There is hardly any educated person in this country who has not read poems by the great Ukrainian, who has not enjoyed paintings of his. Yet, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko is an occasion to remember moments of his short life – he is a vivid proof that the genius is like a volcano and when it explodes it sweeps laws, borders, time and realities.

A series of events were organized by the Ukrainian Embassy in Bulgaria in 2014 on the occasion of this important anniversary. One of the last was the presentation of the new edition of the legendary collection of poems "Kobzar" in the Great Hall of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on December 2. The event, organized by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Ukrainian Embassy in Bulgaria, under the auspices of Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Margarita Popova, was attended by ambassadors, translators, representatives of the scientific community and the Ukrainian Diaspora and admirers of the works of the poet. They all enjoyed some of the best poems of Shevchenko presented by students of NATFIZ (National academy for theatre and film arts) and the songs "Reve ta stohne Dnipr shyrokyy" and "Chudno Horo" performed by the Chamber Choir and conducted by Maria Valchanova.
The initiative for the release of "Kobzar" in two languages - Bulgarian and Ukrainian, was taken by the ambassador of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria - Dr. Mykola Baltazhi. On the presentation day of the book he thanked the National Archives of BAS and the publishing house "Paradox" for their cooperation in its implementation, as well as the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Plovdiv, Eng. Dimitar Georgiev for his financial support. The profit gained from the sale of "Kobzar" will be given for charity. The President of the Academy of Sciences Acad. Stefan Vodenitcharov said regarding the edition that it is unique not only because of the bilingual form, but also due to the fact that the images created by Shevchenko in his ballads and poems are very close to the Bulgarian spirit and through the years they were inspirational for both Ukrainians and Bulgarians- as his very personality.

Facts from the life of the poet

Taras Shevchenko was born on the 9th of March 1814, in Moryntsi, province of Kiev and died on 10th of March 1861, in St. Petersburg. As child of serfs, he was orphaned at the age of 12 and forced to become a water-carrier, hack and pastor. He became a domestic "Kazachok" in the farmstead yard of Pavel Engelhard. In 1831, with his landlord he moved to St. Petersburg and there he fell among prominent Russian cultural figures: Vasily Zhukovsky, Dmitry Grigorovich, Alexei Venetsianov, Karl Bryullov and others.
Seeing his talent, they raise funds and redeem him from Engelhard, in 1838, for the then incredible sum of 2500 rubles! The now free Shevchenko took up courses in painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts and familiarizes with world literature. From 1840 to 1847 was the most prolific period of his work as a poet and artist. He was actively involved in the socially- political life, he became closer to the Petrashevsky circle and people from the Cyril and Methodius society. This was the reason he was detained by the authorities and sent as a regular soldier in the Orenburg fortress for ten years! Although it was forbidden to engage in art, yet it was there that he created many paintings. Again Russian intellectuals advocate him. After being released, he returned to St. Petersburg. A new period of turbulent creativity follows. In summary: Shevchenko leaves over a thousand works of art, many poems and the legendary "Kobzar" - a collection of poems, which along with the Bible is the book that is present in every Ukrainian house.

The memory of the genius Ukrainian

Recently, on the opening of the exhibition "Taras Shevchenko and Bulgaria" Dr. Mykola Baltazhi said: "Kobzarya has always been a consolidating factor of the Ukrainian nation. This is very important today; when under real threat is the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, while it continues to move towards the EU. "And concluded:" Shevchenko belongs not only to Ukraine, but to all humanity, although his every word is for Ukraine. His name is known around the world; in many countries have been raised monuments for him, including in the city centre of Sofia. "
In fact the sculpture of a young Taras set a few years ago in the garden of the square "Revival" is a really wonderful work of Igor Grechanik. It is not a coincidence that it was recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world, dedicated to the poet.

Ekaterina Pavlova

Photos: Embassy of Ukraine in Sofia and Maria Tzaneva – BAS
2. The presentation of the book "Kobzar" is taking place under the auspices of Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Margarita Popova.
4. Hon. Mykola Baltazhi, Ambassador of Ukraine in the country said that Ukrainians "2014 is the Year of the genius of the people of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko."
5. On the opening of the exhibition "Taras Shevchenko and Bulgaria": Prof. Damyan Damyanov, Deputy Chairman of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Antonina Yakimova, vice president of company "Matty Ukraine"; Prof. Dr. Ruza Simeonova, Director of the Scientific archives of BAS; and Hon. Mykola Baltazhi, Ambassador of Ukraine in Bulgaria.