One exhibition, three cities
The temporary exhibition with the title "Byzantium: An Oecumenical Empire" of the Byzantine and Christian Museum, was one among the four exhibitions that had Byzantium as their subject and were presented during the same period in three different cities -Athens, Thessaloniki and Mystras. The general title for all four was "Byzantine hours: works and days in Byzantium".
Byzantium exhibitions reborn
The idea behind this ambitious event was to make Greece a leader in the revival of the interest in exhibitions focusing on Byzantium. This trend had started with the exhibition "The Glory of Byzantium" that was presented in the Metropolitan Museum of New York in 1997. Greece followed, creating an articulated exhibition, parts of which would be presented in different places around the country. The exhibition would try to answer questions like "What was Byzantium?" and "Why did Byzantium managed to survive for more than a millennium?"
A cultural event with international reach
The part of the articulated exhibition that was organized by the Byzantine and Christian Museum was hosted in the western wing of the new exhibition spaces, where today the visitor can see the post-Byzantine section of the permanent exhibition of the museum.
The opening took place on October 22th, in the presence of the political leadership of the Ministry of Culture, and of many important guests. "Byzantium: An Oecumenical Empire" became a landmark exhibition. In terms of scope, number of international collaborations and importance of the exhibits, it was the largest exhibition organized in Greece after 1964, when the exhibition "Byzantine art-European Art" took place in Zappeion Megaron.
Accomplishing a unique endeavor
For the purposes of the exhibition, some of the most important and rarest works of Early Christian and Byzantine art travelled to Greece, from 29 foreign museums and libraries. The museum mobilized almost all its human resources: archeologists, conservators, graphic designers, photographers, administrative employees, technicians and exhibition security staff, with the full support of the Department of Byzantine Museums of the Ministry of Culture. The whole experience was novel, fully productive, and of course creative and educative.
Contributors of the exhibition
For the organization of the exhibition, the byzantine and Christian Museum collaborated with the Numismatic Museum, as well as with the Department of Byzantine Museums of the Ministry of Culture. The Department of Byzantine Studies of the National Research Institute had a consulting role in the Scientific Committee, while at the same time organizing an international symposium with the same subject.
Curators: Helen Papastavrou (Byzantine Museum), Pari Kalamara (Dpt of Byzantine Museums), Yorka Nikolaou (Numismatic Museum).
Museographical Study – Implementation: Anstei Parisi.
Work Group of The Byzantine & Christian Museum: Maria Evangelatou. Terpsichori-Patricia Skotti.