International Symposium of Byzantologists
NIŠ AND BYZANTIUM XVI
“Restoration of Byzantium in the Balkans in 1018 “
Dr Miša Rakocija
For seventeen years already the international symposium "Nis and Byzantium" has brought together prominent researchers with the result of sixteen issues of the Proceedings "Niš and Byzantium" and the special edition "Niš and Christian heritage" in 2013 - on the occasion of the Edict of Milan anniversary – published so far.
A total of 8800 pages with new insights and knowledge contributed to clarifying many unknowns about the Byzantine cultural, artistic and civilization heritage shared even nowadays by the entire Christian world. In these pages a careful reader will uncover a large number of new, unknown or little known data about the past of the city of Niš, which is now much brighter and clearer.
The intention of the organizers (the City of Niš, the University of Niš, the Orthodox Niš Eparchy) is to promote the historical city of Niš, popularize byzantology as a science, establish cooperation among colleagues, contribute to the exchange of knowledge and point to the significance of Byzantium for contemporary European civilization.
Niš University Hall, opening of the Symposium, Olivera Ignjatović – representative of the Ministry of Culture and Informing of the Republic of Serbia, father Rector Milutin Timotijević, Vice-rector Vesna Lopičić PhD, Assistant to the Mayor Nebojša Randjelović PhD, representative of the Command of the Land Army of Serbia, and H.E. Edvin Sugarev, Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Dear colleagues from all over the world explore our historical continuity, artistic layers and spiritual heritage, all doing with the Blessing of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Mr. Irinej. This year the Patriarch’s Blessing was conveyed by father Rector Milutin Timotijevic.
Father Rector Milutin Timotijević
After the introductory speech of dr. Miša Rakocija, the participants were welcomed by the Assistant to the Mayor Mr. Nebojsa Randjelovic PhD and by the University Vice- rector Ms. Vesna Lopičić PhD.
Assistant to the Mayor Nebojša Randjelović PhD
Vice-rector Vesna Lopičić PhD
The symposium was opened by Dr. Marko Popović.
Dr Marko Popović
On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Ms. Olivera Ignjatovic attended the opening ceremony. The Proceedings “Niš and Byzantium XVI” was presented by dr. Nebojsa Stanković. The opening ceremony was beautified by performance of the talented students of the Faculty of Arts in Niš Ms. Sare Ristić, soprano and Ms. Valentina Stanojević, flutter. The festive part of the ceremony was finished with the screening of the popular science film " The Dawn of Byzantium” (NTV production, author M. Rakocija) followed by the first working session.
Sara Ristić, soprano and Valentina Stanojević, flutter
Every year the byzantologists turn their attention to a particular topic from our common Christian past and awaken interest of the general public as well, emphasizing the importance of studying and preserving monumental heritage. Therefore, it should always be in mind that cultural monuments are being studied, protected and presented, among other things, for more beautiful surroundings, more humane life and better quality of the environment in which the cultural good is located.
The International Symposium “Niš and Byzantium XVII”, with its subtitle "Restoration of Byzantium in the Balkans in 1018," aims to remind us of time of the return of Byzantium to the Balkans and the restoration of its spiritual, cultural and civilizational heritage which we share still today.
In the Balkans, at that time weakened by the Byzantine Empire, Samuil forms a new Bulgarian Empire. The Byzantine emperor Vasily II managed to regain the occupied territory from Samuil finally in the year 1018 when he entered Ohrid. Already in 1020 the most important cities in the liberated areas were restored: Sirmium, Belgrade, Sofia, Skopje, among them Nis - now with the Byzantine name Nisos. During the Slavs settlement, the city of Niš was being destroyed and the Roman state structure together with the old episcopacy, temporarily disappeared. After almost four centuries Nisos was first mentioned on February 9, 994, in a slightly forgotten so called Split record. This is an opportunity to remind the people of Nis on that date and to get the expert public interested for this document again. By the victory of Vasily II over Samuel, Byzantium returned the previously lost territories of the Balkan Peninsula, which made it necessary to reorganize the state and church administration.
After 1020 Nisos was being rebuilt, too. Niš was again a great city, the main intersection and the pillar of the Byzantine authorities of this region, the bishop's seat, the stronghold of the military system, the center of Byzantine art, culture and civilization from which it radiates into the interior of the Balkan continent.Urbanized in the Byzantine way, Nisos was not only a fortress with a military crew, but the living of the people in it was in accordance with valid civil laws. In the city and around the city, Byzantine dignitaries built churches. Throughout the middle ages, the patron saint of the city and citizens was St. Prokopius. The relics of the great martyr Prokopius were laid to rest in the cathedral church and the bishops of Nis from the 11th and 12th centuries put on their seal the figure of St. Prokopius.
Symposium "Nis and Byzantium" is inseparable from the name of the city of Niš, whose fame and reputation spreads to all parts of the world. The significance of the Niš Symposium for the science is immense. There is no serious researcher around the world who did not quote papers from the Proceedings "Nis and Byzantium".
A great number of prominent researchers and prominent scientists support this gathering. Some of them unfortunately have passed away. Since our last gathering, academician Cvetan Grozdanov and academician Slobodan Ćurčić have been no more with us. But what they left behind is insensitive in time.Their authority has contributed to the fact that all these years Niš is a place for the gathering of prominent researchers and that the symposium Proceedings consolidates proven knowledge and new achievements in the science. On behalf of the Organizing board and the editorial staff, we thank them for the support they gave us wholeheartedly, which increased the reputation and significance of the symposium Nis and Byzantium in the scientific world.
Regardless of the circumstances, the City of Niš, the University of Niš and the Orthodox Niš Eparchy have always found the strength and capacity to organize the symposium "Nis and Byzantium". All this due to the understanding and great support of our colleagues with whom we have achieved an enviable organizational and high scientific level of the international symposium "Nis and Byzantium".
Even in difficult times the City of Niš found the potential to organize the symposium "Nis and Byzantium". So it was also this year and it will be many years after us. This year, 32 participants from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia, Austria and Serbia applied. Those who, for justified reasons, could not come, presented their papers in the Proceedings. At the very end, there was a tour of the National Museum of Niš and the Cathedral church in Niš.