Mary Jaharis Center Opens at Hellenic College/Holy Cross

Mary Jaharis cuts the ribbon for the opening of the Kontoglou exhibition.

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture was inaugurated October 3, 2010 on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios presided over the inaugural ceremonies for the new Center which began with a $3 million donation from The Jaharis Family Foundation two years ago. The Center will serve as a premier international research center for the promotion of Byzantine Art and Culture and will host a series of academic programs including seminars, conferences, visiting scholars, special events and art programs. 
The inaugural celebrations began with the opening of its first exhibition of icons by Greek painter and iconographer Photis Kontoglou, entitled Kontoglou: The Return of the Byzantine Icon, curated by the Very Reverend Dr. Joachim Cotsonis.
Mrs. Mary Jaharis cut the ceremonial ribbon accompanied by her husband Michael Jaharis, her son Dr. Steven Jaharis, his wife Elaine and her daughter Kathryn Jaharis Ledes. Metropolitan Methodios of Boston attended the events. Many other guests in attendance included clergy, officers and officials of Archdiocesan organizations, close friends of the Jaharis Family, the Consul General of Greece in Boston Konstantin Bikas and the Consul General of Cyprus in New York, Koula Sophianou. 
A program followed at the Maliotis Center presented by Dr. Maria Kouroumali, the Director of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture. Archbishop Demetrios in his opening remarks expressed gratitude for the generous gift of the Jaharis Family and extolled Mrs. Jaharis’ philanthropic service and example. His Eminence explained the importance of the Center within the environment of the Holy Cross School of Theology and described the establishment of the new Center as “a seed which has been sown in the field of Hellenic College / Holy Cross that will grow multifold with God’s help and will become a large and fruitful tree, as in the parable of the mustard seed, ‘so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.’”

Two lectures followed. The first was entitled “Byzantium and Kontoglou” by Dr. Helen C. Evans, the curator of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Byzantine Art Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum and the second entitled “Photis Kontoglou and the Revival of Byzantine Painting” by Dr. Ryan P. Preston, Professor at the Newberry Library.
The second part of the program included an introduction in Byzantine music in the form of a lecture entitled “From the Narrow Path to Broadway: Visual overtones and Sound Theology” given by Nektarios Antoniou, a graduate of Holy Cross, artistic director of Schola Cantorum, a Byzantine chant group. A musical concert featuring Schola Cantorum and The Silk Road Ensemble followed and included selections from the Byzantine sacred and secular musical traditions.
“The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture will approach issues of Byzantium from the perspective of Orthodox theology, scholarship and the arts,” said Dr. Helen C. Evans, a Mary Jaharis Center Administrative Board Member and curator of the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Early Christian and Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. “It will be instrumental in showing how relevant Byzantium is in the modern world.”

Mary Jaharis is a long-time devoted member of Leadership 100 and Michael Jaharis is a Founder. Their son, Dr. Steven Jaharis and his wife, Elaine, and their daughter, Kathryn Jaharis Ledes, and her husband, Richard Ledes, are also members. In addition, the Jaharises have sponsored their five grandchildren as members of the organization, thus constituting the largest representation of any one family.
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