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In Kaliningrad, the round table was held under the name "The place of culture and cultural tourism in the dialogue East-West. Orthodoxy – Catholicism"

On August 6, the Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library held a round table on "The place of culture and cultural tourism in the dialogue East-West. Orthodoxy – Catholicism". The event was part of the project "A cycle of regional events within the cultural and educational program of the route "Holy Places of undivided Christianity", implemented with a grant provided by the NGO "Russian Cultural Foundation" within the federal project "Creative people" of the national project "Culture".

The speakers at the round table were Miguel Palacio, Doctor of Theology (ThD), head of the "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity" Association, Deputy Director General of the Library for Foreign Literature for Interregional and International Cooperation; Andrey Ermak, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Kaliningrad Region; Vladimir Gilmanov, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of the Institute of Humanities of Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University; Vladimir Gilmanov, PhD in Education, Art Historian, Exhibition and Exhibition Specialist of the Russian Museum.


Before the roundtable began, Miguel Palacio and Andrey Yermak participated in a press conference. Miguel Palacio noted that the Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library will be the second place after the Library for Foreign Literature to host a cultural and research event on the spiritual dialogue of East and West. The event is designed to reveal the importance of cooperation between different Christian confessions in the face of the challenges faced by the whole world, and the role that the Kaliningrad region has historically played in this process.

"Speakers of the round table from a variety of sides – literary, art history, religious studies – will cover such a significant issue of dialogue, interaction, the search for rapprochement between Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism by means of culture, education and cultural tourism. The dialogue that took on special meaning after the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, who was not a stranger to the Kaliningrad region and for many years was Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. In my opinion, we continue the results of this meeting with cultural and educational tools", - stressed Miguel Palacio.

Andrey Ermak said that he learned about the "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity" project in 2017 during the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. According to his words, he found the project very interesting and immediately began to think about how Kaliningrad could take part in it.

"Kaliningrad is really a unique territory, because there are very few places where, for example, Orthodox churches are placed in places of former kirches. It is very interesting from the point of view of tourist attraction, because it is an exclusive history. And from the point of view of educational and enlightening function, the importance of the project cannot be overestimated," – said Andrey Ermak.


The round table "The place of culture and cultural tourism in the East-West dialogue. Orthodoxy – Catholicism" opened with the greeting of Andrey Ermak, in which he thanked Miguel Palacio for the fact that the Kaliningrad region became the first region outside Moscow and the Moscow region to participate in the project "Cycle of regional events in the cultural and educational program of the route "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity", and stressed that it is very interesting and important for the region.

"In the Kaliningrad region, the crossroads of cultures exists quite organically, at least from the point of view of people living in the Kaliningrad region. This is one of the advantages of our region to take an active part in this project," said Andrey Yermak.

Miguel Palacio spoke about the history and tasks of the project of the pan-European cultural and educational route "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity", and stressed the importance of participation of the Kaliningrad region in it.

"The Kaliningrad region is a place where you don't have to come up with topics for the Holy Places of Undivided Christianity project, because the region provides incredibly rich and deep research material for working on the topic of common Christian cultural heritage," said Miguel Palacio.


In his paper "Russia – World – Future: To the Problem of Civilization Metacodes in the Context of Kaliningrad Metatext", Vladimir Gilmanov, doctor of philological sciences, professor of the Institute of Humanities at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, presented a thorough theoretical basis for further discussion of the declared theme and proposed to create a Peace Academy in Kaliningrad.

"All forms of dialogue of cultures, especially in the horizon of their religious underpinnings, presuppose an initial integral of at least an intuitive, but better, of course, a conscious consensus on what the truth is all about. <...> The main accent in the unified educational space, in my conviction, must be placed on the informed promotion in public consciousness of existentially significant principles of Christian anthropology, which is very, very difficult, given the specifics of the contemporary situation. Here it is important not only to have educational conditions drawn up by the Church, but also to actively involve the scientific community in order to create a qualitatively new system of argumentation in favor of the Christian view of man. On the agenda is the rediscovery of reality in the cultural code of the Russian idea, in which answers to questions about the relationship of physical reality to consciousness and the psyche, that is, to the inner dimension of being in man, have long been outlined. In the federal centers of Russia there are already coordinating centers that consolidate the efforts of the Church and scientists in changing the vector of Russian education. In Kaliningrad, it is also necessary to create something similar. In this something new it would be important to have a dialogue between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, taking into account, above all, the sophisticated scholarship of the Catholic historical tradition", said Vladimir Gilmanov in particular.

Miguel Palacio, for his part, supported the creation of the Academy of Peace, the basic principles of which correspond to the concept of the Route of the Holy Places of Undivided Christianity, and recalled that the emblem of the project is a dove (the symbol of peace) pointing toward the sun.


Elena Toropova, candidate of pedagogical sciences, art historian, expert of exhibition department of the Kaliningrad Museum of Fine Arts, emphasized the fact that the Kaliningrad region located on the border between East and West, combining all possible traditions is a certain fact, including the dialogue between Eastern and Western Christian confessions.

Olga Sholmova, tour guide and author of socio-cultural projects, in her report "Kantian traditions of our city" told that she considers Kaliningrad a place suitable for a cultural and intellectual historical route, as it has been formed as a Christian space since its foundation. As an example, Olga Sholmova cited the famous Cathedral, where there are three chapels – Orthodox, Lutheran and Catholic.

Galina Kuzmich, Chief Librarian of the Centre for Regional Studies of Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library, prepared a presentation on "The Transfiguration Iconostasis: From Koenigsberg to Kaliningrad" as a tool to update the cultural identity of the city", focusing on the history and deep meaning of the Transfiguration Iconostasis of Kaliningrad Cathedral of Christ the Saviour for intercultural dialogue. She also pointed out that a detailed study of the iconostasis was possible thanks in large part to the inclusion of the Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library in the Shrines of Undivided Christianity project. This helped the library to reveal its potential as a space for intercultural and inter-confessional dialogue.

Alexander Novikov, candidate of history and senior researcher at the Kaliningrad Museum of History and Art, spoke about the role of St. Adalbert (Wojciech) in the cultural tradition of Europe and his significance for the Kaliningrad region: the supposed place of martyrdom of St. Adalbert is located in this region. Miguel Palacio added that St. Adalbert is especially revered in Catholicism and is also listed in the Orthodox Church's holy books.

Art historian, member of the All-Russian Association of Art Historians, curator of museum items of the private institution of culture "Russian Center of Art" Natalia Vasilevskaya dedicated her speech to the project of cultural route Vyshniy Volochek – Kaliningrad, based on the study of the painting "Thousand Years of Baptism of Russia" by brothers Sergey and Alexey Tkachev.

Iraida Ostrogradskaya, curator of the funds of the Museum of the History of the City "Friedland Gates", presented the concept of the museum and told about its participation in the international project "Museums without Borders". As a part of the project, the museum compiled a collection of Old Believers' metalwork, including 167 items. All exhibits were collected in the Kaliningrad region. Miguel Palacio added that Old Believers are a very significant layer of culture for Russian civilization. The "Holy Places of undivided Christianity" route has already included Old Believers' books from the Republic of Buryatia.

Elena Dolgopolova, chief librarian at the Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library's Regional Studies Center, prepared a report on how the "Life-giving Spring" collection of religious literature was assembled and its role in the development of contemporary culture in Kaliningrad.

Summing up the round table, Miguel Palacio noted that the meeting was rich and thematically rich. He stressed that the main task of the project "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity" is to highlight, study and unite the most significant spiritual and cultural monuments of the common Christian heritage of European states in tourist routes, and the round table made an invaluable contribution to its achievement.

Addressing Elena Koshemchuk, Director of the Kaliningrad Regional Scientific Library, Miguel Palacio thanked her and the staff team for organizing the roundtable at the highest professional level in a short time and expressed the hope that the event would strengthen cooperation between one of the leading libraries in the Kaliningrad region and the Library for Foreign Literature, which coordinates the preparation of the "Holy Places of Undivided Christianity" route.


August 19, 2021

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