Аҧсны Амитрополиа Ҧшьа аофициалтә саит > Астатиақәа > Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar). RESULTS OF THE SECOND YEAR OF TEACHING AT ASU



Archimandrite Dorotheos (Dbar)


«…There is no free time,

because the boys go back to college after the holidays,

and we, teachers, feel the parent’s curse on us:

it’s a hard work”

From a letter of Clive Lewis

to Giovanni Calabria (3 October, 1947)



In September 2021, I continued to read the course of lectures “Ancient Greek for Historians” to graduate students of the Department of History, Archeology and Ethnology of Abkhazia, Faculty of History of the Abkhaz State University (ASU). In the first and second semesters, the students studied the Greek language, in the third and last semesters the teaching process was carried out differently. Realizing that the students should already start writing their master’s theses, at the very beginning I gave them a big lecture (broken into several parts) called “Methodology of a modern historian on the example of studying the history of the Christian shrines of the Abkhazian Koman.” As an epigraph to this lecture, I quoted the words of George Pachymer (1242–1310): “Ψυχή της Ιστορίας η αλήθεια” (“The soul of history is truth!”). It is interesting that the term “history” (Greek ἡ ἱστορία – research, history, story) etymologically goes back to the ancient Greek verb οἶδα, which means “I know.”

Within the framework of the lecture, we researched the content of the term “methodology”, which consists of two Greek words μέθοδος and λόγος, we also identified the main set of historian’s tools, among them we highlighted the knowledge of ancient languages, in particular, ancient Greek for Abkhaz researchers. Why? Because most of the information on the history of the Abkhazians preserved in sources written in ancient Greek. And the largest number of epigraphic monuments found by archaeologists in Abkhazia also contain inscriptions in Greek.
As an example, I gave a very important fragment from the third book of the “History” by Agathias of Myrina ( Ἀγαθίας Σχολαστικός, 536–582) in the original language (Ancient Greek), as well as in translation into Modern Greek and Russian (for comparison).

The message of Agathias of Myrina, which caused a lively discussion in the audience, is one of the important arguments refuting the well-known pseudo-historical hypothesis of P. Ingorokva (1893-1983), which became for a certain part of the Georgian intelligentsia, as prof. Giorgi Anchabadze noted, “a true national figure.” We are talking about a change in the ethnic composition of the population of late medieval Abkhazia, that is, as if “the Abazgs-Abkhazians of antiquity and the Middle Ages were not the ancestors of the modern Abkhaz people, but were Kartvelian tribes.”

From the message of Agathias it follows that the Misimians lived in the eastern part of the territory of modern Abkhazia, bordering on Georgia, in the VI century and they were although together with the Apsils in vassalage to the king of the Colchians (or Lazians), they were different from the Lazians (Mingrelians), had their own language and laws.

Then I began to represent the method of the modern historian on the basis of materials collected during the writing of my doctoral thesis at the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki (Greece).

In particular, I showed students how to work with sources (in our case, Greek sources), how to analyze them and authenticate their content, etc. I put emphasis on the concept of critical edition of source texts. In conclusion, I gave a list of various codification catalogs of Greek sources, source collections, showed how to cite sources, arrange bibliography, abbreviations, etc.

At the first lecture, I literally forced the students (thank God, the resistance was weaker than in the first academic year) to read several works of additional literature. In particular, we have read and studied “Apology of History or the Craft of a Historian” by the French historian Mark Bloch, “The War with the Persians” and “Secret History” by the Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea, “The Meaning of History and the Meaning of Life” by Archpriest Georgy Florovsky.

The aforementioned Mark Bloch wrote: “Let homo homo faber (man-master) or politicus (politician) always be indifferent to history, in its defense it is enough to say that it is recognized as necessary for the full development of homo sapiens (reasonable man).”

The second lecture was devoted to a four-line Greek inscription made inside the funerary temple (Greek: παρεκκλήσιον) built into the narthex of the Pitsunda Cathedral. I told and showed how to study certain inscriptions in Greek which are present on the walls of many Christian churches in Abkhazia.

As for the Pitsunda inscription, first I drew the students’ attention to the fact that the earliest mention of it belonged to Frederic Dubois de Monpere (1798-1850).
However, it turned out that this author made a mistake when copying the inscription and published an incorrect translation into French.

Then we listed the names of all the authors known to us, who had visited the Pitsunda Cathedral and had seen the Greek inscription. Further, a comparative analysis of all variants of copies and readings of the Greek text from the wall of the funeral temple of the Pitsunda Cathedral was carried out, and only then we offered our own reading. In the final part of the lecture, the content of the inscription was analyzed in detail. I suggested to the students to reflect on the following conclusions:

  1. The available data allow us to assume that the Greek inscription in the funerary temple in the narthex of the Pitsunda Cathedral indicates that during the reign, most likely, of the Abkhazian Catholicos-Patriarch Evdemon I, i.e. between 1557–1578. Pitsunda Cathedral was reconstructed a little bit. A new altar barrier was arranged, as well as a throne (Holy Meal) and stairs for the choir. A funerary temple (tomb, mausoleum) was built in the narthex. New frescoes appeared, the walls and vault of the funerary temple were entirely painted. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that all of these works could have been carried out earlier. Given the fact that in the XVII century. The Abkhazian Catholicoses were no longer in Pitsunda, the implementation of the above works in the Pitsunda Cathedral under the Catholicos-Patriarch Evdemon II (1666–1673) is unlikely.
  2. All of the above works were made by an artel of Greek craftsmen. Perhaps the same craftsmen worked in other Abkhaz churches (for example, in the Mokva Cathedral). The works were led by a master (architect and painter), a Greek named Paraskevas, who left the inscription in Greek on the wall of the funerary temple in four lines containing a prayer call for God and the chronology of works.

As part of the second lecture, as an independent work, I asked students to rewrite the Greek text from the funerary temple of the Pitsunda Cathedral and analyze it. In addition, I recommended them to read the “Journey around the Caucasus” by Frederick Dubois de Montperreux (1937) and the article by Maria Brosse “On the religious and political state of Georgia until the 17th century” (published in one of the issues of the “Journal of the Ministry of Education” for 1843).

At the third lecture, I realized that the students began to “use their brains” and I decided to move on to the era of antiquity from the history of Abkhazia of the late Middle Ages. The lecture was devoted to the poetic work of the ancient writer Lycophron (Greek Λυκόφρων, IV – III centuries BC) under the name of “Alexander” (Greek Ἀλεξάνδρα). I told students that a researcher could be mistaken if he did not read the entire source that he uses in his work in the original language (in this case in the ancient Greek).

In recent years, one of the Abkhazian researchers claimed in his works that “Abazgs” (one of the Abkhaz subethnos) are mentioned in the 3rd century BC. by Lycophron, a grammar and a poet who worked in the Alexandrian library during the reign of Ptolemy. To confirm his statement, this author refers to the message from the Glossary on the early medieval history of Eastern Europe, published in Wiesbaden, 1980.

However, if to read properly upon Lycophron’s poem “Alexander”, it is hard not to notice that there are no messages about the “Abazgs” in it, only the “Kolkhs” are mentioned there. The mention of the “abazgs” appeared much later in the 12th century, by the Byzantine writer John Tzetzes in his scholias (comments) on Lycophron’s “Alexandra”. As for the “Glossary”, it turned out, that the edition of “Alexandra” edited by E. Scheer consists of two volumes. In the first volume, published for the first time in 1881, the text of Lycophron’s poem was published. In the second volume, comments by John Tzetzes on “Alexandra” by Lycophron published in 1908. The author of the publication in the Glossary, who refers to the second volume of the edition of Alexandra edited by E. Scheer, made a mistake: the above fragments in Greek should have been presented as excerpts from the scholia of John Tzetzes to Alexandra by Lycophron, and not as “Lycophronis Alexandra”.

Together with the students, we analyzed the Greek text and the Russian translation of the fragment we needed from Lycophron’s poem.

As an independent work, I asked the students to: 1) read my entire article “Does Lyсhophron report on the “Abazgs”?”, published in the “Vestnik of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia” in 2018; 2) to write out from it the corresponding fragment of the text in ancient Greek and analyze it; 3) to read the monograph by prof. Sh. Inal-ipa “Issues of the ethno-cultural history of the Abkhazians.”

After analyzing the poem of Lycophron, which was written in iambic trimeter and, as the researchers note, “was full of scientific allusions that it became a kind of model of academic poetry – paradoxical, pretentious, mysterious,” I decided to give the students a break and gave them two simple lectures.

The first one was devoted to the Greek inscription of 1818 on a memorial plaque in the Lykhny Church, which we have read in a new way. As it turned out, the indicated board is not a tombstone over the grave of the sovereign prince of Abkhazia Safarbey (Georgy) Chachba (1810–1821), as it is considered in our time, but a memorial plaque informing about the restoration of the throne (temple?) of the sovereign prince of Abkhazia. This event took place in 1818 under the leadership of George Skardanas from the Greek island of Mykonos.

The second lecture was devoted to the Greek inscription on a medieval architectural detail from the church of the village of Ankhua (exhibited in the Abkhaz State Museum). The inscription is just one word. I drew the students’ attention not so much to the meaning of the Greek word, which was already clear, but to some features of the inscription: 1) the feminine article ἡ, unlike all subsequent letters, is carved in three-dimensional form, which is very strange; 2) over the same feminine article there is a sign of thick Greek aspiration with a sign of acute Greek stress (what is called ΔασείαΟξεία) — ; 3) the sign of acute stress over the digraph αυ in the word is above ά; 4) towards the end of the word, the size of the letters decreases. In addition, the compositional arrangement of the inscription about the Crucifixion of Christ is shifted to the left and it catches the eye.

As additional literature for reading to our two lectures above, I recommended:

  1. Art of the Abkhazian kingdom of the VIII-XI centuries. Christian monuments of the Anakopia fortress. A. S. Agumaa, D. V. Beletsky, A. Yu. Vinogradov, E. Yu. Endoltseva. Author. foreword O. Bgazhba. SPb.: Ed. RKhGA, 2011.
  2. Endoltseva E. Yu. Architectural plasticity of Abkhazia during the period of the Abkhazian kingdom (VIII-XI centuries). M.: IV RAN, 2020.

The final lecture for undergraduates of the Faculty of History of ASU was devoted to Greek manuscripts. It was the largest and most difficult lecture. First, I talked about the various myths associated with the manuscripts. For example, there is a myth among the simple people, and sometimes even among some researchers, that various well-known libraries in the world (most often called the Vatican Library) keep different manuscripts in secret. If they are published, our knowledge about the history of mankind, about Christianity, etc. will change dramatically. Then we noted that over 2,500 libraries in the world keep Greek manuscripts (of course, many of them may only have one or two manuscripts in their collections). For example, in monasteries and sketes of Mount Athos (a peninsula in the northern part of Greece), 15,800 Greek manuscripts are kept (3,500 Slavic, a few hundred Georgian, and even fewer in Romanian).

In the main part of the lecture, we discussed the following topics: 1) a brief history of Greek writing; 2) Greek paleography; 3) what is the manuscript; 4) how handwritten books were created; 5) biographical notes; 6) catalogs with the names of copyists of Greek manuscripts; 7) indication of dates in biographical notes; 8) methods of counting of calendar; 9) what the manuscripts look like; 10) external and internal appearance of codes; 11) materials for making manuscripts: papyrus, parchment, paper; 12) tools for scribes; 13) paleography: different variations of writing Greek letters in manuscripts, abbreviated spelling of letters and words, types of writing that we find in manuscripts; 14) codicology and publication of manuscripts.

Speaking about the materials from which the sheets for the manuscripts were made, we noted that on the parchment codices there are often traces of the practice of scraping off the old text and applying a new one on it. As a rule, it was done for economic reasons. Traces of the old text, preserved under the new one, are called “palimpsest”. Nowadays, there is a process of collecting and publishing such texts using the latest technologies.

I showed the students a catalog of Georgian manuscripts from the library of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai in Egypt. It was acquired by me during a visit to the named monastery in 2010.
In 1994 and 2000, during the work of Georgian researchers headed by prof. Zaza Aleksidze it was found a palimpsest in the library of the Sinai Monastery. It turned out that the code (book) Sin.Geo. No. 13, consisting of 107 sheets, was originally written in another language not Georgian. Part of the text was in Armenian, and the rest of the part was written with the Caucasian Albanian alphabet. It also turned out that the Sin.Geo. No. 55 was also a palimpsest in Albanian. Thus, these two codices became the first manuscripts with texts written in the language of the Caucasian Albanians. Prof. Z. Aleksidze established that the surviving Albanian text is a “Lectionary” with readings from the New Testament.

Speaking about the various libraries and scientific centers that keep Greek manuscripts, we also mentioned the National Center for Manuscripts in Tbilisi. The Manuscript Fund of this Center contains up to 40,000 Georgian and up to 5,000 foreign historical documents dating back to the 5th-19th centuries. One of the rarest monuments of antiquity, stored in the above Center, is the liturgical Gospel of 1300 from Abkhazia (from the Myku Cathedral), written in the Georgian church font – nuskhuri. The manuscript is distinguished by miniatures with Greek inscriptions made on sheet gold and a variety of ornaments. In total, the manuscript contains 162 miniatures on a gold setting, up to 530 capital letters, richly illustrated and ornamented.

It is worth to note that not a single researcher paid attention to the fact that the text of the Myku Gospel was written in the Georgian church script nuskhuri, and all illustrations for it (miniatures) had inscriptions in Greek! Could it be a palimpsest?

“Here is, my friends,” I said to my students, “a topic for a dissertation work.”

Concluding my last lecture, I tried to waken students’ interest in working with Greek manuscripts. I told them about unpublished materials related to the history of Christianity in Abkhazia. For example, the “Message” of Patriarch Herman II of Constantinople (1223-1240) to the cardinals. It was written in 1232 and sent from the city of Nicaea (Greek Νίκαια, modern İznik in Turkey).

This message in the original language, i.e. Greek, has come down to us in four copies: 1) as part of the Vatican manuscript; 2) as part of a manuscript from the monastery of St. Dionysios on Mount Athos (Greece); 3) as part of two manuscripts from Athens (Greece).

During my studies in Greece, I was able to get acquainted with the text of the message of Patriarch Herman II of Constantinople from two of the four above-mentioned manuscripts. This is a 16th century manuscript from the library of the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic and a manuscript from the monastery of St. Dionysios on Mount Athos (Greece).

In the message of Patriarch Herman II of Constantinople to the cardinals, among the indicated Orthodox peoples, the Iverians (Georgians), Abazgs (Abkhazians), Alans (Ossetians), “Alasts”, Goths, Khazars and “countless” “thousands of nationalities” – of Rus are mentioned.

“Here is,” I told the students, “one more topic for the dissertation work: the preparation of a critical edition of the “Message” of Patriarch Herman II of Constantinople. That is, you will find all the above lists of this message, preserved in only four manuscripts, then create a genealogical tree of the named manuscripts and prepare for publication the Greek text of the “Message” with a parallel text of its translation into the Abkhazian language, giving appropriate comments. If one of you carries out the work that I have just described, then his contribution to the Abkhaz historical science will indeed be invaluable.”

Then, I gave students a list of necessary literature on Greek manuscripts. The list contains works written in modern Greek, French and German. In addition, I gave them a list of catalogs of Greek manuscripts published in 1891-2009. This list was compiled by me while working on my doctoral dissertation at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (Greece).

After such a big lecture, I couldn’t demand from students an independent work or read additional literature. And they were incredibly happy about it. But it did not last long. In December 2021, undergraduate students of the Department of History, Archeology and Ethnology of Abkhazia of the Faculty of History of ASU were supposed to have an internship at the Abkhaz Institute for Humanitarian Research named after A.I. D. Gulia of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia, where I work.

A month before that, I watched a big interview on YouTube of the Greek Byzantine historian Eleni Arveler (nee Glikadzi). She was the first woman who led the history department of the Sorbonne in 1967 and the first woman rector of this university for 700 years. In the interview, she spoke about things that struck her when she arrived to study at the Sorbonne University. The professor she came to at graduate school went with her to the National Library and showed her how to look for books, how to work with the Greek manuscripts kept there, etc.

The National Library in Paris has a large number of Greek manuscripts. The so-called Paris Codex (Greek Τακτικόν, Latin Notitia Episcopatuum) ) of the Church of Constantinople is kept there. According to this Codex, the sees of the autocephalous archbishops of Nikopsia and Sebastopol were located on the territory of the province of Abazgia (Greek: Επαρχία Αβασγίας). Here’s another topic to explore!

In other words, the attitude of the professor from the Sorbonne to his teaching at the university was very responsible. Mrs. Arveler noticed that at the University of Athens, where she graduated from, this approach was not accepted. In general, I decided to use the French methodology to teach Abkhaz students.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, on the so-called days of visiting the Institue by researchers, my students were at the institute at 9.30. Having gathered in one of the offices of the Department of History, first we had coffee. I didn’t trust anyone to make it. I also explained to the students that coffee is the most important element that stimulates the mental work, and I told them an episode from the life of the Serbian genius Nikola Tesla (1856–1943).

“I began to read the works of Voltaire, when, to my horror, I learned that there were about a hundred large volumes printed in small print, which this crazy man wrote while drinking seventy-two cups of black coffee a day. I had to read it all to the end, but when I pushed the last book away from me, I was very happy and said: “Never again!” – he recalled.

The first part of classes with undergraduates at Abkhazian Instute continued until 13.00. Then we went together for lunch to the Sukhum-Kale canteen, and after lunch went to the Makhajirs embankment, where we had more coffee or took it with us. From 14.00 to 17.00 we again continued to work at the Institute.

At these practical classes, all students came with laptops (it was my requirement) and I taught them to write research works in the field of history. At the beginning of the work, I sent each of them a link to one of the latest scientific monographs on the history of Abkhazia, and they had to choose appropriate sources, books, articles, etc. for their master’s theses. At the following classes they had to analyze one of the chosen works: to read, make extracts, make conclusions, draw up a scientific apparatus, bibliography, abbreviations, etc. Then each of the students read aloud the material written by him, and I made corrections and gave oral or written recommendations. A lot of time was spent on weaning students from the pretentious style of presentation. For example, when they endlessly put the epithet “the largest”, “most famous”, “outstanding” scientist in front of the name of each Abkhazian researcher. For example, they endlessly put epithets like “the largest”, “most famous”, “outstanding” scientist before the name of each Abkhazian researcher.

Sometimes the students distracted me and themselves by talking about various topics. I allowed them intentionally, realizing that it was a way to give them a break. Keeping the mind in constant tension, without losing focus and staying productive throughout the day are skills that acquired over time. I remember one of the topics of our conversation.

Some of my undergraduates, along with students from other faculties of ASU, were visiting the North Caucasian Federal University in Stavropol (Russian Federation). They were surprised that the educational process at the named university goes on until late evening. I explained that, in fact, this is the norm for the vast majority of universities in the world, where classrooms for additional lectures, libraries, computer labs, canteens, coffee, etc. work until late evening. In our country, unfortunately, the university is empty by 15.00.

After the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia in 1992-1993 there were no conditions for the full-fledged work of the Abkhaz University. But times are different now, and if we want to improve the quality of higher education in our country, we need to change the mode of operation at the university.

For example, I don’t understand holding various meetings, conferences, open lectures, etc. in the morning, when students have lectures. Once I said in our dean’s office that I would not participate in events that are held at ASU or other educational and scientific centers of Abkhazia which take place when students have lectures. I’m not talking about the “endless” holidays, non-working days in our country. It also negatively affects the educational process. And not only in ASU.

Аԥсуаа ражәа иалами «Анҭица лымш шьарақәа нҵәаӡом» ҳәа! By the way, I would like to note that the Abkhazian female name Анҭица comes from the Greek language, from ἄνθος, ἄνθησις – “flower”, “bloom”. What a wonderful meaning this name has!

I would like to appeal to the parents of students who arrive to study in the capital from other cities and villages: if you want your children to get a good education, they should stay in the city all week: to rent an apartment, live with relatives or in dorm! A person who spends time and energy every day on the road (especially if students live in remote villages) cannot get in-depth knowledges.

Only my undergraduates took interest in scientific work in mid-December, the coronavirus stopped everything. Several students and I got infected at the Abkhazian Institute and for a month were at home.

On 21 January 2022, undergraduates passed the exam in ancient Greek. First, they were given one hour to pass a written test (there were two versions of the test (for strong and weak groups)). In each version, the corresponding fragments of the works of Byzantine authors in ancient Greek, thematically related to the history of Abkhazia, were given. Students had to rewrite fragments of texts in ancient Greek by hand, inserting the corresponding words of the Russian translation under each word. Then the oral exam began. The tasks were as follows: 1) read aloud the same fragment of the text that was given in the written test, but already translated into modern Greek, and translate it verbatim into Abkhazian or Russian; 2) to retell in a thesis form the content of one of the lectures I gave.

The final grade depended not only on passing the exam. I took into account how students attended classes throughout the entire period of studying the ancient Greek language (a year and a half, three semesters), as well as the availability of educational material provided by me throughout the course, the results of independent homework, reading additional literature, participation in scientific conferences (I demanded that my students participated in all scientific events taking place in Abkhazia), the results of practice at the Abkhazian Institute, etc.

Of the thirteen undergraduates, only one student completed his studies in the ancient Greek language with an “excellent” grade, ten students got “good” grades, two students got a “satisfactory” grade.

Further on the program, students were given four months to write their own master’s theses. I was the supervisor of one of them – Inal Tskua, who on 3 June 2022 defended his final qualifying work on the topic: “Greek written sources and epigraphic inscriptions on the history of Abkhazia in ancient times.” Moreover, he prepared a corresponding presentation in the PowerPoint program, read aloud a fragment of the ancient Greek text, translated it into Russian, etc.

In the review, which I, as a supervisor, submitted for defense, I noted the following: “It is very important that in the notes the dissertator gives information about the authors of the named sources, a brief description of the content of the ancient writings, makes an appropriate analysis, etc. The same critical approach is characteristic of other parts of the proposed work. In this regard detailed comments by I. Tskua on the ethnic composition of the Colchians are indicative and the likelihood of the existence of the Colchis kingdom (1.2, note 34), on the archaeological study of the Eshera settlement (2.2, note 52). All this, in our opinion, speaks of the scientific approach of the author to the work. I consider it equally important to note that the applicant cites fragments of the sources considered by him not only in Russian translation, but also in the original language – in ancient Greek. Moreover, the text of the work shows that I. Tskua typed the fragments of texts he cited in ancient Greek. This circumstance significantly improves the level and quality of the proposed study.

Following the results of the defense, I recommended that the attestation commission and the leadership of the dean’s office of the Faculty of History accept two of the thirteen graduates of the master’s program for postgraduate study.



On 1 March 2022, I started teaching the ancient Greek language to first-year students of the Department of History, Archeology and Ethnology of Abkhazia, Faculty of History of ASU (the delay in the start of classes in the second semester occurred due to another wave of the pandemic). The purpose was a general acquaintance with the Greek language, development of writing and reading skills. It was impossible to achieve better results, because lectures were held once a week. Plus, the number of students (in the Abkhaz sector there were 16 people, in the Russian sector – 24 people), for obvious reasons, also affected the quality of language learning.

I have already detailed my methodology of teaching the ancient Greek language, requirements for students, etc. in the article “Results of the first year of teaching at ASU”, published last year on the official website of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia «Anyha.org» (https://anyha.org/itogi-pervogo-goda-prepodavania-v-agu/). Therefore, I will not repeat it here. In the proposed arguments, I will focus on some new observations.

As one of the heroines of the Soviet film “Courier” Agnessa Ivanovna said, “we have wonderful youth!” But, unfortunately, the education in the republic has poor quality. This is especially true for graduates of rural schools. We need to do something with the rural schools of our Republic, otherwise we will not get good results with the training of their graduates at the Abkhaz University. How can I teach the difficult ancient language to those who, after graduating from secondary school, do not have elementary knowledge of the language at all?

I have done my best to get students interested in learning the language!

To tell the truth I was ready to apply to the dean’s office of the Faculty of History with a request to suspend the teaching of the ancient Greek language to first-year students. It seemed to me that it was a senseless waste of my time and, most importantly, energy. Therefore, it was not by chance that I cited the words from the letter of the British writer Clive Lewis to Don Giovanni Calabria as an epigraph to this publication.

Most of the time in the audience was spent on morality talks, and this is an absolutely thankless task! But every time I convinced myself that the majority of Abkhaz youth, due to the events taking place in the world, will not have any opportunity to get an education outside of our Republic. What we give them today at ASU, they will give our children at schools!
It took me exactly two months to teach freshmen not to be late for lectures, to be attentive at lectures, not to talk to each other in the classroom. It should be noted that the negative points I have mentioned are today the norm of behavior not only for schoolchildren and students, but also for the majority of participants in various scientific events that are held in Abkhazia. It took the same amount of time to force students carry study materials, use Internet resources, etc.

Taking this opportunity, I turn to the leadership of the ASU: maybe, at the very beginning of their studies at the university, it is worth giving them a series of general lectures on the organization of student life, teaching methods, the culture of student behavior, etc., in order to introduce them to a new life. Such lectures are given in many higher educational institutions of many countries.

And one more request: maybe it is worth to make a tougher selection among applicants, isn’t it?
In the end of the semester, I made a written report on the results of teaching first-year students the Greek language report for the dean’s office and the results were as follows: out of 16 students in the Abkhaz sector, it makes sense to study ancient Greek with only three students; out of 24 students of the Russian sector – only nine. I am sure that we have the same results in other subjects.

A reasonable question arises: if I had only these 12 students in my audience, selected already when they entered our university, wouldn’t the quality of teaching and learning subjects, especially languages, be better?

Once again I recall the words of our compatriot writer Fazil Iskander, expressed by him in his “Letter to Friends”: “People who once spoke about the danger of universal education were not so stupid, although they looked like reactionaries. I think that the best of them, at least, were not concerned with their own selfish interests, but with the understanding of a rather long and dangerous inter-intelligent state of a huge number of people, cut off from folk ethics and not assimilating the universal human one.



7 June, 2022

New Athos