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Twinning Cultural Associations

«Current translation pending review – For demonstration only».

The official visit of the delegation from the French city of Moddeig de Vicon, in the province of Crez, Auvergne in the heart of France, was completed with complete success, stamping and deepening the content of the Friendship Orchestra signed in June 2014 by the Cultural Associations “New Horizons” of the Apollonia community of Rhodes and “Friends of the Towers” of Moddeig de Vicon, France. The whole action took place under the roof and care of the House of Europe in Rhodes.

The delegation consisted of the President of the French Association Mr. Jean-Claude Demeini, the Mayor of the Community of Models Vidal, Vice-President of the Association and the members of Monk Turt and Steve and Sila Hardcastle.

The visit, which lasted from 11-16 / 09/2015, was scheduled for this particular period to allow visitors to attend the Apollonia Deserts, the events organized year by year by the members of the Cultural Group Apollonia’s “New Horizons”, but also by friends and volunteers who helped to make the very visitor-friendly program of French visitors. The delegation was hosted at Elaphos Hotel, in Prophet Elias. He visited and traveled to the Medieval City, the Archaeological Museum and the Louvre Exhibition, the Knights Street and the Grand Master’s Palace. He also had the opportunity to visit a part of the garden of the palace where the captain of the sarcophagus of M.M. Pierre D’Obisson as well as De Rochefort’s nephew. They also visited the Holy Temple of Theotokos in Lindos and were impressed by its Acropolis.

The twinning of the associations of the two communities is the Grand Master Pierre d’Obisson born in Moddeig de Vicon, in the Tower of Obisson, the fifth son of the eight children of this noble family. He came to Rhodes at the age of 21 and is considered to be one of the greatest Grand Master who passed through Rhodes as he was the head of the Hospital Knights of the Order of St. John during the 1st Siege of the Ottoman Turks in 1480. For his prowess, the restoration of the city and the strengthening of the fortifications after the siege, but also after a series of earthquakes, in 1489 Pope Innocent 8th called him the Cardinal and Legatus of the Holy See in the East.

Pierre d’Obisson died at the age of 80 on Rhodes where he lived most of his life. What connects him particularly with the Apollonia community is the icon of the Virgin Mary, which, according to one version, had moved to the city of Rhodes to save the population from a serious epidemic. To thank Him, he offered a silver “shirt” bearing his coat of arms and is now in the Holy Temple of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, at Apollonia.

Visitors from Moddeig de Vicon had the opportunity to attend the concert with Istanbul songs from a small ensemble of the Tettix School, with Mr. Grigoris Daravanoglou and Mrs. Marina Manolakou under the direction of Mr. Manolis Karpathiou. They also attended the Evening Feast, but also the feast that followed the eve of the Cross. On the morning of 14/09, he attended the blessed Priesthood of Priesthood, where the eminent Metropolitan of Rhodes, Cyril. They also had the opportunity to meet Nicholas Deligiannis, Knight of the Order and his wife and the great historical researcher and writer, descendant of Grandmaster Delastic Jean-Marc Rosé.

After the opening of the educational program titled “Following the traces of the Ioannis Knights and Grand Master Pierre d’Obisson in Rhodes”, the Mayor of Rhodes, Mr. Fotis Chatzidiakou and his high-profile guests, took part in the Cultural Events Hall of Apollonia.

This program involved 21 children of the 5th grade of the Primary School of Apollonia. The children, the school year 2014-2015, under the guidance of teacher Ioulia Economopoulou, did a great job, studied the history of the Order and Pier d’Obisson, visited the monuments of the Medieval City and the French Consulate, inspired, wrote, photographed, painted and played the original and excellent board game they built with their teacher. After the presentation the French guests visited the Folklore Foundation.

In the evening at the Elementary School amphitheater, all the participants offered greetings and exchanged commemorative gifts. They then had the opportunity to attend both local dances and dances from all over Greece, from the dance group of the Group. They also had the opportunity to see the works and constructions of students from the workshops of traditional hagiography-wood-sculpting-textile and masonry that are made in the village by the cultural in cooperation with the (KEK) Gennematas.

On Tuesday 15/09, the French friends of Apollonia and Rhodes paid official visits to the French Consulate, where the Consul of Honor Aliki Moschi welcomed them to the Region of the South Aegean where they met the Regional Executive Advisor of Volunteerism and European Programs Mrs. Haroula Yassirani and the Managing Director of the Cultural Phaedra Spanou. They also visited the Municipality of Rhodes, where the Mayor welcomed Mr. Fotis Chatzidiakos and where they shared a press conference with the Mayor. Among other things, French visitors have stated their support for Rhodes’ effort to become Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2021.

With this visit, the French guests had the opportunity to get to know the inhabitants of Apollonia better, to discover the many common points that connect them, to enjoy and appreciate the excellent Greek hospitality, to taste the traditional cuisine of the place and to see with satisfaction that the Friendship Trust they signed was not empty of content, instead by visiting local primary and manufacturing companies to think about how they could expand their activities so as to exchange goods between the two communities.

The role of the House of Europe, and in particular the Honorable Presidents of Marilena Sokianou and Anna Charitou, who co-ordinated the visit and accompanied them throughout their visit program, was important and catalytic. In addition to the information they provided, they helped them communicate with everyone with the translation, discussed with them new ideas and prospects for the future and they are all optimistic that this twinning will be constantly renewed through joint actions and events that will further consolidate the bonds of friendship between them.