The Byzantine Empire preserved and passed on ancient Greek culture long
after the Roman Empire collapsed and the medieval West forgot. In keeping
with this spirit of maintaining and spreading knowledge, this term, Concordias
Hellenic Studies Unit will present a four-part lecture series on the Byzantine
I searched in universities all over the world and found the four
experts best suited to discuss this theme in the lecture series,
said Nikos Metallinos, coordinator of Concordias Hellenic Studies
Unit and professor in the Communication Studies Department.
This will be the third annual lecture series organized by the HSU, a committee
of professors, students and staff dedicated to promoting the study of
Hellenic culture at Concordia. The series is made possible with the help
of its major sponsor, Paul Kefalas, a member of Concordias Board
of Governors and CEO of the engineering and manufacturing firm ABB.
The first lecture will be on Jan. 31, and is entitled Byzantium:
The Guardian and Preserver of Hellenism. The speaker, Professor
Antony Littlewood, teaches in the classics department at the University
of Western Ontario.
Dr. Angeliki E. Laiou, a leading authority on the Byzantine era from Harvard
University, will give the second lecture, Byzantium as a Multi-Ethnic
Society, on Feb. 27. Metallinos expects her presence to draw a particularly
The third lecture, scheduled for March 26, is entitled Nikos Kazantzakis
and Byzantium, and will be given by Dr. Theocharis Detorakis of
the University of Crete.
The fourth and final lecture, Byzantine Studies Curricula (Past,
Present, Future), will be on April 25, and given by Concordias
own Dr. Franziska Shlosser from the Department of History.
The Byzantine era began in the fourth century AD, when Constantinople
was founded, and ended in 1453, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
This considerable stretch of time was characterized by the Roman political
system, the Christian religion, and ancient Greek culture. The crescent-shaped
realm bordered the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea and was composed
of various cultural regions such the Balkans, Asia Minor and Egypt.
Hellenic influences from the Classical era nevertheless remained strong
within the diverse empire. Greek was the official language of the imperial
court, and its inhabitants studied the literature and philosophy of the
Greeks. As Metallinos put it, The Byzantine Empire became the guardian
of ancient Greece.
Concordia University may promptly become a guardian of Byzantine studies
as a part of Montreals Inter- university Centre for Hellenic Studies.
Starting last year, McGill University, the Université de Montréal
and Concordia will each specialize in one of the three periods of Hellenic
civilization. McGill will represent the Classical Period, Concordia the
Byzantine Period, and U of M the Neohellenic Period.
My dream is for Concordia to have a chair of Byzantine Studies,
said Metallinos, and for students in Montreal who want a degree
in Hellenic Studies to combine courses from all three universities.
Establishing a university chair will take considerable time and money,
Metallinos explained, but he hopes that Concordia will be able to accomplish
it within three or four years.
This years lecture series on the Byzantine period is a fitting
way to move Concordia toward this specialization.
As the current coordinator of Concordias Hellenic Studies Unit,
Metallinos continues to work to organize various projects that offer more
to the universitys Hellenic community. It is estimated that there
are about 1,500 students of Greek background at Concordia.