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Byzantization of Slavs started from Thessaloniki

02 June 2015 / 13:06:48  GRReporter
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The work of Cyril and Methodius, the creation of the alphabet, has not only religious, political and diplomatic significance but above all spiritual and civilizational dimensions because it lays the foundations for the development of all Slavic nations that, thanks to the power of the written word, worthily ranks them among the oldest nations in Europe. Did the scientific congress on 1150 years since the Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius discuss these aspects? How would you summarize the conclusions drawn from it?

Everything new that happens, including an exhibition, catalogue, monograph, congress should always be welcome as long as it provides answers to questions from the past as far as possible and raises new questions for the next generations of researchers. By confirming things that are already known one does not reveal anything except his own vanity. People constantly hide behind bombastic words or cowardly silence. Sincerity is a difficult thing! All are pushy and aggressively ambitious but few are daring. These are the disadvantages not advantages for a scientist who tries to peek through the gaps left by the all-conquering time having first found and then transferred a reality that is difficult to interpret in most cases. All sciences that deal with the past must forget full stops and use all other punctuation marks, such as question marks, exclamation marks, commas. No intellectual arrogance is more dangerous than putting a full stop on a chapter of history. I mean to accept that "it is so since you have written it. Full stop. It does not require any doubt and further study."

Fortunately, however, all may live under the same sky, but not all have the same horizon. I would like to mention your presence too, dear friend Zdravka Mihaylova. Through your lecture "The Cyrillic alphabet as a way of spiritual communication: translations of Greek literature in the Bulgarian language" you offered us a look at the past, throwing us into the secrets of translations from Greek with Cyrillic letters, from the 9th century (when the students of Cyril and Methodius continued the work of their first teachers) until today, when modern Greek authors enjoy preference and respect on the part of the Bulgarian readership.

In my opinion, the congress had no contribution. At some point, someone has to pull out the indigo sheet. Dozens of books and scientific articles on Cyril and Methodius have been written that essentially reproduce the same information in different words with publishing purposes. Even the images that we have and use are always the same.

The major figure in that era was undoubtedly Patriarch Photius, one of the greatest personalities in European civilization. Photius is considered the inspirer of the project of Byzantization and Christianization of the Slavic people and the mentor of Cyril and Methodius. The contradiction lies in the fact that we do not have any references in so many of his writings that constitute his famous encyclopaedic essay "Library" (Μυριόβιβλος). There are no references in the two most important illustrated manuscripts of the time, namely the Chronicle of John Skylitzes and Manasses’ Chronicle.

What we know comes only from two biographies that have been preserved and that are written in Old Slavonic. Let us think how many works of art were destroyed by the large number of wars and how many others are found every day to this day. Written and visual references exist only in the Slavic world but they date back to the time when the brothers were already canonized (see. the Radziwiłł Chronicle (or Königsberg Chronicle), 15th century).

Since the ideas of the past, though faded, are still too strong, and because those that should replace them are still at the stage of formation, they could be compared with the water mass of a river that runs slowly in its bed; temporary ideas with the small waves that always change, rippling the river surface, and though they are not actually significant they are more visible than the river stream itself. And let us not forget that yesterday’s peculiarity is a logical explanation of tomorrow.

The Cyrillic script undoubtedly is a way of spiritual communication with a multidimensional significance. The alphabet created by the Thessaloniki brothers, two visionaries, par excellence carriers of the spirit of the expansion of spiritual horizons, ranks among the most valuable cultural contributions of Bulgaria to the European heritage that has endured over time and a number of masterpieces of European literature are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. What is the most significant contribution of Cyril and Methodius according to you?

In one of his many writings, Emperor Leo the Mathematician and the Philosopher, teacher of Constantine-Cyril at the Magnaur School and later archbishop of Thessaloniki, mentions that "the letters of the alphabet, which are considered sacred and absolute values, ​​are nothing more than signs that can be used as symbols to understand the objective mathematical laws and the ratios of geometric harmony."

Having this knowledge Constantine-Cyril outlined the spoken language of the groups of Slavic population in a written language by a specific graphic code.

Tags: Panagiotis KambanisByzantine Museum of ThessalonikiCyril and MethodiusCreation of the alphabetCyrillicGlagoliticSlavsByzantiumZdravka Mihaylova
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