In Macedonia White Cane (guiding the blind) on a frescofrom 14th century
The protection of vision and treatment of the eyes in the Macedonian health culture takes a very important place and is a profound tradition. The information are supported by facts dating from the period of Kliment Ohridski (840-916), who had a knowlage of medieval medicine, healed the sick and founded the first Slavic medical school.
According to the research, Dr. Petar Bojadzievski (1939-2014), an ophthalmologist from Bitola and a member of the Society of Ophthalmologists of France, author of a hugenumber of scientific works and books dedicated to ophthalmology, the first monastery hospital in Bitola was built during the 10th century, and during the 11th century, Varvar Ohridski, one of the most famous students of the Ohrid Medical School, was working as a doctor-healer, who glorified himself and the hospital because, as indicated, “many people came to the hospital, the blind could see after they had visited him, and the lame were flying … “.
But, according to the author of this article, the most important information from Dr. Bojadzievski’s research is contained in the book “100 Years of Ophthalmology Activity …” in which he speaks of the White Cane (guiding the blind) which dates back to the 14th century in Macedonia, and in that sense Bojadzievski writes:
From the existence of the world and man there is also his unstoppable struggle with the many diseases that have made his life worse. Crucified among the desires to heal and the real possibilities to find the most suitable remedy for this, he from the past demanded salvation in the accumulated knowledge left by his tradition. This knowledge touched him as a sacred covenant, passed down from one generation to another, and very rarely as a written document. However, traditions and knowledge were transmitted through the frescoes and icons that were drawn along the walls of our monasteries and churches. In the absence of written documents, frescoes and icons complement our knowledge of health concerns, diseases and the way of their treatment, in that way enriching our scant medieval documentation. One of the most important, of course, is the fresco “Healing the Blind”, which is still in the church “St. Nikita “in the village of Banjani, Skopje, and dates back to the 14th century. On the fresco (see picture), Jesus Christ, who touches his hands, heals the blind eyes of a man dressed in a red shirt, with a white shoulder bag and white sleepers on his feet, and holding a White Cane in his hands. The fresco is of inestimable value because it confirms that the White Cane in Macedonia was used in the 14th century.
In a sign of public gratitude for the great dedication and contribution to the ophthalmology, as well as the medical help of many people who had vision problems, but unfortunately, a few days before the death of Dr. Petar Bojadzievski, the Lions Club “Bitola” -Bitola awarded him special recognition.