Italy and Greece have common aspects in its culture and history that could be “connected” through a “theme route” that “touches” the Ionian Islands and Western Greece. The historic naval battle of Lepanto that occurred in 1531, takes its name after the place where the Turks were based and commemorative celebrations have been held mainly in Nafpaktos for the past few years. In the Ionian Islands, we have Corfu and Kefalonia that served as station points for the members of the Holy League that defeated the Ottomans. Zakinthos has a burial place for the remains of people who took part in the battle. Patras also plays a role in the aftermath. After the recent establishment of the 7th of October, -the date of the battle of Lepanto-, as a feast of local interest in the Ionian Islands, combined efforts could be made to commemorate such an event (P.D. 44/2022. FEK 108/A/6.6.2022). In an effort to take advantage of the concept of hubs, different activities could be planned at the various local levels. Italy makes worth following celebrations in the month of August in Mesina (where the boats met before heading for Greece), and in other places. Spain also does. Those celebrations help local economies. Some form of relay connecting events taking place in Corfu, then in Kefalonia, Nafpaktos, Patras, and other intermediate locations, identified under a similar logo, art work, boat rides, gastronomy, music, folklor, could help create an annual event to unite the region. A new touristic route could be created as a result of this proposal: “The victory in the battle of Lepanto”.
Ποια είναι η κύρια καινοτομία της ιδέας σας;
It creates opportunities for local people to organize cultural events. It creates consciousness and awareness about the importance of learning our history, getting to know and giving value to historic events that have brought even nations together for a common purpose. I would dare to say, that even a potential “pilgrimage place” may result for religious tourism since for the battle of Lepanto a holy league was created under the rule of Pope Pious V. Greeks participated on both sides and it marked an occasion of unity between eastern and western Christians.
Ποιες είναι οι κύριες προκλήσεις και τα εμπόδια στην υλοποίηση της ιδέας;
It might be challenging to make the idea interesting for a varied population, for public officials. The creation of the appropriate communication network that is fundamental in order to secure funds for implementation. On the one hand, there are people who could be interested in participating in this type of events, but there should be a receptivity from the local level to produce banners, flyers and even an exhibit on the subject. Last year the Byzantine Museum in Athens made a temporary exhibit on the theme, because it was the 450th anniversary of the battle of Lepanto.
Έχετε ήδη προβεί σε ενέργειες για την υλοποίηση (συμπεριλαμβανομένων διακρίσεων/βραβείων ή χρηματοδότησης);
In 2021, a proposal to the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens to commemorate the anniversary of Lepanto, led to the creation of a program of cultural activities (concerts, talks), as well as memorials that were organized by the Pastoral Committee. My proposal was a result of my personal academic interest and as a part of my research to understand the relations between Catholics and Orthodox. Since Spain played an important role in the battle of Lepanto, a group of “pilgrims” traveled from Seville to participate in the celebrations that were organized in Patras that included a visit to a close location to where the battle took place. The group of pilgrims belongs to a larger organization that has other possible visitors that would want to come and visit to honor the memory of such an event. I received a commemorative plaque as a recognition for my participation on the organization of the commemorative program. Hotels, restaurants, transportation providers benefited. I covered my own expenses for travel and accommodation and would like to create a project that could help my participation sustainable for future events. I also helped organize and participated in a three-day international conference held via youtube for a Spanish-speaking audience distributed in many countries and it had a good reception. About one-year promotion preceded. I also made an amateur video during the past summer taking a boat ride in the Ionian sea and documenting the actual location where the battle of Lepanto took place. During my research I found out that the feast of our lady of the rosary was established in the Catholic Church as a result of the victory of Lepanto and it is celebrated every 7th of October. 2023 will mark the 450th anniversary of the establishment of such a feast. Since the rosary is a prayer that is made daily by millions of Christians, this fact is of interest to devoted people. The gifts that pope Francis handed in to people during his visit to Greece in 2021 were actually rosary beads. I personally promote the prayer of the rosary among friends and family abroad and am certain that some of them would like to come and visit. I find in this a motivation to envision the organization of commemorative events linking different locations that would benefit the locals of the region.
Ποιος θα είναι ο αντίκτυπος της ιδέας σας για την τοπική/περιφερειακή κοινωνία;
Collaborative projects are rewarding experiences, as I can recall from my participation in an INNOREF project a few years ago, that also became a best practice (“Reconversion of rural villages as an opportunity for economic development”). The creation of an event that will connect different regions may enhance the economy from the activities associated to tourism and cultural heritage.
Έγγραφο επαλήθευσης (τόπος αναφοράς ή δραστηριότητα)