Lydia Koniordou Minister of Culture and Sport Full Speech at Onassis Center

March 8, 2017

Lydia Koniordou, Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, said at the Onassis Cultural Center for the exhibition A WORLD OF EMOTIONS:

“Μ?νιν ?ειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω ?χιλ?ος
ο?λομένην, ? μυρί? ?χαιο?ς ?λγε? ?θηκε,
πολλ?ς δ? ?φθίμους ψυχ?ς ?ϊδι προ?αψεν


Sing, Goddess, Achilles’ rage,

Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks

Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls

Of heroes into Hades’ dark

These are the opening lines of the Homeric epic of the Iliad, «Μήνις», rage is the theme that connects and runs through all rhapsodies. However it goes on immediately to point out the destruction, pain, and death it results, to fine men and heroes.

The rage of Medea by Euripides, the «ολετήρας θυμός», the “destructive rage” that wipes out the prosperous city of Corinth…

I will speak not as a scholar but as a servant of the Arts for many years, especially of Greek drama.

Ancient Greek tragic poets, bearing the spirit of their times, philosophic, aesthetic, go to great extent to illustrate the real causes of extreme emotions, and their effects on people’s lives, both private and public.

A major contribution of the Greeks to our western civilization was the introduction of dialogue as the foundation of the newly-born Democracy and its institutions, theatre being one of them.

For example, Emotions in Greek tragedy are indications, resulting from inner and external dialogue, dilemma or conflict, opposing ideas, goals, ambitions, as opposed to fear of punishment from loss of «Μέτρον» (Balance).

They are depicted vividly, not as an aim per se, but to uncover a whole dialectic process of balancing Intellect, Heart and Necessity, through an endless game between Light and Shadow, Life and Death.

The realization, through Emotions of this process, and the price of each choice brings light of consciousness and promotes the maturity of the citizen.

I have been for decades inspired by the ideas and masterpieces of the ancient Greeks. When I look at these treasures, that capture Emotions through gestures, through dialogue in their body and structure, I cannot but feel a different kind of emotion as a contemporary visitor.

I cannot but feel the hands that gave form to this piece of marble, to that handful of clay, I sense the emotions emanating from the artists’ feverish attempt to transform and transcend matter.

I cannot but sense all the eyes that had admired or worshiped these masterpieces in their own ancient times. All the hands that touched the objects of everyday life and were, often unconsciously, inspired by their beauty.

And yet again, I cannot but feel the deep emotions of all those generations of SIMPLE workers, farmers, divers, archeologists, restorators, that helped discover and restore all these treasures for us to admire today, to study and learn from.

These are precious Emotions from real people that are also projected on these treasures and give them life (see ευπαλινειο). Parallel lives that offer deep emotions to us contemporary visitors.

All this process of transcending matter through spirit, is to the glory of human civilization, it offers moments of immortality and wisdom all human beings can share.

Greek cultural heritage is a great gift that contemporary Greek citizens have the privilege and obligation to discover, restore, maintain and share with the world, as it is a fundamental part of our common world heritage

Despite the austerity measures and the major difficulties in our lives, our country handles with great responsibility this unique heritage. It is for us an endless source of inspiration for our present and future, against odds, to create, to contribute, to a bright artistic present we wish to share.

The Greek State, through the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, serves as the guardian of our cultural heritage. It wishes to assist every effort that seeks to illuminate the flame and beauty of this heritage, to citizens around the world.

In this endeavor we are not alone. The Onassis Foundation is one of the most significant contributors to this objective. Through a series of exhibitions and activities, the Onassis Foundation successfully brings together museums, academics and artists. This Greek institution, firmly and generously supports both the ancient as well as the contemporary Greek culture in Greece and abroad.

The Ministry of Culture could be no less than a fervent ally in this important initiative.

In this exhibition the Ministry of Culture Participates with masterpieces from 20 National Museums, both central and major, as well as regional, but equally important.

In the exhibition we can admire statues and reliefs of outstanding beauty that capture emotions on bodies and faces, stele, figurines,

_ from the breathtaking enigmatic Kore from the Acropolis museum, to the head of a smiling child from Vravrona museum

_from the statue of one of the Ptoon Kouroi, from the Athens Archeological Museum, to the head of the youth and the figure of the embracing couple from the Delos museum

_from the tablet of Clytemnestra killing Agamemnon, from the Heraklion Crete Museum, to the funerary stele of an actor holding a mask from the Piraeus museum…

I would like to congratulate the Onassis Foundation and all those who worked together for the realization of this exceptional exhibition.
I wish every success in presenting and illuminating the element of Emotions from the ancient times to the contemporary visitors, here in NYC.”


JANUARY 21-23 SQUAW VALLEY, CA – The Metropolis of San Francisco Sisterhood of Presvyteres Annual Retreat takes place in-person Friday, January 21-Sunday, January 23 at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, 38526 Dunlap Road in Squaw Valley.

Top Stories


BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.


NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.


STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.


The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week (Jan 15 – Jan 21) as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.