2024-05-11 15:25:00

Let Us Restore Bulgaria's Influence as a World Centre for the Development of Slavic Studies, Vice-President urges at a Forum in Athens

The International Scientific Forum "The Way of Light" is held under the patronage of Iliana Iotova
Let us restore the influence of Bulgaria among the leading Slavists in the world, let us return its rightful place as a centre for the development of Slavic studies. Bulgaria is the cradle that created a whole new civilisation - the Slavic one, and it should be known that it spread knowledge, culture and spirituality to the rest of the Slavic world, which to this day determine the development of Europe. This is what Vice President Iliana Iotova called for at the opening in Athens of the International Scientific Forum "The Way of Light" on the day when the Orthodox Church honours the Holy Equal-to-Apostles brothers Cyril and Methodius. The forum, which is being held under the patronage of the vice president, is part of the program to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bulgarian Sunday School "Sts. Cyril and Methodius".
In her greeting, Iotova thanked the scientists and teachers in the Bulgarian Sunday schools for spreading the knowledge about the spiritual empire of Bulgaria. As St Paisii wrote in his "Slavonic-Bulgarian History", the Bulgarians started reading in their language earlier than all the Slavic peoples, the vice-president recalled.
The epoch-making work of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius was continued by their disciples, but their mission did not end in Central Europe. More than 11 centuries ago, sacred letters and literary schools were born in the Bulgarian lands, which spread reading, writing, culture and spirituality throughout the Slavic world. Saved by Prince Boris, the Slavic word was spread with Bulgarian letters both in the East and in the West, and it marked the beginning of a new literature, culture, spirituality, and established Orthodoxy, said Iliana Iotova. The vice-president emphasised the battle that is being fought for the Cyril and Methodius heritage. It should be known and we rely a lot on you, the scholars, the teachers, to tell, to prove that the mission of the Holy brothers Cyril and Methodius and their disciples found salvation in the then Bulgarian state thanks to far-sighted Bulgarian rulers. The influential Preslav and Ohrid schools of literature were born, Iotova pointed out. The vice-president was categorical that the history of writing, which the Bulgarians gave to the Slavic world, should not be shrouded in ignorance, turn into false patriotism, and reach extreme nationalism.
As the best conduit among Bulgarian children abroad of Bulgarian knowledge, the Bulgarian language and Bulgaria's contribution to the world cultural heritage, Iotova identified the Bulgarian Sunday schools. With your activity in the technological 21st century, you continue to write eternity, with the strongest weapon - spirituality and the word. You teach Bulgarian children who are born abroad to know their roots, to defend their identity, to protect the Bulgarian language, she addressed the teachers in Bulgarian Sunday schools abroad.
The vice president raised the issue of the drastically decreasing lectureships in Bulgarian language and culture in foreign universities - from 200, 20 years ago, today there are about 40. She called for the common efforts of the Bulgarian state to regain these lost positions.
Iliana Iotova once again defended the idea of creating a Bulgarian National Cultural Institute abroad. It will be the necessary and valuable partner in our mission to spread the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage, to attract the interest of foreign citizens to the Bulgarian language, traditions, culture and spirituality. Only Bulgaria among the European countries does not have such an institute, Iotova added.
As part of the efforts to restore the role of Bulgaria in world Slavic studies comes the initiative of the vice president for an international forum on the Cyrillic alphabet. Two years ago, such a forum in Sofia brought together famous Bulgarian scientists from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and their Bulgarian colleagues, who discussed the creation and validation of the Cyrillic alphabet as a new graphic system and its importance for Orthodoxy, for spirituality in the Middle Ages, as well as the prospects for the Cyrillic Alphabet in the 21st century. The second edition of the forum is coming up in June this year.
Later, the vice president spoke with representatives of Bulgarian associations and Sunday schools.


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