The Debt: “LET’S REMEMBER!”

Dr. Veselina Vachkova

Serdica-Sredec-Triadica-Sofia is one of the European towns with the richest and the non – explored history. It’s not forced to say that the history of Sofia till 809 and even after the Liberation, and the choice of the town for a capital of Bulgaria (1879) is one large “white spots”” both in specialized and popular literature. One of the basic reasons for this paradox is that “the gold ages” of Sofia coincide with “the dark centuries” in the early history of the Bulgarians in Europe. The second, maybe a more important reason, is that “the gold Serdica ages” coincide with the complex, contradictory transformation of the Antique Pagan Roman Empire into a Medieval Byzantine State. That is why “white spots” in the Bulgarian memory for Sofia don’t reflect a defect in the local memory, but they are large white fields in the cultural memory as a whole in the modern western world (i.e. inheritors of the European Christian civilization). And if these white fields of the Bulgarian cultural memory are a kind of the deepest white, the most impenetrable zones of forgetfulness, that is because the creation of these “zones of forgetfulness” in the history of the Christian Church and State is connected with the necessity of marginalization of some fundamental events, which happened in the crucial 4th century just in Serdica.

Three are the central events which had to be forgotten for different reasons, often really “respectful” from the point of view of the needs and pathos of the contemporary time, which was looking for solidity of the idea and synonymy of the images – emblems. It’s all about the creation of the Edict of Tolerance in Serdica in April, 311; the partiality of Constantine the Great to Serdica, which was his main residence at least from 317 to 330; the summon and the decisions of the Second Ecumenical Council, which had sessions in the Metropolitan centre Serdica in April, 342-343. In this context in 4th century the policy of the emperor Justinian the Great, who tried to raise the First Justiniana as a new (sixth) Western Archbishopric and probably to confirm Serdica as a new centre of the western imperial authority (in the place of Ravenna), is more restoration than innovation.

Showing as his first bishop Protogen of Serdica, who was an advisor of Constantine and a host of the Second Ecumenical Council, Bulgarians from 12th century prove that some clear facts from the early history of Serdica-Sredec-Triadica, which have been considered as a primordial Bulgarian town at that time, are not forgotten. Will our descendants forgive us if we let these memories, which are already forgotten, delete completely?