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Recovering the Thread of History

«Current translation pending review – For demonstration only».

In the framework of the twinning that took place, mediated and supported by the House of Europe in Rhodes, two years ago between the Community of Apollonia’s Cultural Associations “New Horizons” and “Friends of Towers” of Modelle de Vicomte Community, Auvergne in France, the birthplace of the great Grand Master Pierre D’Obisson, the second trip to France of the Rhodes delegation was crowned with absolute success. The mission was attended by the President of the Apollonian Association Mr. Manolis Kyriazakos, the Director of the Epidaurus of Antiquities of Dodecanese Mrs. Mania Mihailidou and the member of the Board of Directors of the European Network for Education and Training – EUNET and eminent House President, Marilena Sochianou.

On this trip, the Mayor of Rhodes, Mr. Fotis Hatzidiakos, was invited as well, but unfortunately he was unable to attend, but he sent gifts and books of the Knights’ history to the French friends who had visited him last year during their stay in Rhodes.

The aim of the trip was to broaden co-operation between twinning associations and lay the foundations for further cultural actions and exchanges.

During her stay in France (05-10/07/2016) the mission was exceptionally welcomed and welcomed in the Creze region of Auvergne and facilitated the contacts she had with many governmental and local government officials, mainly by the president of the “Friends of the Towers” Mr. Jean-Claude Dumaine and the Mayor of the community, Mr. Didier Martinez.

Many fruitful meetings were held with the Mayors of the cities Modelle de Vicomte, Obisson, Felten, Bourghanev etc. and also with the Community’s Vice President of regional Communities.

With an official written invitation, Prefect of the Region, Mr. Philip Chopin, invited the three-member mission and the President of the French Association to work breakfast at the Prefectural Palace. The future plans of the two clubs were discussed and they pledged their full support of moral, economic and practical support in their efforts to join European programs to achieve some of their goals.

Gifts were exchanged in all the meetings with the most important handmade copy of the icon of Virgin Mary of Apollonia, which will be placed in the chapel where Pierre’s d’ Obisson parents were buried, the silver temple of the Rhodian tetradrachim and a ceramic representation of the Rapture Created by the famous sculptor Kostas Neophytou.

Contacts were also made with the Commission responsible for the exploitation of the natural parks and cultural richness of the area, a branch of which is also responsible for organizing the Museum at the Zizim Tower in Bourganev. This tower was built in the 15th century from Pierre d’Obisson in order to accommodate the Ottoman prince Jem (known in France as Zizim), brother of Sultan Bayyazit, also known for his stay in Rhodes where he sought refuge from the Knights of Rhodes. The master was Pierre d’Obisson.

It was discussed the opportunity to create a show in one of the towers of the fortifications of Rhodes in order to present and showcase, in any way appropriate, the life, action and course of Grand Master Pierre D’Obisson and the life of Prince Jem.

The relevance of the content of these two spaces opens up routes for exchanges and collaborations between them.

The Rhodes delegation had the opportunity to attend local events with the revival of medieval customs accompanied by traditional musical instruments of the time. Also during the inaugural painting exhibition of landscapes in the watercolor area were the foundations for the exhibition of the painter Genevieve Zuve in 2017 in Rhodes.

In the immediate plans of the two clubs is the participation of the New Horizons Association of Traditional Dances Group of the Apollo Community in August 2017 at the annual International Festival of Traditional Dances in Felden, whose body will then complete 40 years of action. . At the same time, the French Club will organize an evening of Greek dances and music as well as Apollonian Gastronomy and promotion of local products in Bourganev.

Another project that is immediately feasible is the issue by the two clubs of a number of hardcopies, which will be made available to the schools of the twin clubs’ communities. These notebooks will feature in a 16 page, Greek and French, the characteristics of the two regions as well as the history of the Knights of Rhodes and especially of Pierre d’Obisson as well as of Holly Sainte Karyonas, whose silverware was the Grand Master and bearing its coat of arms, at the same time this image was the connecting link of the twinning of the two regions.

The meeting with the Director of Cite Internationale de la Tapisserie d’ Aubusson, Emmanuel Zerar, who, in spite of the workload he had in view of the opening of the Museum after 2 days, accepted our Rhodian delegation cordially and he traveled himself to the main halls of the new museum and spoke at the end of the cocktail encounter.

During the three-hour exchange of views with our delegation, the director of the museum expressed a keen interest in a comprehensive program of cooperation at various levels and over a five-year period starting in 2017 when the program begins with an art photography exhibition explains with pictures the various stages of making the tapestry. Following are lectures or a conference on the themes of the history of these valuable works of art and their timeless artistic development. The possibility of a scientific in-depth discussion was announced with the announcement of a competition for a Greek and a French scientist to present a work on the relation of the Grand Master to Art in general, Tapestry in particular and the relationship of the Obisson region to Rhodes. Another issue that was discussed with particular interest is the exchange of know-how in maintenance issues and the care of the Obisson tapestries exhibited at the Grand Master’s Palace. The program will be a tapestry exhibition in Rhodes.

The Rhodes delegation received a formal invitation from the President of the French Republic, Francois Oland, to attend the opening of the expanded and renovated Tapestry d ‘Obisson Museum. At the inauguration, which took place on Sunday, 10/07/16, at 10.00 am, where the security measures were draconian (entrance only by showing the invitation, identity check, bag control), personalities of the French political scene were present in the presence of the President Of the French Republic, Mr Francois Oland, who had a few minutes of talks with the Rhodian delegation.

We are confident that the channel launched by the twinning of the two Cultural Associations will keep the interest alive for many years and will bring the two communities together, but both countries.