With the participation of a large number of attendees, the event for the presentation of the “Athos Digital Heritage” project for the digital dissemination of the cultural heritage of Mount Athos Holy Monasteries took place on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 at the premises of the Society for Macedonian Studies.
In addition to the large audience, the event was honored by the presence of Mrs. Angeliki Fetsis, Head of the Special Administration Service, who represented the office of the Deputy Minister of Interior for Macedonia and Thrace, while a salutation speech was also given by Athos Mount Political Commander, Mr. Athanasios Martinos.
“Athos Digital Heritage” constitutes an innovative initiative of the Holy Community of Mount Athos, with the aim to develop a comprehensive digital repository of knowledge and culture, which will include in electronic form all the manifestations of the cultural heritage of Mount Athos’ Holy Monasteries.
The ultimate goal of the whole venture is to render this repository digitally available to the global community via the Internet, offering the opportunity to browse the numerous relics of the Athos peninsula Monasteries, in a manner that fully respects the spiritual and monastic character of Mount Athos.
Over the event’s opening, Mr. Constantinos Patseas, the project’s Chief Coordinator, analysed the vision and strategy behind the “Athos Digital Heritage” project, while the scientific team undertaking the project’s implementation, Dr. Spyridon Mantzaris and Dr. Lampros Alexopoulos analysed the technical features and challenges, as well as the particularly high importance of the digital management of Mount Athos’s treasures, which through “Athos Digital Heritage” are now being opened for the first time to such a wide audience.
In the second part of the event, representatives of the academic community explained the enormous importance of the in-depth scientific documentation of all the information produced as part of the project. At the same time, a special mention was also made to the substantial contribution of women scholars and researchers involved in the project’s implementation team, which was made possible for the first time in the history of Mount Athos through the contribution of modern technology.
After the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to take a tour of the digital world of Mount Athos using virtual reality applications.
On the occasion of the event, Elder Hieronymus, Hieromonk of Simonopetra Monastery, Representative of Mount Athos Holy Community and Head of the “Athos Digital Heritage” project noted: “Completing the Digital Heritage project is a milestone for Orthodox Christian Culture, as 2,200,000 digital images are now accessible online to the general public, highlighting the cultural richness of the Holy Monasteries of Mount Athos. Athos Digital Heritage is an offering dedicated by the fathers of Mount Athos, primarily to young people who want to approach the Orthodox Christian tradition with the help of modern technology."
At the same time, Mr. Constantinos Patseas, Project Chief Coordinator, stated: "We expect this project to make a significant contribution to the preservation and protection of Mount Athos’s cultural heritage, giving an immense impetus for the study and research of Byzantine culture, greatly enhancing all relevant studies in higher education. At the same time, it will be a valuable tool that links cultural heritage with education, with the Greeks of the diaspora and with the Orthodox Christian world, as well as with any studious, art appreciating, educated and spiritually concerned person interested in Orthodox Christian culture."
The project was integrated into the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation (EPAnEK) and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and National Resources.