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13th SYMPOSIUM "STEFAN NEMANJA BETWEEN EAST AND WEST"

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International Symposium of Byzantologists

NIS AND BYZANTIUM XIII

STEFAN NEMANJA BETWEEN EAST AND WEST

Dr Miša Rakocija

It has been been 13 years since the first time when prominante byzantologists, good connoisseurs of both Niš and Byzantium gathered together under the roof of the Niš University. City of Niš, University of Niš and Niš Orthodox Eparchy have brought us together around the international symposium “Niš and Byzantium“.

Thanks to the respected participants we succeeded to grade the symposium „Niš and Byzantium“ as one of the eminent world byzantologists meetings, and the City of Niš as an important center of the Byzantine civilization, culture and art which are firmly embedded in the foundations of contemporary European civilization. Thanks to the scientific arguments presented at the Niš symposium, misunderstanding and old misapprehensions about Byzantium slowly fall into oblivion, while many cultural goods have been permanently preserved between the covers of 12 volumes of the Proceedings.


Symposium Opening, dr Srdjan Pirivatric, Mayor of Niš Zoran Perišić,PhD,
Niš Bishop dr Jovan, pro-rector Dobrica Živković,PhD,
pro-rector Nenad Pavlović,PhD, archpriest Đorđe Orović

Every year the symposium “Niš and Byzantium“ reminds us of some important historical event or person. This year symposium “Niš and Byzantium XIII“ was in the sign of the 900th anniversary of the birth of Stefan Nemanja, with the reminiscence of his life and deed that could be divided somewhere between East and West.


Niš Bishop dr Jovan (Purić)

Whole life Stefan Nemanja was torn between East and West, from his christening, over politics to art. City of Nš recalls the anniversary of Stefan Nemanja birth, with the intention to highlight and emphasize once again the importance of Niš in the life of Stefan Nemanja and the history of Serbia. From Niš, the old episcopal seat where the relics of St. Procopius rested, Byzantine culture and art radiate to the west and attract Stefan Nemanja.


Mayor of Niš Zoran Perišić, MD, PhD

Nemanja’s son, St. Sava, noticed well not only geographical and political position of the country, but also the state of the creative spirit of the Serbian people, which is reflected in the fact that we are the West to the East and the East to the West. This encounter between the East and the West, is the main characteristic of art in the age of Nemanja in which Orthodoxy was above all.


pro-rector Dobrica Živković, PhD

Erudite Byzantines at the end of XII century see in Nemanja a dangerous and proud leader, a man of extreme power and beauty. Thus, upon the invitation of the Byzantine Emperor Manojlo Comnenus in 1163, Stefan Nemanja, then a young man, came to Niš in order to meet with the emperor. The Emperor was delighted by "the young man's wisdom", as noted by the chronicler, so he granted Nemanja with prominent Byzantine state dignity award under the name "Imperial Dream". Is it just a coincidence that the Byzantine emperor awarded Nemanja a dignity with the name "Imperial Dream", and that exactly in the birthplace of Emperor Constantine?


dr Srđan Pirivatrić

Nemanja's conquest of the famous city of Niš, Byzantine Nisos, in 1185, meant also a total destruction of the city. However, Nemanja had worked hard to rebuild Nisos, with the intention to move his capital into it. Besides the construction of the St. Panteleimon church, already in 1188, the travel writer (Wilhelmus Tyrensis) notes this: "Niš is a fortified city with strong walls and towers, abounding with large number of citizens considered to excel at military skills and mind and body strength in the province."


Presentation of Proceedings Jasmina Ćirić, MA

Before the start of the third crusade, Nemanja meets with Frederich I Barbarossa in Niš, it was in 1189. City of Niš marked the 800-th anniversary of this event by erecting the memorial in front of the University of Niš building.


Awarding the Book of Gratitude, Prof. dr Graham Jones (Oxford)

This indomitable fighter against the Byzantine rule was irresistibly attracted to Byzantine culture and art. Making God-pleasing deeds, Nemanja restores and donates significant churches throughout the Byzantine Empire. Unexpectedly he renewes, at that moment, unknown monastery St. Panteleimon in Nis. The construction of the church St. Panteleimon opposite the respectable and old Episcopal church St. Procopius with the relics of the famous martyr, reveals Nemanja ’s intention to compete with the Greek bishops and to put aside the Ohrid Archbishopric. The construction of St. Panteleimon church in Niš should be regarded as one of the first steps towards the Serbian state and church autonomy.


Awarding the Book of Gratitude, Dr Ioannis Sisiou (Kastoria)

We have seen that Nis citizens have the special right and duty to keep the memory of Stefan Nemanja, just like their ancestors did by dedicating one chapel on the south gallery of Nis Cathedral to St. Simeon Mirotočivi.


Awarding the Book of Gratitude, prof. dr Miodrag Marković (Belgarde)

The symposium runs and it has survived all these years with the blessing of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Mr. Irinej. And this year also thanks to Niš Bishop Dr. Jovan. The symposium "Niš and Byzantium XIII“ began its work with the blessing of Niš Bishop Dr. Jovan. The opening ceremony continued with welcome word by Mayor of Niš, Mr. Zoran Perišić. On behalf of the University rector prof. Dobrica Živković greeted the present guests and participants. The symposium was opened by Dr. Srdjan Pirivatrić (Belgrade). The Proceedings of Niš and Byzantium XII was presented by Jasmina Ćirić (Belgrade).


Reception at the City Hall, Prof. dr Graham Jones (Oxford),
City Councilor Srdjan Aleksić, dr Miša Rakocija

Marking the anniversary of the Edict of Milan, as a sign of appreciation for taking part at the symposium, for commitment and loyalty to the symposium "Niš and Byzantium" and for the contribution to the promotion of cultural and historical heritage of the city of Niš, the distinguished participants were rewarded with the book "Constantine's city – Early Christian Niš" (by M. Rakocija). The book was officially handed over by the Mayor of Niš to the following participants: Dr. Ariadna Voronova (Moscow), Dragan Vojvodić, PhD (Belgrade), Graham Jones, PhD (Oxford), Dr Ioannis Sisiou (Kastoria), Miodrag Marković, PhD (Belgrade), Ruth Kolarik, PhD (Colorado Springs, USA), Academician Prof. Dr Vera Bitrakova Grozdanova (Skopje), Elizabeta Dimitrova, PhD (Skopje), Dr Ivana Popovic (Belgrade), Carolyn Snively, PhD (Gettysburg, USA).


Niš and Byzantum XIII symposium participants

Much larger cities couldn ’t make what Niš has achieved in the past 13 years. All of that wouldn ’t be possible if there weren ’t the participants who were more than committed to the symposium "Niš and Byzantium". Their cooperation, assistance, advice were crucial to survival of the Niš scientific meeting.


Visit to Martyrium basilica in Niš

The City of Niš put in efforts and invited 40 participants from the country and abroad (Great Britain, Republic of Srpska, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Poland, France, Romania, Croatia, Spain and Serbia). The thirteenth symposium "Niš and Byzantium" ended with the reception at the City Hall hosted by Niš City Councilor Srdjan Aleksić. As usual, in the presence of local and national media the participants evaluated this year symposium saying about their impressions and opinion on the importance of the symposium and pointing out its international reputation. At the very end a visit tour of Niš was arranged.

The symposium "Niš and Byzantium" is a recognizable symbol of the city of Nis and inseparable from it s name. There is still a lot of hard work and commitment to the symposium "Niš and Byzantium" in order to keep it for future generations and for the glory of the city of Nis, Serbia , and to preserve the achievements of Byzantine spirituality, civilization, culture and arts.



Institute Of
Byzantine Research

Institute of Archaeology
Belgrade - Serbia

Institute for Byzantine Studies
Serbian Academy of Sciences And Arts

Faculty of Philosophy
Belgrade - Serbia

Macedonian Academy
of Sciences And Arts

Bulgarian Academy
of Sciences

AIMOS
Thessaloniki