The Ainos Cultural Society was founded in 1999 following the tradition of the Patristic and Byzantine Society of Oxford University (founded in 1993). Its aim is the promotion of Patristic and Byzantine Studies as well as the organization of seminars, conferences, exhibitions and projects on culture and research for the dissemination of knowledge and cultural heritage.
Ainos is directed by a four member committee: Niki Tsironis (legal representative), Veronique Magnes, Rebecca White and George Mitropoulos.
Advisory Board: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (since 2005), Tereza Pesmazoglou (since 2005), George Calofonos (since 2007), Eleni Grammatikopoulou (2005-2013).
The Patristic and Byzantine Society held weekly seminars at the House of St Gregory and St Macrina in Oxford from 1993 until 1998, international conferences at King’s College London, the Russian Cathedral of Ennismore Gardens, the Foundation for Hellenic Culture in London, and an exhibition of the Mount Athos Photographic Archive at Birmingham University in 1993. Among its speakers were Sir Dimitri Obolensky, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, Christos Yannaras, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, Jean Colossimo, P. Nicolas Ozoline, John Stuart, Simon Franklin, Marcus Plested, Hannah Hunt, etc.
Since 1999, Ainos has worked with the Orchestra of Colours for the promotion of classical music, with the Eleni Nakou Foundation for an international conference on Cultural Heritage (European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 1999), with Lina Nikolakopoulou and Melina Tanagri for the promotion of poetry and contemporary Greek music, the Renaissance ensemble AVLOS, the French Institute, the Byzantine Museum and several other artists and institutions.
In 2005, the Ainos Cultural Society started collaborating with the National Hellenic Research Foundation for seminars and cultural events hosted in the NHRF. Among them, it is worth mentioning the colloquia on the literary critic and poet Zissimos Lorentzatos (2006), on Emotion and the Senses in Byzantium (2007), on Contemporary Issues of Bioethics (2007), on the Sacred in Life and Art – a colloquium dedicated to Philip Sherrard (2008), on Image and Word (2009, with Dimitris Konstantios, Nikos Gioles, Foteini Margariti and Niki Tsironi), and on Cosmology and Creation (with Metropolitan John Zizioulas, as part of the Cultural Events of the NHRF in 2010).
Ainos has implemented two European Projects in 2007 and 2011, part of FP7-Marie Curie actions. The first was entitled “Arts, Crafts and Professions of the Past through the Researchers’ Eyes” with educational programmes, a drawing contest for school kids, a documentary on the World of Manuscripts and an exhibition on the interdisciplinary nature of research on manuscripts. The second was entitled “The Birth of Life in Science and Art” accompanied by an exhibition by Venia Dimitrakopoulou, video art by Veronique Magnes and a photographic exhibition by Voula Androni.
Cultural trips at sites of interest, such as Mystras, Meteora, Ioannina, offered us the possibility to spend time together and visit sacred places of historical but also aesthetic value.
From 2005 to date we have the honour to host Dimitris Mavropoulos’ seminars which took place at the NHRF (2005-2013), Arcadia Centre (2013-2014) and since October 2014 they take place at the En Plo bookshop at the centre of Athens. This year’s seminars are dedicated to Saint Paul’s Epistles.
For the last ten years, Ainos Cultural Society represents the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius and operates as its Athens Bureau, welcoming visitors, promoting ecumenical contacts and dialogue on theological and devotional issues. The Athens Bureau participates in the monthly meetings of Pere Maurice Joyeux, SJ and organizes private meetings between Orthodox, Evangelists and representatives of other Christian denominations, as well as non believers interested in spiritual, cultural and philosophical quest.
This year we organize a study week in Oxford on Patristic and Byzantine Studies. The study week aims to promote interdisciplinary research and it will take place at Wolfson College in Oxford from the 3rd to the 8th of July and will be followed by a visit to the Essex monastery of Saint John (8th-10th July 2015).