“Sacred Tongue of My Predecessors: Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels” touring exhibition on view in Sofia
Marking the 25th anniversary of the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia and of the establishment of its diplomatic relations with Bulgaria, on 6 March 2017 a touring exhibition entitled Sacred Tongue of My Predecessors: Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels was put on at the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia. The exhibition has been prepared as a result of the collaboration of the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK), Embassy of Bulgaria in Croatia, St. Kliment Ohridski University and St. Kliment Ohridski University Library.
At the exhibition’s opening ceremony Director General of the National and University Library in Zagreb Tatijana Petrić spoke about a strong bond that has been forged between the Croatian and Bulgarian peoples throughout history and is vividly shown by the treasures of both libraries. With the aim of further deepening this bond, the representatives of the two libraries signed a cooperation agreement.
Sacred Tongue of My Predecessors: Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels is based on a homonymous 2015 exhibition held at the National and University Library in Zagreb and put on all across Croatia as a result of the Library’s cooperation with the Embassy of Bulgaria in Croatia and Croatian-Bulgarian Friendship Association in Zagreb, which, together with the Josip Juraj Strossmayer Croatian-Bulgarian Society from Sofia and a couple of collaborators, was the exhibition’s initiator.
The preparation of this valuable exhibition and the gathering of material and data used in its production involved extensive international cooperation. The resources selected from various collections of the National and University Library in Zagreb spotlight different cultural and historical aspects of the long presence of Bulgaria and Bulgarians in Croatian literature. This presence can first be detected in old Glagolitic texts, such as the 12th-century Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea (Ljetopis Popa Dukljanina), and then easily be traced all the way to the contemporary Bulgarian writings.
This exhibition has also been made permanently available online through its virtual counterpart that may be viewed as part of the National and University Library in Zagreb Virtual Exhibitions portal. Based on digitised resources from the Library’s Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, Music Collection and other Library’s collections, it highlights major historical events involving the two countries and nations since 885 until this day and presents the points of their connection in literature, music, theatre as well as in other, more mundane affairs.
The exhibition currently on view in Sofia also showcases books that the National and University Library in Zagreb has donated to the St. Kliment Ohridski University Library and other library materials selected from the collections of the St. Kliment Ohridski University Library. This donation will surely enrich the collection of Croatian titles available to Bulgarian students, particularly students of the Croatian language at the Slavic Languages Section of the Faculty of Slavic Studies at the St. Kliment Ohridski University.