Sean Griffin

Associate Professor of Russian

Associate Professor of Russian
102 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Office Hours
TTH 1:45pm - 2:45pm



PhD, University of California, Los Angeles

MA, University of California, Los Angeles

BA, Pepperdine University

Research and Teaching Interests

Russia and Ukraine

Eastern Christianity

Church History


Cultural Memory



Sean Griffin is an interdisciplinary scholar of Russia and Ukraine. His research focuses on the history of the Orthodox Church and its role in the sacralization of political power: from the liturgy and chronicles of medieval Kyiv, to the wartime propaganda of Putin's Russia.

Griffin’s first book, The Liturgical Past in Byzantium and Early Rus, was published with Cambridge University Press. It was the winner of two international book awards: the W. Bruce Lincoln Book Prize and the Ecclesiastical History Society Book Prize. His newest book, The Sacred Reign of Vladimir Putin: Religion, Memory, War , will be published with Cornell University Press.

 At Notre Dame, Griffin teaches interdisciplinary courses on the religion, culture, history, and politics of Eastern Europe. He also enjoys leading courses in the Russian language program. His interest in these subjects was inspired by his own, unexpected conversion to the Orthodox Church as a young college student, searching for the meaning of life in the mountains of southern California.

Representative Publications and Accomplishments

The Liturgical Past in Byzantium and Early Rus, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Winner, W. Bruce Lincoln Book Prize

Winner, Ecclesiastical History Society Book Prize

“Putin’s Holy War of the Fatherland: Sacred Memory and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.” The Russian Review v. 83/1. Lawrence, KS: Wiley Periodicals, pp. 79-92.

Revolution, Raskol, and Rock 'n' Roll: The 1020th Anniversary of the Day of the Baptism of Rus", The Russian Review , v. 80/2. Lawrence, KS: Wiley Periodicals, pp. 183-208.

Winner, Eve Levin Prize

"Putin's Medieval Weapons in the War Against Ukraine", Studies in Medievalism  v. 29. Karl Fugelso (ed.). Suffolk, UK: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 13-21.

"Византийская литургия и создание Повести временных лет", Ruthenica, v. 15. Kyiv: Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, pp. 7-44.

Griffin's research has been supported by fellowships from the VolkswagenStiftung, the Dartmouth Society of Fellows, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the ACLS-Luce Foundation, and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.