May 11th is International Byzantine Day!


On May 11th,  in 330 AD, the Emperor Constantine officially consecrated the City of Constantinople as the new Capitol of the Roman Empire. In commemoration of that unique and sacred event, Byzantium Novum has decreed May 11th to be annual International Byzantine Day!

On that date, Constantine led a grand procession through the streets of the new City, to the base of a new Imperial Column at Constantinople's center. There Imperial and religious ceremonies were done to officially sanctify newly rebuilt Constantinople as the new center of the Imperial Roman world.  Celebrations rang throughout the City!

Since that day May 11th has remained a symbol of new beginnings and hope in the Byzantine world. It is a time to remember many things, the continuation of ancient Rome, the beginning of a the new "Byzantine" empire,  and the founding of a city which was to lead the world for over a thousand years.

May 11th was set as a time of hope and New Beginning. It was also a time of religious tolerance and equality, as Constantinople was blessed and consecrated by both the ancient Classical priesthood and the new Christian priesthood together. Sacred objects from both the old and new religions, pagan treasures such as the Palladium, and important Christian relics from Jesus and John the Baptist were buried together at the base of the Pillar of Constantine to make Constantinople sacred and holy. This ensured that the Eastern Roman Empire would be blessed by all forms of deity.

The public celebrations on that day were focused on the public procession and ceremony of the Emperor, but certainly did not end there. There was general feasting and merriment,  and public entertainment at the Hippodrome and in the streets. People wore their best clothes, decorated their homes and the public spaces, and religious services of all types were held. This was the day to celebrate the Empire, the New City, and all the good things of civilized life which was maintaining and renewing itself in spite of a century of challenges.

This time of new hope is eternal. It is worthy not only of commemoration, but also celebration and renewal! Let us keep this day sacred through celebration, merriment and rememberence.

May 11th is a time to re-consecrate and renew our own lives and spaces, remembering that it is always possible to renew and repurpose ourselves to amazing new goals and endeavors. This is how Byzantium began, and this example remains a symbol of hope for our future!

How can we celebrate May 11 as Byzantines?

This is a wonderful day and time for all positive Byzantine activity! It is usually warm enough for feasting and outdoor events, historical reenactments and celebrations. This a perfect time to gather with friends to celebrate all the traditions of the Roman, Greek and Byzantine worlds... the cultures that has laid the very foundations of the world in which we live today.

The following are some ideas for Celebrating May 11th:

1. Clean and decorate your home and other spaces. This is the perfect time to make your surroundings new and beautiful again, and do that Spring Cleaning! If a huge city like Constantinople could be rebuilt, and re-established, we can do that for ourselves on a yearly basis. The places you live and work are your own personal capital, and there is every reason to renew them each year! 

2. Re-consecrate - Byzantium was an old city before it was rebuilt and renamed Constantinople. It was a second-rate trading port before being established as the Capital of the Roman Empire. This most famous reconsecration changed history and lasted over a thousand years. If history has shown this can be done, why not do it for ourselves? May 11th is a perfect time to re-dedicate yourself to the situations, purposes and goals that having meaning for you - that you live and work all year for. Take the time on this day to renew vows, and to make new resolutions! Bless those things in your life that you love and hold sacred!

3. Hold Religious Observance - This day became sacred for all ancient traditions, and it is a wonderful time to honor and remember deity. This is a wonderful day to visit an Orthodox Church, or to pray at a home altar, or hold ancient religious ceremony. May 11th is a day of hope and new life, and that is a spiritual thing that we can always commemorate, make sacred, and draw new positive inspiration from!

3. Enjoy Byzantine Culture - Whether you are alone or with others, this is a wonderful day to enjoy and celebrate Byzantine civilization and culture, and that of the Greek and Roman civilizations and cultures that were the foundation of the Byzantine world. This is a wonderful day to buy new treasures, to read about Byzantine history, or a novel set in Byzantine times, to dress in historical garb, to watch a program on ancient history, and to eat Byzantine food! Take the time to focus on the history that is one of the foundations of the world today. The Byzantine traditions have never gone away and this is a wonderful day to explore them!

4. Feast! - Speaking of Byzantine food, May 11th is a wonderful day to enjoy a traditional Byzantine meal. Byzantium Novum maintains a Culture Forum where many wonderful recipes are shared, so check it out for ideas. Byzantine food is delicious! Did you know that the Byzantines invented marzipan? That the Byzantines were the first culture to eat food with a fork? Byzantium maintained a pinnacle of Mediterranean cultural tradition. Whether it is a simple meal for one, or a dinner party for many, May 11th is a great day to enjoy the tastes of the Ancient world!

5. Host a party - May 11 is a great day to host a Byzantine oriented party for family and friends! Byzantine food mixed with some fun activities can make for a wonderful celebration. This is also a wonderful time for fun activities, such as visiting a museum with friends, or dining with friends at a Greek or Mediterranean restaurant!

6. Put on an event - Feeling more ambitious? Why not put on an event for the public? Byzantium Novum will be working to put on Byzantine public activities in our provinces worldwide, and you can help - or even do your own event! May 11 is a great time for historical reenactments, and historical shows featuring Roman, Greek and Byzantine wares, food, costume, etc. This is a wonderful time for school history classes to put on events as well. Big or small, this is a great time to do things that get people involved in this amazing ancient civilization!

7. Spread the word! - Speaking of getting people involved, you can help make a worldwide phenomenon by helping to get the word out about May11th being International Byzantine Day! There are so many people out there that don't know that the Byzantine Empire was so amazing, and meant so much for the world today. It is also wonderful to commemorate this historical time for renewal of place and purpose!

For More ideas on how to celebrate May 11th as International Byzantine Day, check out the Byzantium Novum Forums:

Byzantium Novum Culture - for discussion and tips on Byzantine food, costuming, decorating and more!

Bibliotheca Byzantia - for Byzantine literature and books

Byzantium Novum Church - For Orthodox religion - prayers and discussion!

Byzantine Classical Religion - for ancient Classical religious prayer and discussion.

Byzantium Novum Militarium - for Byzantine military and civilian reenactment

Byzantium Novum - main discussion list



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