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Hoxhaj: Constantine the Great, the symbol of our European roots

Prishtina, 4 September 2013 – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj has opened today the second day of the symposium “Edict of Milan- Constantine the Great”, organized by the Roman Catholic Church in Kosovo, Institute of History, Institute of Albanology, Prishtina University “Hasan Prishtina” and Institute of Archaeology.

Minister Hoxhaj addressed the numerous participants of the symposium on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan. He spoke about the historical, cultural, spiritual and religious heritage of Constantine the Great, which, he said, presents a universal wealth and value to humanity, about how he fulfilled his historic role and his impact in subsequent periods.

The second day of the symposium was attended by senior representatives of the religious clergy in Kosovo, senior state representatives, the Vatican Apostolic delegate to the Republic of Kosovo, Juliusz Janusz and scholars as well as other academics.

Minister Hoxhaj also said that the historical legacy of Constantine the Great and the Edict of Milan are relevant to the historical memory of Kosovo and its European identity.

“First we need to consider the geography of Constantine the Great, ancient Dardania. We are inspired by his native ancient Dardania, but we are proud that geography has ascertained Kosovo in the heart of the Balkans and Europe, making Kosovo a European country,” said Hoxhaj.

He also stressed that the fact that Constantine the Great was originally from Dardania, and also given the western scientific though about our Illyrian origin, as one of the oldest nations in Europe, makes Constantine the Great part of the historical consciousness of the citizens of Kosovo and the Albanians wherever they live.

“His language was Latin. It is an undeniable historical fact that in Kosovo until the 18th century two written languages were used, Albanian and Latin. Today we are proud of having used the Latin alphabet historically in the lands, for thousands of years, and this speaks of our European orientation,” said Hoxhaj.

Kosovo Foreign Minister referred to the fact that Constantine the Great and his Edict of Milan presented the concept and the architect of freedom, saying that freedom has long been the only aspiration of the people of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, speaking about the dimension of the interfaith tolerance promoted by the Edict of Milan, Hoxhaj said that the participation of the wide spectrum of religious clergy representatives of different faiths in Kosovo gave an added value to the symposium.

“Edict of Milan, 1700 years ago, proclaimed Christianity an equal religion, but all of us in this room and the whole world know that Christianity has spread before it became the official religion in Illyrian and Kosovo territories,” he said.

According to Hoxhaj, all these elements are determinants of historical memory, and demonstrate that the Republic of Kosovo belongs to Western civilization, and that historical consciousness is a main element component that determines the position of a society within the temporal and spatial dimension.

“All these elements show that historical consciousness produces self-confidence, and confidence produces strength and an ancient people as the people of Kosovo must seek strength in its history, too. Edict of Milan was the beginning of the culture of hope and the Republic of Kosovo has become a country thanks to you in this room, while the people of Kosovo believed in it”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj.