The city of Nicosia was the host of the Third Edition of the International Conference of Byzantine and Mediaeval Studies, organized between the 16th and 19th of January 2020 by the Cypriote Society of Byzantine Studies. The Society aims to support and promote research into Byzantine culture and to firmly establish Cyprus on the international map of research hubs in Byzantine Studies. The event enjoyed the support of the A.G. Leventis Foundation, of the Italian Embassy to Cyprus, the Municipality of Nicosia and the Cyprus Archaeologists’ Association.
The opening addresses for the event, held at the Nicosia Municipal Centre on January 17th, came from the Chairman of its Organizational Committee, Dr Nikolas Bakirtzis, PhD; His Holiness, Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus; Dr Nikos Christodoulides, PhD, Cypriote Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr Marina Solomidou-Ieronymido, PhD, Director of the Cypriote Department of Antiquity; Professor Theodoros Giagkou, PhD, the honorary chairman of the conference and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the “Aristotle” University of Thessaloniki, and from Dr Andreas Foulias, PhD, President of the Cypriote Society of Byzantine Studies. The speakers highlighted the particular importance of Byzantine Studies in Cyprus, a privileged space that acted as a cultural nexus over millennia, with the Ancient Greeks dedicating the island to love and to beauty, while later Christians dubbed it “the island of the saints”.
The honorary chairman of the conference was Professor Theodoros Giagkou, PhD and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the “Aristotle” University of Thessaloniki, while its keynote speaker, Professor Enrico Zanini, PhD (University of Siena), presented the results of an archaeological research project into the Byzantine district of the city of Gortyn.
The conference was structured into 24 distinct sessions, dedicated to the different subfields of Byzantine Studies (Architecture and Topography, Cultural Heritage, Archaeology, Literature, History, Hagiography, Religion, Philosophy, Art), with a particular emphasis placed on the Cypriote space. The event was attended by over one hundred university professors, PhD candidates, young researchers and specialists in Byzantine and Mediaeval Studies, who had an opportunity to present their research, ongoing works or field reports at the conference. Dr Ana-Maria Răducan, PhD, Expert in Roman and Byzantine Culture in the Department for the History of the Cultures and Civilizations of the Levant at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, held a presentation titled Seeking for the Other in Byzantium. Symeon the New Theologian and his Followers. The official languages of the conference were Greek, French, English and German.
Its thematic richness and diversity, alongside the large number of young specialists in attendance fully demonstrate the effervescence and dynamism of Byzantine Studies in contemporary society.