|| issue 2, year XIII, 2006
PROF. DR HILDE FEY TO EUROPE 2001:
“BULGARIA GAVE ME A LOT”
“Bulgarians are a proverbially hardworking people, intelligent by nature, incredibly talented and along with all that, they are so sensitive and vulnerable. They need a little more selfesteem and have the right to that.
“Nothing can take away my wish to work for Bulgaria, unless someone allows himself to offend my national belonging and religion.
“I deeply believe that in the near future Bulgaria will have her Nobel Prize winner.”
THE IDEA OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION IS NOT FROM TODAY: CONCERNING THE PEACE AND LIBERTY LEAGUE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Prof. Krumka Sharova
The “Peace and Liberty League” was set up in Switzerland in 1866 on the initiative of Swiss public figures with democratic views, who launched the ideas for the establishment of an organization of democratic forces in Europe. Their call was answered by some of the most renowned personalities of that time, such as Victor Hugo, Alexander Hertsen, Mikhail Bakunin, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Pole Bossak-Hauke, as well as by radicals and democrats from many countries. The Bulgarian revolutionary, publicist and writer Ljuben Karavelov also got in touch with the Peace and Liberty League. Thus the Swiss initiative turned international in character and the organization really became pan-European. Other proposals by the Peace and Liberty League followed afterwards. It saw disarmament as a first step towards the abolishment of military conflicts and insisted that European countries agree on that and start eliminating weapons. It was necessary to establish a united international institution - an international Court for Peace - with the right to monitor and control international relations, to prevent military conflict and to sanction offenders of the agreement for the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
ANNALS OF THE GERMAN-BULGARIAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION AND OF THE INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION EUROPEAN FORUM
THE OLD BULGARIAN LITERARY LANGUAGE AND EUROPEAN MEDIEVAL CULTURE
Created on the basis of ninth-century Bulgarian dialects, the language of old Slavonic literature found good soil among Western Slavs in the ninth century and left long-lasting cultural traces among the Czechs. From Moravia or during the Moravian mission of the brother Sts Cyrill and Methodius, the writing they created had some influence on the education of Slavs in southern Poland. In Pannonia the Slavonic alphabet penetrated for a short time among Slovenians. It is recognized that the first distribution of the Glagolitic alphabet had started at that same time in Croatia, where it was applied in the creation of a rich and ancient writing. Following the arrival of the disciples of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Bulgaria, the new alphabet was developed and enriched. From the Old Bulgarian literary centres Pliska, Preslav and Ohrid, Mt Athos and Berat, Bragalnitsa, Ravna and some others, numerous books were distributed and copied in the then Orthodox countries - in Serbia, Bosnia, present-day Romania, in Kiev’s (later in Moscow’s) Russia, in Novgorod. Old Bulgarian remained a literary language in some countries for centuries. It was also one of the components for the building of the Russian literary language.
ELINA BISTRITSKAYA: A WOMAN’S DRAMA, TRAGEDY, LOVE AND STRENGTH
Elina Bistritskaya comes from the Russian Malii Theatre. This theatre, which was formed way back in the eighteenth century and has followed the tradition of Ostrovski and all great Russian playwrights after him from older and newer times, is a dream for every great theatre the world over. No wonder that Russian dramaturgy is a touchstone if you want to find out how great is a creator, no matter which part of the world he is creating in. Elina Bistritskaya herself is well known in Bulgaria through the guest performances of Malii Theatre, as well as from her starring in the film And Quiet Flows the Don - an extraordinary cinema classic, not only because its author is the Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov, but also due to the fact that it is an incredible movie by the film director Gerassimov.
THE PAINTED BATTLEFIELDS OF FRIEDRICH DUERRENMATT: 80 YEARS AFTER HIS BIRTH
Friedrich Duerrenmatt: “The history of my writing is the history of my themes, and they are the result of my thinking, i.e. they are the mirrors in which it is reflected as well as my life, depending on their polish.
“My paintings and drawings are not a side phenomenon to my literary works, but are painted battlefields on which my writing battles, adventures, experiments and defeats are developed.”
JULES PASCIN (JULIUS PINCAS): THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD (B. VIDIN, 1885 - D. PARIS, 1930)
Jules Pascin is a painter and a graphic artist. He belongs to the Paris school of arts. Pascin spent his childhood and adolescence in Bulgaria and Romania. Already as a young artist he reached an unusual maturity in his works. With the help of Gustave Mayrink and Albert Langen he signed a contract with the renowned magazine Simplicissimus and was its collaborator from March 1905 to December 1913. Pascin left for Paris at the end of 1905. The atmosphere of the 1920s, the socalled “wild years”, determined to a great extent the main themes of his works. In 1908-1909, having reached international fame, the artist exhibited his paintings in Berlin, Paris (the Autumn Salon), Cologne and New York. In 1910, during the First World War, Pascin travelled to London and the United States. In 1915 he again exhibited his works in New York and remained in America for nearly 7 years. He got involved in sculpture as well. His works influenced a number of American artists, such as Max Weber and Walter Kuhn. In 1920 Pascin returned again to Paris. Despite his fame and success, however, he dramatically committed suicide in 1930, on the eve of his big exhibition at the “Georges Petit” Gallery.
PENCHO SLAVEIKOV AND THE CREATIVE INTERCOURSE WITH HEINRICH HEINE IN GERMAN LITERATURE
Prof. Toncho Zhechev
One can hardly find a more brilliant and worthy example of a creative way of intercourse than Pencho Slaveikov’s intercourse with German poets, with German culture, and specifically with Heinrich Heine. It is there that we discover everything admiring and inspiring, everything beyond provincial complacency, beyond meagre imitation, that is necessary for a national culture in its spiritual intercourse with such cultures as the German, which, to our knowledge, has inspired such literatures as the French, Spanish, Italian, Anglo-Saxon and others.
CREATOR AND TIME: THE WOMAN AND THE MYSTIC SOUL OF THE BALKANS
We have the wonderful chance to see how a woman sees Woman. How she sculpts her and unpastes her from the clay, how she moulds her and immortalizes her from bronze, so that she can present her both to herself, and to the bronze. The ancient Greek word for “truth” is aletheia, which means openness, disclosure. Behind this disclosure shines the light of the mind: the idea of Goodness is, by starting from the visual side of the world, to reach the mystic heart of the innermost, which treasures the all-embracing, invisible truth. Facing these notions about women, forever hidden, for which we can credit Zlatka Dubova and Brunhilde Moldenhauer, we stand before the incarnation of that third element, which is most often missing, but is now in front of us: we stand before Goodness.
BULGARIAN FOLK TALES: HUMAN BEAUTY AND SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
Prof. Dr Hilde Fey
Between 1980 and 1989, 110,000 pupils in Germany attended my lectures named Folk Tales from Bulgaria. Quite naturally, the children felt the necessity to draw what had impressed them most in the Bulgarian tales, what had touched them most. Some of them sent me letters enclosing their paintings. The results were unusual, surprising even for me, namely that the Bulgarian folk tale had managed to wake in that computer, TV generation deeply-hidden spiritual needs towards human beauty and goodness.
ACADEMICIAN VERA MUTAFCHIEVA: THERE IS NO ROOM FOR SENTIMENT IN HISTORY
The national problem - this is the misfortune of the Balkans, where in a relatively limited territory quite a few nations are crammed in and, in addition, others have mixed with them (as during the periods when the peninsula was included in great empires). The other harmful trait of the Balkan existence is that none of the nations settled there are numerous enough to establish undisputed domination over the others. Situated on a peninsula, none of them has a chance to expand at the expense of those “beyond the Balkans”, but only at the expense of their neighbour, again here in the Balkans. In their aspirations for expansion, the small Balkan states themselves had forcibly to rely on external forces. Participating for their part in various aggressive blocks and the ensuing wars, the great powers, applying the right of the stronger, have tailored the borders of the peninsula to their own interest, setting in every peace treaty prerequisites for new conflicts. This is how the Balkans have been turned into an explosive European zone. We hardly have the right to blame the great powers for that. There is a rule in history to benefit from a favourable set of circumstances, as there is no room for sentiment in it. The offence in our case is elsewhere: namely that we are blamed; that children are being frightened with us by those who have never sympathized with our fate. They obviously hope we have a short memory...
BAD WOERISHOFEN: BALNEOTHERAPY AND CULTURE
The surroundings of Bad Woerishofen are extremely beautiful with their green meadows, sprinkled with flowers and herbs. What distinguishes Bad Woerishofen from other towns are its unique baths (with non-stop running water) in parks and gardens, where people undergo water procedures and do exercises right on the grass. One of the town’s remarkable sights is the falcon settlement with more than 200 species. Bad Woerishofen is an attractive place in many respects since it abounds in monasteries, churches and cultural monuments. It is famous for its cultural traditions. Bad Woerishofen is open for international cultural meetings. This was the reason for the first cultural holiday of Bulgaria to start here, where Methodius is supposed to have passed by with his disciples on the way from Ellwangen to Reichenau.
BAD REICHENHALL: SALT SPRINGS AND TRADITIONS
For the third consecutive time the Days of Bulgarian Culture were organized in Bavaria and impressed everyone with their wide range. They were hosted by the famous resort of Bad Reichenhall, situated 7 km from Salzburg. As a Bavarian rule says, you should do your work by yourself and show the results to others. That is why there were only two organizers: Prof. Dr Hilde Fey, a Bulgarian expert and Chairwoman of the German-Bulgarian Cultural Association, and Walter Angerer Junior, a big name among European vanguardists.
BAVARIAN ARTISTS IN BULGARIA: HUMAN INTERCOURSE - THE GREATEST LUXURY
Bavaria's artists appeal to us with something characteristic, which draws us together - with the Balkan nature and the European community.
FAITH: A SPIRITUAL BRIDGE BETWEEN PEOPLES
The Right Reverend Neofit,
Archbishop of Russe
The International German-Bulgarian Cultural Association with its scientific centre Bavaria/Sofia and the international foundation European Forum are the only non-governmental organizations on whose boards of governors senior clergymen from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church were invited to participate. This fact testifies to the respect and honour towards the Mother Church, which has preserved Bulgarian cultural traditions through the centuries. Prof. Dr Hilde Fey has done great services for the establishment of contacts between Catholics and members of the Orthodox Church by means of the Bulgarian Culture festivals held in Bavaria.
EUROPE IN THE NINTH CENTURY
Prof. Donka Petkanova
The Old Bulgarian literary language of Sts Cyril and Methodius, created and preserved by Bulgarians, and the Old Bulgarian literature served as a foundation and starting-point for the creation of Serbian and Russian literature, which soon bore fruit.
THE BULGARIAN ICON: A GLIMPSE AT ITS HISTORY
Dr Kostadinka Paskaleva
The icon holds one of the most important places in the system of Orthodox art. If we consider the Ecclesiastical History by Evsevii Kessariiski, we will be surprised to learn that images of Christ and the Holy Mother had already been created during their lifetime on earth, while, as the legend goes, Luke the Evangelist had painted icons of the Virgin Mary with the living model in front of him. According to religious stories, the first icons bore the real features of the prototype, i.e. they approached the contemporary sense of the notion “portrait”. It is in this way that we can explain the words of St Vassilii the Great about the “prototype” as an image of the personality of the saint. The organic link between the prototype and his revered icon is dogmatically justified and passionately defended by St Theodore Studit, according to whom the icon was “a resemblance of the prototype”. The observance of the principle of the “prototype” in order to keep the sacredness of the original was turned into a staple ingredient for Christian iconography, which has thus preserved an ancient tradition. According to the definition of the Church Fathers, the icon was “a dogma in image” and a testimony for its significance were the heated theological disputes and battles that ended in 842 with the success of icon veneration, proclaimed as Solemnity of the Orthodoxy.
“IN THE PROPER, HONEST AND USUAL MANNER...”:
GRIGORII TZAMBLAK AT THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL IN CONSTANZ
Prof. Dr Hilde Fey
Tzamblak's presence left a strong impression among the participants in the Ecumenical Council. His speech before Pope Martin V and the participants was of great importance. I found the full text of that speech only in Cardinal Filastre’s diary. As it was in Latin, I translated it into Bulgarian with Prof. Genoveva Tsankova and Prof. Ioana Spisarevska. It is curious to draw attention to that part of Tzamblak’s speech in which he champions unity among the peoples in Europe under the form of a “sacred union”: it should be done "in the proper, honest and usual manner", by preserving both the independence and peculiarities of each and every people, the Bulgarian people included. Obviously efforts for that unity in Europe were made way back in the Middle Ages. It is natural for us to look back in order to learn from historical certainties or, as one of my teachers, Academician Petar Dinekov, once said: “Know the past well in order to understand the present and to think better oriented towards the future.”
INTELLECTUAL CONTACT: A DIRECT WAY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE
Academician Alexander Fol
“I would like to begin with an analysis of the very concept ‘culture’ in order to make clear what I want to say. The notion ‘culture’ was used for the first time by Cicero in his composition Tusculan Disputations in the 40s of the first century BC, where he transformed the participle of the verb ‘cultivate’ (‘colo’ in Latin) from its meaning ‘cultivate the land’ into ‘cultivate the soul’. He even defined philosophy as a ‘cultivation’ of the soul. This is how his famous phrase read: ‘Cultura autem animi philosophia est.’ You probably know that there are more than 300 definitions of the concept ‘culture’ in world literature, both popular and specialized, but it seems to me that the historian would have no difficulties if he traces the history of the idea put into this notion. In this case, if we do not forget the conjectures of Cicero and Herder, we might come to a rather simple definition of the concept ‘culture’, which would read: ‘Culture is behaviour. Culture is socially-justified, creatively-active behaviour.’ I am trying to distinguish ‘culture’ as a process from ‘culture’ as a deed.”
HIGH AIMS, CULTURE AND MODERN VIEWS
THE SECRETS OF THE GLAGOLITIC ALPHABET
| Translated by
Galia B. Cholakova, Jonathan Dunne