10.12.2012

Meeting of the Organizing Committee for the Celebration of Anniversary of the Edict of Milan.

Belgrade, December 10, 2012 – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej co-chaired the Organizing Committee for the Celebration of 1700th Anniversary of the Edict of Milan. The Organizing Committee, whose session was attended by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Government Ministers as well as by the Ambassadors of Russia, Italy, France, Britain, Turkey and Greece and representatives of religious and local communities, adopted the draft programme, logo and decided that the celebrations should open on 17th January 2013 with a commemorative concert of religious music by the choir of the Sretenje Monastery at the National Theatre in Nis.

The ceremonies in commemoration of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan will be held till 28th October 2013 and have various aspects, from religious, cultural, educational to tourist. Aside from joint liturgies, cultural events such as the First Night of the stage performance Constantine: Sign of Angel by the Nis National Theatre Company, Giuseppe Verdi’s Opera Aida, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony played by the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, will also take place. The commemorative ceremonies will be followed by academic conferences on the Edict of Milan, and schools will have classes to familiarize pupils more with this document which is important for promoting universal spiritual and civilization values.

 

Serbian President Nikolic underscored the importance of the forthcoming ceremonies, implying both celebration and an obligation. This is a great event for all mankind because it marks the time of proclamation of religious equality and an end of many centuries of persecution of Christians. The Serbian President said that following this act Christians were free to profess their religion in public without suffering any consequences for it. “We should all be taking part in these celebrations together”, said President Nikolic adding that we were given the opportunity to represent Serbia as a civilization worthy of its ancestors, a civilization having such a great figure as Constantine the Great. It was very important, the President said, that we all invested maximum efforts to make our posterity proud of this anniversary.

 

Serbian Patriarch Irinej said that the preparations for the commemorations of the anniversary of the Edict of Milan should have been initiated much earlier and that the past taught us in many ways how to look to the future. Had it not been for the Edict, which helped the development of the world, of science and religion, the world would have been much poorer, stressed the Serbian Patriarch. His Holiness spoke about the venue of the celebrations, the city of Nis where Constantine the Great was born. “That is the place binding the East and West together, the right place joining all Christian faiths in unity”, the Patriarch said.

 

The Committee agreed that further steps related to the organization would be followed-on by working groups to be set up at the level of the Serbian Government.