History of foundation
The European Centre for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments (EKBMM) was founded in 1997 as a vehicle for more active contribution to the regions where the Byzantine Empire was previously extended or in regions spiritually and culturally influenced by the Byzantine Empire or finally, connected to the common base of the byzantine universality, after the decline of the Byzantium and the establishment of Ottomans. It has been observed that in these regions the concern for the complete protection of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments does not always constitute first priority.
At the same time the important socio-economic changes taken place after the collapse of real socialism and the long period of radical changes in many of these countries, led to the danger of losing many elements of byzantine and post-byzantine past, in the name of economic development.
On the one side, Greece has the leading advantage of maintenance of two essential elements of Byzantium – that of Greek language and Orthodoxy - and on the other side, has developed appreciable scientific knowledge and know-how in all sectors of study, protection, conservation, promotion and enhancement of byzantine and post- byzantine culture.
Consequently, it has interest and responsibility to help those who share the Byzantine Heritage, in order to maintain and manage it in the best possible way.
The decision to set Thessaloniki as the base of the Centre is connected with the historical role of the city, as most important, after Constantinople, in the European part of the Byzantine Empire, and with its contribution in the spread and consolidation of Byzantine culture, particularly in the Balkans. In addition, the fact that an important number of remaining byzantine monuments in Thessaloniki has been restored exemplarily after the earthquakes of 1978, and that the scientific personnel of the city has developed an important know-how able to be transported to others, constitutes one more essential factor in the decision of selecting Thessaloniki for the headquarters of the institution.
Finally, the installation of EKBMM very close to the Museum of Byzantine Culture is important, since the Museum with its wider international objectives allocates scientific and technical personnel highly trained, completely equipped laboratories of conservation and has applied pioneering museological approaches for the European area. Consequently, it can support the actions of EKBMM providing a place of European specifications for its foreign partners.
The present Administrative Board is consisted of the following ordinary members:
Nikos Zias, Emeritus Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Athens, Chairman;
alternate: Sofia Kalopisi – Verti, Professor, University of Athens
Georgios Karadedos, Emeritus Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Thessaloniki;
alternate: Alkmini Paka, Αssociate Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Eugenia Drakopoulou, Archeologist, Research Director, Institute of Historical Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation
alternate: Isidoros Kakouris, Honorary Director of Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Eugenia Gerousi, Directorate of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Monuments – Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
alternate: Brouskari Ersi, Archaeologist – Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Themistocles Vlachoulis, Directorate for Restoration of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Monuments – Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Dr Demetrios Athanassoulis, Archaeologist - Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
alternate: Ioannis Kanonidis, Archaeologist - Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Suzanna Houlia - Kapeloni, Archaeologist - Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
alternate: Stamatios Chondrogiannis, Archaeologist - Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Dr Anastasia Tourta is the Director of the Centre (YPPO/DIOIK/Α4/PMY/107775/19-12-2007), who has also been the Director of the Museum of Byzantine Culture up to 31/12/2008.
Head of the Department for the Promotion of Scientific Research is Dr Flora Karagianni, archaeologist