A great part of the work of the European Centre focuses on the research of the European and International Philhellenism. Thanks to the generous financial support of Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation we have been able to create a documentation post and engage a research assistant. This decision was founded on our firm belief that this field of historical research has been deplorably neglected by the academic studies.
The European and International Philhellenism has played an eminent role in the process of Greece’s emancipation from Turkish occupation. The European and International Philhellenism was one of the most powerful allies of the Greek cause of independence. Regarding the rise and spread of the philhellenic movement the causes can be found in classicism, modern humanism, Romanticism, Christian solidarity, etc. Protagonists of the German philhellenic movement were the Bavarian King Ludwig I. and Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch, Professor of classical Theology at the University of Munich. The cultural and academic life of the modern Greek state would have been impossible without Germany’s and Bavaria’s support. On the other side the Bavarian Capital, Munich, was made thanks to the untiring efforts of Ludwig I., called the Prince of Philhellenes, a second Athens. Munich was made not only the centre of the renaissance of Greek architecture and sculpture, but the Metropolis of German Philhellenism. Ludwig sent his son Otto to Greece to become the first King of the new Greek state (1830). He was accompanied by a number of scientists, architects und artists that were to exert a decisive influence on the cultural and spiritual life of the new state.
The great philhellenic tradition should be for the European people of our times a continuous source of inspiration and active support will. Modern Philhellenism should bent upon the current problems of Greece and try to tackle them in the framework of the European Union and NATO. For his part German Philhellenism should focus on and assist by the problems of the Greeks living in Germany in various fields: in education, work place, cultural activities, etc.
The objectives of the Philhellenic research
The objectives of the work of the European Centre consist in
· the collection of printed sources (books, articles, manifests, brochures, etc.) – a library of Philhellenism
· raising a data base that purports to include all relevant titles of publications – this electronic library will be accessible in internet
· the collaboration with historical research institutes for the better documentation and registration of the materials.
We would like to express our gratitude to Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation for its inestimable contribution in the fields of science and culture.