apexart Fellowship


Anton Osver is an artist based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He will be in NYC as an apexart New York City Fellow from October 21 – November 20, 2014.

David B. Smith is a NYC-based artist who is in Dunedin, New Zealand, as an apexart International Fellow from October 1 - 31, 2014.

Posts tagged with "Sofija Grandakovska"

Sofija Grandakovska

Sofija Grandakovska, scholar, poet, theorist, comparativist, and semiotician, actively engages in interdisciplinary studies in the area of comparative literature and visual semiotics. Sofija is the author of the scholarly books The Discourse of the Prayer [Говорот на молитвата](2008) and The Portrait of the Image [Портретот на сликата](2010), and two books of poetry The Eighth Day [Осмиот ден](2005) and The Burning Sun [Препечено сонце](2009), editor of the bilingual book The Jews from Macedonia and the Holocaust: history, culture and theory [Евреите од Македонија и холокаустот: историја, култура и теорија] (2011) and is co-editor of the bilingual book-zine edition DOMA [HOME], vol. 1 (2010). Her research papers have been published in many theoretical anthologies in Macedonia and abroad. Currently, Dr. Grandakovska works as assistant professor at the Institute for Social and Humanities Research Euro-Balkan, Skopje, Macedonia, where she teaches Contemporary Theories of Culture.

Sofija visited apexart from Skopje, Macedonia, from February 20 - March 19, 2009. She was recommended by Hristina Ivanoska, an arts administrator in Skopje, Macedonia. Visit her Resident Page for more information.

Apr 2



It is not an easy task to describe one month of experiences in apexart’s non-working residency in NYC, but at the same time it presents a delightful opportunity for me to talk about it.
This was my first visit to NYC and actually my first stay in the USA at all. Even though I arrived with much theoretical knowledge about the country, mainly from literary and art resources, I came to NYC without any story behind me about the city. It is not that I do not believe in other stories or that they could influence my own in that manner, but because I wanted to find my own story, my NYC. I had a very good reason standing on that path of my decision, because it was highly motivated by the intelligent residency concept innovated and developed by apexart. And it proved itself as a true one.
Even though the residency structure is designed for the resident to put aside working, on the other hand this concept allowed my personal and academic experience to have a significant level of creativity growth and creative thinking. So, I am now back to my homeland (nostos), but the NYC story has not finished yet, because it is still opening fresh new doors in a sense of great motivation for my further academic and artistic work. I highly appreciated the residency program on a personal and professional level, because it supports the motive of how to continue on in fresh and constructive way.
The extensive residence schedule gave me a rare opportunity to achieve the sense of myself as a collector of the huge energetic potential of the city itself. In that context, I was present not only at the “heart of Manhattan”, but also found paths to explore and to find many other and different elements which are not parts of it. So, long NYC streets, Roosevelt Island’s silence, Tunnel tour in Brooklyn, Morgan Museum and Library, the Cloisters, Edgar Allan Poe’s house in the Bronx, Harlem’s ambience, Beacon’s atmosphere and Dia: Beacon’s heritage, Washington DC, Corcoran University and the Hirshhorn Museum in DC, a panel discussion in DC about profit and non-profit gallery concepts, the NYC Ballet, daily dances in the NYC subway, the exceptional privilege to sit in on Boris Groys’ seminars, Laurie Anderson’s exhibition at Location 1, Coney Island, the open talk with Jayson Keeling, Edwin Ramoran, Carlo McCormick and the public at apexart (http://apexart.org/events/residentalien2.htm)…, daily routine, places, people, rainy, sunny and snowy days, people’s smiles, talks, my dog-friends Baci, Moca and Blackie… they are all part of my huge visual experience. But what the most important - is – it is its influence on me achieving a personal, deep touching level. And all that has much with Odyssey’s metaphor and psychological dimension of the traveler, regarding inner metamorphosis.
So, I became deeply interested in finding the most particular way to contextualize each of these precious details (visual and inner), which became an inevitable heritage of my NY; is it to become word, document, photography, poetry, narrative, story, essay, photo-essay, memory, archive… Regarding this, my residential archive is very rich and weighted in aesthetical sense, too. It was not easy to leave NY with such a huge “luggage”. But I love it just because it is so, because if it was different, I could have taken with (and in) me very little. That is why I truly believe that the time is approaching for me to canalize such pleasant experiences to others and to the world itself. Because, what had been taken once has to be given back again. There, where it truly belongs.
In that context I would like to strongly emphasis that the apexart residency concept, even though it is non-working in a classical sense, is not a vacation nor a leisure trip. I found this concept of a non-working residency to be educational, charmingly creative and highly intellectual. But moreover, its international dedication to intellectual exchange makes the residency concept an honorable function for the resident holder. And it is its unique dimension that it excludes each further chance for its repetition for a whole lifetime. I am honored to have taken part of apexart’s residency and regarding that, part of the most cosmopolitan city that “never sleeps”. And I am deeply grateful for that.
Sofija Grandakovska

Apr 6



dessa, 2006.

(επιλογή από τη τελευταία συλλογή ΣΕ ΣΑΣ)

Μετάφραση: Αμίλιγια Μαϊστότοβα - Στογιάνοβσκα

(Translated in Greek by: Emilija Majstorova – Stojanovska

Translated in English by: Dijana Komlenac)

poetry from Sofija Grandakovska in Greek, English and Macedonian language



Μου άγγιξες

όπως αγγίζει η προσευχή το καλόγερο

με ανοιχτό μυαλό για χαρές

με δυνατό κλάμα για τα ανθρώπινα βάσανα,

με θερμή καρδιά


Θεέ μου, να σε δεχτεί

κι αν Θεέ μου το ξαναζητήσεις,

ξανά να σε δεχτεί.

Ας με αγγίξει τούτη η ανοιχτή καρδιά

όπως ο καθένας καλόγερος την νύχτα Εσένα δέχεται

και όπως Εσύ πάντα τον καθέναν από μας δέχεσαι

Εσύ Θεέ

πάντα το δέχεσαι,

τον καθένα από μας Εσύ τον έχεις.

Πόσοι είμαστε εμείς

που σ’ εσένα το σπίτι ανοίξαμε

κάτω από την κρυφτή μας στέγη,

στο ιερό μας τόπο

σε δημιουργήσαμε;

Είμαστε πολλοί εμείς

που σε φωνάζουμε να έρθεις

είμαστε πολλοί εμείς

που δεν ξέρουμε ότι μέσα μας είσαι

χωρίς σώμα, πρόσωπο και χωρίς φωνή

μόνιμα μέσα μας

πάντα μαζί μας.

Ελάχιστοι είμαστε εμείς που ψιθυρίζουμε -

Άραγε υπάρχεις Θεέ μας;

Όχι, δεν υπάρχουν τέτοιοι μεταξύ μας,

γι’ αυτό Θεέ, υπάρχεις σε όλους μας.


You approached me

Like a prayer approaches a monk

With a mind open for joys

With an inundated weeping springing from human suffering,

With a warm heart

To receive You, God,

And if you want, God, again

And again to receive You.

Let that openness of my heart approach me

Like every monk receives You at night

And like You

Receive each of us

Always God,

You have each of us.

How many are we

Who have opened our home to You

Under our secretive roof

In our sacred place

We have created You?

We are many

Calling You to come,

We are many

Who don’t know You are with us

Bodiless, faceless, and voiceless

All the time with us

For good with us.

Few are we who whisper-

Do You exist, our Lord?

No, there aren’t such amongst us,

That is why, God, You are in all of us.


Ми пријде Ти

Како што молитва на калуѓер му приоѓа

Со отворен ум за радости мили

Со силен плач за страдања човечки,

Со топло срце


Господе, да те прими

И ако посакаш Господе пак,

И пак да те прими.

Нека ми пријде таа отвореност на срцето мое

Како што секој калуѓер во ноќта Тебе Те прима

И како што Ти секогаш секој од нас

Ти го примаш

Секогаш Господе,

Секој од нас Ти го имаш.

Колкумина сме ние

Кои тебе дом сме ти отвориле

Под нашиот скриен кров,

Во нашето свето место

Сме те створиле?

Многумина сме ние

Што те викаме да дојдеш,

Многумина сме ние

Што не знаеме дека си во нас

Без тело, лик и без глас

Постојано во нас

Засекогаш со нас.

Малкумина сме ние кои шепотиме –

Постоиш ли, Господе наш?

Не, нема такви меѓу нас,

Затоа Господе, Те има во сите нас.



Μπορώ να φανταστώ τα παν:

φουρτούνες κάτω τα καλντερίμια σου

ξερά φύλλα στις στέγες σου

και χίλια χρόνια θάλασσα

και πως γεννήθηκες

και τι βλέμμα θα κολλήσει στο θάνατό σου

και πόσοι πολεμιστές θα σε αφηγούνται

και πως θα είσαι στις αναμνήσεις των γερόντων

και πόσες ακόμα βαριές καμπάνες θα κρούουν για σένα

και πόσα δερμάτινα και θορυβώδη τύμπανα θα σε ανακηρύξουν

για αιώνιο

και όλα μπορώ να φανταστώ,

το μόνο που δεν μπορώ να φανταστώ -

να μη με συγχωρέσεις!


I can imagine everything:

Storms on your brick roads

Dry leaves above your rooftops

And thousand years of sea

And how you came to life

And what kind of look will cling to your death

And how many warriors will narrate you

And how memories will remember you

And how many more heavy bells will toll after you

And how many leathery and roaring drums will promulgate you timeless

And I can imagine everything-

Only I cannot –

If you don’t forgive me?


Можам да замислам сè:

Бури под твоите калдрми

Суви лисја над твоите покриви

И илјада години море

И како си се родил

И каков поглед ќе се залепи на твојата смрт

И колку воини ќе те раскажуваат

И како ќе те паметат сеќавањата на старците

И уште колку тешки ѕвона ќе те отпеат

И колку кожени и бучни тапани ќе те прогласат за вечен,

И сè можам да замислам-

Само не можам –

ако не ми простиш?



Μπροστά μας και η ανάμνησή μας


όταν η ανάσα τρυφερή εισδύετε στο


κι όταν αυτό απομονώνεται παθιασμένα

κι όταν αυτή γεννιέται τρυφερά

κι όταν αυτή μεγαλόφωνα / φωναχτά περνά -

Θα υπάρχει άραγε χρόνος

ο, ανάμνησή μου,

η ανάσα και το σώμα ξανά να ενωθούν


σ’ εμένα, σ’ εσένα

και έτσι - φωναχτά;!


Before us even our memory makes a bow

When a fragile breath circulates through the body

And when it secludes itself passionately

And when it is born tenderly

And when it passes by loudly –

Will there be time,

Oh, memory,

For the breath and the body to be again

Passionately joined

In me and you

And so – loudly?


Пред нас и нашиот спомен прави поклон

Кога здивот кревок се вовлекува низ телото

И кога тоа се осамува страсно

И кога тој кревко се раѓа

И кога тој гласно проаѓа –

Ќе има ли време,

О, спомену,

За здивот и телото пак страсно

Да се спојат

Во мене и тебе

И онака – гласно?!



Ξεντύνω την ψυχή μου


όπως βγάζω το παλαιό παπούτσι μου από το δικό μου πόδι,

τρυφερά και σιγά

το αφήνω σε μια παλαιά και θαμμένη από τα μάτια των όλων


το κλείνω

όπως κλείνω μπροστά στον κόσμο την καρδιά μου

που έχει τελειώσει όλα τα παλαιά αρχαίες ξεγυμνώματα της

Μπροστά στον κόσμο

η καρδιά μου

έχει ξαφνιάσει ακόμα και τα μυστικά της

και όλα τα μυστικά αυτά τα έχει θάψει σε ένα χώρο,

η καρδιά μου

Μπροστά στον κόσμο

έχει ξεχάσει όλες τις σκιές, δικές της και των άλλων,

όπως ξέχνιουνται τα ονόματα των προγόνων

που δεν τους είδαμε ποτέ,

που δεν τους ακούσαμε ποτέ να μας αφηγούνται κάτι

για το χυμό των ώριμων κερασιών την εποχή τους

και για το ομορφότερο κόκκινο χρώμα που το είχαν αυτά,

ενώ τις αφηγήσεις τους

τις φυλάμε σαν παλαιό μας τόπο κατοικίας

απλωμένο στην άνετή του φωλιά για πάντα

όπως ο νεκρός στη δική του μια για πάντα

την οποία κάποτε ο καθένας από μας θα την επισκεφθεί -

Και τότε

μήπως η ανάμνηση των ώριμων κερασιών ευθυμεί για τον άλλον

ότι αυτά είχαν το καλύτερο ζουμί και

αυτά φορούσαν το ομορφότερο κόκκινο χρώμα

σαν τον πύρινο ήλιο

που κυλιέται τρυφερά και σιγά

ώσπου διαρκεί το γδύσιμο της ψυχής του καθενός

μπροστά στον κόσμο;

Μπροστά στον κόσμο

έχει ξεχάσει όλα τα άλγη

και όλα τα άλγη

τα έχει αφήσει εκεί ποτέ και κανείς

να μη ξαναθυμηθεί

που και γιατί

υπήρχαν αυτά

Μπροστά στον κόσμο

έχει προκαλέσει και όλες τις χαρές που κάποιος

σιωπηλά ακόμα τις περιμένει να καταφθάσουν από κάπου

όπως κατάφθανε η κάθε μια καινούρια ημέρα

όπως πρέπει να πεθαίνει η κάθε παλαιά ημέρα

Μπροστά στον κόσμο

Πλέει μακριά στην μεγάλη της θάλασσα

και έχει ανοίξει την μεγάλη της θάλασσα

και κανείς δεν ξέρει πόσο βαθιά

όπως ο παππούς μου ο νεκρός στο τόπο


- αλλά βαθιά και για πάντα

Αλλά για πάντα

σ΄αυτό το γδύσιμο της ψυχής του καθενός

σαν ελαφρό βήμα σε εναέριους δρόμους λευκούς

όπου ο περιπλανώμενος βγάζει φωνή σαν η καμπάνα ψυχή -

για σκέψου,

ξαφνιάστηκε και ο εαυτός του

και δεν έχει προσπεράσει ούτε το εαυτό του

όπως το θάνατο ο παππούς μου ο νεκρός

ένα μεσημέρι

μία μέρα ήταν

Μπροστά στα μάτια του κόσμου

στο πρόσωπο του κόσμου

όπως σιγά έρχεται κάθε καινούριος θάνατος

όπως σιγά πεθαίνει κάθε καινούρια γέννηση

όπως κάθε σοφή καρδιά ξέρει πως υπάρχει

για να παραψηθεί σαν ήλιο που κυλιέται τρυφερά και σιγά

στο γδύσιμο της ψυχής του

Μπροστά στον κόσμο:

Αυτός δεν έχει λησμονήσει τον εαυτό του

Αυτός δεν έχει εξαπατήσει τον εαυτό του

Αυτός παραδόθηκε στον καθένα


θέλει να κατάκτηση


σαν μεγαλύτερο πόθο

και σίγουρα

σαν τα αστέρια τον ουρανό

σαν ο ουρανός τα αστέρια

μια φορά

αυτό το παθιασμένο για πάντα παιχνίδι

σ΄αυτό το γδύσιμο της ψυχής του καθενός

- Μπροστά στον κόσμο.


I am stripping my soul


Like taking off an old shoe from a foot of mine,

Gently and quietly, and then

laying it into an old case stashed from the eyes

of all

Before the world, I open my heart just like I close it

Long time ago it had finished all its past strippings

Before the world

My heart

Has taken by surprise even all the secrets

And all its secrets (are) buried in one place

my heart

Before the world

It has forgotten all its and other people’s shadows

Just like we forget the names of ancestors

We have never even seen

We have never heard tell us

About the juice of the ripened cherries in their time

And the most brilliant red color they had once had

Yet these stories

We cherish like our old residence

Laid out in its cozy nest for all the times

That each of us will visit some time–

before the world

Shall then

The remembrance of the ripened cherries cry outfor the other

That they had the most savory juice and

Were flaunting the most exquisite red color ever

Like the burning sun

That rolls gently and quietly

While the soul is stripping itself before the world?

Before the world

It has forgotten all its pains

And all its pains

It has put there so that never and no one

Remembers again

When and why

they existed once

Before the world

It has brought about all its joys

Whose arrival someone

Is still awaiting from somewhere

Just like every new day comes

And every old one should die - gently and quietly

Before the world

It has sailed off far into its big sea

And its big sea it has And no one knows how deep

Like my dead grandfather Lazarus in one place


- but never too deep

But forever,

In that soul stripping

Like a light step upon airy streets white

Whereupon a vagrant lets out a cry like a bell its soul –


It even did not surprise itself

Even itself it did not outrun

Like death my dead grandfather Lazarus

One noon

One day it was

Before the eyes of the world

In the face of the world

Like every new death slowly approaches

Like every new birth slowly dies

Like every wise heart knows it exists

To burn like a sun that rolls gently and quietly

Into the stripping of one’s soul

Before the world

He has not forgotten himself

He has not betrayed himself

He has rendered himself

the one

Who wants to overcome


Like the greatest dream

and surely

Like the rays in the sky

Like the stars in the sky


In that game passionate for all the times

In that stripping of one’s soul

Before the world


Ја соблекувам душата своја


Како што го соблекувам својот стар чевел од ногата своја,

Нежно и тивко

Го оставам во еден стар и закопан од очите на сите


Го затворам

Како што го затворам пред светот срцето свое

Коешто веќе ги има завршено сите дамнешни соголувања свои

Пред светот

Срцето мое

Ги има изненадено дури и сите тајни

И сите свои тајни ги има закопано во место

срцето мое

Пред светот

Ги има заборавено сите свои и туѓи сенки

Како што се забораваат имињата на претците

Кои никогаш не сме ги виделе

Кои ниту еднаш не сме ги чуле да ни раскажат нешто

За сокот на зрелите црешни во нивното време

И за најубавата црвена боја која ја имале тие,

Но таквите раскажувања нивни

Ги чуваме како старо живеалиште свое

Спрострено во своето удобно легло за сите времиња

Кое некогаш ќе го посети секој еден од нас -

пред светот

Дали и тогаш

Сеќавањето за зрелите црешни ќе воскликне за другиот

Дека тие го имале најубавиот сок и

Со најубавата црвена боја ликувале тие

Како препечено сонце

Што се тркала нежно и тивко

Додека трае соблекувањето на душата своја

пред светот?

Пред светот

Ги има заборавено и сите свои болки

И сите свои болки

Ги има оставено таму за никогаш и никој

Не се сети повторно

Каде и зошто

постоеле тие

Пред светот

Ги има предизвикано и сите радости свои

кои сè уште

Некој тивко ги чека да пристигнат од некаде

Како што пристига секој нов ден

И како што треба да умира секој стар, полека и тивко

Пред светот

Го има запловено своето големо море далеку

И своето големо море го има отворено

И никој не знае колку длабоко

Како мојот мртов дедо Лазар во местото


– но засекогаш и длабоко

Но засекогаш,

Во тоа свое соблекување на душата своја

Како лесен чекор по воздушни улици бели

Кадешто скитникот испушта глас како ѕвоното душа –


Се нема изненадено дури и себеси

И себеси се нема претекнато

Како смртта мојот мртов дедо

Едно пладне

Еден ден беше

Пред очите на светот

Во лицето на светот

Како што пополека надоаѓа секоја нова смрт

Како што полека умира секое раѓање ново

Како што секое умно срце знае дека постои

Да препече како сонце што се тркала нежно и тивко

Во соблекувањето на душата своја

Пред светот


Тој се нема заборавено себеси

Тој се нема изневерено себеси

Тој се има предадено секому


Кој сака да освои


Како најголема мечта

и сигурно

Како ѕвездите од небото

Како небото од ѕвездите


Во таа страстна за сите времиња игра

Во тоа соголување свое на душата своја

Пред светот.

Apr 6



in: Delocalisation (2009) by Fatos Ustek

Apr 6



(originally published in: ДОМА (HOME), vol.1, Skopje: Kino oko, 2010)

The Macedonian Tower. To contemplate and write about the complex topic of ‘home’ and to share the story of one’s homeland with others seems a daunting task. It is a task that inevitably involves a bricolage of stories, of memories, of past lives, of images, of exclusion from and inclusion in the vast range of historical developments affecting that homeland—requiring us to face all that history comprehends as the present but which dances away as the past the very next moment. Yet to tell this story also honours a pledge that entails our creative responsibility towards all those who succeed us. The topic of the fatherland as a home cannot be treated solely as an intellectual topic, nor as a solely historical or emotive topic: the issue is ontological, anthropological and civilizational to an equal extent. Macedonia, my homeland, is precisely that, and the ‘monument’ of the Macedonian Tower is constructed in such a manner. However, this monument cannot be seen in any public square. Because the sea in the Macedonian Tower is never calm, because the tower is alive. To my utmost joy. And if that sea should ever calm, the Macedonian tower would solidify into a cold monument and so would our collective vigour.

The Macedonian Tower and bricolage. All nations are young at birth. What precedes them are historical divisions. No nation in the Balkans can substantiate any claim to primacy as an indigenous people. The state of Macedonia, as a constituent in Balkan history, shares the fate of its Balkan neighbours and at the same time marks its essence within national borders. Macedonian history resembles a bricolage. This attribute can be substantiated as it refers to historical crossings, mergers and dialogues between different civilizations and cultural models, each of which has left an imprint of the time when they dominated this area and all of which are reflected in the later creation of national discourse. When we discuss the development of the Macedonian state, in accordance with 19th century trends of national ideas and the creation of national states, we have in mind on the one hand a bricolage of cultural memory, oral history, myths, legendary reality, folklore, etc., while on the other hand we refer to the written documentation of this history and its often antagonistic context, where the influences of different cultural paradigms are lodged, most often applied through the discourse of war, negation, denial and humiliation.

The proclamation of the independent and legitimate Republic of Macedonia in 1991 following the dissolution of the Yugoslav federal family was a key event in the more recent history of the Macedonian state and came as a result and as a confirmation of Macedonia’s historical and cultural existence and continued survival. The bricolage of the state nevertheless lacks a definitive form. It exists in an incessant dialogue, in a process which entails antagonism: on one side are the dynamism, prudence and imprudence of strategic political discourse in the country, its past and its open intertwining with the present and its desire to join the major road of the EU and NATO, whereby these international factors have acquired exceptional importance in the present-day bricolage of Macedonia; on the other side is the intensity and reiteration of all this, so loudly and noisily, that it becomes, at this crucial moment for the homeland, an exceptionally important historical, ontological, aesthetic and civilizational issue.

One of the essential characteristics of the development and survival of ‘small’ nations—not small in terms of their civilizational and cultural input but in their economic and political power and stability, which again brings us back to the issue of nationality—is the need for continuous referral to the past. The contemporary Macedonian state has decided to adhere to this trend while following two completely different paths: the first leading to the desired past of Antiquity; the other to the larger Slavic family. By doing this, the prevalent political discourse creates a new bricolage, further supported and reinforced by the absence of any critical discourse or sufficiently powerful institutional voice, thus producing an increasingly brazen political strategy. Bearing in mind that Macedonia’s past is an amalgam of various cultural models (of Antiquity, of Byzantium, of the Slavs, of the Ottomans) and influences (Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, etc.) and their intermittent domination in this area, this focus on the past, this re-examination and insistence on proving one’s own authentic input, might be justified. However, this should also imply that, when past things are shared with one’s neighbours in the course of history, no one has the absolute and irrevocable right to appropriate cultural benefits as exclusively their own. In this sense, the right of the Macedonian state should also be respected as irrevocable. Unfortunately, political discourse utilizes this focus on the past as a strategy for its glorious re-actualization in order to enliven the dumb present in some miraculous manner. The past can earn a new form of existence through its co-existence with the needs of the new time and its modern aesthetics, including the drive towards the EU. Any other approach to it would only transform Macedonia into a yearning, into an emotive saga, and would operate as a non-visionary approach to its cultural semiotics while at the same time depleting its power for inclusiveness and transforming Macedonia into a dissident state. This dissident position would not be limited to a potentially isolated Macedonian stance as a mute monument, and would not affect only its status within European institutions, but also its imagological past, which is the very object of desire of political discourse. Thus the present and the future remain preserved in their mute, transfixed position while over there proceeds the glorious march back to the past.

An interesting question arises: Where does the past end? Where does the past begin in the eyes of the political world? The focus on the past essentially affirms the viewpoint: backwards. This type of focalization includes abundant mythology and legendary reality, many characters, heroes and stories shared with neighbouring peoples, many wars, many different geographical maps, and ultimately, a history which belongs to us all. However, the responsibility of national discourse in modern times and its affirmation in the world of today definitely lies elsewhere: in the present. In this sense, the old stories deserve dignified and serious argumentation in reality—the key viewpoint which can make the move towards is: forward. And if we are to discuss the semiotics of axiology, the awareness of origins—this awareness understood as a constant of the feeling of belonging and ease in the homeland, then it becomes necessary to build and speak through a new discourse different from that which exists here and now. This is that key moment of shifting the viewpoint as a possibility for attaining a decisive distance from the past and for seeing the present as becoming the past. It will become and include the future. It will become remembering. A present which will become a text to be read and interpreted in the future. At this moment, the present is writing a strange text for the future. Let us clarify this. If the old forms fail to attain a new expression that correspond with the present time—time much less concerned with the imagology of the past and much more with a new reality, even in a pedagogical sense—and, above all, if they fail to attain an institutional value of the historical-culturological axiology— the semiotic-hermeneutic discourse of the awareness of origins will stay forever far removed from the sense of confidence and dignity of these two million people. This leaves a gaze frozen like the cold face of a sculpture, perfectly confident but always turned backwards because the sculptor has lost power over the creation.

The ideological stance of current political discourse remains unclear, as does its semiotic significance in the act of resurrecting a past which belongs to the void as an emotional need to institutionalize characters from the unknown past in the present, despite there being no written documents to substantiate the claims of this project. Language and writing are fundamental characteristics of every culture, nation and civilization. Macedonians attained both of these and their evolution can be followed in entirety from the second half of the IXth century to the present day. During this period, no other peoples in the world called themselves Macedonians or availed themselves of a language and writing codified with the attribute ‘Macedonian’. And this attribute is certainly not of ordinary significance but also has ontological value. It is thus incomprehensible that political strategy, through projects which are megalomaniac in character, manifests a need to establish a connection between the ethno-genetic inclusiveness of Alexander the Great of Macedon and the origins of the Macedonian peoples and its national context. Through a manifest affirmation of legendary Antiquity and its mythologized reality, the current political discourse defies scientific, objective and national discourse. On the other hand, this great conqueror and instigator of the ecumenical idea of creating a world empire spread Hellenistic thought in Greek in all his campaigns. His great civilizational ‘mistake’ was that he failed to preserve his own language and writing, thus preventing us from opening the issue of possible ethno-genetic relatedness and any attempt to institutionalize this at a national level. The language of the ancient Macedonian entity is a missing link, an absent linguistic artefact. Every unrecorded language is a dead language, a language which has failed to experience literacy. The written remnants of ancient Macedonian are merely lexical crumbs on the basis of which no reconstruction of the language of the ancient Macedonians is possible,1 let alone any discussion of its status as a subject of study. The loss of all traces of ancient Macedonian ethnicity and the fact that its language never gained written form is part of a process of oblivion and a matter for regret that a people who used to exist failed to survive through the civilisational values of the language and writting to the present day. Anything more than this would represent incomprehensible nostalgia and poetic desire which could be valorized only through the power of poetic language and not through the lens of scientific discourse.

Regarding the survival of peoples today, an approach which involves legendary Antiquity and mythologized reality differs decisively from a methodological, scientific approach to textual monuments. This is confirmed in particular by the example of the so-called ‘small’ nations, including the Macedonian. On the other hand, this comprised the basis of the national revival and the subsequent development of Macedonian language, writing and literature based upon the old Slavonic matrix that serves both as an archive and source for the tradition of the Macedonian people and of their continued existence to the present day.

The Macedonian Tower and the Renaissance. The Macedonian Tower has one crucial characteristic: it has never experienced a renaissance and the place of such cultural formation remains empty. It appears that the Macedonian Tower moved from the Slavic-Byzantine age through the Ottoman period directly into the age of communist social order. At this very moment, meanwhile, the Macedonian state is experiencing a renaissance motivated and launched by the power of the political elite—a form of renaissance which certainly merits our interest.

Renaissance as a stylistic period from 1350 to the first half of the 15th century is a fact acknowledged by the world and refers to a concept of rebirth sought through the restoration and regeneration of ancient values and their pedagogic function in the context of the syntagm of the free man—man removed from theological discourse. In this sense, it denotes a passage from the medieval theological epoch to modern times. The current Macedonian renaissance demonstrates certain similarities to the old renaissance model of ordering the world through the restoration of characters from the past, especially evident in the treatment of the character of Alexander the Great of Macedon, in the placing of original sculptures from Antiquity (retrieved from various archaeological sites) at the entrance to the building of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, and the concept of the Skopje 2014 project. But all this only promotes the souvenir connotations of the past through political-strategic submission and serves to augment spiritual-cultural semiotics. In this sense, not only can we descry this as a parody of a renaissance model at an ideological level in contemporary times, we can also identify in it an undervaluing of archaeological findings which have existed and been exhibited in Macedonian localities for a long time (Stobi, Carevi Kuli, Plaošnik) but which have not been affirmed in civilizational, culturological and institutional contexts in a deserving and dignified manner. Instead of contemplating a glorious renaissance at an institutional level (including developing cultural tourism in the Republic of Macedonia), and instead of showing due respect and recognition to monuments and artefacts from Antiquity that might lead to greater knowledge about the historical and spiritual contents of remnants from Antiquity on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia (remnants which, together with their Christianized variants, express the deep cultural, culturological, sociological and aesthetic virtue of Macedonia), those in political authority are developing a new type of antagonism. They desire to resurrect the past as a phoenix, one of the most significant semiotic signifiers of rebirth in the renaissance, but with some absolutely incomprehensible meaning. The dominant political discourse resembles the work of a sculptor creating a new profile of the nation on the basis of the imagological past. This political discourse attempts to function like a Pop Art cartoon; but not even in Pop Art does ‘anything go’. Political authoritarianism thus once again undermines the power of science, the power of language, the ontology of art, the hermeneutics of achievement of all that makes and justifies Macedonia and maintains the continuity of its authenticity, aesthetics and polyphony—all that truly makes Macedonia beautiful! It defies belief that the Republic of Macedonia still lacks Institutes of Byzantology or Balkanology. It is a tragic fact that the best graduates have been leaving the state University of ”Ss. Cyril and Methodius“, while the Institute for Macedonian Literature has had only three experts in its Department for Medieval Literature for a decade, and only two since last year. Not only will they have no one to replace them, but also the crucial Slavic cultural model—which has been the source of awareness of the origins of the Macedonian people and which, no doubt, should have a high priority position in the national interest—has been seriously questioned in institutional contexts. The political discourse of the renaissance revival yet again exhibits an extremely paradoxical attitude towards the Macedonian past and a complete lack of care for the present.

After the fall of Byzantium and after the slow decline of five centuries of Ottoman rule in this area, the first half of the 19th century saw a period of revival and enlightenment which should undoubtedly be considered as typically ‘renaissance’ in its attributes. This serves as an important confirmation of Macedonian openness to modern times, to European developments and trends through the value placed on human liberty. In this sense, we will only refer to care for language as a central humanistic quality, language which departed from its church-Slavonic variant of the past and adopted a form closer to the language spoken by the people—the abandonment of the theological-liturgical for the sake of a new axiological sign and a new continual educational process for the people. This development did not involve any break of continuity in the evolution and tradition of the language and its Slavic roots. Rather, this development demonstrated the essential dynamic and modelling power of language and writing in step with new times. Consequently, we can assert that Macedonian reality embraced the humanistic approach, which always entails a poly-dimensional approach to the value of the human factor, the modern individual creator positioned outside the scholastic paradigm. By contrast, the attitude of the present-day renaissance in Macedonia rather resembles a mythological return to a time when it did not exist (mythical time), in which no-one knows when anything happened (mythical reality), skipping cultural evolution and socio-cultural inclusion. The current Macedonian renaissance resembles a resurrection of the mythological beginnings of the creation of the world. This is why it is incomprehensible that we should invent new biblical beginnings when they were recorded long ago in the Book of Genesis. Why should we separate the earth from the sky when God has already done so? Why should we create Adam and Eve anew?

European renaissance poetics announced a break with the theologized medieval epoch. In Macedonia today, the current renaissance model does not exclude religious discourse. On the contrary, it retains this discourse and does so through the adoption of a conservative rather than a modern approach. To clarify further, the Republic of Macedonia possesses an abundance of archaeological sites, early Christian basilicas, magnificent frescoes and church buildings, many of whose foundations were subsequently built upon by mosques but with an uninterrupted continuity of monasticism which has survived as a living institute to the present day, and not only in terms of active liturgical life but also in the continuity and legitimacy of ancient monasticism. It thus seems redundant to build new churches and mosques on Skopje’s small city square while the old religious monuments, especially those from the earliest periods, have been left to the mercy of the winds of time. Given this wealth of sacred monuments, in only some of which there continues any active liturgical life, would it not be more logical for Macedonia to strategically organize and make use of the remaining monuments as open museums, theatres, and concert halls? In this way visual semiotics could become daily, living referents of the Macedonian cultural and national milieu, and contain high axiology, artistic aesthetics making them accessible for new research at a world level. The small Macedonian space has already been densely ‘populated’ with monuments of this type. Why should these centuries-old buildings be added to with new ones when the scientific argumentation about them has not been sufficiently researched and institutionally treated? They hold within themselves not only past times, speech, civilization, originality and life, but also an entire new science. And science in Macedonia needs results, in the real sense of the word. It does not need a renaissance project as a ‘flightless flight’. Macedonia needs a science based on the treatment of original artefacts which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Macedonia needs science. This strategic move would be a genuine renaissance within an institutional framework. What is needed is constant building and reinforcement of the country’s institutional system—a system that has long been loose and shaky. A state lacking sound and firm scientific institutions will be forced to repeatedly defend its roots—roots which, although clear and of high civilizational value, have not undergone the scientific treatment and affirmation they deserve, neither in the country of their origin or internationally. Scientific argumentation and proof is eternal; it is the greatest and irrevocable root of origin of the Macedonian state, people, language culture and life. This would be a form of renaissance we could support!

It is a matter of immense concern that an ever-higher proportion of young educated people are leaving Macedonia (brain drain) while the state fails to develop any strategy to stem this brain-drain, i.e. to motivate or retain such people as its greatest resource and potential for the future. The government campaign entitled ‘Knowledge is your strength, knowledge is your power’ may sound attractive, but in reality nothing has changed at all. Knowledge as a critical attitude towards reality is still only a dissident phenomenon in the face of the power of mechanical political ignorance of knowledge as strength and power. Meanwhile, the political campaign to encourage families to have a third child appears paradoxical, hypocritical and sad when demographic factors are ignored and the state’s existing human capital and intellectual fund is not nurtured. The continuity needed would bring self-awareness, awareness of national resources, awareness of the past, all of which would have the power to withstand denials, negations, negative naming, identity and language policies. The Macedonian Tower now faces internal antagonism of the worst type. I do not wish to believe that one day—perhaps tomorrow, for it might be very soon indeed—there will be no-one to mention us, quote us, only a colourful array of monuments and a thick layer of dust over the abundance of archaeological material stored in depots with no scientific valorisation apart from a signature and photographic copy. This would be an unpleasant image of the Macedonian Tower as a strange, mysterious Kafkaesque castle. Behind the silence of the institutions, too long closed to younger scientists, there is a terrible noise. The last only confirms the undignified handling of the power of knowledge in the Republic of Macedonia.

I believe that knowledge conquers fear. All great civilizations were born thus. They were not born for the past; but ‘when the boat reached those distant lands’2 it continued ahead. That is why I believe in science (as much I do not believe in pseudo-science) as a possible tool to resolve antagonism and bring harmony into the world—to my homeland in particular, so that dialogue can become cosmic and embrace the rest of the world not so far, after all, from the geographical borders of the Macedonian Tower and containing it within them.

The Homeland. All that has been written down is an indelible trace. Like a scar. Remembering is wisdom—an offering to the table of the future. Our ancestors remembered, and the wise Marko Cepenkov recorded memories as stories, poems, sayings, prayers… Oral history possesses wisdom. Written history possesses the truth about that wisdom, the truth about the Macedonian Tower. How can I tell the story of myself without knowing the story about my homeland, my home—the greatest of all possible authorities?

Translated and proofread by: Maria and Matthew Jones

1 П. Хр. Илиевски. Антички современ македонски јазик во: Содржински и методолошки прашања во истражувањето на историјата на културата на Македонија. Skopje: MANU, 1995, P. 30.

2 А. Поповски. 1980. Татковина во: Љубопис.Prilep: Стремеж,p. 32.

Apr 6



(originally published at: http://www.residencyunlimited.org/dialogues/contributions/2010/02/the-airplane-is-a-fish-that-flies-in-new-york-city/

The plane looks like a flying fish. This winter of 2010, it landed back home, at apexart, in New York City. And there, I found myself again. I must admit that in every journey is composed a travel as a winning trip through time and space. Thus, the journey is conquest, but also a discovery. I do not think that it should be a Columbian discovery, but I believe that the journey always brings a kind of magical Columbian width of the space itself, the one that represents immaterial, personal, timeless, and rich, colourful land of the spirit and the soul. And I have always thought that this inner land should be shared. And now, I believe in it. Therefore, I want to share New York City. Sharing New York City, I share my inner land with New York City, with the world and hopefully, with all of those who will perhaps hear it sometime…

I have been living in Republic of Macedonia almost all my life. And this is my country, my home, probably the place of my ancestors and through them, the culture, tradition and one universe for itself belonging to my small home land. The city that I live, is Skopje, and in some common sense it should represent my city, the city of my childhood, my family, all of my education, my friends, all the joys and sorrows that are part of the growth of my life. But I honestly do not believe that this is really my city, and the fact that I am not even sure if there is such a place in the world that separates the concept for my city from the concept what would be the city that is not mine. I think the concept of my city is an imperialistic idea that takes away the width of the world love in which there are many cities, and with that, plenty of love. In this sense, many ways of giving and receiving love from and towards the city, many neighbourhoods from which the inner land of every one of us is prettier, wider and deeper. Thus, the city where I was born and where I have never lived and the city in which I live, is only one of the avenues that reach to the inner land, which always leads – home to yourself, and from there, to the other.

I was thinking about these things, I have lived them in New York City, the city, in which only two or three buildings can accommodate all two million people of my home country, a city where all goods of the European and from all world known and ancient cultures are placed in, a city in which through the flow of the world energy, I saw the same good and the same ugly things of the human faces, and as in a mirror reflection I saw the same things from the culture of my country, but also from the cultures of many other countries. City, in which you feel that you belong in the multicoloured diversity which still engages itself in one latitude, whose origin is – the man. City of anti humanistic architectural aesthetics, with all its height shows you two things: how small you are, and on the other hand as big and open you can be in your inner land, as the sky, which seemed to touch the buildings with its peak. And, you may only look with admiration all that. That view could be frightening as well and then the little man quietly speaks inside you. But if you see the picture with an open heart and open mind, then your inner land becomes a home that is wide, comfortable, warm and human. Thus, the New York City architecture opened also a deep symbolic significance for me, definitely its humanistic dimension – to open a space for the sentiment as wide sense of the inner land of one small man in New York City. New York City educates, teaches, and demonstrates how the internal, immaterial land opens itself before you and in the world. So, the sentiment stops to be just that. It tightens into deep sensibility concept throughout instructive nature of what New York City offers as a spectrum, where things can become sculpturally solid, down the earth, and not just to remain aero or instructively sentimental. To become a photography which moves on.

New York City again. And there, I met again with Marcus Aurelius (121-180), who once, in his book “To Himself” wrote: ”Everything that I represent and what am I, is this pitiful flash, little breath and a leading mind! However, it is time for you to become aware of what the world is where you are only a small part of it, and you who is the ruler of the world, whose descendant you are. And that your time is very limited and if you do not use to fulfil the pick of your soul, it will pass irreversibly and that will be the end, because you cannot go back again.”

Thinking on these lines I am trying to understand the idea, not the action, to understand the content that later, naturally constitutes the values of the action called life. If the life is a rich story with relative length and human height, but above all is truth, then I’ve always been interested for the remembering things, which began as irrational, but with my human maturation, became a guide way for making rational things. So, everything what I have heard and all the books I have read in my childhood, and even later, everything that is part of my family and academic education – all that truly have developed me and turned me into what – I am today.
New York made me think of the country of origin in a magical way, in a sense in which I have never thought about my home land. I understood that for us, as a nation, going back to our home has a special value, in our tradition, history, and culture. Besides that, New York City magically opened me to think of my home land, but home land as my inner space, staying without any possibility to achieve its detailed archive sometimes. Here, in New York City I have been contemplating over such sacral, inner home, my archive, but what I have understood about such home land that it is not a hermetical box. Thus, I understood that the exceptional value for it – is ”returning” home. “The Return” as an essential point, where probably everything begins. In my effort to try to remember from when and how begun the path on which I stand today, I refer to my childhood as a kind of sacred space. And I would like to share that with you, not because I am coming from the area of literature, and because I love the stories, but because it is the moment when my experience has begun to explore the secret. My grandfather had a photographic lab in his apartment and when the red light was turned on, nobody was allowed to enter there. Then, it was not clear to me why, much less why a lawyer would deal with photography. Further more, I don’t recall when I’ve decided that this ban should not stand at least one time, then I entered secretly and did not understand why only some tapes are hung on, and lined, glimmered as red stains from a carpet. Even when I was seeing the albums, which were our happiest moments when our family gathered all together, it was still a mystery for me – how the red light became black and white. I asked my grandfather once, and he didn’t use many words, but I still remember what he told me, in laconic manner: Nothing is black and white, nor the photography. There is something that we can not see, but it should be seen.

This story of my grandfather that had very little words, it become a consciousness for me, awareness about the world, urge to scream, as modified path by the great detail of the little man history. It was a story about me finding the meaning of internal sensibility which is not visible and should not necessarily be learned through dialogue, but necessarily and seriously strives to be evaluated. Therefore the more I needed to fulfil the story, to build research followed by another story, to valorise the action of what exists, but is not seen, to the life, science, art, literature with a deep knowledge that nothing comes just like that. But still, I am not smart, or wise, to say something more for the man’s leading mind. But intuitively I must admit that there is no one that will tell the greatest wisdom for itself, once and for all. Those are our deeds. It is the spectre of black and white. Optically invisible, but with great opportunity and great challenge for the great mind to see it, the same as once Marcus Aurelius has spoken about it.
Such a metaphor revealed in me a kind of Odysseus in New York City, where the words of Marcus Aurelius had the same semiotic value of the photographic spectrum, and the black and white, and which is not that, but more. That semiotic valorisation through the power of my Odyssey, in New York City, which was my home, made me to write: It‘s really wonderful to be back home. My return to New York City, not as a metaphor about the journey, but as an opportunity to be home in New York City. What does it mean to be at home in New York? It’s not just a metaphor for the going back into the same physical space. But, that’s when my inner land feels at home. And that’s not a dream, nor attempt to remember a dream. This gratitude for my experience of my inner land, I owe to apexart and less to airplane which looks like a fish and which flies to New York City.

by Sofija Grandakovska

Dr. Sophia Grandakovska, academic, theorist and a poet engages in interdisciplinary studies in comparative literature and visual semiotics. She has writtten Discourse of the Prayer (2008) and The Portrait of the image (2010), and as a poet has published The Eighth Day (2005) and The Burning Sun (2008), editor of the bilingual book The Jews from Macedonia and the Holocaust: history, culture and theory [Евреите од Македонија и холокаустот: историја, култура и теорија] (2011) and is co-editor of the bilingual book-zine edition DOMA [HOME], vol. 1 (2010).

She is currently Assistant Professor at the Institute for Social and Humanities Research “Euro-Balkan”, Republic of Macedonia, where she teaches cultural and political theory.

read this text in Macedonian:


Софија Грандаковска

Авионот личи на риба што лета. Тој, и оваа 2010 зима слета повторно дома кај apexart во Њујорк. А, токму таму – и јас. Морам да признаам дека во секое летање, е содржано патување како освојување низ времето и низ просторот. Така, патувањето е освојување, но и откривање. Не мислам дека откривањето треба да биде колумбовско, но сметам дека патувањето секогаш носи магична колумбовска широчина на просторот во себе, на она што е нематеријална, лична, безвремена, но и богата, шарена земја на духот и на душата. И отсекогаш сум мислела дека таа внатрешна земја треба да се сподели. Верувам во истото и сега. Затоа, и сакам да го споделам Њујорк. Споделувајќи го Њујорк, ја споделувам и својата, духовна земја со Њујорк, со светот и надежно, со сите оние кои можеби некогаш ќе ја чујат…

Живеам во Република Македонија речиси сиот мој живот. И тоа е мојата земја, мојот дом, најверојатно местото на моите претци, а преку нив и на се она што се нарекува култура, традиција и универзум на еден мал свет. Градот во кој живеам е Скопје, и по некаква општа логика би требало да го претставува мојот град, градот на моето детство, на сето мое школување, на моите пријатели, на моето семејство, на сите радости и таги кои се дел од растењето на мојот живот. Но, јас искрено не верувам дека тоа е и навистина мојот град, како и тоа дека не сум ни сигурна дали постои такво место на светот коешто го одвојува концептот за „мојот град″ од она што би било град којшто не е мој. Сметам дека концептот за мојот град е империјалистичка замисла којашто му ја одзема широчината на љубовта на светот во којшто постојат многу градови, а со тоа и многу љубови. Во таа смисла, и многу начини на давање и на примање на љубовта кон и од градот, а со тоа и се она што е во него, многу квартови од кои внатрешната земја на секој еден од нас станува поубава, поширока и подлабока. Така, градот во кој сум родена, а во кој никогаш не сум живеела и градот во којшто живеам е само една од авениите по кои се стига до внатрешната земја, која секогаш води – дома, кон себе, а оттаму и до другиот.

Овие нешта ги размислував, ги живеев во Њујорк, во градот, во којшто само две-три згради можат да ги сместат сите два милони жители на мојата земја, град во кој уште повеќе се сместени добрата на европската и на сите светски и древни култури, град во кој, низ протокот на енергијата од светот, ги слушнав истите добри, но и ги видов и истите грди нешта од човечките лица, и како во огледало видов исти нешта од културата на мојата земја, но и на културите на многу земји. Град во кој чувстуваш припадност кон шаренилото на различноста која сепак се спојува во еден ист меридијан, чиешто потекло е – човекот. Град, во кој антихуманистичката архитектура со сета своја височина ти покажува две нешта: колку си мал, а од друга страна колку можеш да бидеш голем и отворен во својата внатрешна земја, исто како небото, до кое чиниш зградите се допираат со својот врв со него. А, ти, тоа можеш само да го гледаш со восхит. Тој можеби може да биде и застрашувачки и тогаш од тебе сигурно зборува малиот човек. Но, ако ја гледаш сликата со отворено срце и со отворен ум, тогаш твојата внатрешна земја станува домот во кој е широко, удобно, топло и човечко. Така, Њујоршката архитектура за мене носи длабоко симболично значење, секако и хуманистичка димензија – да отвори простор за сентиментот како широко чувство за внатрешната земја на еден мал човек во Њујорк. Њујорк образува, едуцира, учи, покажува како внатрешната, нематеријална земја да се отвори во себе си, пред себе си и пред светот. Така, сентиментот претстанува да биде само тоа. Тој се развива во длабок сензибилитет низ воспитниот карактер на се она што како палета го нуди Њујорк, каде нештата можат да станат скулптурно цврсти, приземно вистинити, а не да останат само воздушни или пак едноставно восхитувачко сентиментални. Да станат – фотографија.

Повторно Њујорк. И, таму, повторно се сретнав со Марко Аурелиј (121-180), кој еднаш, во „За самиот себе“, запиша вака: „Се што сум и се што претставувам, е ова бедно месо, малку здив и водечкиот ум! Сепак, време е да станеш свесен за тоа што е светот, во којшто ти си само мал дел, и којшто е владетел на светот чијшто потомок си ти. И дека твоето време е многу ограничено и ако не го употребиш за да го истераш меракот на душата, тоа неповратно ќе помине и со тебе ќе биде свршено, бидејќи не ќе може да се вратиш.″

Размислувајќи за овие неколку реда, се обидувам да ја разберам идејата, а не акцијата, да ја разберам содржината која подоцна по еден природен пат ги конституира вредностите на акцијата наречена живот. Ако тој е една богата приказна со релативна должина и човечка висина, но пред се вистина, тогаш отсекогаш ме интересирало паметењето кое започнало како ирационално, а со моето човечко зреење станало патеводител за правење рационални нешта. Па, така, се она што сум го слушала и сите книги кои сум ги прочитала во детството, па и подоцна, се она што е дел од моето семејно и академско воспитување, ме направиле и созреале во она што сум денес јас.

На еден магичен начин Њујорк ме тераше да размислувам за мојот татковински дом, кој е внатрешен простор, без можност да добие некогаш свој детален архив. Но, овде, во Њујорк го размислував токму тој сакрален, внатрешен, мој архив и од она што го разбрав за него дека тој не е воопшто херметичка кутија. Разбрав дека за него посебна вредност претставува враќањето во домот. Враќањето како суштинска точка од каде можеби и се започнува. Во мојот напор да се обидам да се сетам од кога и како започнал патот на кој стојам денес, се навраќам кон детството како кон еден свет простор. И тоа би сакала да го споделам со вас, не затоа што се занимавам со литература, па ги сакам приказните, туку затоа што тоа е моментот од кој тоа е моментот од кој започнува моето најрано искуство за истражување на тајната.

Мојот дедо во својот стан имаше фотографска лабораторија и кога гореше црвеното светло во неа, никој не смееше да влезе таму. Не ми беше јасно зошто еден правник би се занимавал со фотографија. Ми беше уште понејасно зошто, кога решив таа забрана барем еднаш да не важи, скришум влегов и не разбрав зошто само некакви ленти се закачени, изнаредени и засветлени како шара од црвен килим. Па, дури и кога ги гледав готовите фотографии, кои беа најчесто најсреќните моменти кога тој не собираше сите заедно, ми беше повторно тајна како од црвеното светло станале црно-бели. Го прашав еднаш, и тој не употреби многу зборови, но до ден денешен се сеќавам на она што тој ми го кажа тогаш, помалку лаконски: Ништо не е црно-бело, па ни фотографијата. Постои нешто што не се гледа, а треба да се види. Таа приказна на дедо ми во која немаше многу зборови, во мене како да стана свест за себе, свест за светот, порив како крик, како пат, како детаљ од големата историја за малиот човек. Таа приказна за мене значеше откритие да се има внатрешен сензибилитет, кој не е видлив и кој нужно не мора да се спознае низ дијалог, но нужно мора да се тежнее да се валорозира. Затоа се повеќе имав потреба да ја хранам приказната, да го градам истражувањето по кое следи некоја друга приказна, да ја валоризирам акцијата на она кое постои а не се гледа, на животот, науката, уметноста, литературата, со едно длабоко сознание дека ништо не доаѓа туку така. Но, не знам дали сум сеуште паметна, или пак мудра да кажам нешто повеќе или отповеќе за тој водечки ум на човекот. Но, интуитивно, морам да признаам дека не постои таков којшто ќе ја каже најголемата мудрост за него еднаш за секогаш. Тоа се нашите дела. Тоа е спектарот на црно-белото. Оптички невидлив, но со голема можност и предизвик за големиот ум да го види, за кој некогаш говореше и Марко Аурелиј.

Таквата метафора во мене откриваше еден Одисеј во Њујорк, каде зборовите на Марко Аурелиј ја имаа истата семиотичка вредност на фотографскиот спектар и црно-белото, а кое не е само тоа. Таа семиотичка валоризација низ моќта на мојата одисеја, ме натера, во Њујорк, којшто беше мојот дом, да запишам: it is really wonderful to be back home. Моето повторно враќање во Њујорк не е никаква метафора за патувањето, туку е можност да се биде повторно дома. Што значи да се биде дома во Њујорк? Тоа не е метафора за враќањето назад во истиот физички простор. Тоа е кога мојата внатрешна, лична земја се чувствува дома. И тоа не е сон, ниту пак обид за сеќавање на сонот. Таквата благодарност за моето искуство на мојата внатрешна земја, му ја должам на apexart, а помалку на авионот којшто е риба и што лета во Њујорк.

Apr 7


THE PORTRAIT OF THE IMAGE by Sofija Grandakovska

After-words by prof. Elizabeta Dimitrova:”The Portrait of the Image“, Or: Twelve Windows of the New Vista of ’The Spiritual in Art’

(in: Sofija Grandakovska, The Portrait of the Image, 2010)

At the onset of the second decade of the 21st century, the era that Arthur Clarke’s 2010: Second Odyssey defines as a time which fuses discovery and philosophy into one big humanistic game played by humanity itself, the race for essential resources, the invasive technological progress of science and the insatiable creativity of multimedial artistic performances, bring forth new research interests and understandings in all aspects of human conduct. The breakthrough of the postcolonial social efforts and the new world order, in terms of economic zones of interest, toppled by the progress into the endlessness of the powerful virtual mechanisms of the global communicative reality and the clash between modernism and postmodernity at the level of anthropological and cultural interpretations of contemporary art, are just some of the basic traits of the complex and chaotic chronological kaleidoscope which we call our epoch.

Within the context of these particular geo-political and technologically-commercial frameworks of the contemporary world, presenting themselves as the existential prerogatives of all that we call life, the humanities have grown into a luxurious decoration at the seams of survival, thus becoming an expensive ornament placed at the margins of reality’s cruelty. As such, they have lost their ‘renaissance provenance’, their status as distinct guides through life’s labyrinths of knowledge, and have thus been transformed into a trendy addition to the popular debates within academia or during the night outings in fine arts’ aficionado clubs. Due to this, they have lost their primary function, namely – to nurture man’s spirit with the sweet nectar of knowledge, of and about himself, of his inspiration and imagination, of creation and creative exaltation, of the eternal search for beauty and goodness and of the greatness in art’s endeavors involving all of humanity. And yet, through the steep ravines of the contemporary social crises and economic recessions, under the covers of nationalist agonies and terrorist plots, the humanist explorations of ‘the chosen’ enthusiasts reach the surface of the heaving waves of global politics, steering our attention towards the calm port of life’s values. Thus, above the clamor of war and the whirlwind of social calamity, artistic creation and creative manifestations, the restorative movements and the spiritual atmosphere of human communities leave their timeless imprint on the pages of the patiently created studies about man’s role in the cluttered universe of existence. Amongst them, Sofija Grandakovska’s ”The Portrait of the Image“ deserves a place of distinction.

The book, ”The Portrait of the Image“, by Sofija Grandakovska, PhD in General and Comparative Literature and one of Macedonia’s most decorated young authors and scholars, represents a worthy collection of twelve scholarly essays, previously published in eminent trade magazines dedicated to literature and linguistic studies, both at home and abroad, in several of the world’s cultural centers, or presented at conferences dedicated to literary, artistic or cultural themes. The collection unifies research carried out in twelve different, but not that far removed themes, all connected to the interpretation of literary phenomena, with the forms of artistic expression, with the process of the creative manifestation of the individual in the spheres of canonically set references, with the spiritual expression of the literary and the visual models of creation in the medieval and the contemporary epochs, and with the socio-cultural meanings of the sacred artistic practice for the comprehension of the Macedonian cultural heritage. Set within the areas of interdisciplinary cultural studies and as such, treating the different and provocative aspects of researching literary works and reflecting on their structural references as found in the many spheres of visual art, Sofija Grandakovska’s twelve essays represent a lively and exciting contribution to the development of the semiotic methods in the study of artistic creation. At the same time, they stand as an authentic and quite novel journey through the vast horizons of the cultural stratigraphy in Macedonia, encrusted through the centuries of the creative yearnings and lit by the sparks of the theologians, poets, fresco-painters and icon-masters.

Founded on the research efforts of the leading world theoreticians, as well as the author’s own lengthy studies and observations, the twelve essays which comprise the contents of the book ”The Portrait of the Image“ unify the following humanities’ areas: archeology and her sub-disciplines, history of fine arts, art criticism, literary genres, cultural-historical analyses and the studies of the medieval church and contemporary spiritual culture in one contents-wise rich, methodologically innovative, and stylistically refined synthesis of ideas, understandings, literary images and narrative poetics. Furthermore, the plastic explication of the contents, the lively language of the author and the unobtrusiveness in the presentation of the results, make this book out into a true intellectual experience and a needed challenge for literary and art theorists, archaeologists and historians, ethnologists and cultural anthropologists, the greater reading public and all those followers of the humble yet animate language, but also due to the knowledge which reveals the interdisciplinary character of artistic creation in its various and myriad forms. Throughout the twelve scholarly pieces, presented as theoretical windows, open to the light of new research ideas, Sofija Grandakovska, poet and noted literary theorist, a didact and a renown literary critic, a good reader of the fine arts and an accomplished culturologist, offers a carefully conceptualized and ambitiously selected choice of themes, motifs, problems of science, research ideas and authorial interpretations. The first window, ”The Anonymous Creation in the Movable Archeological Material on the Territory of Macedonia“, opens itself towards the understanding of the magical function of one leaden amulet found in the locality of the medieval town of Črešče, through a nuanced literary and structural analysis of the written prophylactic text. By revealing the secretive messages of the Old Slavonic words dedicated to the mystic dimensions of protection and healing, the author exposes the traditional form of the prayer discourse, imprinted on the ritual matrix of this rare literary-epigraphic medieval document. The second window, ”The Visual Semiotics of the Short Story: fresco-story“, is focused on the exploration of the complex process of interaction between the various mediums of artistic creation. By analyzing the visual narrativity of Biblical verses and their meaning in the process of forming the medieval visual matrixes, the author chooses the opulent structure of ‘The Communion of the Apostles’, displayed in the altar space of The church of Saint George, in the village of Staro Nagorichino, for one of her complex and demanding semiotic analyses. The design of the scene, its structural components, the optical parameters and the visually-aesthetic solution in and of itself, in this essay by Sofija Grandakovska, are turn into elements of a literary story with multi-faceted symbolism, inspired by the subtle didactics of the New Testament verses and narrated by the skillful strokes of the painterly brushes of the Nagorichino Masters.

The third window, ”Muñoz and Sampayo. Comix. Cortázar. (A Unity Dreamt by its own Provenance)“, testifies to an interest invested in the exploration of the Western European matrixes, and as such analyzes the literary and the artistic through the polyvalence of the literary-artistic expression found in comic as a form of art. Plodding through the spheres of an inventively designed visual narrative, dedicated to the phantasmagoric dimension of Julio’s Cortázar work, Grandakovska displays her knowledge of, not only contemporary Latin American prose, but also the different ways in which it may be put to use while creating the exciting forms of the commercially successful popular culture. The forth window, ”Memory and Prayer“, reveals the subtle semiotic strands of the prayer discourse and its anthropological dimension, through the four representative examples coming from the spectrum of the contemporary Macedonian poetry. From the colossal flux of the human spirit in the search of eternal virtue, as found in the master-piece ‘Prayer’ by Blaže Koneski, through the poetic invocation of the verses by Katica Kjulavkova, and the Old Testament-based memory-prayer element in the work of Mihail Rendzov, all the way to the sophisticated prayer cry of the poetic speech of Metodij Zlatanov, the author of this essay, carefully, conjures the components of an explicative analysis of the literary forms of the prayer, thus foregrounding for us the cosmic dimensions of this, the oldest spiritual monologue of humanity.

The fifth window, ”Image, Text or Speech“, examines the divine within the artist and analyzes the artistic dimension of the categories of the divine. Starting with the literary semiotics of Biblical texts, and going through the wondrous world of the medieval iconographic manifestations of Biblical soteriology, Grandakovska depicts the complex dialogue between word and image, based on the iconic principles of the sacred context of visual presentations. The sixth window, ”Embroidery as a Global Semiotic Sign“, reveals the sacred structural units of the traditional Macedonian embroidery, by examining the semiotic references of the monumental symbolism in Blaže Koneski’s ”The Embroideress“. By weaving out the components of a complex dialogic structure (‘Two cherished threads unpick/from the depth of your heart /and weave them into /fulfilling their part: /A black one to mourn of fearful sorrow unsaid /A red one to tell of yearning, longing and dread’), one of the most beautiful poems in the contemporary Macedonian literary production, the author discloses and vivisects the semiotic nucleus of the eternal dichotomy of existence and death.

The seventh window, ”The Biblical motifs in Macedonian Literature“, represents an essay on the character and meaning of the Biblical motifs and their creative transformation and utilization, through the forms of the translated medieval literature, through the forms of the epoch of the Enlightenment, all the way to the forms of the contemporary Macedonian literature.

The eighth window, ”A Mytho-critical Reading of the Visually Imaginative Symbolism of Vladimir Georgievski“, is a superb semiotic analysis of two works from the opus of the above named contemporary Macedonian painter, which fuses the visual forms of the compositions, the structure of the aesthetic expression, the symbolic assembly of the iconographic components and the complex configuration of the optical effects, into an essayistic expression, worthy, if not even greater than the artistic idiom of Geogrievski himself. The ninth window, ”The Strumica Carnival and its Semiotics of Universality“, is the window of little Sofija, in her home town, in her room and in her burning imagination and curiosity, with which she passes on to us the exaltation of the collective cultural performance by her co-citizens, sublimated in the traditional manifestation of the rhythmically-mimetic carnival’s pomp and circumstance. By analyzing the procedural form of the carnival’s activities, through an examination of the archetypal traits of the event, and by delving into the mythic dimensions of its universal referentiality, Grandakovska foregrounds for us the cosmic model of the performance models, which in turn may be found within the fundaments of the rituals of carnival on the streets of Strumica.

The tenth window, ”Triptych: New Understandings of the Historical Continuity and Identity of Nuns in Macedonia (XIV-XVIIICentury)“, exposes the sacral atmosphere of a vibrant spiritual center in Medieval Macedonia, by examining the monastic privileges of the commissioners of the church of Sts Constantine and Helen in Ohrid. By studying the role of the Lady-commissioner Marija, based on a number of preserved historical documents as well as visual evidence supporting her donor benefits, Sofija Grandakovska foregrounds and analyzes the question of the identity status of nuns during the centuries of the late Medieval epoch. The eleventh window, ”A Multiplied Literary Story: a Biblical Text, a Master from Nerezi, the Italian Renaissance and Macedonian Contemporary Poetry“, opens to a comparativist analysis of the humanist tendencies in the various mediums of artistic creation, through the semiotic configuration of the ancient textual prerogatives, the Byzantine history, the late-gothic paintings and modern poetic inspiration. The exalted sentimentality of Nerezi’s ‘Lamentation’, the sacral glory of the mastery of Giotto in the Arena Chapel in Padua and the sensitive poetic tonality of Mihail Rendzov, in this essay are sublimated into a story of the cosmic dimension of humanism in the master-pieces of the world’s artistic production. The twelfth window, ”The Priesthood of the Woman-Denominator, of the Maternity“, represents a study of one of the cultural phenomena of Biblical and contemporary history, seen through the prism of its social, anthropological and cultural significance. Through a careful study of the dichotomous structure of the Old Testament tales about the role of the male and the female principle in the Genesis story, through the analysis of the soteriological dimension of the New Testament didactics, all the way to an immediate research contact with contemporary nuns in Macedonia, Sofija Grandakovska, in this essay, presents herself as one of the most committed and most versed academic authorities dealing with the issue of ‘female spirituality’. The author’s studious approach while elaborating the chosen research challenges, configured as such through an inventive collection of twelve scholarly pieces, twelve windows open to the innovative approach towards humanistic phenomena and their interpretation, turns this book into a serious study of the pathways of artistic creation, of the inspiration from the symbolism in the Biblical epics, of the fine arts’ aesthetics in the medieval works and of the delicate processes of the creative symbiosis between the spiritual and its manifestations. On the other hand, the picturesque expression of themes and life, the dynamic authorial approach towards the explication of the multiple motifs and references, resounds with the energy of a subtle literary style, rich with contents and engaging in the ways of communicating with its audience. Along those lines, the analysis of the epigraphic markings and their interaction with the literary genre’s reference of the text written on the archaeological find in the village of Črešče, the nuanced examination of the historical and social identity of the female monastic life in Byzantine Macedonia, the masterful semiotic discourse inspired by the colossal literary-aesthetic composite in the scene of ‘The Lamentation of Christ’ and the vivid definition of the literary phenomena through the visual context of the representation of ‘The Communion of the Apostles’, are just some of the extraordinary qualities this book possesses, a collection which, quite skilfully, delves into the sombre spheres of scientific explications, while at the same time, never relinquishing its refined tonality, of a poetically subtle authorial voice.

Representing a valuable sample which affirms the contemporary principles in the study of humanity’s cultural and artistic legacy, the book, ”The Portrait of the Image“, by Sofija Grandakovska, is not just another collection of essays which testify to the impressive research interests and abilities of its author, nor simply an impressive composite of twelve varied stories on the spiritual and the artistic. If we take Kandinsky’s word to be true, that ‘each period of a civilization creates an art that is specific and unique, then we can say that ”The Portrait of the Image“is an unique study on the art of the Christian civilization and of the creative values specific for the Medieval Era.

Apr 7


after-words: THE BURNING SUN by Sofija Grandakovska

After-words by Prof. Bojana Stojanović Pantović in: Sofija Grandakovska, The Burning Sun (2009)


In her first published collection of poetry The Eighth Day (2005), some kind of a modern lyric mythological-poetic epic or poem, Sofija Grandakovsa (1973) marks the coordinates of her poetic galaxy that, like an un-extinguished secret fl ame, shines forth in her latest manuscript The Burning Sun.

Can that poetic stance on oneself and the world, as well as a distinctive emotional intelligence, be designated as a discourse of prayer without labeling it as inherently dogmatically religious or traditionally confessional? Yes, undoubtedly, if it presupposes a type of a modern religious imagination, that adopts the discourse of prayer as its semiotic framework for understanding one special, more intimate form of communication with the principle of sacredness, that is, the numinous. By virtue of the exploration of its perfection in the spheres it has been perennially conveyed in various historical periods and in the ruins of mythical remembrances, through its vigorous resurrection at the times of one’s own and other people’s living, through inheritance and anticipation, through vision and oblivion – ultimately, through the recording of these traces in the seismograph of one’s soul, one’s own auto-bio-graphy, as the poetess claims herself in Why Poetry?

And that is why the starting point of the poetical discourse of this remarkable poetess features the hagio-poetical glorification of the world at one special moment that, according to T.S. Eliot is forever now, and that fractures layers of the past, the turbulent but transient present, and the awaited future. And all you ever wanted to be. Thus, prayer is a fluid, elusive self-discourse addressed to someone else, whoever it might be – a beloved person, father, mother, ancestors, a birth-town, a familiar landscape, a fi gure of a saint, and finally, the very Divine instance of the eternal and never attainable love. God, as a constant invocation, listening to, gauging one’s own splitting, anxiety, but, also a faith in self-fulfillment. The lyrical voice is powerfully erotized and appears as a drifting, nomadic ‘I’, some sort of illumination that casts light on the text, the palimpsest, from the inside. It is set in a non-specified temporal space, yet can at any moment be ascertained as a unique existential presence in a historical, a mythical, as well as a metaphysical sense. The contemporary discourse is a mode of lyrical invocation there where one would expect to find a sober veritable description or a rational paraphrase of a read piece of literature, inter-textual, or cultorological references.

In the poetry of Sofija Grandakovska, though firmly embedded in the aspiration towards unity, that is not the case. The cycles of her poetry are arbitrary and loosely connected through recurring motifs and musical cadences; the musicality and melodiousness of the long verses (see in particular the first two introductory poems Standing Before the World and Aboard a White Ship), coupled with syntactical repetition (parallelism) evoke the Biblical verses.

However, here formal monotony and uniformity are absent because short forms consisting of several lines, fragments, and miniatures alternate with longer poems of more poetical momentum. Thus they remind that their comprehensiveness is merely a symbolical indicator of a thorough inter-permeation of meanings. They don’t emerge out of darkness but rather out of the flame of memory; not out of nothing, but out of the pre-existential ideas of goodness, grace, beauty, truth, and love. Out of some primordial absolute that the poetess still feels dwells in the space of her own soul. Like a great revival of the Romantic universal ideas sparked through the procedure of the spiritualization of matter, abstraction of the material essence of the world into spiritual entities at the time when they were exposed to the chaste look. Can words restore that fullness of things, that first flush of elements – water, fire, the burning sun, transparent air - walking on the path that is a mystery in itself, for via it we transpose ourselves into infinity?

Will, then, the poets, as Hoelderlin held, continue to gaze at the skies in which gods are absent and wait for the moment of their return? Will the contemporary man, like Prometheus, succeed in redeeming from the void that lump of light that is sacredness? Or will we all together, and the entire universe, be exposed to that ‘metaphysical coldness’ that harbors the greatest secrets, sealed and dumb. Poetry shares with its readers the secret of the world, but only when the poetess through her loneliness and alertness secludes from the world in order to imbue it into herself more thoroughly and intensely, to embrace her poetical I-ness. When the religion of the heart amounts to self-awareness and understanding oneself and the other, oneself-in-the-other, when it reaches the love of infinity, that is life, just like death.

Therefore, the poetess keeps returning to the initial, tormenting situation – what to write about and how? Because what she feels is a readiness to endure the explosion of the language, like before one’s birth, usually ends in something entirely different, maybe less important, however, not a bit less necessary and painful:

I was dividing myself in a great sorrow

When an old age was dying in me forever.

It hurt a lot

And it burned a lot

And it cried a lot

because that was the only way it could leave me

To make room for a new meeting

With the truth.

-By Myself -

Because as the chasm between the appearance and reality, the former and the present, the illusion and the truth, grows wider – it enhances the poet’s memory of the moment when we all believed that the lie and its appeal can be and are truthful. Thus the passage of time is auto-reflexive, at the same time creating one more pronounced reservation towards the previous condition of happiness and fullness. The new position sets in through inavoidable suffering, through a reconstruction of the walked path. Only thus it is possible to »make room for a new meeting / with the truth«. And in order to have it all recorded, before the meeting with the paper, the senses pulsate somehwere between a breath and the energy of things, trying to impress the shape of this relationship through words. All the passion tinged with the easiness of addressing the Other transforms into anxious stammering, feeling in the dark, the process of lava cooling before an earthquake strikes, before the vessel of Odyssey sets out into the Great Sea. Whereupon the senses go numb, fade away, leaving the traces of their exposure to the reader, the receiver of the message in a bottle.

Standing face to face, you and I

Like two burned suns

Each of us with her and his own sunrise

You always from the East

I from the inside

From within my burned Sun –

Am giving birth to you again.

-The Burning Sun: Birth ­

As if the poetess herself is the metaphor for the overall creation, a creative potential and a force of destruction, a constant within a change - the one invisible, internal - that becomes visible through the prayer-like tone of the poem. Sofi ja Grandakovska doubts the contemporary world of functions and systems of pragmatic relationships, wherein every thing and individual have their mechanical, practical, virtual value. The reality of a spiritual manipulation is manifested through masks, through a hide-and-seek game, truth and lie – on whose contradictions – as Kafka wrote, rests this world. Her poetic output is a testimony to love that has existed before us, before and after the world. And it constitutes this world even when we are not aware of it. The constant passing of light through pure matter, the annulment of the historical time for the sake of the mythical, eternal truths. Grandakovska does not only treat stereotypical situations; rather, in the archetypal variations, she imprints her own existential experience of self-sacrifice, fear and hope, nostalgia and oblivion, misgiving and vulnerability. Then, when logos and eros conjoin in one point, in that ultimate, final moment of wholeness. And this is harder to grasp than infinity and space.

Apr 7


Discourse Of The Prayer by Sofija Grandakovska

(Discourse of the Prayer cover page, original drawing by Yane Calovski)


(final remarkst in: Sofija Grandakovska, Discourse of the Prayer, 2008)

I. Prayer [eu)xh, proveuxh, prosfwnhsij, e)piklhsiv, molítь, prosi] has existed since the earliest times of man’s existence and thus acquired the most diversified forms of pattern and expression. Albeit throughout history it evinces versatile forms (devotion, invocation, act of trust, supplication-petition, praise giving, glorification, psalm, hymnographic forms, and other), nevertheless, its most profound gist has stayed unchanged, and it itself has remained the centerpiece of the spiritual life.

Within the framework of the pre-literature context of prayer, we ascertain the possibility to define prayer as an existential, ritualistic, social, and musical act, as well as the first speech of man that is onomatopoeic in nature. Therefore, the existence of prayer in the archaic poetry is related to its existence as an archetype that transferred its constant elements and the forms of the speaking genres to the later prayer forms in literature, understood as the derived genre forms of high stylistic and poetical connotation.

By changing its external form and maintaining its internal essence as an address, a dialogue, a speech, and language, in the act of communication with the transcendental reality, in the literary period prayer expands its context, establishes itself, and thrives in several directions that disclose its function, too: as a literary-scientific and artistic category, it realizes a relationship with the archetypal, the theological, the aesthetic-ethical, the biblical, the liturgical, the anthropo-semiotic, the linguistic-poetical, and the stylistic expression.

The earliest record testifying to the existence of prayer in literature originates more than 5000 years ago (Keller, 1987, 9), which means that language, myth, religion, art, and literature are higher forms that surpass its organic nature. They are the cognitive forms of man that emerge in the wake of the pre-religion era. The affirmation of the concept of prayer starts as the archetype, and, as a result of its development throughout history, it becomes a literary genre in the Hellenistic, Jewish, Christian, Byzantine, and the Old Slavonic literatures, wherein it attains the form of a poetic-rhetorical genre thatnot onlyretains the communication with the higher form of reality but also supplements it with highly developed poetical and stylistic means of expression.

The development of the prayer discourse in a literary text, that intrinsically absolves the methodology of semiotics, reveals that the stylistic, culturological, sociological, and anthropological context of prayer across time is and has invariably been a profound need of man. Using the semiotic approach, this monograph The Discourse of Prayer expands its field of research to the level of discourse, the theoretical-poetical, the contextual, and the classifying establishment of prayer as a literary genre. The existence of the plethora of prayer forms in the pre-literature period enabled us to structure a hierarchy among them and create a genealogical classification of the oral forms or the archetypes. However, any scientific classification remains subsisting only within its given relative context, for it would refer only to the theoretical and not the historical level. Thus the assertion we confronted is contended through the impossibility to ascertain which prayer form is the first one [a)rxh], that is, the one from which all the others were derived. Therefore, the research of this aspect concludes with one generalized construct on the typology, but not on the chronology of the oral prayer forms.

On the other hand, the prayer discourse in Jewish and Christian literatures, in particular the examples of Byzantine poetry - that stands out by way of its rich genre classification of prayer, amongst which special emphasis is laid as on the liturgical-eucharistic poetical genre - reveals a deep reminiscence of the archetypes that retained the constitutive element of the prayer text in the later literary periods, namely, the existence of two sides that are connected through the principle of a dialogue. As an anthropological-semiotic phenomenon, this communicational dimension of the prayer induces its development as a literary genre as well, thereby bringing our research of prayer as a highly aesthetical act of artistic creation to a close.

II. Prayer is a complex semiotic category. It inherently contains a binary opposition, both in the etymological and the theoretical sense. As an extra-literature phenomenon, it is related to the existential and social functions geared toward the process of the (self)-conceptualization of the primitive awareness, as an act of cognition and cosmization. Hence, prayer ceases to be only a sign of a scream, petition, desire, and alike; instead, it becomes a text that has absolved within itself a hierarchy of signs aimed at introducing structure into man’s life through mythical-magical-ritualistic acts, acts practiced by a certain group of people in the pre-literature period.

As a semiotic category, what does the text of the primitive prayers consist of? Establishing prayer as a pre-literature text, within the general relation sign –denotation, we register the communication between the desire of the primitive awareness to ward off the forces of unknown origin and acknowledge what they refer to. Hence, the forms of the prayer through a scream, a petition, magical formulas of a diviner, evocations, and alike; as oral speech and ritualistic-rite ceremonies; and as visual and external units of the prayer text enhance the symbolical facet of the prayer in the pre-literature period. Prayer as a sign entails the answer to its essence and existence: by way of the prayer discourse, its form, content, and symbolical meaning are rendered. Thus, prayer is immanent to the semiotic approach.

The second semiotic indicator contained in the category of the denotate yields the connection of the language of the prayer to its pragmatic use: how should it be understood, that is, what does prayer convey through its expressive forms? Within this context, the pivotal point of interest is focused on the decoding of the distinct praying procedures. The incorporation of the sign and the denotate (the referred) in the prayer discourse underscores the interest in the question: what (all) can be comprised in its text as a sign, and what is the nature of the sign?

As a means of communication in the pre-literature context, including vocal characteristics of poor or inarticulate syntax, speech designates the nature of the sign in the prayer to be that of an icon. Such communicational expression presupposes an external similarity between the sign and the denotate, that is, the structure of the sign and its essence. Thus, the conditioned sign of the natural language, of the level ofthe other – the denotate, becomes a derived sign that refers similar to similar and proclaims its nature to be icon-like; the iconic sign (Eco, 1973, p.118) reproduces a form of the real relation it refers to. In the pre-literature speech, the content of the prayer is addressed to a higher form of reality, a spirit, a deity, and, later on, God. For man, that reality is unknown, and therefore threatening. Hence, the semiotic characteristic of the prayer discourse renders the very features of the denotate: namely, fear – through a desire to overcome it, and, in turn, to win it over as some kind of good.

Within this context, we discover that the relation archetype-type is contained in the prayer text from the pre-literature period. The semiotics of this relation suggests the designated moment: speech (addressed) to the archetype (the unknown, that looms above like a threat, but at the same time, a salvation, too) represents the inner emotional ambience of the primitive atmosphere through fear. Thus we deem that this archetypal relation discloses the nature of the semiotics of speech as an anthropological moment, that will be retained as a constant integral element in the prayer as a literary fact. Even though it will change its context by virtue of various literary devices, it will keep its constant feature as a constitutive, by and large, iconic sign of versatile prayer discourses as a biblical text, a theological argument, a genre-literary, visual, and cultorological fact: its relationship is one of a dialogue, an act of addressing in the attempt to seek protection and safety.

Through its historical and theoretical contexts as a speech, language, and discourse, prayer decodes the intricate hidden meanings of the original. Here, the prayer’s sacral dimension is ascertained in the need to understand, and in its highest form, the discourse of prayer acquires its most intimate, ontological distinction in the hesychastic prayer, since it presupposes a discovery of one’s innermost hidden – the Christian God as love (infinity).

The iconic relation archetype-type does not only refer to the category of the transcendental reality. Therefore, its re-shifting towards the literary interest of prayer gains both constructive and deconstructive features. This is revealed in the field of authorship: arche-author = individual author; in the field of genre: arche-genre = literary genre; in the field of language: arche-speech = language, alphabet, meta-language, text; in the field of the stylistic-expressive means, in the field of theology, gnoseology, the social-existential, the ritual-religious, the aesthetic-ethical, and the cultorological field.

The literary context of the prayer contains within itself every arche of the prayer discourse from the pre-literature period. This implies the evolutional and modelational stages of the language, that is, the prayer text. Notwithstanding these alternations, every evolution and modification of the prayer mode (expression), without exception, starts with that iconic-arche as a bearer of its future development.

The supreme example of this relationship is illustrated with the representative output of the Hellenic, Jewish, and Christian literary heritage, with a special emphasis laid on Byzantine poetry (including the liturgical-eucharistic and the non-liturgical), as well as the transitional Old Slavonic heritage with eminent examples of the rhythmically organized prayer. What the literary prayer contains from its (pre-literature) arche as its substratum is a dialogical relationship between the poet and the divine reality. Highlighting this fact, the poet, employing his poetic stylistic and literary devices, codifies prayer in a mimetic-language (Hamburger, 1976, 229) and linguistic materialization. Prayer becomes a literary work of art. As a cognitive instrument, prayer strives towards its universalization as a literary phenomenon through rhythm, verse, and meter. The poetical I praises, invokes, beseeches, confesses, and objectively strives toward the same goal as did the primitive awareness. In that fashion, the reader becomes a participant in a poetical praying ceremony. The poetical lexis of the prayer enables repetitions of the arche-substratum through the hymnical resounding of the abstraction and literary etiquetting (Likhachev, 1972, 132-137), as a sign of the spiritual, timeless, eternal, and elated. Thus, prayer as a pre-literary phenomenon asserts itself as a literary text whose constituent part displays an icon-like quality of a literary symbol.

The text of the prayer becomes a text of culture because it references “the universal system of semiotic representation in a way the world is perceived.”[1] Thus, from speech as an oral-vocal-onomatopoeic expression of the inner feeling of the primitive awareness, prayer becomes a discourse that, as a semiotic activity, inserts its meanings into the time-space ambience, the literary-language, and the cultorological context.

III. Our scholastic research, The Discourse of Prayer, dedicated to the phenomenon of prayer, located its initial positions in the question on the origin of prayer, which is cognate with the origin of man. This anthropological context has its underpinning in the following data: that great civilizations, or civilization as such, emanated from man’s fear. Hence, the question: what had existed before civilization as an organized way of life featuring culture and alphabet came into being – we logically linked the origin of prayer to the following question: in what way, in what form, in what context, and with what function it existed. As regards the origin of prayer per se, it is archaeological and anthropological, and the scope of this work is limited to its literary aspects; thus, the question on the origin of prayer inevitably includes its pre-literature context in the archaic poetics as an archetype that belongs to the oral expression and the primary types. To wit, the answer on its origin and further development rests in the first form of human awareness, which is syncretic: myth, magic, ritual, and rite. And its subsequent forms depend on the level of spirituality and the religious life it is studied in, as well as the diversified addressees it targeted. Therefore, the study of the origin of prayer is the question we contended within the fields of the following:

1) etymology

One of the possible definitions of prayer is seeking good. At different levels of cultures, seeking good is related to different ways in which man was searching for good. Hence, using the assets of linguistics, the primitive awareness dwelling in the foyer of human culture and subsisting by way of a mythical-magic mode of thinking, realized its pursuit of good through sacrificial offering to the one it intended to appease. With the development of culture, the concept of sacrifice will get its more perfect and deepened content, ending with Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for humanity. Hence, prayer as seeking good through sacrifice presupposes an act addressed to a higher, unknown reality, so that with the development of civilization, prayer becomes a dialogue with that higher form of reality or God;

2) prayer as a pre-literature phenomenon

When tackling the phenomenon of prayer in primitive cultures, when man had no self-consciousness and no awareness about his environment and processes in nature in general, the archaic poetics raised the following question: how then did man perceive the world around himself, and failing to grasp it, how did he fight against unknown forces in order to survive? Scholars agree that in the attempt to introduce order in his life and nature, man used magic-ritualistic choreography as a cosmogonic agent, and his first arche speech that is always addressed to something or someone;

3) pre-literature context of prayer

Hence, we deem that the answer to the question of the origin of prayer in primitive cultures, wherein the preservation and sustenance of cosmogony, that is, life is an elementary agent, should be ascertained as an answer by way of which prayer appropriates the attributes of the existential, the ritual-rite-musical act articulated as the initial speech of man. In this context, the discourse of prayer is a speech disclosing a primitive spiritual world that strives towards cosmoginization;

4) prayer is…

Despite the appellation ‘primitive’ when referring to the prayer in primitive cultures, we cannot maintain that it is primitive in its essence because its speech consists of several complex factors, that are further on encountered as constant elements in other, more advanced forms of culture; thus, by the same token, in all their expressive forms, they, in turn, invoke reminiscences in literary texts to the same extent. Thus, what is changed is not the essence but the forms of the prayer prototype of the literary prayer

On one hand, it is the primitive prayer that was later superseded by the ritual prayer, however, only in terms of its form. They both carry the emotional speech of the ancient man – visual in its nature - since it is linked to the category of space both as a threat and as an awe-inspiring challenge that should be conquered. Therefore, the first prayers were not addressed to no one and nothing in particular. In later periods, when fear was bridled, the free and spontaneous prayer adopts the form of ritualistic formulas, that is, it becomes ceremonial;

5) forms, features, and functions of the pre-literature prayer

The earliest forms of prayer are related to the magic-ritualistic concept of understanding life, which is practiced for the purpose of the renewal of life at the organic level. Therefore, within this concept, we cannot talk about a (genuine) prayer, since it presupposes a genuine relationship with God as a revelation and a profound spiritual and ontological potential. Instead, here we encounter the first and primitive forms of prayer: through its oral expression, it conveys man’s non-verbal desire to defeat evil and threat lurking in everyday existence and introduce order instead. It is at this time, when the thirst for knowledge will become comprehension, a concept – as a function, not as a feeling, that the development of culture sets in;

6) semiotics of the pre-literature prayer

The discourse of prayer symbolizes man’s need for cosmization. This sign represents the need of man to anticipate himself in the world that is still unknown to him, to harmonize fear, the mystical, that, in turn, becomes sacred, transcendental, divine. Hence, prayer as a semiosis of the first speech of man comes full circle in its literary-poetic world;

7) semiotics of the prayer in Hellenic literature

The vocal-physical speech of the primitive prayer in Hellenistic literature becomes a literary discourse through an address targeting the Muses as divine entities in Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey. By the same token, this transition from oral speech to a written record marks the transition of the very addressee the prayers were intended for. While on one hand, primitive-ritualistic prayers were not addressed to no one in particular, the earliest records from the period of Hellenistic literature signify a prayer addressed not only to deities but also to the polytheistic pantheon that, in spite of its cornucopia of gods, lacks a supreme god-head, and, thus, its center is vacant. Hence, prayers are addressed to anthropomorphic gods close to people, who, still, dwell in the higher sphere placed on Olympus.

Thus the prayer form the Hellenistic period does not display features of a real prayer; rather, it is a prayer through invocation, that is, it is a crying attribute for help. The ancient Hellenes pray to preserve the ethical order of things, but their relationship to things is still at a very superficial level because they still have not developed awareness about the underlying processes but only about the external facet of the things. However, what distinguishes the poetry from the Hellenistic period from the preceding periods is not only that it already acquired its literary context but it also displays an anthropocentric dimension pertaining to the existence of man, that is, man’s initial self-awareness;

8) literary forms of prayer in the Hellenistic period

First and foremost, they belong to the forms of the sacred or priestly poetry that celebrates, invokes, glorifies, or laments a hero extolled like a god. It is noteworthy that this distinctive feature of Hellenistic literature implies that the addressee to whom prayers are referred is different, that is, they are referred to heroes;

9) sacred history bears the imprint of Jewish prayer

The prayer in Jewish literature bears a significant feature that is related to the surpassing of the concept of the mythic origin through the historical aspect. The Jewish God appears as the central authority that exercises control over the Sons of Israel. Thus, the historical is always in a correlation with the divine. Through the Jewish prayer we discover that life cannot be restored by way of magical principles but through prayers, and it comes into being not as an act focused on our reality but rather as a dialogue with God. Prayer becomes sacramental, liturgical, disciplined, semantically ingrained in the principle to be, as a personal trait of the God Yahweh;

10) prayer as a biblical-literary genre

As a literary genre, prayer can be found in psalms that attain the peak of Jewish poetry. Thus, here literary prayer lends itself to an in-depth analysis in terms of style through its most distinctive feature that is not related to meter, namely, parallelism;

11) Jesus prayer

The prayer in Christian literature represents the most integral anthropological-aesthetic genre, whose context emanates from a highly advanced and developed theological-dogmatic concept of interpretation. Prayer presupposes a personal, intimate dialogue between man and God, and its end goal is metaphysical-mystic: God’s revelation of His own dimension and existence to man. Within that context, Jesus prayer represents a tradition or the prayer of the heart, that is said through hesychasm as an inner, silent condition, so that God can talk through the heart. The name of God in prayer bears a cosmic dimension;

12) Lord’s prayer

The ultimate goal of this prayer refers to the atonement of the (sins of ) entire human race. Hence, inthe praying discourse in Christianity, prayer naturally confirms its cosmic content. The Lord’s Prayer has a practical goal: it guides man to focus on God, but at the same time to lead to one’s becoming in the likeness of God. This communicational dimension through the process of kenosis reveals prayer to be a search for a deep spiritual agent, in response to which man appropriates God Himself.

13) Prayer in Byzantine poetry – a psalmody of the soul

The Byzantine literary prayer model contains the ideologically-religious scheme of the Christian view of the world, at whose centre is the spiritual absolute of the Holy Trinity. On one hand, the prayer in Byzantine poetry represents a poetic exegesis of the Christ-centric and triadic-centric secret within the liturgical process as the liturgical poetry. On the other hand, through its didactic and stylistic qualities, the poetic prayer in this literature, that is not part of the liturgical act, does not break away from the credo of the Christian theology intended for the transfigured man.

14) Prayer genres

In the literary sense, prayer represents a metrical composition entitled Byzantine poetry. Within the opulent system of genres in Byzantine poetry, prayer is naturally incorporated as a lyric-poetical work that notwithstanding its canonized structure, lends itself to sophisticated aesthetic, theological, and literary-theoretical interpretation.

15) Alphabetical prayer

The prime aesthetical example of the literary heritage of the 10th century, this prayer contains a liturgy-related subject matter even though it displays no function. In terms of tradition, the Alphabetical prayer of Bishop Constantine represents the Slavic reflection of Byzantine poetry as regards its form, structure, poetic principles; however, at the same time, it paves the way for the Old Slavonic poetry, which purports to be a highly advanced poetic endeavour. The Alphabetical Prayer represents a pliable document on the literary-stylistic and semantic interpretation, as well as the theoretical consideration on the issue of authorship – which is individual, but not auto-expressive because the medieval poet does not consider separately his personal I on the behalf of the clerical, which is the embodiment of Christ as the poetic archetype.

Hence the monograph The Discourse of Prayer represents a delineation of one anthropo-semiotic, theoretical-hermeneutical, and literary contextual framework of the prayer text as one of the languages spoken by culture. The multilayered messages of the prayer text can be read as the pre-literature and the anthropological vestiges embracing the sign of the natural language, as well as a literary language derived in the second instance and as a meta-language in one equally proportional relation of an independently organized unit within the phenomenon of prayer.

[1] B. A. Uspenski, 1979, 216. see also: Б. А. Успенский. Семиотика, истории. Семиотика кулътуры (vol. 1), 1996.

Apr 7


THE EIGHTH DAY (long poem) by Sofija Grandakovska


The Eighth Day, a poem by Sofija Grandakovska, establis-hes for us the holiness of the word on the sanctity of light. Perceived and understood as light, the holiness is a subject of irrational yearning for man.

That yearning is, at the same time, a dream, a wish, and a thought. A dream which exists only to be able to dream all the time. A wish that is self-fulfilling, for it desires so-mething abstract enough not to be possessed, but also concrete enough to be sensed and to feed the visions and the premonitions. A thought that possesses the ability of comprehension because of its faith and its love. The pin-ing for the irrational that is transformed by its great force into something new: always a yearning plus something else. It is there in that transreal that the poetic forms of The Eighth Day by Sofija Grandakovska are conceived, moving the realm of the imaginary, speculative and meta-physical - into the eighth day. Outside the established se-ven-day cycle, that day opposes the established stereo-type of six plus one day in which the world was created; it is a premonition of a rebellion, a personal sin, poetic wonders, the search of a way out of the chains of traditi-on, collective beliefs and self-deceptions. It is a day for poetry, for the individual, a day for one’s self, a day for contemplation and yearning. The eighth day is a matrix of wisdom, the eighth day is the matrix of wisdom.

The poem The Eighth Day by Sofija Grandakovska is an inquiry about prayer - should we pray, to whom we pray, why prayer, and do we have to? So much road covered to unearth the answers about prayer cannot but map a quest, a peculiar prayer experience. The poem is a form of prayer. The poem is, indeed, a prayer. The eighth day is a day for rare, but nonetheless possible recognitions of sanctity. The Eighth Day is a day to subjugate ourselves to silence. The Eighth day is a day of revelation of the poetic power of the word, about the power of the word as it is, about the word enlightened by the holiness of the Almighty. The Eighth Day by Sofija Grandakovska is a hymn to the sacral and a sacralization of the word. The word that leads to the Genesis, to the first, the Eighth, the infinite. The Eighth Day by Sofija Grandakovska is a projection of the symbolism of the infinity, of the laid down Eighth that is the symbol of the infinity, as seen in the mirror of poetry. The Word is infinite, the word is a yearning for infinite. This is where the cycle of temptation starts, and this is where it goes on forever.

May 5


POETRY by Sofija Grandakovska

published in: Poezija (Zagreb, n. 3, V, 2009)

EPIGRAMS / ЕПИГРАМИ, Sofija Grandakovska

Jun 1


Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј /Сенека

Софија Грандаковска: Отиквувањето на Клаудиј или сатира на деификацијата (во Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј, прев. од лат. Наталија Поповска, Скопје: Или-или)



1. Апотеозата како космичка валоризација на историјата

„Римјаните им ја одобрувале апотеозата post mortem на своите големи водачи, но им го одрекнувале правото на обоготворување за време на нив ниот живот.“[1]

Обоготворувањето (лат. deificatio) ја содржи идејата за победата над смртта, чијашто означителска нота подразбира возвишени, космички или универзалистички размери. Бидејќи атрибутите на возвишеноста, синонимно се согласуваат со поимот недофатливост, и во таа смисла и божественост, чинот на деификацијата на римските императори се подведува токму под тој стремеж на признавање и прогласувањена божествените атрибути на нивната историска личност.

Императорите својата историска цел ја сфаќале возвишено. Тие владееле за да го зачуваат редот на космосот од наездата на есхатолошкиот принцип, а по нивното заминување, преку чинот на деификацијата, хармонијата да остане одржливо свеж концепт и понатаму. Затоа, деификацијата во својата најдлабока смисла, претставувала еден вид ритуал за повторување на космогониското добро. Преку деификацијата на римските императори се истакнувало историзирање на божественото, а оттука и етизирање на историјата во универзални рамки.

Чинот на деификацијата стои и во тесна врска со политеистичкото религиозно устројство на стариот Рим. Римскиот пантеон (како и грчкиот), се карактеризирал со централно празно место во него, што семиотички го означува отсуството на еден централен (божји) авторитет.[2]Отсуството на монистичкиот принцип, којшто би го означувал постоењето на еден врховен бог во колективната религија на старите Римјани, го отвора местото за чинот на деификација на римските императори како историско огледало на Бога на земјата, а по нивното човечко за минување пак, останува нивната божествена присутност преку апотеозата. Тежнението за станување divi fillius е подлабоко поврзано и со човечкиот страв да не се излезе надвор од космичкиот поредок на нештата. Затоа, историзирањето на божественоста (деификацијата) го земаме и како вечен атрибут на желбата на римските императори да се остане засекогаш и вечно присутен во меморијата на колективната свест, во историјата.

Историјата на религиите забележува дека римскиот дух ја носи одликата на висок степен на прагматизам, којшто е длабоко поврзан со тежнението за сакрален однос кон семејството, татковината, државата како организирана заедница на постоење.[3]Така, поединечното ја стекнува својата смисла, само доколку му припаѓа на зедничкото, колективното.[4] Во таа насока, го истакнуваме и сфаќањето за деификацијата на римските императори – како чин којшто има длабоко религиозно значење. Обоготворениот римски цар како историска личност, носи и длабока архетипска симболика, којашто го означува повторното обновување на космосот како услов за благодетен живот, во генерал на смисла. Во чинот на деификација препознатливо е и тежнението во формирањето на сфаќањето на римскиот човек во однос на желбата да се замени митското сфаќање со историскиот кон текст на нештата. Така, и обоготворувањето ја оправдува и својата најдлабока смисла поврзана со степенот на развој на човечката свест во римската култура во однос на историзирањето како космички чин.

Чинот на деификацијата претставувал вообичаена практика која што му припаѓала на империјалниот култ, започнувајќи во времето на раното царство.[5] Централната концепција се однесува на про гласувањето на римскиот император за Бог, а означува оддавање исклучителна почест истовремено, и кон неговите дела и кон неговата личност. Од друга страна, деификацијата не ја потврдува само големината авторитет на императорот, туку пред сè, се однесува и на семиотичката потврда за задржувањето на традиционалната религија и моралниот кодекс во државата на генерален план. Императорот Октавијан, којшто го добил почесниот назив Август, а значењската димензија се однесува на возвишените атрибути (augustus) коишто се додаваат кон неговата личност како divi fillius, претставувало идеал за секој следен император: да стане еден од ’оние’ коишто ќе ја заслужат и добијат почесната апотеоза. Кон развивањето на оваа традиција, се приклучиле и неговите наследници од династијата, „иако ниту Тибериј, ниту Калигула, ниту пак Нерон не се постхумно прогласени за богови.“[6] Деификацијата ја добиле речиси сите големи императори од II век: Клаудиј, Веспазијан и Тит (единствено не Галба).[7] Веќе кон крајот на II, а особено во III век, станало за бележително отсуството на честата деификација, што стои пак, во тесна врска со христијанските почетоци како директна закана за овој империјален култ. Тоа се огледа и во тежнението на Рим да ги задржи своите практики преку прогонствата на припадниците на раното христијанство, коешто во тој период од историјата стои сѐуште далеку од своето еклесијастичко етаблирање, што ќе се случи дури век потоа.

2. Деификацијата како мимикричен чин во „Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј“ од Сенека

Идејата за деификацијата е стожерна во делото Отиквување то на божествениот Клаудијод Лукиј Анеј Сенека. Но, во самото дело недостасува токму делот којшто би требало да биде експлицитен приказ за свеченото прогласување на божественоста на Клаудиј, кому уште за време на неговиот живот му бил подигнат храм во Камулодунум во новата провинција на Британија.[8] Наспроти тоа, во оваа менипска сатира, критиката кон ликот и делото на овој римски император станува висока естетика за генерално потсмевање кон Клаудиј со помош на книжевни средства, успешна мимикрија на апотеозата. Содржината во делото е конципирана врз динамиката на сатиричната метаморфоза и буквалното истакнување на ликот и на делото на Клаудиј како симбол на празното, на едно големо ништо. Оттука, конотацијата на деификацијата - јукстапозицирана во отиквувањето, израснува во јасна сатира за обоготворувањето, како чин на мајоризирање на ликот на римскиот император. Наместо негово тронизирање, тој со одлуката на небесниот Сенат е испратен во подземјето, а од тамош ниот суд, како казна за неговите лоши дела во текот на своето владеење, станува најнапред роб, а потоа и судски помошник:

„Одеднаш се појави, кој друг ако не Калигула, и побара Клаудиј да му биде роб. Донесе сведоци кои виделе дека бил камшикуван, шибан и исплескан. Така му го досудија на Калигула, Калигула го предаде на Еак. Овој го предаде на својот ослободеник Менандeр, како судски помошник…“

[apparuit subito C. Caesar et petere illum in servitutem coepit producere testes, qui illum viderant ab illo flagris, ferulis, colaphis vapulantem. adiudicatur C. Caesari; Caesar illum Aeaco donat. is Menandro liberto suo tradidit, ut a cognitionibus esset…][9]

Овие завршни моменти од делото, коишто се однесуваат на доделената казна за Клаудиј, го принесуваат чинот на неговото сатирично обоготворување - отиквувањето, во којшто се валоризира авторовата цел на неколку плана: историски, стоички и книжевен.

а) Историско ниво. Историскиот аспект како еден од подлогите врз коишто се темели Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј[10][Apocolocyntosis Divi Claudii], е не одминливо поврзан со животниот и со творечкиот пат на Лукиј Анеј Сенека (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, околу IV в. ст. е. - 65 г. н. е.). Неговото име се поврзува со времето на владеењето на тројца римски им ператори и на тој план, се определува и неговиот книжевно-творечки пат,[11] којшто стекнува авторитет на т.н. легимитен апсурд: со Калигула, во чиешто време државничко-беседничката работа на Сенека иако е многу високо почитувана, сепак, тој за ради одредени говори паѓа во немилост од страна на Сенатот, но успева да ја избегне смртната казна; со Клаудиј, во чиешто време тој е испратен во егзил на Корзика (41 г.), како резултат на личната желба на Клаудиевата жена Месалина; и со времето на Нерон, кој што го испратил Сенека во директна смрт.

Обезличувањето на римскиот император Клаудиј [Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus] во Отиквувањето, како централен протагонист во делото, доаѓа и преку нагласувањето на императорскиот принципат како па радоксален: од една страна, Клаудиј е оценет како авторитет којшто имал јасни насоки во своето владеење и оттука, дека неговата императорска политика воопшто не била погубна за римската држава; но од друга страна, која што е доминантно книжевно обработена во ова дело, истакнува дека тој бил личност со големи страсти, исполнувајќи ги одлуките на своите жени и робови, што претставувало директно засенување на неговиот владетелски и етички авторитет.

Во времето на Нерон, Сенека се враќа од осумгодишното прогонство на Корзика, благодарение на мајката на Нерон, Агрипина и вто рата жена на Клаудиј, за да му биде учител, а подоцна и советник на Нерон. Тогаш, Сенека го пишува посмртниот говор за Клаудиј [Ludus de mortale Claudii], прочитан од Нерон, неговиот посинок, но и неговиот убиец, на свечениот закоп на Клаудиј. Главната карактеристика на овој посмртен говор, којшто може да се земе и како книжевен прелудиј на Отиквувањето, е во тоа што тој претставува шега, односно сатирична пофалба искажана како дополнителна чест кон Клаудиевото обезличување:

„Бил погребан со царска поворка и вброен меѓу боговите; оваа почест не му била признавана, и конечно Нерон му ја укинал, но подоцна Веспазијан му ја вратил.“1[12]

Посмртниот говор за римскиот император, по автоматизам стекнува и политички контекст, врзан со позитивното истакнување и позиционирање на државничката улога на Нерон, наспроти онаа на Клаудиј. Но од друга стра на, преку посмртната сатирична пофалба се назначува и удвоеното лицемерие на Сенека, од една страна, кон неговиот стоички аргумент (дека човекот треба да има само едно лице, а неговите дела треба да бидат во согласност со не говите зборови), развиен на ниво на философија, од којашто тој прави видливо оддалечување; и од друга, лицемерието на големиот стоик кон мртвиот владетел, кому за време на својот егзил, тој му творел вистински пофалби. Овој аргумент за двојната позиција на Сенека, експлицитно се задржува и во Отиквувањето, што ја претставува и личната пресметка на Сенека со Клаудиј, одбирајќи ги книжевните средства на менипската сатира за да го истакне тоа. Дури и во етимолошкото значење на деификацијата, преку поимот: apolokyntosis, се обелоденува единственото денотативно значење коешто има нагласена сатирична функција,[13] а се однесува на креативниот нишан обоготворен во книжевната метафора на отиквувањето (тиквењето) како пакосно исмејување кон Клаудиј, наместо неговото претворање во Бог.

б) Стоички аспект. Вториот контекст на сатиричниот фон на деификацијата на Клаудиј, го разгледуваме преку философско-теолошкиот дискурс на Сенека, претставник на доцниот стоицизам.[14] Стоичката философија[15] низ своето шествековно оп стојување (III в. ст. е – III в. н. е.), развила сложено учење, во коешто се вкрстуваат, но истовремено и се разминуваат старите антички вредности со почетоците на новиот христијански дискурс.

Сфаќајќи ја природата во нејзината божествена смисла - како совршенство, стоичката мисла се движи во насока дека чо векот единствено може да го најде својот спокој, доколку живее во согласност со неа, а во рамнодушен однос кон судбината. Практиката на оваа па радигма подразбира ослободување од страстите, со цел да се прегрне мудречката димензија на постоењето. Затоа, и највисокиот идеал на стоичката етика, којшто се остварува преку познанието и почитта на природната нужност, ќе стане примарна морална категорија, позиционирана низ четирите атрибути: разборитост, умереност, издржливост и праведност.[16]

Во контекст на стоичката нота за бестрасноста, Сенека, иако во таа насока го креира и самиот увод на Отиквувањето, преку зборовите на известувачот за настанот којшто се случил на 13 октомври, денот на смртта на Клаудиј, истакнува дека ќе зборува ’без нав реди и без никаква благонаклоност’, сепак зад ваквото ветување, стои видливо огорчен стоик.[17] Тој, низ најавата за раскажувачка сериозност (бестрастност), открива комична нарација насочена директно кон неговиот прогонител. Затоа и делото израснува во софистицирано исмејување кон ликот и делото на Клаудиј, но и кон философско-религиозниот и политичкиот декор на Клаудиевото време. Авторот преку сатиричниот дискурс ги акцентира моралните недостатоци на императорот - омаловажувајќи го на тој начин целосно и неговиот лик.

Дискурсот на стоичката философија го истакнува принципот на универзалното добро (наспроти индивидуалното), како најголема доблест кон којашто човекот треба да тежнее. Во овој кон текст, а во насока на сатиричниот книжевен настап на Сенека кон алузијата на Клаудиевото обоготворување, се потенцира и императорската политика на Клаудиј како средство за исполнување на своите одлуки, лишени од универзалистичкиот концепт на доброто. Односно, прикажана е личната, индивудуална моќ на Клаудиј, но не во рамки на општествено и пошироко комичко добро. Најдобро на сево ова упатуваат обвинувањата во делото во врска со бројните убиства коишто ги нарачал и направил лично тој.

Така, ликот на Клаудиј во Отиквувањето, наместо на тронот на апотеозата, е издигнат на ниво на ’Сатурналиски цар’, што претставува директен потсмев кон неговите страсти (од различен вид), како и на неговото недолично однесување во текот на неговото владеење. Оваа титула на Клаудиј стои во директна опозиција со реториката на стоичкиот дискурс кон божественото како апсолутно добро, во универзална смисла. Затоа и мајоризацијата на ликот и делото на Клаудиј во ова дело, е доведена до степен на негово истакнување како граѓанин на полисот (polis), а не и на универзумот (cosmos).[18] Тој е пример на владетел којшто не успеал да ги сообрази моралното и доброто како космичко тежнение на својот историски лик:

„Со оглед на тоа што човечката природа е дел од космичката, за конот кој управува со космосот, ова вечно враќање, важи и за човечката историја.[19]

Сатирата за апотеозата во Отиквувањето има за цел да ги потен цира не заслужените космичките димензии коишто се одне суваат на историската личност на Клаудиј. Тргнувајќи од практич ната стоичка философија на Сенека, дека животот треба да се одвива во хармонија со природата како највисок морален чин, пародичноста на обоготворувањето на Клаудиј е повеќе од јасна. Во овој аспект се истакнува и тоа, дека апотеозата на овој римски император не смее да стане обичен римски make-up насочен кон divi fi llius по секоја цена. Оценуваме дека во ова дело Сенека прави тенденциозна бурлеска на тој чин. Така, наместо вистинска пофалба на апотеозата како исклучителна почест, таа станува философско-софистицирана шега,[20] потсмев за државничките конвенционални активности, но и на смртта на овој император. Затоа, и божемното претворање на Клаудиј во Бог поседува денотативно, длабоко сатирично значење.

в) Книжевен контекст. Насловот на делото „Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј,“ претставува argumentum или почетен индикатор за на соките како тоа треба да се чита, и на тој начин делумно ја открива и самата книжевна стратегија на текстот. Односно, насловот ја најавува метафората за претворањето во тиква на римскиот император, сè со цел да се намали неговата великост. Насловот ја открива сатиричната обработка на темата на деификацијата на Клаудиј и со тоа, овој чин со божествени атрибути, го стекнува своето денотативно значење.

Отиквувањето, чијашто генеолошка позадина ја претставува менипската сатира, го отвора гледиштето за анализа, не само во генерален книжевен контекст, туку и во квалификацијата на ова дело како политичка и религиска сатира. Во однос на политичкиот контекст на сатирата, се истакнува пораката за исмевање на политичкиот декор на времето на Клаудиј. Но, таа стекнува и лична нота, бидејќи Сенека, користејќи го книжевниот аудиториум, упатува огорчена нота против својот прогонител. Затоа, и Сенека, користејќи книжевни средства, излегува од контекстот на својата света стоичка теологија. Тој, отстапувајќи од сопствените морални начела, навлегува во сферата на личното начело преку страствена пресметка со мртвиот император. Алузијата за апотеозата го креира и религиско-сатиричниот амбиент на Отиквувањето, преку желбата да се заштити традиционалното верување од изневерување, како висок чин на империјалната мода. Односно, изневерувањето на овој план се однесува на деификацијата на злосторници, родоскверници и страственици, олицетворе ни во ликот на Клаудиј.

„Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј во тиква“ е мало дело по својата должина, составено од петнаесет куси поглавја. Од страна на критиката е оценето како дело коешто нема свој претходник, но сепак извршило големо влијание врз делата на повеќе европски автори понатаму.[21] Дејството се случува во еден ден, истовремено на две сфери: на небо и на земја. Симболиката на овој топоним (небо-земја) претставува уште еден показ повеќе за космичкото значење на апотеозата, како и за нејзината јукстапозиција во сатиричната смисла на Клаудиевото тиквење.

„Би сакал да се запамети една случка што се

случи на небото, на 13 октомври, во новата година,

со која што започна најсреќниот век.“

[Quid actum sit in caelo ante diem III idus Octo

bris anno novo, initio saeculi felicissimi, volo memo

riae tradere.]

Почетокот на Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудијза почнува на денот на неговата смрт, којшто постои како засведочен податок во историографските извори кај Светониј (Suet. Cl. 45) и Такит (Tac. Ann. 12.69). Книжевниот почеток ја објавува и самата сатирична реторика на делото, преку именувањето на овој ден како почеток на среќното време за Римската држава, почеток којшто оди заедно со смртта на императорот Клаудиј. Засилувањето на сатиричната динамика, доаѓа преку зборовите на воведничарот кој изјавува дека неговиот говор ќе биде непристрасен, со што, на прв план одѕвонува стоичкиот став кон вистината. Но, во сета оваа алузија, само се открива божемната бестрасност. Овој аспект ја нагласува и оправданоста на критичката мисла, насочена кон авторот на делото. Имено, Сенека како идеен и практичен носител на стоицизмот, во ова дело отстапува од таквиот дискурс, создавајќи вистински потсмев кон римскиот император. Самото исмевање носи страст, која пак, е во спротивност на стоичкото начело за бестрасноста.

Почетокот на делото не го обелоденува само историографски от податок за смртта на Клаудиј, туку го објаснува и мачниот, внатрешен процес низ којшто минувало испуштањето на неговата душа:

„Клаудиј почна да испушта душа, но таа не можеше

да си најде излез.“

[Claudius animam agere coepit nec invenire exi

tum poterat.]

Божемната загриженост на Меркур, којашто се однесува на Клаудиевите маки, обраќајќи и се на Вештерката, на едната од трите Парки, семиотички ја означува синтагмата за почетокот на среќниот век, а којашто ја подразбира смртта на Клаудиј, но не и неговата деификација:

„Предај го на Смртта, а со празниот двор нека

завладее подобар некој! “

[Dede neci, melior vacua sine regnet in aula.]

Раскажувачката стратегија на авторот ја почитува хроно лош ката рамка на нарацијата во однос на фактичкиот редослед на настаните и на нивниот развој. Приказната за почнува со зборовите на незнајниот раскажувач, но со развојот на дејството, тој им дава можност и на другите ликови да бидат вклучени во раскажувањето, и тоа во директен говор, со цел да се истакне намерата на високата сатира. Притоа, на преден план е ставен јазичниот елемент, комбиниран од наизменичен редослед на проза и стих, спој на службен протокол и народни фрази, книжевен со колоквијален говор, вулгарност и дворска лексика како духовити забелешки, со цел да се поттикне исмевањето кон Клаудиј. Ваквата јазична структура на текстот го овозможува функционирање на лакрдиско-комичниот аспект на делото како можност за постигнување на крајната намера на авторот.

Божемното испраќање на Клаудиј на небото со весели и добри желби на неговиот пат, во својата заднина овој книжевен момент го нагласува последниот говор на Нерон посветен на Клаудиј. Обезвреднувањето на овој римски император е ставено и во неговите последни зборови коишто ги кажува самиот тој, во директен говор, а како книжевен ефект се постигнува авто-посочувањето: дека Калудиј самиот од себе прави недостојна личност за заземање на божествениот трон. Тоа може да се разбере и како едно лично признание за неговата поганост:

„Леле, кутриот јас, мислам дека се пос рав!“

[vae me, puto concavi me]

Со овој момент се заокружува последниот опис на настаните на земјата во врска со смртта на Клаудиј, а ја воведува неговата небесна одисеја. Комиката е повторно истакната преку испреплетување и спротивставување на божественото, духовното со земното, човечкото, телесното.

Кога стигнала веста до Јупитер, дека на небото дошол човек кој што има намера да биде дрзок, тој го повикал Херакле да утврди кој е тој човек, кому пак, Клаудиј му се причинил како некое чудовиште. Императорот во почетокот се израдувал што и на небото има учени луѓе и почнал да одговара со висок стил, преку кажување на Хомерските стихови. Иако читателот може да претпостави дека се работи за истакнување на позитивен атрибут, којшто укажува на ученоста на римскиот император, таквата квалификација е ставена во знакот на комична трагичност, бидејќи понатаму текстот го истакнува омаловажувањето преку потенцирање на неговите физички мани, како грд и куц човек, којшто безмилосно убивал и од редот на своите нај блиски. Надежта на Клаудиј дека Херакле ќе му помогне кај другите богови, кого го нарекува најхрабар меѓу сите богови, завршува само со претпоставка, која се покажува како лажна, повторно во духот на пародијата, бидејќи останатите не мислат така. Тој е наречен сатурналиски император, со цел да се нагласи неговиот недоличен живот во годините од неговото владеење.

Јупитер ги поттикнува боговите коишто му припаѓаат на небесниот Сенат, да расправаат за деификацијата на Клаудиј, но притоа ги советува на бестрастност. Прв зборува богот Јан (богот на сите премини), кој вели дека честа да се биде бог не смее да му се даде секому; Диеспитер пак, по желба на Херакле, предложил Клаудиј да стане бог, бидејќи потекнувал од родот на Август. Иако раскажувачката стратегија на Сенека создава убедливост кај читателот дека сепак Клаудиј ќе биде прогласен за бог, веднаш прави пресврт на таквиот впечаток, преку истакнувањето на техниката на фарсата како книжевно средство. Го воведува говорењето на божествениот Август, коешто е многу сурово и коешто едновремено ги истакнува злоделата на Клаудиј:

„Овој овде, татковци Сенатори, што ви изгледа

дека не би згазнал ниту на мравка, убиваше луѓе

така лесно, како што песот крева нога.“

[hic, p.c., qui vobis non posse videtur muscam

exitare, tam facile hominess occidebat, quam canis


Август покажува голема гневност, бидејќи Клаудиј убил неколку негови правнуци. Откако тој ги изнел на виделина сите негови злодела, Август својот говор го завршува со обраќање кон Јупитер, во очекување на праведната одлука за Клаудиј. Притоа, е постигната едногласност: Клаудиј да го напушти небото во рок од триесет, а Олимп за три дена. Проследувањето на таа одлука се огледа преку чинот на Меркур, кој го фатил Клаудиј за вратот и го повел во подземниот свет.

Станува јасно зошто во делото никаде не се зборува за неговото обоготворување, туку за исмевање на Клаудиј. Одлуката за тоа е дадена и потврдена од небесниот Сенат, којшто расправа во духот на панаѓурска атмосфера.

Желбата на Клаудиј да ги увери во спротивното, останува безуспешна. Дури и начинот на неговото лично созна ние дека, сепак тој нема да биде признаен за космички владетел, е претставен сатирично:

„А, кутриот, Клаудиј, дури откако го виде својот

погреб, сфати дека умрел.“

[Claudius ut vidit funus suum, intelexit se mor

tuum esse]

Неговото испраќање во подземјето, проследено со големи по фалби за неговата земна храброст, преку песните на Големиот хор, само ја позиционира строгата архитектура на менипската сатира. Продлабочувањето на овој момент е истакнато и преку прашањето на Нарцис: „Што бараат богови меѓу луѓе?“ [quid di ad homines?]. Нарекувајќи го бог, всушност го вовел пред под земниот суд, каде долго се расправало за видот на казната која што Клаудиј требало да ја добие. За таа цел, му била измислена сизифовска работа чија што цел е - вечен не успех. Така, од страна на Еак му било наредено да се коцка, но бидејќи кутијата за коцки била дупната, коцките секогаш и повторно испаѓале.

Крајот на приказната во Отиквувањето го остава впечатокот за незавршено дело, и затоа во научната јавност постои претпоставка дека во неговото изгубено продолжение е опишан чинот на отиквувањето. Сметаме дека казната за Клаудиј, Сенека избира да ја олицетвори не експлицитно, туку ме афората на отиквувањето ја обелоденува како дигнитет за вечен, епски, мачен и навредлив статус за римскиот император, како единствено достојно заслужено место за Клаудиј. Шегата, пресметката, острата сатира низ фабуларниот тек и книжевната техника, всушност го определуваат, формираат и претставуваат отиквувањето. А, метафората за отиквувањето, станува сатиричен панегирик кон ликот и делото на императорот Клаудиј.

3. Преведувачката техника во Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудијна современ македонски јазик

Преводот на Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј” на современ македонски јазик, доследно го доловува и истовремено доследно го заокружува комплексниот свет на ова кусо дело на јазичен, книжевно-естетски и тематско-идеен план. Преведувачката техника не ја истакнува верната јазич на структура на оригиналот во однос на метричкото прикажување, затоа што одбира да ги следи правилата на современиот македонски јазик. Тие пак, при ла годувајќи ги автентичните стандарди коишто се однесува ат на јазично-лексичкиот, семантичко-значењскиот, естетско-перциптибилниот аспект на делото во духот на ма кедонскиот јазик, го принесуваат книжевниот превод како пример на естетско-творечка заокружена активност, и како таква, таа достоинствено му припаѓа на корпусот преводни дела од античката книжевност на генералната современа македонска книжевност. Притоа, преведувачката постапка е надградена во духот на истражувачко-креативен чин, преку исцрпното толкување на оригиналниот текст преку наводите во фу нотите, коишто го збогатуваат и го прават интегрален самиот книжевен превод од аспект на митологија, класична фило логија, историја, класични и современи толкувачки практики, како и самите сознанија за Отиквувањето на божествениот Клаудиј проследени во светската научна јавност до денес, да станат достапни за прв пат пред македонската читателска јавност.

Македонскиот превод на Отиквувањето на Божествени от Клаудиј (2009), којшто доаѓа по преводот на делото За самиот себе од Марко Аурелиј (2006), претставува само уште еден експлицитен и сериозно потврден пример за континуитетот на преведувачката практика на Наталија Поповска, во однос на дела од антички автори. Постоењето на македонскиот превод на ова дело стекнува и второстепен валоризаторски атрибут, којшто се однесува на постепено дополнување на преводни дела од тријадата автори-стоици, не само во генерален контекст, туку и како практичен придонес во наставно-едукативните содржини, како и за идните академски и истражувачки потфати во однос на античката книжевност од страна на македонската научна средина.

Софија Грандаковска

[1] M. Cazenave и R. Auguet, Ludi carevi (Zagreb: August Cesarec), 1990, 133.

[2] С. Грандаковска, Говорот на молитвата (Скопје: Премин), 2008, 36-37

[3] Види: Е. О. Џемс, Упоредна религија (Београд: Матица српска), 1990.

[4] М. Елијаде, Историја на верувањата и на религиските идеи, том II (Скопје: Таберна кул), 2005, 99.

[5] А. Н. Машкин, Историја на стариот Рим (Скопје: Зумпрес), 1995, 377- 417.

[6] Џ. Бордман, Џ. Грифин, О. Мари, прир. Оксфордска историја римског света.
(Београд: Clio), 1990, 155.

[7] М. Елијаде, Историја на верувањата и на религиските идеи, том II. (Скопје:
Табернакул), 2005, 303.

[8] Оксфордска историја, 1990, 156. Види и: М. Елијаде, 2001, том II, 301.

[9] Според латинскиот извор: P. T. Eden, ed. by, Seneca: Apolocyntosis (Cambridge University Press), 2004.

[10] Понатаму само Отиквувањето (заб. С. Г.)

[11] М. Будимир и М. Флашар, Преглед римске књижевности (Београд: Научна књига),
1991, 447-67.

[12] Гај Све тониј Транквил, Дванаесетте римски цареви (Скопје: Култура), 2001, 303.

[13] C. Joel, Reliah, Ancient Menipean Satire (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press),
1993, p. xv, 306.

[14] Види: P. Gregorić, Grgić, F. Grgić, M. Hudoletnjak, prir. Helenistička fi lozofi ja. Epikurovci, stoici, skeptici. (Zagreb: Kruzak), 2005; Epiktet. Priručnik. (Zagreb: Kruzak), 2006; В. Георгиева, предговор: Стоичката amor fati и римскиот философ Марко Аурелиј Цар, во: Марко Аурелиј, За самиот себе. Превод: Н. Поповска. (Скопје: Три), 2006, 5-26.

[15] Иако во почетокот претставниците се нарекуваат зеноновци, според основачот
Зенон (IV-III в.ст.е.), подоцна школата ќе биде препознатлива под називот: стоичка,
според шарената одаја
каде Зенон држел предавања.

[16] N. Vejnović, Historija filozofije s odabranim filozofskim tekstovima (Zagreb: Školska
kniga), 1965, 26.

[17] 17 Види: Л. А. Сенека, 2003. Писма пријатељу. (Београд: Дерета), 2004.

[18] Д. Лаертиј, Животите и мислењата на славните философи. (Скопје: Аз-Буки),
2004, 144-153.

[19] А. Мекинтаир, Кратка историја на етиката. (Скопје: Аз-Буки), 2004, 148

[20] P. T. Eden, ed. by., Seneca: Apocolocyntosis (Cambridge University Press), 2004, 1-17; D. Novakovic, prir. i prev., Seneka, Anej Lucije. Pretvorba bozanskog Klaudija u tikvu (Zagreb: Biblioteka Latina et Graeca), 1986, 5-29.

[21] Пр. Раблеовиот Гаргантуа и Пантагруел, Волтеровиот Кандид, Свифтовиот Гуливер и неговите патувања, Хакслиевиот Храбриот нов свет, Еразмовата Пофалба на лудоста и др. Види: D. Živković, ur., Rečnik kniževnih termina (Beograd: Nolit), 1992, 448-9.



Софија Грандаковска

Планината е простор на сакралното. Односно, планината е сакрален простор каде секогаш постои можност да се биде онолку блиску до возвишеноста, колку што таа во разни култури е нарекувана со различни имиња: виша сила, трансцендентна стварност, Бог. Затоа, планинанита има моќ да конституира архетип, или во Фукоовска смисла да конституира „општ архив”, којшто ние овде би можеле да го наречеме архив на сакралното, каде што се затвораат сите времиња и каде што се губат сите географски одредници.[1]

Во таа смисла, сакам да го отворам прашањето за хетеротопичноста на планината, од една страна, за да укажеме на врската со божественото, возвишеното, односно сакралното, а од друга, врската на планината како другото место или простор за градење на една имагинарна можност. Ваквата теоретска предлошка подразбира и можност за освежување на семантиката на хетеротопичноста преку илустративниот пример на Царевите кули, коишто се наоѓаат на планината Еленица крај Струмица. Во оваа смисла, Цареви кули ја претставуваат монументализацијата на архетипот, односно монументализацијата на планината како архив на сакралното. Зошто?

Иако просторот на којшто се сместени Цареви кули, којшто пак топоним се забележува во употреба дури од XIX век, според резултатите од последните археолошки ископувања (2009 година), станува јасно дека се работи за простор каде може да се проследи континуирана културна и цивилизациска еволуција. Ние во овој контекст, ќе се задржиме на неговата византиска епоха, којашто е во тесна врска со христолошкото сфаќање на архетипскиот симбол на Царот како огледало на земјата. Во таа смисла, овој планински простор престанува да биде само стратешки објект, но во исто време, според артефактите, не е ниту само живеалиште на земниот цар. Во најпрефинета смисла, која што ја јукстапозицира реалната позиција на планинскиот простор, Царевите кули ја претставуваат најсуптилната култура на духовното, светото и возвишеното. Во таа смисла, земниот цар, односно стратегот на кулите е поблиску до небесниот Цар. Земниот цар на кулите на најсуптилен начин ја оправдува архетипската врска со небесниот цар. Оттука, хетеротопичноста на планината ја конституира планината како микрокосмос којшто се изразува низ атрибутите на симболичката совршеност, односно низ призмата за универзалноста. И оттука, планината конституира сакрален дискурс на универзалноста како константа на тежнение на секоја човечка група.

Планината е тесно поврзана со концептот на архетипското огледало, односно со утопијата на огледалото. Каква е врската на Цареви Кули со утопијата? Од една страна, наодите коишто се однесуваат на остатоци од црквата св. Ѓорѓија на овој простор, укажуваат на неговата социјална врска со сакралното, како простор каде се практикувал религиски дискурс. Од друга страна, овој простор укажува на утописката врска преку самото сакрално, сфатено како божествено, коешто подразбира идеалност, која што секогаш подразбира и невозможност. Токму таа утопистичка конотација на планината како „света гора“ и потребата за нејзиното симболичко зачувување како таква, упатува на метафората за рајската градина од Стариот завет, која што ја носи симболиката на непореметена хармонија меѓу човекот и Бога, како состојба на постоење во сакралноста.

Оттука, дали човековото постоење, одново барајќи начин за да ја оствари таа утопистичка состојба на своето битие преку планината, како врска меѓу него и Бога, всушност зборува за носталгичната потрага по изгубениот рај? Оваа врска преку метафората за планината, подразбира и концепт на еколошка утопија, каде социјалниот дискурс всушност треба да биде еднакво пропорционален со природноста и со природата, сфатена во прекодирана смисла на најпрвата рајска состојба на човекот. Така, планината претставува и простор за ескапизам во овие рамки. Социјалните практики на Цареви кули стекнуваат атрибут на религиозна утопичност, базирана врз идејата за просветлување на битието преку религиозен идеал како архетипска константа.

Постоењето на високите ѕидови на Цареви кули, наодите коишто говорат за Пирг-кулата дека во неа биле сместени собите за ноќевање, како и остатоците од домашни огништа, укажуваат на тенденција за уредување на утопискиот модел на планината низ архитектонската димензија како простор за живеење. Оттука, кога еден висок, планински простор станува место за живеење, тој мора да биде достапен. Наодите покажуваат дека просторот на Цареви кули функционирал како место од каде се ширела димензијата на вечноста, што значи: затворање на сите времиња на едно место, кое е во тесна врска со сфаќањето за неменливоста на архетипот, на сакралниот дискурс. Сакралното е божествено, божественото е неменливо, односно е вечно. Затоа, Цареви Кули, иако биле организирани како ран модел на град, простор за живеење, каде имало соби, трпезарија, црква за социјални практики на религијата, сепак достапноста до него била сигнализирана преку единствениот знак на негова тешка достапност - преку големите ѕидини. Затоа, уредувањето на сакралниот простор ја потенцира од една страна неговата стратешка функција, неговата затворена форма на живот, но од друга страна ја истакнува и неговата утопичност како простор од каде што се афирмира архетипската врска со Бога.

Во оваа насока, ќе поентирам со еден мал цитат од Мишел Фуко, кој на своите предавања на студентите по архитектура во 1984 година, посветени на Другите простори, Хетеротопии,[2] ќе им посочи постоење на пет принципа на хетеротопии. За нас исклучително е важен петтиот принцип, според кој хетеротопиите секогаш претпоставуваат еден систем на отворање и затворање кој, едновремено, изолира но и прави достапност за продор. Хетеротописката локација покажува дека немаме пристап кон неа како кон обично јавно место. Затоа, и планината е хетеротопична, таа е архив на сакралното.

[1] Прочитано на симпозиумот: ПЛАНИНАТА И НОСТАЛГИЈАТА, во рамки на Галичката книжевна колонија, Галичник, 14-16 август, 2009 година.

[2] Michel Foucault, Dits et étécrits, 1984, Dieespaces autres, предавање во: Cercle d’études architecturales 14.III 1967, објавено во: Architecture, movement, continuité, n.5, Oct., 1984.



Sofija Grandakovska

(In: Konštantinove listy [Constantine’s letters; Константинова писмена], Uiverzita Konštantína Filozofa v Nitre, 2/2009, p. 82-93)


Sofija Grandakovska


The narrow focus of this paper is geared towards the review of the issue: what is it that connects various artistic forms of expression within different historical epochs, whose source originates in the literary story, and what is it that separates them and makes them independent within that context?

As the pretext of our ‘recurring’ or multiplied literary story is taken a story of a Biblical, that is, a New Testament event related to the last week of Christ’s earthly life that brings together his passions more coherently. This literary story can be seen as multiplied in the cycle of the scenes of Christ’s passions, in the monumental iconographic examples of the XII century Nerezi painting, in the Proto-Renaissance painting expression of Giotto, and through the poetic expression of Michail Rendzov in the Macedonian contemporary poetry. Albeit all these examples depicting one Biblical event use diversified artistic tools: words or images, and although they belong to different time periods, nevertheless, they are united through the great theme of passions that we treat as the direct link among the four texts within the context of our comparative research.

Literary and visual arts monuments taken as examples of our comparative research of the Biblical theme of passions evince that the application of the linguistic phenomenon in visual arts can be reviewed from the perspective of dissimilarity of expression from the formal standpoint, since both media choose different means to present the theme. On the other hand, however, each of these texts allows for a more articulated division into its own ‘subgroups’ that, of their own accord, enrich the multiplication of the Biblical text in an authentic fashion. Thus, the literary text ceases to be only canonical and Biblical and becomes highly poetic (Macedonian contemporary poetry), and the visual arts text expands its dimension becoming Byzantine and Proto-Renaissance, ultimately completing its growth and becoming a cultural text.

The formal diversification in the rendering of the theme of passions discovered in different media and historical periods (text/word-picture/color, different epochs), ushered us into the realm wherein we ascertained a possibility to review different forms of expression through four stories that originate in the same thematic source, versatile styles and expressions, and profound messages communicated across and addressed to the human dimension of suffering. Thus: 1) the Biblical-Christian aspects of the suffering disclose the economy of salvation of the mankind through Christ and the Mother of God; 2) the next text from our multiplied story, historically belonging to the Byzantine tradition, enhances the human dimension of man’s suffering by way of various elements of style used in the Lamentation at Nerezi; 3) in the Proto-Renaissance dissimilarity of style and expression, highlighting the power of the gesture as a motif, it humanizes the divine and affirms the idea of the power of man and the faith in himself; 4) the poetical text of Michail Rendzov in the Deposition from the Cross (fresco), poetizes the grand Biblical event that inherently belongs to the thematic scope of passion, that is, suffering becomes a poetic-lyrical category.


The first story refers to the Biblical story that underlies the other three stories in our research as their basic text; here we are narrowing it to the Lamentation scene as a part of the cycle of scenes depicting Christ’s passions. They are as follows[1]: the Last Supper, the Entombment, Washing the Disciple’s Feet, the Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mount Olive), Judas Betrayal, the Trial by Annas and Caiaphas, the Three Denials of Christ by Peter, the Judging by Pontius Pilate, the Mocking, the Path to Golgotha, the Ascent to the Cross/Crucifixion, the Deposition, and the Lamentation. As its textual model, the literary-Biblical Lamentation uses the prophecy of Simeon the Elder (Simeon the Righteous), the God-Receiver from the New Testament, rendered in the form of an address to the Mother of God: “Indeed, a sword will pierce your own soul, too, so that the inner thoughts of many people might be revealed.” (Luke 2:35). This moment foreshadows the passions of Christ, that are announced in the New Testament through the blessing of Simeon directed to Joseph and Mary. Addressing her, he would say: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against” (Luke 2:34).

According to Ephraim of Syria[2], this part of the New Testament literary text referencing the Lamentation, that is, the theme of passions, at the same time reveals heretics’ doubting Christ’s deity. The belief in this aspect of Christ’s nature was ambivalent: the first deemed that Christ’s body was not passionless, that it was earthly, therefore, the incarnation was not performed in the real body; the second creed maintains the belief that his body was divine. The former creed evinces lack of belief in the God-Man and Savior (Messiah) Christ on the part of Jews. According to exegesis, the sword from Simeon’s prophecy that will pierce the soul of the Mother of God hints at the denial, that is, that the savior of the world was born through the Mother of God. The Passion of Christ, thus, represents the reference to the Old Testament sin now transferred to the shoulders of the entire mankind. The couple mother-son, actually, is the New Eve and the New Adam, that is, the couple savior as a semiotic category.

Within the context of our first story, the prophecy rendered through the textual act as a form of syntagmatic level resembles an epigraphic expression, since the Lamentation scene is conveyed in a brief, implicitly allegorical form that demands to be recognized and purported in the context of a dogmatic, a historical, and a divine truth. Thus, first and foremost, it refers to the revelation of the divine and human nature of Christ, but also to the crucifix in the soul of the Mother of God: at the same time, she is a mother and the path-finder for humanity. The Biblical story follows the scheme of the Christian dogma in a brief, but allegorical depiction of events, abstracting narration and dramatization of the description of the event. Here everything is subject to the promulgation of the event as a historical, Biblical-literary act. However, scarcity of details is only one way of highlighting the content and the profundity of the event concealed in the allegorical form.

It is noteworthy that part of the comparative methodology used for researching the origin of the literary story related to the Lamentation event - which will bring us closer to our second story – has revealed that more than the several literary sources from the Synoptic Gospels, the apocryphal literature treats it more comprehensively, in particular, the Gospel of Nicodemus, the homiletic literature, the sermons of George of Nicomedia, liturgical and poetic texts, and mostly the apocrypha of the Mother of God. What is impressive in these texts and sources is that they give a very poignant, detailed description on the human dimension of the suffering of Biblical characters, and that emphasized emotionality of the form and the event is conducive of the possibility to reveal the physical humanity of Christ divine attributes. On the other hand and at the same time depicted are human drama and the agony of a broken heart, rendered through the suffering of his mother. As an illustration and part of the apocryphal sources, we cite the description from the Gospel of the Mother of God, wherein Saint Nikolay of Zhicha[3] depicts the suffering of Mary with the following details:

“The shepherd is struck, and the flock has dispersed. But whereto did she, the Mother, flee? She is standing by the cross in silence and pain. With her presence here, she testifies that it is a Son of Man, Her Son, and that she is His Mother. Every painful movement of the crucified Lord is relived in her soul, not as a ripple but as a thunder-storm. Still, she keeps her mouth shut, so that thus she can, overwhelmed with pain, feel the burden of His crucifixion passions.” (…)[4]

This clearly evinces that details introduce expansions in the descriptions of the Biblical New Testament story. All this contributes to the emphasis of the human dimension in the drama of the passions of Christ as a human being and the Mother of God as His Mother.

The Lamentation scene is closely related to, that is, follows the Crucifixion and Deposition from the Cross scenes:

“And when Jesus drew His last breath, two of his secret disciples, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, upon the approval of Pilate, took the body down from the cross and with tears in their eyes kissed it and sprinkled it with myrrh and sang to it like to a God.”[5]

In the same Gospel, the profound grief of the Mother of God articulated as a powerful dirge is described in the following fashion:

“Receiving the Dead Son in her motherly embrace, the Holy Virgin broke out into more bitter crying: “My Beloved Son, why did You leave me in deep pain and sorrow? The only hope of my life and my only life is You, my Son and God! The only light of my eyes, what will your mother do without You? … Oh, my wounded body, lying with myrrh anointed, the dead Son of me! You who hold Yourself with Your powerful hand, now, breathless are laid in your tomb! Oh, if I could only die with You, so that I, Your mother, don’t have to see You dead!…”[6]

Another source presenting the crying of the Mother of God and her lamentation represent the prayer hymns on the Mother of God. The poetical verses depicting the Crying of the Mother of God read:

“The crucified Christ the Virgin saw

And cried with her heart pierced:

Beloved Son, my life dear,

Why did You deserve such a death?[7]

… By great suffering tormented

The Holy One washes Him with her tears

And kisses with a holy kiss.

My Child, Goodness Infinite,

Your blood will wash away all sins

And Your suffering cleanse the souls

Of all those that will be baptized! “[8]

All these descriptions are not only laden with powerful expressionism and a possibility to detect metaphysics of pain and suffering, but also with a dramatic synergy of one Biblical event that in the New Testament remains deprived of this humanistic dimension.


The emphasis on the human element of suffering, crying, and pain, that is, sentiment and emotion, will prevail over the dogmatic moment in the Lamentation scene by a XIIth century Nerezi master; to this very day, it remains to be a scene that via the language of painting captured one of the greatest sufferings and human pain in Byzantine. That comprises the second story of our comparative research. The human aspect in the Lamentation scene ennobles the dogma making it more human, since the centre of the representation is laid on emotion. The pronounced drama, the enhanced condition of a crucified heart shows the Mother of God over-ridden with pain, with legs apart, in a deep trance engrossed in crying and sorrow. The Passion of Christ and the Lamentation yield an ambience of liturgical realism in visual presentation also, they render a certain optical and emotional effect[9] upon the viewer. The possibility of a synergic experience results in the knowledge that what is depicted in the scenes imparts the impression that all that is happening here, now, and again, and before us. This kind of iconographic chronotopos creates an allusion of a real chronotopos, since the intimate nature of the scene becomes an intimate and emotional experience of the viewer. The viewer becomes a participant, the co-empathizer in Christ’s suffering and in the crying of the Mother of God. The centre of the Biblical story breaks away from the dogmatic approach in the representation of this scene, and instead the centre of this painting composition is geared towards the human, the emotional, and the humanistic. The breaking away from the Biblical story from the New Testament is carried out through the emphasis on the humanistic tendencies of the Nerezi painter, the stressing of the anatomical aspects of human body, whereas at the same time, the iconographic presentation retains the dogmatic and abstract character of a New Testament story illustration. The stylistic aspects of the visual arts language, that are, in fact, stylistic innovations in the Christological program at Nerezi, apparently breaking away from the schematic approach to these Biblical events from the New Testament, bespeak the reflexion of the current tendencies at the Byzantine court of Alexios Commnenos.[10] Namely, the emergence of liturgical realism in the Lamentation scene seems to be some kind of ‘visual marketing’ aimed at promoting the imperial politics in the region. Thus they strove to make the iconographic rendition of Biblical events closer to the audience at large, that is, to enable the people to communicate more directly with the presentation by way of their external expression and emotional dimension. To that end, the centre of the composition of the Lamentation is focused on the intensity of gesture, facial expression, new emotional power, and human, that is, humanistic sympathy.

The Lamentation from Nerezi is one distinctive example seminal of the beginning of a new evolution in style, marking a new dynamic stage in the Byzantine painting discourse, as well as some kind of breaking away from the Biblical discourse that will become more transparent a century later, in the Proto-Renaissance. However, the significance of the stylistic features that lend the depicted figures liveliness and realism, are even more significant from the standpoint of culture, that is, the contribution of the Byzantine painting to the Western thought. Within the context of comparative reviews, Ernst Kitzinger will emphasize this innovation of the Nerezi painter as breaking away from the linguistic discourse and dogmatic approach in Christianity, underscoring:

“As we can see, this stage is of extraordinary importance for the right kind of understanding of what was happening at that time.”[11]

The visual arts expression of the literary-Biblical story depicted at Nerezi was placed in the nave and represents an ‘expanded’ story as regards the details conveyed through the visual language. Beside the Mother of God, saying farewell to Christ are John the Apostle, who is kissing his hand, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who are touching his feet. The iconographic positioning of the Mother of God represents the most powerful expression of sorrow and tenderness.[12] This moment, in its own right, accentuates her historical role, since it is realized as an integration of human and divine thought. She is the spiritual priest, the first human in the relationship between men and God, the woman and the virgin that enters a spiritual marriage with God in which mankind is integrated.[13] Finally, through her Jesus acquires his carnal nature. This iconographic symbol contains the ritualistic act aiming to emphasize man’s drama, the sacrificial death of Christ and his redeeming role for the mankind. The figures are depicted in one rhythmic expression whose dynamic placement not only unites the figures involved in the scene but also the viewer, who, thus, acts as an integral dynamic category.

Judging by the stylistic expression of the anonymous painter, who will only remain to be known in history as the Nerezi painter, he was undoubtedly acquainted with the Biblical pattern of this scene, as well as the Christian canon used for its representation. Nevertheless, he used a certain artistic freedom, showing one leg of the Mother of God visibly revealed and thrown over the dead body of her son. Such innovation in the painting at Nerezi can be understood as a transparent semiotic denote that gives off the dynamism of an internal struggle and suffering, and dialectics of the salvation at the same time. The bare leg of the Mother of God inspires passion in the lamentation as a dramatic act of man. At the same time, such an iconographic approach added to the Lamentation scene at Nerezi accentuates the realism of man’s suffering. This iconographic element enriches the semiotic dimension that reveals the closeness among the representation, the Biblical story, and its human empathy in communication with wider populist masses at the time of the Commneni, as well as between God and man.


The third story from our comparative research on a multiplied literary story dedicated to the theme of passions comes from the western paining that will set in later, in the Proto-Renaissance period. One of the most reproduced scenes that mark the Byzantine contribution to the Renaissance is the Lamentation from Nerezi. This scene evokes deep reminiscences of the similarity with the ethos of Giotto’s scene depicting the Biblical lamentation. This example should be expounded from the standpoint of exclusion of any direct connection, that is, direct impact of the Nerezi painter on the Italian Proto-Renaissance. Even though, for the time being, as regards this issue in the world of science, there has still not been made any research pertaining thereto, therefore, unfortunately, this relation remains without any definite answer,[14] still, the argument remains to be that this example is one distinctive form, one distant (in terms of time and space) emancipation of the Byzantine innovation in St Panteleimon at Nerezi, through the application of the linguistic Biblical representation in the western painting. This data coming from the world of science should be understood as valuable, for it indicates science still has not shut the door before this important issue that treats the relationship between the Nerezi painting and the Proto-Renaissance painter Giotto by way of the Lamentation.

Addressing the Byzantine contribution to the western painting,[15] the renowned E. Kitzinger mentions several key names[16] from the world of science that have been doing research on this important cultural topic. Viewing the situation within the comparative ambience, different scholarly stances place the issue in ambiguous contexts.

V. Lazarev, one of the most esteemed authorities as regards this issue, expresses a negative stance pertaining to any direct relation and considers it to be an over-rating of the Byzantine role in the later western painting. On the other hand, G. Vassari writes that the Byzantine painting is a completely static art and thus can be included in manuals on painting; in other words, it relies on the traditional approach in depicting saints, use of colour, and alike from generation to generation, and he does not mark any dynamism in its development.

Notwithstanding this, the issue science is facing today is: Did Byzantium substantially affect the development of the western painting or, on the other hand, it only rendered life and positive guidance to the painting in the West?

Our research of this issue wants to affirm and elaborate the idea that with his Lamentation Giotto complements the Byzantine Nerezi Lamentation through its humanistic tendencies. Even though they are two different kinds of aesthetics and concepts connected through the same Biblical story, the point of convergence of these two parallels, and not direct influences, rests on their propensity to highlight the humanistic tendencies in both iconographic representations. Hence, according to V. Lazarev, one should not over-rate the Byzantine role on the later western painting but place the situation into the context of trend setting in the later development of the western painting treating Biblical themes. Therefore, bearing in mind the stylistic innovations of the Biblical text at Nerezi applied as visual arts, it should be emphasized that Byzantine art should not be treated as essentially static.[17] The Lamentation at Nerezi represents a new interest in the human shape and a new type of human being, which will be more pronounced in its expression later in the Proto-Renaissance. In this period, the predominant emphasis of man’s anatomy supports the idea of man’s superiority and his faith in himself. In Giotto’s Lamentation, that new interest in human figure and being will be conveyed through the interest in the anatomical dimension of man’s body. Thus Nerezi gets its anticipation in the new stylistic expression in the West, in Giotto, where human values, cohesion of emotions, mood, and movement dominate. As Wilhelm Keller will summarize, in the background of this concept is the human form – is Byzantium.[18] Hence, the new dynamism in the style of the Nerezi master, who creates in Macedonia, correlates by way of a powerful dynamism with the dynamic style of the iconography in the western painting. Therefore, even though a new type of humanism appears, whose center is the emotionalism captured in the representation at Nerezi, and Giotto is only further building upon it with his humanistic tendencies as regards aesthetics, still we can speak about one kind of formalism the figures in both renditions arouse and not their direct influence.


It belongs to the Macedonian contemporary poetry, the collection of poetry Nerezi (1982) by Michail Rendzov; the poem is entitled the Deposition from the Cross (fresco).[19] Through its poetic language, the same Biblical story, as represented on a fresco at Nerezi, is illustrated. The suffering and lamentation, again, is the motive instigating the creation of new poetic narration, as well as one profound human truth. In this poetic narration by Rendzov are aptly sublimed three stories (Biblical/literary, visual arts, and poetic): there are no allusions that the first poetic image makes a reference to the Biblical text: When they were taking him down, they cried[20] This is a direct reference to the New Testament story of Christ’s deposition from the cross, as well as the lamentation that follows immediately thereafter. Through this poetic image, the poet makes a blend of two pivotal Biblical-literary and historical events that refer to human sacrifice and human suffering, as well as the economy of the salvation.

When we relate the first poetic image from the Deposition from the Cross with the last poetic image: When they were raising me, Ah, when they were raising me, they cried,[21], which captures the very lyrical point, we discover one harmonious unification of the Biblical cycle epitomized in the great theme of passions. What stems from this as a poetic truth is the subjectivization of the act of suffering, lamentation, crucifixion, and resurrection for each of us. Suffering is revealed as one intimate dialogue among the poet, God, and the word in man as one unrepeatable and unrenderable act. Suffering is disclosed as one intimate religion, a subjectivized and pure drama (of every man). Through the eschatological act of the crucifixion, the poet is making an attempt to identify God, who is beyond time, as well as any suffering that is repeatable in each of us. It is a discovered poetic liturgy in the subjective act of suffering, in the abstraction of poetry. The poet resurrects through the crucifixion of the word. The centre does not hinge on the suffering of Christ. The centre is man, the poet, the poem. Thus poetry becomes divine, and the poetic act an immortal work.

The ornithological structure of the symbol of the cross as a bird[22] pronounces the verticalization of the spirit through suffering; it carries the new birth of the poet-man; the new cosmogony that is individual, personal, intimate, and deep again. It also corresponds to the Christian discourse of the resurrection, as well as it rebirth.

Juxtaposing the crying during Christ’s deposition from the cross with the crying that appears as an allusion to the raising of the lyrical subject to the cross, the poet reveals an important relation of anti-thesis: raising-deposition. Jesus becomes a sacrifice for all people because of man’s sinful nature. The poet is put on the cross, ready to be crucified. The poet appears to be promulgating: poetry is salvation. The poet is the savior. He is ready for the act of subjective eschatology that is a big chance for the transformation and growth of the spirit. This is the individual act poetry is calling for. The centre of the subjectivity is lost again. Such a spirit has to be crucified in the name of the poetic and human truth for all. The poet appears as a personal Jesus.

Once again, from the personal, Suffering is placed into the context of the collective. They cried,[23] is the last verse. The poet puts himself in the role of the model ready to be crucified. In the poet is fractured all evil, all the foul human play that thwarts both individual growth and the global context.

In his poetical world, Rendzov reinstitutes the depraved human nature centrally. Again, he rewrites the biblical text stressing the individual sin, inertia, and defocusing from our own selves. However, through his poetic images, Rendzov also creates a possibility for a new iconography: the Crucified, man-poet, Crucifixion is a poetic act. That man is a man in each of us. Auto-referentiality indicates that the four stories are completed through the theme of suffering; that it is theme whose symbolism and gravity for which each historical period finds suitable modes of artistic expression to render, yet the emotionality, the pain, the suffering, the crying remain timeless – and the same. And they are human.

The Biblical, the Byzantine, the Proto-Renaissance, and the contemporary poetic in a multiplied passion story contain the duality of the fall and the rise, the sin and the sacrifice, the crying that should become rejoicing. Rendzov’s poetic truth becomes a synonym for an axiom that kills and gives birth, the singing that resurrects like the divine dimension in each of us. The poetic truth accentuates the spiritual quest as a venue towards salvation. Therefore, suffering emerges as the basic poetic category that yields an opportunity for an inner growth and subjective resurrection.


Антиќ-Стојчевска, Вера. 2003. Култот на света Богородица во Македонија.Скопје: Просветно дело.

Бла`ени Теофилакт, Архиепископ Бvлгарски. 2003. Тvлкувание на евангелието, том 2. София.

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Sinkevic, Ida. 1994. The Church of St. Panteleimon at Nerezi: Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, (vol.1 & II). Princeton University (authorized facsimile from the micro film master copy).

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[1] P. Miljkovic- Pepek, 1967, p.60.

[2] St. Ephraim of Syria, 2004, p. 262.

[3] St. Nikloay of Zhicha, 2001, pp. 51-62.

[4] Ib., p. 57.

[5] Ib., p. 36.

[6] Ib., p. 36.

[7] Ib., p. 396.

[8] Ib., p. 397.

[9] I. Sinkevic, 1994, p .43.

[10] Ib., p. 35

[11] E. Kitzinger, 1965, p. 361.

[12] S. Grandakovska, 2001, p. 202.

[13] Ib., p. 197.

[14] I find the consultations with Dr. Ida Sinkevic as regards this issue very helpful; she is the author of the volumionous monograph dedicated to Nerezi, and I use this opportunity to thank her once again.

[15] E. Kitzinger. The Byzantine Contribution to the Western Art of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, 1965.

[16] Presented at the Symposium dedicated to the Byzantine contribution to Western painting, organized by Dumbarton Oaks Papers, held in 1965.

[17] E. Kitzinger, 1965, pp. 360-361, 1965.

[18] Ib., p. 368.

[19] The poetic truth of M. Rendzov corresponds with the monumental historical and visual arts beauty that radiates from this monastery, that inspired his collection of poetry Nerezi.

[20] M. Rendzov, The Peak, the River, the Sea, 2003, p. 89.

[21] Ib., p. 89.

[22] The cross looks to me like a bird, p.89.

[23] Ib., p. 89.