Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

11/09/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/09/2021 06:07

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the Greek Αrt Exhibition “Comunione di Persone” at the Vatican (08.11.2021)

E un grande piacere d'inaugurare, insieme alla Sua Eminenza Cardinale Ravasi, la mostra «Comunione di Persone».

The year 2021 is the point of convergence of two historical milestones. The emblematic anniversary of the 200 years since the Greek Revolution of 1821 and, as our Ambassador to the Holy See mentioned, the anniversary of more than 40 years of active diplomatic relations between the Hellenic Republic and the Holy See.

This occasion constitutes an ideal opportunity for a painting exhibition of the Greek National Gallery to be hosted, for the first time, in the Holy See.

And in fact, it is very important that this exhibition is inaugurated just one month before the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in Greece; a visit we look forward to and which we believe will further strengthen our splendid relations.

Allow me now to point out a few features of the exhibition.

The concept of the portrait of the individual, not only that of the emperor, but also of the ordinary individual, emerges in Hellenized Egypt, which at the time was a Roman province, in the form of the famous Fayum portraits.

These were funerary portraits of intensely transcendental character dating back to the 1st century AD, which were the precursors to the early Christian icons of Sinai.

This is exactly where the great tradition of European portrait painting begins, which runs through to the present day; from Titian's apprentice, El Greco, to your and our great metaphysician Giorgio de Chirico, born in Volos.

If there is any power in art, it is the power to dissolve boundaries, to transcend differences and connect the unconnected in a great universal culture.

The theme of this Exhibition is, after all, predominantly human-centered. The human form is the favorite subject of artists, in the context of the diversity of human creation.

The Exhibition highlights the defining role of light and colour in carving and shaping the face of the Greeks; Greeks who engage in an ever-evolving society and adapt to significant historical-political changes.

And they do so while being fully aware of their European identity and at the same time retaining their deeply rooted Greekness.

In this way, both the contribution of the European spirit to shaping modern Greece and the creative assimilation of the values of Greek Civilization by the West are highlighted.
This is the first, of such scope, cultural event of Greece in the Holy See. The exhibition is at the same time a contribution to the deepening of relations between Greece and the Holy See, but also to the widening of the scope of mutual understanding between them, as it is based on common values.

We need to address global challenges together; the pandemic, recently, but also climate change and the refugee-migrant issue. Europe is called upon to make difficult decisions, but without losing sight of the fact that man, the face of man, should be at the center of these decisions.

Greece and the Holy See also need to work together to protect Christian populations in areas where they are in danger, as well as the Monuments of World Cultural and Christian Heritage across the planet, which are also at risk in many areas.

Signore e signori,
lo spazio per la cooperazione entro la Grecia e la Santa Sede è molto ampio.
Sono convinto che ne faremo il nostro meglio.
Vi ringrazio per la vostra attenzione.