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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Tuomas Heikkilä (b. 1972), PhD, docent in general history and and church history (University of Helsinki) and docent in Finnish history (University of Turku), is one of the most influential Finnish medievalists. Currently employed at the University of Helsinki as the Professor in Church History, he has previously been the Director of the Finnish research institute in Rome, Italy, (2013-2017); Visiting Research Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (2010); and Visiting Scholar at the University of Gothenburg (2009).

Heikkilä's almae matres are the University of Helsinki, the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany, as well as the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana where he took the European Diploma in Medieval Studies. 

Originally a historian, Heikkilä has emphasized multidisciplinary scholarship. His fields of expertise include written culture and the change of information environment, medieval hagiography, manuscript studies, monastic history, and computer-assisted stemmatology. Heikkilä has published widely on these topics in several languages.

Heikkilä wrote his doctoral thesis (Vita et miracula s. Symeonis Treverensis – ein hochmittelalterlicher Heiligenkult im Kontext, Academia Scientiarum Fennica 2002) on high medieval hagiography in Western Europe. Later on, he expanded his expertise to include Nordic hagiography and edited the legend of St Henry, the Finnish national saint. The studies resulted in monographs in Finnish and Swedish as well as the first critical edition of the oldest literary work composed in Finland.

In 2006–2011, Heikkilä directed a large-scale research project on the arrival and development of written culture in Finland. The project resulted in a detailed picture of the implications of Latin written culture in a European periphery as well as a research database of the fragmenta membranea collection of the National Library of Finland. Heikkilä has also been one of the driving forces behind the two other Finnish databases on medieval sources: the Diplomatarium Fennicum and the Codices Fennici.

In 2009–2012, Tuomas Heikkilä directed Studia Stemmatologica, an international multidisciplinary scholarly network concentrating on exploring the possibilities and different uses of computer-assisted stemmatology.

In 2013-2017, Heikkilä was the director of the oldest and most prestigious Finnish scholarly institute abroad, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae. In Rome, Heikkilä's research group concentrated on the study of different aspects of time and calendars in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Education/Academic qualification

Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Director, Professor, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae

1 Aug 201331 Jul 2017

External positions

Associate Professor in Finnish history (Title of Docent), University of Turku

Mar 2013 → …

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • Church history
  • Monastic history
  • Strategies of written culture
  • Cultural heritage
  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Written culture
  • Changing information environment
  • Manuscripts
  • Incunabula
  • Digital humanities
  • Computational history
  • 612 Languages and Literature
  • Written culture
  • Stemmatology
  • Textual criticism
  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • Stemmatology
  • Digital humanities
  • Phylomemetics
  • 114 Physical sciences
  • Radio carbon dating
  • Stabile isotopes

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.


Nordic Latin Manuscript Fragments: The Destruction and Reconstruction of Medieval Books

Ommundsen, Å. (ed.) & Heikkilä, T. (ed.), 15 Jun 2017, Abingdon: Routledge. 322 p.

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issueScientificpeer-review

Sankt Henrikslegenden

Heikkilä, T., 2009, Helsingfors ; Stockholm: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland Atlantis. 336 p. (Skrifter utgivna av Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland; no. 720)

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

Evaluating methods for computer-assisted stemmatology using artificial benchmark data sets

Roos, T. T. & Heikkilä, T., 2009, In : Literary and Linguistic Computing. 24, 4, p. 417-433 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Das Kloster Fulda und der Goslarer Rangstreit

Heikkilä, T., 1998, Helsinki: Academia scientiarum Fennica. 222 p. ( Suomalaisen tiedeakatemian toimituksia, Sarja Humaniora; vol. 298)

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

Vita s. Symeonis Treverensis: Ein hochmittelalterlicher Heiligenkult im Kontext

Heikkilä, T., 2002, Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia. 330 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


Nordic Medieval Book History in the European Context

Heikkilä, T., Mortensen, L. B., Ommundsen, Å., Gejrot, C. & Már Gunnlaugsson, G.

Vetenskapsrådet, Sweden


Project: Research project


Ikivanhaa ja ultrauutta. Piispa Henrik, Lalli ja kirkkohistorian uudet tuulet

Tuomas Heikkilä (Keynote speaker)
17 Jan 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Workshop on Parchment Fragments

Tuomas Heikkilä (Chair of organizing committee)
12 Feb 202014 Feb 2020

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars


Tuomas Heikkilä (Speaker)
13 Feb 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura (External organisation)

Tuomas Heikkilä (Board member)
1 Jan 2020 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in national/international committee, council, board

Prague Medieval Studies academic publishing series (External organisation)

Tuomas Heikkilä (Board member)
24 Jun 2020 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in national/international committee, council, board

Press / Media

Puhdas ja ihmeellinen

Tuomas Heikkilä


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Keskiajan symboliikka

Tuomas Heikkilä


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Joulurauhanjulistuksen historia

Tuomas Heikkilä


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media