International Symposium of Byzantologists
NIS AND BYZANTIUM XIX
“In Praise of Truth or Resurrection of Byzantium“
Dr Miša Rakocija
The pandemic has not stopped the scholars in Byzantine studies. This year, as part of the City’s Patron Saint-day celebration, aimed to preserve its continuity, the City of Nis, The University of Nis, the Eparchy of Nis and Nis Cultural Center, with the patronage and the blessing of Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, and Bishop Arsenije of Nis, held the nineteenth international scientific convention in Byzantine studies NIS AND BYZANTIUM XIX, subtitled „In Praise of Truth and the Resurrection of Byzantium.“
Opening of the Symposium Nis and Byzantium XIX - „In Praise of Truth or Resurrection of Byzantium“
Nis, June 3, 2020, at 17:30
The unexpected new situation caused by the pandemic takes us back to the Middle Ages, that the modern technology separates us from and that was used this year to organize the symposium of the scholars in Byzantine studies Nis and Byzantium, with the intention of getting to know the very Middle Ages even better. Historically, this has not happened for the first time. Mankind has survived many viruses, including those attacking the soul and the mind of people. The latter took many more lives than the former. A vaccine against such viruses has not and will never be discovered. The history of mankind shows all the genius of Erasmus of Rotterdam and „In Praise of Folly.“
The reaction under such circumstances was quick and a web conference was carried out with the online opening of the symposium. During the online opening, about 100 scientists from all over the world took part and were present: England, the U.S.A., Spain, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Austria, Australia, Turkey, Sweden, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the Republic of Srpska, Serbia, Greece, etc. Thanks to the previously posted web presentations of the convention participants, a discussion developed. The opening of the scientific meeting including the exclusive web presentations with videos of the participants of the meeting is now available on the website of the meeting.
After the introductory word by Dr. Misa Rakoci, the blessing of Arsenije Bishop of Nis came together with the inspired presentation on the significance of this Nis conference. On behalf of the University of Nis, Dr. Vesna Lopicic addressed the audience with equal inspiration. The meeting was opened by Dr. Elizabeta Dimitrova (Skopje), the collection of papers was presented by Dr. Jasmina Ciric (Kragujevac), while the discussion was led by Dr. Nebojsa Stankovic (Nis). The discussion was an excellent opportunity to confront opinions, ask questions, and exchange new knowledge of colleagues from all over the world.
For nineteen years already, the participants in the symposium Nis and Byzantium have been contributing to changing the old opinion about Byzantium thanks to the scientific meticulousness and patient analysis of written sources, archeological evidence, painting, iconography, architecture, theological thought, and civilizational achievements in the vast area of the millennial Byzantine Empire. Thanks to new knowledge, the Resurrection of Byzantine culture and art lies ahead, and the Byzantine creative spirit is once again among the entire Christian world. The time has come to remember the words of Milan Kasanin: "Byzantine art is not revealed only by observation, one should immerse oneself in it, one should sympathize with it to the point of melding, one should find it in oneself."
This year's gathering confirms our perseverance, which is based on solid and well-founded scientific foundations. By discovering the hidden but magnificent sources of our past, we discover and confirm Byzantium as the bearer of the global cultural and artistic heritage. In that way, we reveal the place and role of Byzantine culture, art, and spirituality in modern civilization. "What the world thinks about Byzantine art, it will think about ours, as well," said Milan Kasanin.
As a recognizable symbol of the city, the symposium „Nis and Byzantium“ has gone beyond Nis and is of great importance for the study of both national culture and a more comprehensive view of the Byzantine heritage that modern European civilization rests upon. 38 papers were submitted from Spain, England, Italy, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Russia, North Macedonia, Sweden, and Serbia. You can see their presentations on the web site of the scientific meeting. We invite fans of the past of the city of Nis and the Byzantine cultural and spiritual heritage to view the opening ceremony, and the exclusive web presentations with videos that are for the first time avalable to all on the website of the scientific meeting.
It is our pleasure to read the comments of satisfied participants on the website, as well as the entire program of the opening ceremony with the summaries and particularly interesting this year exclusively web presentations of participants. A large number of visits to the web presentations of the symposium participants that are on the web site, most eloquently speak about the importance and reputation of the Nis International Symposium of Scholars in Byzantine Studies. Following common practice, the collections of papers are packaged and ready to be sent to universities, institutes, libraries, authors, and eminent individuals. The presence of the Nis anthology in eminent European institutions is of immeasurable importance for the promotion and spreading of the reputation of our city. What we miss is a group photo and a dinner together.