DUE TO THE IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS YEAR A WEB CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD!
dr Miša Rakocija
International Symposium of Byzantologists
NIŠ AND BYZANTIUM X
“Niš- martyriopolis and imperial city“
Within the Festivities of St. Emperor Constantine and St. Empress Helena 3-5 June 2011, the tenth international scientific symposium “Niš and Byzantium” was held in Niš.
On the 10 years-jubilee of “Niš and Byzantium”, we can proudly conclude that the goal set in 2002 - to profile this meeting as one of the eminent European scientific meetings on the theme of Byzantine civilization, culture, art and Serbian spirituality - is on its way to come true.
Hiss Holiness Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej, opening ceremony “Niš and Byzantium X“, Niš University Hall
Let’s indicate on the forgotten importance of Niš as the city of martyrs – martyriopolis, dedicated to the memorable Christ confessors and well known imperial city, but also to the immeasurable significance of Niš for Christianity and Christians as well. Naissus is the birthplace of Emperor Constantine the Great, and that fact had brought fame to the city among the first Christiansts. But not only that. Naissus is well known of its bishops whose participation in the first centuries of the Christianity church life the empire remembers well of. Yet, the fame of Niš was spread by Niš memorable martyrs who suffered for the Christ’s faith as well as by their relics. The curative effect of the relics of Niš martyrs, whose names were left behind, was known to St. Victricius bishop of Ruan in IV century in far Galleys (France) , so he puts Naissus in the respectable company of the most significant Christian towns where the relics of famous martyrs lies, such as: Rome, Constantinopolis, Antioch, Jerusalem, Thessaloniki and Naissus. Today it is hard even to assume how much Naissus was famous with its martyrs when St. Victricius ranked it among the cities above. Naissus was then a desirable place of pilgrimage and a well known city of martyrs – martyriopolis, like in this area also were Sremska Mitrovica, Strumica or Salona. Right because of the fact it was a martyriopolis, the first Christians of Niš chose the palm branches as the recognizable official symbol of the city. The Palm branches marks the triumph over death, victory and glory, and, in the knowledge that Naissus is martiriopolis, marks him as a martyrs’ city. It was enough to write the letter “N” and draw the palm branches beside and Christians from then would know that it was about the famous city of Niš.
However, yet the early Christian past of Niš is little known, the monumental heritage from the first Christians is insufficiently explored and treated with conservation, and even less presented and published appropriately. We won’t be wrong much if we conclude that the last detailed analytical text on early Christian Niš was written in far 1956 by dr Lazar Mirković and not much closer are the systematical research and conservation and restauration works on early Christian monuments of Niš.
Academician Renate Pilinger, PhD (Vienna) , opening ceremony “Niš and Byzantium X“
That is why no wonder about our insufficient knowledge of early Christian Niš, while its monumental heritage is hardly known to the general public, what left a gray stain on the cultural mosaic of Serbia, the Balkans and Europe.
The symposium “Nis and Byzantium” has been trying almost for ten years to correct that injustice through unobtrusive directing of knowledge of a great number of prominent researchers to the area of Niš city and Europe as a part of Byzantine civilization, art and culture. The past of Naissus, Naissos, Nissos and Niš, is much clearer and its reconstruction and revitalization of monumental heritage is more certain and possible in future thanks to the new knowledge.
Now after ten years when the significance of Niš has been properly regarded for the entire Christian world, our obligation is as well as the obligation of Europe and its nations, who are Christians thanks to the man from Niš, Emperor Constantine the Great , to mark appropriately the jubilee of the Edict of Milan. With that idea ten years ago the symposium “Niš and Byznatium”was founded. In the forthcoming 2013 the City of Niš, University of Niš and Niš Eparchy will organize a great conference “NIŠ AND BYZANTIUM XII” that will be in the sign voice of God - CONSTANTINE, IN HOC SIGNO VINCES. The invitation and application form are available on the symposium website, therefore we invite you to take part in the marking of the jubilee of the Edict of Milan in the birthplace of the Emperor Constantine.
Work and achievments of St. Emperor Constantine are firmly embedded in the foundations of the old European civilization. Even today they unify west and east Christians. Bzyantium foundations of modern Europe are clearly evident. Therefore Niš and Serbian citizens and Europe have special obligation to mark the year 2013 in apropriate way, when everything began.
That implies common projects on scientific, research, conservation and restauration works, presentation of monuments and multi lingual scientific literature and popular publications.
Together, we can do it. Just like we had gathered together the eminent byzantologists from Europe and USA the for the tenth time. And again within the city festivities of St. Emperor Constantine and Empress Helen (3 to 5 June) the international scientific symposium „Niš and Byzantium“ was organized for the 10th time. Now with a symbolic dedication to Niš – Martyriopolis and imperial city. The City of Niš , University of Niš and Niš Eparchy once again presented themselves as good organizers and kind hosts to the most eminent world connoisseurs of both Niš and Byzantium. Organization Board consisting of eminent world scientists led by His Holiness Patrijarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej and the Working group of the Scientific Board (city councilor Miodrag Radović, dr Miša Rakocija, dr Franc Curk, dr Hranislav Andjelković, Milica Todorović, marica Maksimović, dr Goran Maksimović, dr Dimosthenis Stratigopoulos, MA Irena Ljubomirović, MA Miomir Vasov, Elena Vasić Petrović, Olgica Davidović, Ana Mišić), sucessfully designed and realized the symposium “Niš and Byzantium X“, had the Proceedings printed along with its CD version and put it on the symposium website “Niš and Byzantium“ (http://www.nisandbyzantium.org.rs)
Presentation of the Proceedings Niš and Byzantium IX, dr Ianis Varalis (Volos)
The Symposium “Niš and Byzantium X“, began its work, as all these years, with the blessing of His Hollines Serbian Partriarch Mr. Irinej. The opening ceremony was continued with the welcome address of the Deputy Mayor Mr. Miodrag Manić, PhD. On behalf of University the meeting was welcomed by prorector Mr. Slobodan Antić,PhD.
The Symposium was opened by dr Renate Pilinger from Vienna, a member of Austrian Academy of Sciences, a well known name in the branch of early Christian archeology. Her words reconfirm the gained significance and reputation of the byzantologists’ congress “Niš and Byzantium“, moving us to get engaged even more on studying of early Christian Niš, and obligating us to preserve the gained also after 2013: “Many years have passed since I and prof. Vladislav Popovic (who unfortunately passed away) were in this beautiful city.
Even since then I have been fascinated by unique archeological monuments and especially those of early Christian burial painting, of which location between the east and the west , I will speak more at the symposium. To make them known also in the area of non Sloven language, through some project for example, it would be in my opinion of great importance.
At the same time that would be an additional preparation for marking of the jubilee - 1700 years of Constantine’s Edict of Milan- in Niš, Constantine’s birthplace. Beside this, by that we would achieve one universal, inter-religious and political dimension towards EU, for example.
The symposium “Niš and Byzantium“ has become long ago an important instutution that meets the great international recognition.
All this would not be possible without support of the Church, the City and the University. We use this opporunity cordially to thank to His Holliness Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej, whom we had also met in September 2010 on the occasion of 150 years of Serbian church community in Vienna. We also thank to Niš City Mayor and the Rector of Niš University.
Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej
The gratitude also belongs to the real „soul“ of the symposium, our colleague dr Miša Rakocija for his excellent organisationa and kindness.
I wish to all of you a pleasant stay and lots of success at the symposium!“
Dr Ioanis Varalis from Tessalia University in Volos (Greece), presented the last year symposium Proceedings hard copy and its CD version to the audience.
The opening ceremony was finished by showing of the short scientific popular movie “Christian Antiquity in Niš“ (author dr Miša Rakocija, director Jovica Krstić, camera Vladica Damnjanovic), produced by Niška TV.
Interest in Niš symposium increases from year to year.
This year 58 paper works were submitted. The City of Niš put efforts and invited 46 participants from Great Britain, Austria, USA, Italy, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Roamania, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
However, due to justified reasons six participants did not take part but their works are going to be published in the Proceedings. This year also, the number of foreign participants exceeding the number of those from the country best show the significance and gained reputation of the symposium “Niš and Byzantium“.
Paper works presentation, in the first line: Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej, dr Radovan Bigović,
Deputy Mayor Miodrag Manic PhD, pro-rector Slobodan Antić PhD
10th symposium work closure was crowned by the reception at the City Hall at the Mayor’s Office. It was the opportunity for participants and organizers to tell their impressions on the congress significance and indicate its contribution to making Niš visible at the cultural map of Europe as one of significant European cities.
The City of Niš is going towards the jubilee of the Edict of Milan what will permanently mark our city and our age.
Symposium participants with the Mayor Miloš Simonović
In the 10th year of the symposium Niš and Byzantium it is needed to express the gratitude to the City representatives, University of Niš and Niš Eparchy, without whose support this symposium would not be real. We need to thank also for sincere support, advice, endeavor, participation and understanding of the colleagues from all over the world.
Yet I know and I feel in the first place we should thank to Hiss Holiness Serbian Patrijarch Mr. Irinej with whose blessing the symposium is being held. As long as it is so the symposium "Niš and Byzantium" will be insensitive to time.