform of the authorised liturgical books, and has been a member of the Church of England's Liturgical Commission. She collaborates regularly with the Worshp office of the Finnish Lutheran Church in events to promote liturgical understanding.

Education/Academic qualification

Theology, PhD, The Mystagogical Catecheses of Jerusalem and their Relationship to the Eastern Baptismal Liturgies of the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries, Kings College London

Award Date: 1 Feb 2003

External positions

Senior Research Fellow, Yale University, Institute of Sacred Music

15 Aug 201631 May 2017

Senior Research Fellow in Christian Liturgy, Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford


Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • Liturgical Studies
  • Liturgical History
  • Christian Initiation
  • Eucharist
  • Ritual Studies
  • Sensory Studies
  • Early Christianity
  • Material culture
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Early Christian Baptisteries
  • Late Antiquity
  • Early Medieval Church
  • Material Culture of Christian Ritual