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 XI
The 11th Scientific Symposium “Niš and Byzantium“ was held at Niš University Hall from 3 to 5 June 2012 being an overture to the forthcoming 12th gathering of byzantologists in the year 2013. By the great congres with the symbolic message “C?nstantine,inhocsignovinces“ the City of Niš will mark the 1700th Anniversary of the Edict of Milan. Now it is the right moment to remember the words of academician Dejan Medaković from the opening of the 1st scientific symposium “Niš and Byzantium“ in 2002:
“And now, please allow me to say few fords about your scientific symposium “Niš and Byzantium”. It is out of any doubts that the subject matter of this symposium has been well selected, as well as the intention of making these meetings become regular ones. This will give credit to the very subject matter that includes all forms of political and intellectual life not only of the city of Niš, but also of the entire region. And one more thing: if this event is ensured continuous operation, there is a substantial possibility to, at least partly, compensate the long decades of discontinuity, oblivion, and even complete rejection of our own roots...
In our vision of modern Niš is also installed That kind of width by which, In its own time, radiated one Developed imperial city.
We are yet to experience spiritual effort To fully discover and start loving it.“
Niš Bishop Dr. Jovan, ceremonial opening of the symposium “Niš and Byzantium XI“
It has been eleven years since the City of Niš and Niš Eparchy under the roof of University, have been gathering eminent reseachers from Europe and America, the connoisseurs of the past of both Niš and Byzantium, this year also indicating to St. Emperor Constantine and the heritigae of Europe.
Thinking about the first Christians always and everywhere has to begin from the city of Niš. The moment when Constantine the Great was born, designates the milstone in the mankind history. Constantine’s standing for one God and one state, longing towards spiritual, cultural and civilization unifying of peoples is actual even nowadays, while as the first Christian emperor he put the foundations to the Byzantine empire, civilization, culture, art , spirit. Due to Constantine the Great merits, the Byzantine roots of contemporary European civilization are clearly visible.
Academician dr. Ljubomir Maksimović, ceremonial opening of the symposium “Niš and Byzantium XI“
Therefore the City of Niš is preparing to mark the Anniversary of the Edict of Milan in appropriate manner, which is knowledge – the knowledge of renowned, distinguished scientists gathered around the symposium Niš and Byzantium. Thanks to this knowledge Niš has its position recognized in the cultural mosaique of Europe, with the recognisible significance for the entire Christian world. It took more than a decade of research and scientific couriosity and patience substantiaded by solid arguments and undisputed facts.
This was inspiration for introducing a new prestigious City Award under the name “Imperial Dream“, that the City of Niš should give as a special award for scientific achievments and contribution in this field. This award will be promoting also the importance of Constantine the Great and the necessity of preserving cultural heritage.
Participants of the symposium „Niš and Byzantium XI“
This award is symbolically named after the great Byzantine dignity title which is related to one significant but rarely mentioned happening in the past of the city of Niš. Namely, in the year 1163 upon the invitation of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenus, Stefan Nemanja comes to Niš to meet with the emperor. After talking with Nemanja Emperor Manuel was amazed by “the youngman’s wisdom”- as the chronicler notes down - and on that occasion he rewarded Nemanja with respectable state Byzantine title under the name “Imperial Dream”. The name of the royal dignity intrusively recalls the Constantine’s dream which happened before the crucial battle with Maxentius when Christ appeared in that dream and announced his victory over Maxentius: “C?NSTANTINE, INHOCSIGNOVINCES”. It is no coincidence that the Byzantine Emperor rewarded Nemanja state dignity with the name “Imperial Dream“ and just in the birth place of Emperor Constantine. That is the symbolism of the awarded Byzantine title and Stefan Nemanja will soon be the emperor himself wishing Niš to be the capital. The symbolism of the birth place of Constantine is so strong that from early Christianity to the far reaches of the Middle Ages, many emperors were emphasizing it in their favour. Right so the emperor Manuel awarded in Niš the dignity under name “Imperial Dream“ which is associated with the Constantine’s dream. That symbolism of Constantine’s birthplace is not lost and the famous imperial city of Niš should follow that tradition.
Through this award the memory on the forgoten Byzantine dignity and ceremonial act that happened to Nemanja in Niš will be kept and the award will be given for “scientific wisdom“, due to which the Byzantine emperor was amazed by Nemanja. The City of Niš will express its gratefulness to all those who contributed to research, protection and presentation of the rich cultural heritage of the City of Niš and the gravitating area. The vertical between the Serbian people and Byzantine civilization, culture and spirit whose inheritors we all are, and which is firmly embeded in the roots of contemporary Europe would be thus highlighted.
We believe that the award will be established in 2013 as one of the activities of marking the Milan Edict Anniversary in our city and our time.
Opening of the exibition “Early Christianity in the area of the Balkans“ - Serbian Ortodox Church Academy for conservation – Students’s works – Niš Bishop Dr. Jovan, rector dr. Miroljub Grozdanović, Niš City Assembly President dr. Mile Ilić, Assistant to the Mayor dr. Radivoj Kocić, pro-rector dr. Slobodan Antić
Everything that happened over the rich Christian past of Niš from IV to XXI is inseparably from 48 Niš Bishops.
The symposium has lasted and survived in all these years with blessing of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Mr. Irinej. Also this year is so, thanks to Niš Bishop Dr. Jovan. Aftrwards the word of welcome was given by prof. Radivoj Kocić, Assistant to the Mayor. On behalf of the University the participants and guests were adressed by prof. Miroljub Grozdanovic, rector. The symposium was opened by emeritus profesor academician Ljubomir Maksimović, director of the Byzantology Institute of the Serbian Academy of Science and Art and president of the National Byzantologists Comittee. At the University Hall the exibition “Early Christianity in the area of the Balkans“ – works of the students of Serbian Orthodox Church Academy for Conservation was opened by archpriest Radomir Popović.
Reception for symposium participants at the City Hall: dr Graham Jones (Great Britain), dr Ariadna Voronova (Russia), dr Lars Ramskold (Sweden), Miguel Pablo Sancho Gomez (Spain), Entela Daci (Albania), Nadežda Rakocija (Serbia), Lida Miraj (Albania), Dolmas Konstantionos (Greece)
The great interest in the Niš symposium is reflected in the number of submited applications and registered participants which is greater every year. Inspite the known economic circumstances the City of Niš has succeded to invite 34 participants from the Great Britain, Austria, USA, Canada, Italy, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Spain, Greece and Serbia. And again the greater number of foreign participants than those from the country indicates the importance and gained reputation of the international scientific symposium “Niš and Byzantium“.
The eleventh symposium “Niš and Byzantium“ was officiely closed with ceremonial reception at the City Hall hosted by Mr. Radivoj Kocić, Assistant to the Mayor. As traditional, the participants gave their comments about the symposium, its highlights and significance. Also, the visit tour of Niš monument heritage was arranged at the very end.
Within the Festivities of St. Emperor Constantine and Empress Helen, City of Niš, University of Niš and Ortodox Niš Eparchy have been organizing international scientific symposium of byzantologists “Niš and Byzantium“ for eleven years and it should last with God’s help until God’s will.