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The Serbian capital will join celebrations marking 1,700 years since the Roman Empire granted Christians their freedom with a range of events from April to October.
Celebrations marking the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, the proclamation granting Christianity equal status with other religions in the Roman Empire, start in Belgrade with a new sightseeing tour, “Christianity in Belgrade”, on April 16.
“We want to introduce visitors to the oldest preserved Christian locations where both Orthodox and Catholic churches were located and, for the occasion, we will prepare maps of the destroyed churches,” Marina Andric from public company Belgrade Fortress, told daily Politika on February 18.
Belgrade Fortress will organise several concerts at Kalemegdan Fortress, plus exhibitions on the Sava riverbank and at the gallery at Stambol gate.
During summer the riverbank will host a photographic exhibition that will present the history of Christianity in Belgrade and the National Library’s collection of manuscripts and prayer books.
The Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Military Museum will present exhibitions at the gallery at Stambol gate in Kalemegdan Fortress.
A replica of Belgrade’s oldest Christian monument, Jona’s sarcophagus, dating from the early 4th century, with an embossed illustration of a biblical narrative, will be placed in Knez Mihailova Street.
Andric says the events will focus on presenting historic and archaeological treasures and the celebration will be a unique opportunity for Belgrade’s museums to display their rich heritage.
“We’ll try to show when and how Christianity appeared in Belgrade, how the religion developed and how it was influenced by Islam,” Andric said.
Serbia has a special place in marking the Edict of Milan anniversary, as the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who delivered the Edict in 313AD, was born in what is now the Serbian city of Nis.
Nis, thus, joins the cities of Milan in Italy, York in England and Treves in France as one of the key heritage sites connected to Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor.
More than 100,000 believers are expected to attend a liturgy held by the Catholic Church on September 21 in Nis.
Donors spent hundreds of thousands of euro building a new museum in Gjirokastra - but the results were questionable and it ultimately closed over an ideological dispute.