Civic Museum of Bari hosts event on Saint Blaise and Armenian Saints

 21:16, 5 February 2024

The event San Biagio: un Santo, unaStoria, un popolo (“San Biagio: a saint, a story, a people”) took place on 3 February at 10.30 am at the Civic Museum of Bari (Puglia, Italy). It was a conference focusing on Armenian Saints in Italy, particularly about Saint Blaise, (SourpVlas) bishop and martyr of Sebaste.

The event was organized by the Presidency Council Commission on Culture of the Municipality of Barin in collaboration with the Armenian Community of Bari. The event commenced with opening remarks by the president of Commission, Dr. Giuseppe Cascella, the Mayor's delegate for the pandemic emergency, Dr. Loredana Battista, and Dr. Dario RupenTimurian, the representative of the Armenian Community in Bari. Timurian announced next set of conferences dedicated to Armenian culture.

Mr. Timurian read a message from the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Italy H. E. Tsovinar Hambardzumyan.

In her message, the Ambassador emphasized that 'the events connecting Puglia and Armenia are always numerous and cover various areas of interest.' She expressed her desire to be present with a message at this event dedicated to the memory of Saint Blaise, whom she defined as 'one of the most famous figures linked to Armenian culture in Italy.' The ambassador recalled the testimony of Saint Blaise's coherent life, his complete adherence to civil and religious values, and the suffering he endured for these reasons, similar to the Armenian people in various periods of history.

In conclusion, the ambassador sent greetings to the speakers. She referred to the families of our compatriots, Timurian and Lilosian, who have lived in Bari for a hundred years, and she mentioned the Armenian citizen prof. Carlo Coppola. Finally she conveyed her regards to the descendants of Father Francesco Divittorio from Rutigliano (near Bari), a Franciscan killed in Mujukderesi (near Marash) on 23 January 1920 while defended 20 Armenian orphans entrusted to him. The representatives of Divittorio family were present at the event together with the mayor of Rutigliano Municipality, Dr. Giuseppe Valenzanowho recalled the life of the martyr and publicly invited Armenian authorities to visit his city.

After the introduction, the illustrious speakers explained to the audience the importance of San Biagio and the Armenian Saints in Italy over the centuries, encompassing religious, historical, artistic, and scientific perspectives.

The first speaker was the prof. Aldo Luisi, a well-known Latinist and professor emeritus of the University of Bari. He discussed the Latin and Eastern hagiographic tradition. Prof. Nicola Cutino analyzed the cultural and popular tradition about Saint Blaise in Puglia and South of Italy. Our compatriot prof. Carlo Coppola, provided a brief overview of Armenian saints in Italy, coveringancient and contemporary times.

 The conference was concluded by two reports on the presence of Saint Blaise in Art and Science: Dr. SiranushQuaranta spoke about of Saint Blaise in Puglia and in particular, the frescoed rock church of Saint Blaise in San Vito deiNormanni (near Brindisi). Prof. Dr. Matteo Gelardi, president of the Italian Academy of Nasal Cytology, the representative of the illustrious Italian Society of Otolaryngology, told about the relationships between the otolaryngologist and his patron saints Saint Biagio and Saint Cono.

The meeting, which lasted over 2 hours, ended with a convivial moment open to the over 60 guests in attendance. The attendees had the opportunity to taste the renowned "Panettone di San Biagio" and expressed a desire to delve deeper into specific themes of Armenian culture. Following the success of the event, the organizers are now preparing a new program for the upcoming months.