CULTURE

14th Runciman Lecture focus on collection of Islamic Art

The first Thursday in February at London’s King College, on the Strand, is when the Runciman Lecture, the highlight of the academic year, is held. The Runciman Chair was founded in perpetuity in 1989 in honor of philhellene and Byzantinist Sir Steven Runciman by the famous artist Nicholas Egon, who, with his Greek wife Matti, will host a dinner at the prestigious Athenaeum Club on the eve of the lecture for diplomats, scholars, writers and British politicians and members of Parliament known to be philhellenes. The lecture begins after a Greek Orthodox vespers service at King’s College Chapel, in Greek and English, with the students’ choir chanting Byzantine hymns by candlelight. The college chaplain, Father Alexandros Fostiropoulos, will officiate at the service. This year’s speaker is Professor Angelos Delivorias, director of the Benaki Museum, who will talk about the two newly restored buildings in the ancient Kerameikos district which will permanently house the Benaki’s famous Islamic Art Collection. The Runciman Chair, as well as the Runciman Dinner, are to be attended by the Greek Ambassador to London Anastace Skopelitis and his wife Helene, as well as the ambassadors of Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, scientists, professors, prominent writers and postgraduate scholars from around Britain, museum directors and figures from the Greek and Cypriot shipping and business communities. From Athens, Marinos and Emilia Geroulanos, and Maria Vassilaki, professor at Thessaly University, will be attending. Matti Egon will be giving a dinner on February 8 at the Hellenic Center in Paddington for the Greek Archaeological Committee in London, which she founded 15 years ago and which functions as a branch of the Greek Archaeological Society in Athens. Also invited to the lecture and the dinner at the Athenaeum Club is William St. Clair, the author of «Lord Elgin and the Marbles.» St. Clair himself has an interesting announcement to make on February 8 regarding the Parthenon. But more of that later.