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Byzantium without Borders

Bulgaria's capital Sofia will welcome more than 1250 scholars from around the world for the 22nd International Byzantine Studies Congress in August 2011.

The Congress also known as "Byzantium without Borders" will be hosted by the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski between August 22 and August 27, 2011 under the patronage of the president of Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov.

It is organized by the Association of Byzantine and Medieval Scholars in Bulgaria, the Elena and Ivan Duicev Foundation, the History Department of Sofia University, and the Sofia University Center for Slavic and Byzantine Studies “Prof. Ivan Duicev."

The World Byzantine Studies Congress in Sofia is expected to be one of the largest scientific events in Southeast Europe in decades, and to be the second largest World Byzantine Studies Congress after the one in Moscow in 1991, which featured about   2 000 scholars.

The Congress will be in Sofia once again after 77 years, and will be the first one in a Balkan country since the Athens Congress in 1976, and after the Congresses in Paris in 2001 and in London in 2006.

The organizers of the Sofia Congress have reported enormous interest on part of the scholars of Byzantine studies from around the world.

Byzantine studies is an interdisciplinary branch of the humanities that addresses the history, culture, costumes, religion, art, such as literature and music, science, economy, and politics of the Byzantine Empire. The interest towards the Byzantine spiritual heritage increases.

The main theme of the Congress, Byzantium without borders, aims at exploring the role of the great Empire in the Medieval world, its undiminished significance, the epistle of Byzantium to the contemporary world. The Congress program invites the presentation of research in both traditional and novel areas.

Prof. Axinia Djurova, co-chairperson of the Congress from the University of Sofia, reported that 80 per cent of all 1250 scientists from 46 countries in the 22nd  International Congress of Byzantine Studies are young people. So there is a great interest among young scientists.

The working languages of the Congress are English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Greek, and Bulgarian.

In addition to the scientific events, the World Byzantine Studies Congress in Sofia will feature a total of 14 unique exhibitions and evening events, which will shed additional light on the intriguing world of Byzantium. Publishers and book-sellers from all over the world will be exhibiting at the Book Fair.

Some of the connected events are the exhibitions Byzance après Byzance at the National Museum of History and The Brilliance of Byzantium, Greek Illuminated Manuscripts from the Balkans VI –XVIII centuries at the National Gallery of Foreign Art and the Alexander Nevski church in Sofia, which includes 121 manuscripts from the Balkans. The tourists and the participants in the Congress are interested in seeing the Codices Purpureus Beratinus exposed at this exhibition.
A concert whose program includes church music from Byzantium and the Orthodox Slavic world as well Bulgarian folklore pieces will be held at the beginning of the Congress.


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