Society of Friends of the Byzantine and Christian Museum
The Society of Friends of the Byzantine and Christian Museum was founded in 2001 as a not-for-profit association. Its articles of association list the following aims:
* supporting the Museum morally and materially in achieving its mission as effectively as possible;
* raising public awareness of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and the Byzantine civilization in general; and
* promoting research in these fields.
Since its establishment, the Society has organized guided tours which have sought to underscore the unbroken nature of Greek history and traditions in a manner comprehensible to the man on the street. It has staged guided tours in the exhibitions and collections of the Byzantine Museum, and in Byzantine monuments of Athens and the Penteli monastery, as well as trips to Hosios Loukas monastery in Boeotia and to Constantinople, where participants had the opportunity to visit the city’s Byzantine monuments and experience the Byzantine past at first hand.
The Society also publishes an annual calendar based on the Museum’s collections and illustrated with photographic material and information provided by the specialist curators. The calendars published to date have become collector’s items and grace any number of libraries both public and private.
Over the last seven years, the Society has also collaborated with the Museum in organizing lecture cycles which shed light on various aspects of the BCM’s research activities and collections.
The Association is also especially keen on strengthening young people’s ties with Greek culture and Byzantine heritage. After all, in the context of a United Europe, it is up to young Europeans to really know and preserve the unique characteristics of their own cultural heritage. Which is why the Society rewards the young people who attend the educational programmes staged at the Museum and schedules educational activities for adults, too.
Since its foundation, the Society of Friends of the Byzantine and Christian Museum has also played an active role in enriching the Museum’s collections. Recent examples of additions made possible by Society support include two textiles (an epigonation with a depiction of Christ, and a section of an epitrachelion), an early printed book (a fragment of leather binding with a depiction of the Dormition of the Virgin), an 18th-century icon of the 40 Holy Martyrs, and a coin collection. It has also contributed to the purchase of nine silver imperial plates by three museums (Byzantine and Christian Museum, the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Byzantine Culture - Thessaloniki).
Moreover, the Society has offered to put its efforts on a more systematic footing through the creation of a Purchasing Fund for the Museum – a move that has the full support of its members as well as being one of its core statutory goals. A Fund of this sort would create funds in reserve for the Museum, allowing it to sidestep time-consuming bureaucratic procedures and purchase attractively-priced artefacts immediately when they appear on the market. We hope that a practical initiative of this sort would help the Museum further enlarge and enhance its already noteworthy collections as well as stemming the flow of antiquities abroad.
The Society of Friends of the Byzantine and Christian Museum seeks to create a network of friends, donors and sponsors whose assistance could be seen as practical proof of public participation in the preservation and highlighting of Byzantium and its culture.
Contact information: tel. (+30) 213 213 9518, e-mail: friends_at_byzantinemuseum.gr (where "_at_" replace with @).