NICOSIA – The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and the V.I. Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine (VNLU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint Ukrainian-Cyprus research and educational activities that highlight the historical and cultural relations between the two countries.
As a first step, a pilot collaborative project will focus on the travel accounts of Vasiliy Barskyi, a Ukrainian monk who visited Cyprus in the 18th century. With the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in Republic of Cyprus, researchers from Ukraine and Cyprus will study and digitize the well-known manuscript “Travels of Vasiliy Grygorovych Barskyi to the Sacred Places of the East: 1723-1747” of the famous monk and pilgrim, who travelled across Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean in the 18th Century describing holy places and pilgrimage sites. Among his destinations he visited was Cyprus, producing wonderful descriptions and drawings of his travels.
CyI and the V.I. Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine will cooperate for supporting further research on the history and culture of Cyprus and Ukraine using Barskyi’s travels to communicate the cultural relations between the two countries. The interdisciplinary study of Barskyi’s passage through Cyprus has been a focus of interest and work by researchers from the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC) / Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) of The Cyprus Institute.
The signing of this MoU will ensure free access to the Manuscript and Vasiliy Grygorovych Barskyi’s drawings for researchers from Ukraine and Cyprus, through CyI’s DIOPTRA – the Edmée Leventis Digital Library for Cypriot Culture, and through UKRAINICA – the Digital Library of the Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine. Researchers from VNLU will lead the digitization of the Manuscript in collaboration CyI experts. Further analyses by CyI researchers will study aspects of the materiality and technique of the important document.
The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding took place at The Cyprus Institute’s facilities in Athalassa, on Thursday 17, February 2022, and was signed by Prof. Lyubov Dubrovina (Director General of VNLU) and the President of The Cyprus Institute, Professor Costas N. Papanicolas.
The ceremony was addressed by H.E. Mr. Ruslan Nimchynskyi, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus, the Director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, Dr Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, the General Director of the V.I. Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine, Prof. Lyubov Dubrovina, and CyI President, Prof. Costas Papanicolas. Assoc. Prof. Nikolas Bakirtzis and Post-Doctoral Fellow, Mia Trentin had the opportunity to briefly present the project to the participants.
In his welcoming address, H.E. the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Ruslan Nimchynskyi, noted that the signing of the Agreement between the Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine and The Cyprus Institute is particularly significant for both sides, at least for two reasons – it proves the existence of long historic ties between our nations, while promising to lift the veil of unknown facts in the history of Ukraine-Cyprus relations, and secondly – starting this project is very symbolic as in two days, on 19th of February, Ukraine and the Republic of Cyprus will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. The Ambassador wished the participants success in their endeavours and fruitful implementation of the project leading to new discoveries.
Dr Solomidou-Ieronymidou stated that the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus is particularly looking forward to the opportunities that this collaboration will provide. She also expressed her support to this effort, and wished that this will be only the beginning of exciting research and education opportunities. She concluded that this Agreement is a way for Cyprus and Ukraine to come closer through shared histories and cultural experiences.
In her address, Director General of Vernadskyi National Library of Ukraine Prof. Lyubov Dubrovina placed emphasis on the importance of Barskyi’s travel and the related focus of the joint Ukrainian-Cyprus Project, its results and the significant value it will provide for historical and scientific-cultural studies.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Papanicolas stated that despite the fact that Ukraine is currently going through a very difficult situation, this MoU is a sign of hope for a peaceful and prosperous future based on culture and history exchange between our people and nations. This MoU effectively establishes and formalizes a bridge between Cyprus and Ukraine for the exchange of research and education, while promoting cultural heritage, as a vehicle for scholarly synergies of great significance.