The oldest evidence of the beginnings of Christianity in Slovakia

31. 01. 2014

(29 January 2014; Radio station Slovakia; Afternoon in Slovakia; 15.50; 5 min.; RAPANTOVÁ Hana)

Hana RAPANTOVÁ, moderator: “Findings from Bojna pri Pieštanoch, or Čierne Kľačany near Zlate Moravce could have been viewed by visitors in the Vatican Museums since 12th November of the last year. These Museums are annually visited by some five million people. This unique exhibition entitled ‘The oldest evidence of the beginnings of Christianity in Slovakia’ ended last Sunday. Now, the showpieces are being packed and are preparing for the journey back home. Director of Archeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences Dr. Matej RUTTKAY is present there and the phone lines are being connected at this moment. Good day.”

Matej RUTTKAY: „Good day."

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “So we can hear each other fine. Can you tell us how many visitors have seen the exhibition? If I have right information, 50,000 information booklets have been printed. Was this amount enough, or an additional printing was needed?”

M. RUTTKAY: “I must say that we did not count how many visitors exactly attended the exhibition, but I suppose there were approximately 200,000. We did not do additional printing, because we were not able to manage it time wise and not every visitor took the information booklet with them. However, also the local people who work in the museums reported that there had been approximately 200,000 visitors.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “At our domestic exhibitions, there are usually signature books, thus it is customary that people sign in, or write something. Was there any signature book, which could serve as a testimony of the local responses to the exhibition?” 

M. RUTTKAY: “Maybe it is little bit our fault that we did not prepare such a book, even though it would have to be somewhat under control. However, it is perhaps also good for us to hear from the local staff there. They have a sales booth with souvenirs nearby and were very happy that our exhibit was there and more visitors had been attracted to visit the museum. Now they were sad that we are leaving, which will lower their sales again a little. This means that the visit rate had been quite good.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “Yes, certainly. Can you tell us which showpiece attracted visitors’ interest the most?”

M. RUTTKAY: “It’s not (…) we expected that the most interesting will be plaques from Bojna, (…) and the second most interesting was pyx from Čierne Kľačany, which in fact really attracted a lot of attention. What we have observed in these days and especially the women personnel… frequently visited had been an exhibition case with the Great Moravia jewel, which shows in a great way the technical craftwork from 9th Century. Unfortunately, the knowledge of such craftwork had perished for many years afterwards.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “It might be interesting to know, whether you observed opinions of the local archeological community, or the historians?”

M. RUTTKAY: “We are in touch more or less only with personnel – archeologists from the museum and I have to say that we only have good reviews from there. These reviews come from all levels, from the common archeologists as well as from executive staff. Therefore, I believe that we will even see some reviews in academic periodicals soon. That would be a sign for us, if it had been professionally good, because we believe it was. Certainly in terms of archeology and Christianity popularization as well as popularization of our Slovak findings abroad, this was certainly one of the largest events ever in recent decades.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “I believe that we have attracted the interest of our audience and maybe a question arises, whether Slovak public will have the opportunity to see in one place the showpieces, which were exhibited in Vatican.”

M. RUTTKAY: “Me and the Director of the History Museum – the Slovak National Museum, we have received maybe even hundreds of emails, in which people begged us to allow our audience to see this exhibit also in Slovakia. All this nurtured the idea to do this exhibition in Slovakia and to do it relatively quickly. This means that we are planning to open kind of a reinstallation of the exhibition on the Bratislava Castle on 20th February. Language wise, we will prepare Slovak language for the Slovak visitors.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “That is great news. To conclude, I would like to ask, whether the Slovak Academy of Sciences is going to do something similar to this exhibition in the near future.”

M. RUTTKAY: “We also have another project, on which we cooperate with Czech colleagues. They are the leaders of our project and actually we are preparing a large project – Great Moravia. Many findings will occur again in this project and it is not going to be only Great Moravia in Slovakia, but really the one in, I would say (…), world. This will be soon actual – next year.”

H. RAPANTOVÁ: “I talked to the Director of the Archeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dr. Matej RUTTKAY about the currently finished exhibition of the oldest show pieces of Christianity in Slovakia in the Vatican Museums. Thank you very much for the information, it has been good to hear from you.”

M. RUTTKAY: “Thank you. Best regards and good bye.”

Published from the monitoring STORIN, Ltd. (broadcast transcript)


Historical Sciences and Archaeology