On 16th and 17th of March 2023,Ambassador of Greece in India Mr Dimitrios Ioannou made an official visit to Kolkata. On the 16th, he had meetings with the members of the Philhellenic literary society of Kyklos, which is based in Kolkata since 1988 and whose members are working on translations of greek literary works in Bengali, and on original works in Bengali inspired by Greece. Then he visited the Office of the Administrator General and Official Trustee of West Bengal Mr. Biplab Roy, and admired an exhibition of important ancient artefacts at the building of the New Secretariat office.
He congratulated the Administrator General for the initiative of the High Court to open a Judicial Museum of Kolkata, which, as Mr Roy said, would include some rooms on the culture of Greece as well . Then the Ambassador visited the emblematic Indian Museum of Kolkata and met with the Director of the Museum, Dr Arijit Dutta Chowdhury. Ambassador Ioannou then marvelled at the archaeological and numismatic collections of the Museum. The Museum contains one of the most important collections of indo Greek coins in the world and sculptures from the Gandhara and Mathura schools of art, which bear elements of indo Greek fusion , inter alia. Mr Ioannou gave a lecture on the exchanges and interactions between the Indian and the Greek world over the millennia and stressed that the possibility of joint exhibitions with the Indian Museum will be considered in the immediate future. He was fascinated at the turnout and interesting questions of the Indian audience which included many University students and Professors. The lecture at the Indian Museum was one of the highlights of his visit.
On the 17th of March, he visited the monuments of the vibrant community of Greek merchants of the 18th-20th century. The Greek cemetery in Phoolbagan and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration in Kalighat in the company of the Warden of the Orthodox Church in Kolkata, Mr P. R. Bharat and of Sister Nektaria Paradissi. The Ambassador was also delighted to visit the St Ignatius Schools and Orphanages in Bakeswar, run by the Philanthropic Society of the Orthodox Church.
This network is giving lots of opportunities to underprivileged children from rural areas of West Bengal. Altogether the Ambassador was impressed by the rich cultural heritage of Kolkata and the warm hospitality and kindness of its people.