The President in Ermioni

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, was in Ermioni on Sunday 12th September to attend the annual 'Marianna Vardinoyannis Culture Awards' hosted by the Municipality of Ermionida.  In a modest and simple ceremony dedicated to the memory of Mikis Theodorakis, the President was named 'Honorary Citizen of Ermionida'.  The Regional Mayor of Ermionida, Giannis Georgopoulos, together with the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, Marianna Vardinoyannis, the Deputy Mayor, Joseph Martyr, and the President of the Community of Ermioni, Joseph Ganossis, welcomed the Hellenic President in the traditional building of the old Town Hall of Ermioni.  At the beginning of the event, there was a minute of silence observed to the memory of the late Mikis Theodorakis.

The President then presented the 'Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Culture Awards 2021'.  This is an important cultural institution for the entire Argolida region, which has been established by the Municipality of Ermionida, hosted in the historic coastal town of Ermioni, in honour of Marianna, her place of birth.  These Cultural Awards are awarded to leading cultural figures from Greece and abroad.

Awards were presented to the First Lady of the Republic of Cyprus, Andri Anastasiadis, a well-known philhellene who received a Special Honorary Distinction of Solidarity among the Peoples.  To the Emeritus Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King's College London, Roderick Beaton, who was awarded for the promotion of Greek culture abroad.  To the President of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Rector Eleni Arveler, for her contributiion to the promotion of Greek history.  To the Director of the National Gallery and Museum of Alexandros Soutsos, Marina Lambraki-Plaka, for her contribution to the field of culture and arts.  To the President of the Ermioni History and Folklore Museum, Tina Antonopoulou (right) for its contribution to the culture of Argolida.

Marianna Vardinogianni began her speech with an extensive reference to the late Mikis Theodorakis, with whom she had a strong friendship, of his recent death.  Then as a sign of gratitude for the presence of the President, offered her a painting by the late artist Anthoula Lazaridou-Douroukou, also born in Ermioni, who had dedicated her great work to the historic traditions of her home town.

During her speech at the third annual awards ceremony, the President of the Republic referred to the long rich history of ErmionI from Antiquity to the present day, about "a blessed place where history meets the beauty of nature and modern life in a rare depth of culture, inscribed in the visible traces of its monuments, in its special architecture, in the elegance of its inhabitants".  Adding that she is optimistic about the decision of the municipal authority to exploit the rich archaeological resources of Ermioni, restoring historical landmarks of the city such as the Roman burial monument, highlighting the archaeological findings of the early Christian basilica of the 4th Century, but mainly by the Ermionida region's future plans to create a new Archaeological Museum in Ermioni.