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Τετάρτη, 28 Αυγούστου 2019

Students from Europe, America and China are being taught Greek at the Hellenic Institute of Venice




Many foreigners appreciate the centuries-old past of Greeks, and they are willing to deepen into the study of Greek letters. We often hear about schools in other countries that integrate in their program the learning of ancient or modern Greek language and history and we are silently applauding them with a disadvantageous shame that we do not express it. Foreign students studying Greek would be quite astonished, if they knew our loud abstention from the essential knowledge of our people's language and history.



As an evidence of western and eastern young people's love for the Greek Culture, we present the collaboration of three institutions that sought to bring and include in the courses for their students education a byzantine and post-byzantine scent. The College de France from Sorbonne with its 15 students from European countries, together with New York's Columbia University and the Peking University, met in the halls of the only Greek Research Center in the world, namely the Hellenic Institute of Venice, to draw on -from its educational programs with the foreign universities- important elements of information about the Greek culture and Byzantium. But how many are aware of Byzantium's existence and contribution for centuries to world culture?


The Hellenic Institute of Venice ensures the dissemination of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine culture. Venice was the main center of Greek studies throughout the West from the 15th to the end of the 18th century. And this was also attributable to the fact that 90% of the Greek publishing production during the above mentioned period was printed at the printing houses of Venice. It would be crucial to recall a significant historical moment, when 70 years ago the Greek Community of Venice made an utmost important gift to culture and letters. At this point, we cannot fail to feel proud of those moments when the Greeks become truly generous.




 The Vice Director of the Hellenic Institute of Venice, Anastasios Theofilogiannakos, will say in the Orthodox Truth paper: "The Historical Greek Community has transferred to the Institute not only its entire real estate, which includes, among other things, the church of Saint George, the former Hospital, the Chapter Hall of the Old Greek Brotherhood and the Flaginian College, as well as all its priceless movable property, its treasures and relics, paintings, mostly hagiographies, which in fact formed the basis of what is exhibited at the Museum of Icons, holy furnishings, sacred vestments, manuscript codes, paper pictures, seven libraries full of old and rare books, ecclesiastical books and objects, other valuables, bank titles and deposits, cash and of course the most precious Archives of the Greek Brotherhood since its foundation. This act of donation by the representatives of the oldest Greek institution in Venice, which contributed to the rescue and preservation of the Greek-Byzantine heritage after the Fall of Constantinople, and even made Venice, from the 15th to the late 18th century, the main center of Greek studies throughout the West, is embarrassing. It escapes the management of an external power, of a political power. It constitutes the roof under which scientists and intellectuals convene and meet each other out of any property claim and power, with the main purpose of detecting the beginnings of modern Greece, studying the resources from which our identity emerges and perceiving the messages that the modern Greek proposal could convey to the world".




So today, the offer of that time done in order not to stop sharing the treasure all over the world, resonates with young people from Europe, America, even from distant Beijing, who are willing to learn about our relics. This year, the Hellenic Institute organized two educational programs aimed at students from Universities abroad for the best possible education on Byzantine and Post-Byzantine culture and the beginnings of modern Greek identity:
The first is the New York's Columbia University program, which within the framework of its course "Mediterranean Venice: Living and Losing a Maritime Empire" requested the cooperation of the Hellenic Institute for the best possible education of its students on the Greek presence and the Greek cultural heritage in Venice. The Hellenic Institute, in response to this invitation, organized courses at the end of June for these students on the subjects "Greeks in Venice" and "The economic expansion of Venice towards the East". In the lectures held at the Hellenic Institute in Venice, the associate and former scholar of the Institute, professor at the Ionian University of Corfu, Mrs Katerina Korre presented the two-way routes between the Byzantine culture and Venice and the action of the Greeks in Venice.





The students were also provided with detailed information on the Greek Brotherhood's Archive that belongs to the Institute, and was shown in situ the way in which this Archive is organized as well as the various types of the Archive's documents. Moreover, were presented at the students the most important manuscript codes of the Hellenic Institute, such as the gospel books of the XII and XIII centuries and the "Novel of Alexander the Great" in which foreign students have demonstrated a particular interest from the beginning. After the completion of the lessons, Columbia University Professor Konstantina Zanou, announced that the collaboration will be included in the official program of the course, which will be posted on the website of Columbia Summer in Venice Program.
We will non omit from our side to underline the importance of bringing out the timelessness of the Greek letters, arts, culture in the heart of Venice which 35 million tourists visit each year.
Finally, the students were guided to the Icons Museum and to the Holy Church of Saint George of the Greeks.



The second educational program is a collaborative product between the Hellenic Institute, the Peking University and the "Greek Language of Christian Literature" Laboratory of the Theological Faculty at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The Summer School was organized in order to enhance and promote the training and education of the students who study Greek language and literature in Beijing. Thus, the Chinese student mission headed by Yingxue Chen, Hellenist and Director of the Greek Language Department, was taught at the third summer school, which took place at the Hellenic Institute of Venice.
Peking University students from China are studying now Atticism in the halls of the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice, where they attend palaeography lessons. Chinese students who study Greek language and Literature in their native country, are now learning about the evolution of Greek writing and its genres and explore the remarkable codes and rare manuscripts saved in the West by the Greek Community of Venice.



The Chinese students having attended a 4 day course in the History of the Greek language in Thessaloniki, which was held by Professor Anna Nikita-Koltsiou and included units on the Proto-Hellenic language, the Ancient Greek, the Hellenistic common biblical language, the Atticism and the Patristic Language, the Liturgical and Modern Greek Language, went to Venice, where, under the supervision of the Chairman of the Control Committee, Mr. Christos Arampatzis, took part in the courses of Palaeography e Codicology organized by the Institute.





The students attended lectures presented by Dr. Katerina Korre and enriched their Knowledge about the evolution of the Greek writing, the genres of writing, the organization of the Brotherhood of Greeks, as well as the relations between Venice and Greeks.
There is indeed a large scope of opportunities and a great potential to highlight and promote, through groups of scientific experts and research laboratories, the excellent archival and museological material that reflects the path and the brilliant history of the Venice Greek Community from the 15th century until today.



At the end of the course, the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the Institute, Professor Christos Arampatzis, congratulated all those actually involved in the program and the staff of the Institute which under the supervision of the Vice Director Anastasios Theofilogiannakos contributed to the perfect organization. Mr. Theofilogiannakos spoke to us with satisfaction about the impact of the lessons to the young people from abroad and conveyed to us the atmosphere of gratitude and emotion on their part: "The students thanked because, as they mentioned, they realized that the beauty of the Greek Culture is not limited to classical times, but it was naturally and indissolubly handed over to the next generations. They were offered the incentives for exploring and recognizing the beauty of Greece, not as an idea or a museological exhibit, but as a living reality.



Such deposits in the new generations of our spiritual tradition and such teachings suit us, are compatible with our people and our nation. It is therefore appropriate to recapitulate with the following words of Zisimos Lorentzatos, a man of spirit and letters: "those who proceeded with the realization of some works, which can be used as indices in the course of a new civilization, we should consider fathers and recognize that they keep the tree in vertical position on which we lean, and that this tree has never fallen thanks to them. Who knows, it could happen that, during a great drought, when there will be nothing to expect anywhere and the branches will remain naked and the leaves will remain roasted on the ground and everything will be deplorable and painful, these roots that we took for granted they were dead, will draw from the dark and infernal depths a few drops that will save the tree from withering and extinction".

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Sophia Chatzi
source: weekly journal ORTHODOX TRUTH, 14.08.2019


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