SOFIA, August 22. (BTA). Some 1,200 scholars from 46 countries will take part in the 22nd International Congress of Byzantine Studies opening in Sofia Monday. The main theme of the congress, Byzantium without Borders, aims at exploring the role of this great empire in the medieval world and its undiminished contemporary significance, the President of the Organizing Committee, Academician Vasil Gjuzelev, said.
Gjuzelev also chairs the Bulgarian Association of Byzantinists and Medievists.
The congress is held under the aegis of UNESCO and under the patronage of President Georgi Purvanov and Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov.
The last international congress of Byzantine studies to be hosted by Bulgaria was held in 1934 and was organized by prominent historians Vasil Zlatarski and Bogdan Filov,
Corresponding Member Axinia Djourova recalled. Djourova is Co-President of the Organizing Committee.
Gjuzelev explained that the main theme of the congress was chosen with the aim to attract more young specialists and that over 60 per cent of the participants will be students, doctoral students and assistant professors.
The main subjects of the plenary sessions include “The Image and Memory of Byzantium and Their Undiminished Popularity”, “Mt. Athos and Mt. Sinai as Cultural Phenomena”. The congress will also focus on cities and urban space in Byzantium and its world, interaction between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and holiness in art and theology.
The forum will be accompanied by a variety of exhibitions at the Crypt of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National Museum of History, the National Archaeological Museum, the National Museum of Foreign Art. The latter will host “The
Brilliance of Byzantium. Greek Illuminated Manuscripts from the Balkans” featuring illuminated Greek manuscripts dating from the 6th through the 18th century and borrowed from collections in Sofia, Plovdiv, Athens, Belgrade, Ohrid, Kalenik and Tirana.