UNDERESTIMATED SYMBOLS OF SERDICA-SREDES-SOFIA

Hristo Bukovski

In the centre of Sofia, alongside the Presidency and 200 m from the National Archeological museum is situated a ancient complex with a pile of ruins with the church St. George in the bottom. Surrounded with extremely rude megalomaniac constructions around, not typical of its style and architectural traditions in the region, ignored by the awkward, lovely only at their front side buildings, as if hardly placed in their backyard, the architectural ensemble is smashed and uncomely. As if to confirm the statement of “something swept under the carpet” of the contemporary town, in the east part of the archeological exposition one panel is put where scarcely is written that these are “remnants of Roman public building, turned into a church in 5th century. To the west of it is the Roman street and the oldest preserved to the roof in Sofia – St. George Church, built in 4th century.”

For the professional historians this may sound correct. But they should not have learned from it when the ruins are from. And for the ordinary tourist who often doesn’t know the clan of his ancestor whether it is written 4th or 7th century it is the same. Moreover, here come people who think “the farthest of history” is 18th century – how could they understand the reason why Sheraton’ and the Presidency were devoid of places for parking?!

First we have to explain that the ruins are from buildings of the administrative complex where during the first three decades of the 4th century the Emperors Galerius, Licinius (to some extent) and Constantine the Great took actions in the Roman Empire. We can point out the bases of the octagon (solemn famous octahedral hall!) they are clearly seen behind the current modest panel. If we replace it with a bigger one we can explain that this emperor complex maybe is from the places where from November 343 till the end of February 344 sat the participants of the Second Ecumenical Council of Church summoned by the emperors Constant (337-350) and Constantsii II (337-361) and from the Roman pope Julius. Saint Anastasius himself is one of the main figures who claims that under the resolutions of the Council of Serdica 282 bishops have signed. It talks about delegates from all the places where Christian churches existed at that time. The council was defined to be conciliatory after the first one held in Nikea in 325 under the leadership of Constantine the Great from which the hostile “ orthodox ’’ and ‘’ ariani ’’ became implacable enemies. It is useful to explain that the choice was Serdica, because the Episcopate of Serdica is from the time of Christ’s apostle and their students and because in April 311 Emperor Galerius together with Emperor Licinius and Constantine (still Caesar at that time) have published the Rescript of Tolerance which allowed the Christian religion in the Roman Empire. It must be said that the delegates managed to complete 20 canonical rules, connected with the church discipline- the same which were taken at the first Ecumenical council in Nikea. It is fair to mention that the disputes of the bishops were mainly about the tenet of the Holy Ghost and about the Rotunda to be underlined that it was sanctified as a Christian temple after 330, when Constantine the Great continued to issue his emperor’s the decrees from Constantinople.

Then clearly the testament will be defined, which not we have ‘’ arranged ’’ in the center of Sofia, but the trials of ages: that from emperor’s offices where the authorities expressed their power now there are ruins, while the lit up from the Holy Ghost here survives as a spiritual temple.

I am sure that such a message which history has taught on such a remarkable place in other countries thankful people would declare and respect like a God’s marvel.