Home / News / News and Events / Professor Giuseppe Consolo was Conferred a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree of Sofia University

Professor Giuseppe Consolo was Conferred a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree of Sofia University

A solemn ceremony was held at Aula magna of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in which Professor Giuseppe Consolo was conferred a Doctor honoris causa degree. The proposal for the conferral of the honorary degree by the oldest and most prestigious higher academic institution in this country came from the Faculty of Law.

Guests of the ceremony were Ms Roumyana Kolarova, Secretary for education, science and civil society at the Office of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, HE Mr Marco Conticelli, Ambassador of Italy to this country, Monsignor Anselmo Guido Pecorari, Apostolic Nuncio in Sofia, Davide Montani, and Julia Riccio, representatives of the Confindustry in this country, Mr Chavdar Minchev, Executive Director of the National Association for International Relations, Mr Lyubomir Kyuchoukov, Director of the Institute for Economics and International Relations, Professor Georgi Bliznashki, faculty and students.

The ceremony was opened by Professor Dr Sasho Penov, Dean of the Faculty of Law, who briefly introduced the curriculum vitae of Professor Giuseppe Consolo.


Professor Consolo was born in Naples, read law at Catania which he graduated with summa cum laude. He started his career as an assistant-professor at the University of Catania. He was awarded many scholarships and national prizes. He specialized in maritime, international financial law and constitutional law. Presently he is a professor of constitutional law at Guido Carli University in Rome.

Professor Consolo combines his scientific interests and the practice of a lawyer. “In his practice he adheres consistently to one of the fundamental principles of law that man is innocent until proven guilty. He succeeded, putting all is heart, in upholding this principle and implementing it in the practical part of law, including the trial against the Bulgarian citizen Sergey Antonov,” Professor Penev said.

Law took Professor Consolo to Italian Parliament where he has been a deputy for two terms of office, and also to the Senate of Italy. There, in his capacity as a parliamentarian he upholds his position that law is a system of values we should all abide by.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law at Sofia University stressed that Professor Giuseppe Consolo is a great friend of Bulgaria and it was due to him that contacts with Italian universities had been established and many faculty from Sofia University would have the opportunity to deliver lectures and make friends there.


“We have set the beginning of a long-lasting cooperation. This is why the Faculty of Law appraised the scientific contribution of Professor Consolo and his contribution to Sofia University, and proposed to the Academic Council that he be conferred with the most prestigious honorary degree of Doctor honoris causa of Sofia University,” Professor Penov stated.

After the conferral of the honorary degree of Doctor honoris causa of Sofia University by the Rector Professor Dr Habil Anastas Gerdzhikov Professor Giuseppe Consolo delivered an academic lecture on “Defense or Mission? The Prayers to S. S. Cyril and Methodius."


The honorary doctor of Sofia University thanked all his colleagues and the student body who had decided to turn that day into a memorable date in his life. He extended his gratitude to Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, Rector of the University, for the conferral of the honorary degree of Doctor honoris causa.

Professor Consolo noted that he had been thinking for a long time what had been the reason to be awarded with such a high distinction. Since the remote 25th November, 1982, the date of Sergey Antonov’s arrest, all the people who had been his clients, had become his great friends. He said that while working on Sergey Antonov’s defense he was ready to do anything to achieve his final goal. And the goal was to get an acquittal for Sergey Antonov; and what was more, to restore the dignity of a country which, for no reason at all, had risked losing it. In Professor Consolo’s words, that was something that should never be allowed to happen again. Thus, he came to the conclusion that some Bulgarians, having realized what his ultimate goal had been over those years, had decided to award not the council for the defense but the man who had initially turned what had been a cause into the mission of his life, dedicated to the defense of a country and removing the stigma that had been put on it. Professor Consolo specially pointed out that the Bulgarian nation has a very long history and that Bulgaria is amongst the major European states.


Professor Consolo said that at the time of his being a council for the defense of Sergey Antonov his mission included also important diplomatic activities and research work in Bulgarian history where he came across two names that were sacred in the Bulgarian religious and cultural heritage. These were the two brothers S. S. Cyril and Methodius: “I am proud that I can state it here, in the Alma mater, the biggest university in this country, in the presence of his magnificence the Rector Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov that I am proud to recall the fact that this University has St. Kliment Ohridski as its patron-saint, a name that re-echoes the long and rich history of one of the oldest European states, Bulgaria.“

Professor Consolo pledged his word of honor that Sergey Antonov had absolutely nothing to do with the allegations unjustly raised against him. He recalled the fact that on 31st December, 1980, the two brothers S. S. Cyril and Methodius were proclaimed co-protectors of Europe and are considered apostles of the Slavs. Pope John Paul II said that the two brothers Cyril and Methodius represented a spiritual bridge linking the Western and the Eastern traditions.


„Two years later, impressed by the Pope’s words, I started feeling the two holy brothers, S. S. Cyril and Methodius, as being close to me, as if they were two guardian-angels, who in hard times, and there were many difficult moments, kept watch over me while I was treading along the long thorny way to truth,” Professor Consolo remarked. Apart from the thought of the two saints another concern made Giuseppe Consolo permanently anxious, and that was Article 27 of the Constitution and the inviolability of the Constitution itself. „You, Bulgarians, enjoy a great privilege – you have the longest word in the Bulgarian language and it is ‘neprotivokonstitutsiosnovatelstvuvayte’ (do not anticonstitutionalize), i.e. do not violate the constitutional norms,” Professor Consolo added. That expression, related to constitutional law, came of help to Professor Consolo during Sergey Antonov’s trial and he reminded the magistrates that the presumption of innocence exists in both types of constitution.

„It will be rather simplistic to say that there exists an obligation to abide by the law and, first and foremost, the main law, i.e. the Constitution. That obligation exists because we must abide by the Constitution, and, respectively, abiding by the Constitution is obligatory only because it exists in a written form,” Professor Consolo expressed his disagreement and noted that it reminded him of the Italian proverb in which the cat runs after its tail, and we would abide by the Constitution solely because it makes us abide by it. Professor Consolo asked the students and the guests why there was the obligation to abide by the norms: “According to some men of law, and I am not one of them, the Constitution must be abided by because of the right that all citizens have to abide by a codified norm. As far as I am concerned, however, I am one of those who consider the different kinds of subjective rights and more specifically the political rights not a kind of exceptional rights but I view law as a right that we all have at our disposal to demand, to lodge claims, to speak out loud and show through our behavior, i.e. the behavior of the majority of the citizens, that we have the right to transform it into a norm.”

Professor Consolo also said that through our right to vote the bigger part of the citizens have a concrete means of implementing their will: “Thus, we witness the phenomenon of will that is transformed into law. This is democracy,” he stressed and recalled Churchill’s words claiming that democracy is the worst form of government with the exception of all the other forms that have ever been tried. According to Professor Consolo, democracy remains the best form of government, and the level of democracy in a country can be easily measured: the quicker the transformation of the citizens’ will into law, the more democratic the state is. Conversely, the slower the process of its transformation into law, the less democratic a state is. If the citizens’ will is not transformed into law, then democracy is doomed and is supplanted by a dictatorship.

Professor Consolo thanked all those who had contributed to his conferral with an honorary degree and expressed his cordial feelings to the Bulgarian people: “I accept the present distinction as a sign of the impressively strong union between my country and your country. My gratitude comes from the deepest recesses of my heart. Thank you, my dear friends,” said Professor Consolo in Bulgarian.