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Paintings by Constantine Arvanites for The Greek Institute

The following poem is by one of Greece's major Modern Greek poets, Nikephoros Vrettakos (1912-1991). The English translation is by Athan Anagnostopoulos.
Ὅπως ἡ μέλισσα γύρω ἀπό ἕνα ἄγριο
λουλούδι, ὅμοια κι ἐγώ. Τριγυρίζω
διαρκῶς γύρω ἀπ´τή λέξη.

Εὐχαριστῶ τίς μακριές σειρές
τῶν προγόνων, πού δούλεψαν τή φωνή,
τήν τεμάχισαν σέ κρίκους, τή κάμαν
νοήματα τή σφυρηλάτησαν ὅπως
τό χρυσάφι οἱ μεταλλουργοί κι ἔγινε
Ὅμηροι, Αἰσχύλοι, Εὐαγγέλια
κι ἄλλα κοσμήματα.

Μέ τό νήμα
τῶν λέξεων
αὐτόν τό χρυσό
τοῦ χρυσοῦ πού βγαίνει ἀπ´τά βάθη
τῆς καρδιᾶς μου, συνδέομαι, συμμετέχω
στόν κόσμο.

Εἶπα καί ἔγραψα "Άγαπῶ."
Νικηφόρος Βρεττάκος

Just as the honey-bee flies around a wild
flower, so do I. I wander
continually around the word.

I thank the long ranks
of ancestors who worked in the voice,
cut it into loops, turned it
into meanings, forged it, the way
metal workers forge gold, and it became
Homeroi, Aeschyloi, Gospels
and other jewels.

With the thread
of words, this gold
of gold that rises from the depths
of my heart, I relate, partake
to the world!
just think:
I said and wrote, "I Love."

News and Events


See Notes on Greek Culture from the Greek Institute on:

Click here to view The Greek Institute's Chronology of Programs

September 12 - Cycle I of the Greek Language classes begins
New offering: ΜΑθΗΣΙΣ -Mathesis: Ancient and Modern Greek classes for high school students (see description in course listings).
See course listings.

October 3, 7pm - from the Athena Seminars: Catherine Liddell will give a brief introduction on the topic of "Rhetoric of the Gods: Echoes of Antiquity in 17th Century French Lute Music" and also perform songs to illustrate the fascination of early Baroque composers with Greek mythological themes. Open to the public; donations welcome.

October 24, 7pm - from the Athena Seminars: Therese Sellers will present her English translation of Aeolic Land by Ilias Venezis. The work explores the refugee problem of the time and is relevant to the refugee crisis of today. Open to the public; donations welcome.

November 9, 7pm "Aeschylus' Oresteia: From vendetta and retribution to civil institutions and community strength: a talk in two parts" Joanna Bertsekas, Ph.D, will summarize briefly Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy and explain the main theme which is the transformation of justice (Dike) from retribution, to the rule of law. Aeschylus wrote his trilogy as the Polis (Athens) was entering the period of direct Democracy and was strengthening its legal and social institutions.

Joanna Bertsekas is a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts where for nine years she has been conducting tours for the Education department. Images of the Oresteia plays by Aeschylus are represented on vases in the MFA's renowned Ancient Greek collection. The plays still inspire people around the world and the trilogy is frequently performed on stage.

November 16, 4-6pm Dr. Bertsekas will lead a small group through the ancient Greek gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts, where the Oresteia vases are currently exhibited.
Cost: $20, to include both the talk on the 9th and the follow-up at the MFA.

December 4, 7:30pm - at Kresge Little Theater at MIT (48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass): Art Music inspired by Demotic Songs: the folk songs from various regions of Greece followed by a performance of original compositions by Jimmy Kachulis, composer and faculty of Berklee College of Music. The performance of Greek folk songs will feature Vasilis Kostas, laouto, and vocalist Eirini Tornesaki. In collaboration with the Hellenic Students Association of MIT. Tickets are $10 for students or $20 for general admission. Call The Greek Institute at 617-547-4770 for tickets or further information.

December 22, 8pm - December 22, 8pm - at the First Church in Cambridge (11 Garden Street, Cambridge, Mass.): Byzantine Christmas: A concert of Byzantine chant and Greek Folk carols with instrumental accompaniment and readings from Christmas stories. Director Dr. Spyridon Antonopolous with the Psaltikon Choir. Tickets are $10 for students or $20 for general admission.

A glimpse of some of the embroideries and costumes the family of Doreen Canaday Spitzer (1914-2010), well known American Philhellene, recently donated to the Greek Institute.

On her first visit to Greece, Doreen Canaday wrote to her cousin, "I have seen the Parthenon in full moonlight, have seen Sophocles' Electra in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus...I have got lost, almost, on the slopes of Hymettus, of honey fame, and seen such sunsets and sunrises as people only dream of. Sometimes I can't believe it's really true..."
View the embroideries