The Lyceum of Greek Women, an Addition to Montreal's Multicultural Mosaic

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The Lyceum of Greek Women opened a new chapter in Montreal with the aim of engaging the Greek women of the Canadian metropolis in its ongoing efforts to showcase Greek traditional arts and crafts, brandish the Hellenic civilization and promote women's social issues.

Traditional Greek cooking courses, embroidery lessons, knitting demonstrations, arts and crafts exhibitions, Byzantine iconography seminars and lectures by distinguished women from Quebec and Greece will be a part of the Lyceum of Greek Women of Montreal's varied activities.

The inauguration ceremony of the Lyceum of Greek Women of Montreal, in cooperation with the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, took place last Sunday, at the Hellenic Community Centre, "Adrian Maris," in Montreal, where the guest speaker was Ms. Hélène David, Minister of Culture and Communications and Higher Education of Québec and M.N.A. for Outremont.

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The new organization was welcomed through warm messages sent by the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau, and the President of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women of Athens, Ms. Eleni Tsaldari.

The main speakers were Mr. Nicholas Pagonis, President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, Mrs.Vassiliki Tsiros-Marcantonatos, honorary President of the LGWM and Mrs. Mary Deros, President of the LGWM, who announced that the final goal of the new organization is the creation of the Hellenic Museum of Montreal.

The Lyceum Club of Greek Women (official Greek title) was founded in 1911 by the pioneer of the Greek feminist movement, Kalliroi Parren, who, through her militant literature and the pages of the "Newspaper of the Ladies," waged a battle against illiteracy among Greek women.

She founded Sunday schools, evening schools and training schools through which she supported Greek women's rights to education and work.

Today, the Lyceum of Greek Women preserves its dynamic presence, fighting for the promotion of Greek traditions and encouraging widespread volunteering while attempting to connect its lengthy experience in social activity and the management of cultural heritage with scientific knowledge.

It organizes lessons of traditional dance, percussion, choir, painting and Greek language for Greek women who live abroad as well as for foreign women who live and work in Greece.

At the same time, it holds seminars, prints publications and offers dance group performances in Greece and abroad. The activities of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women are not limited to the region of Athens but are prevalent around the entire country as the Lyceum has 51 national branches, one in every regional department of Greece, as well as 16 offices abroad, with one common aim: preserving and promoting Greece's cultural heritage.

The Montreal branch will focus, primarily, on promoting the Hellenic culture at large by organizing lectures on Greek traditions and major women's issues.

Lessons will be given on the classic Greek arts of embroidery, knitting, cooking and baking while exhibitions will be held at Montreal's major museums showcasing traditional Greek crafts.

In addition, cultural events depicting Hellenic civilization in a most progressive way will be held, demonstrating Greek traditions among Quebec society.

Other marquee evenings will be scheduled, such as the joining of the Lyceum Club of Athens' famed dancers in co-operation with Montreal's local Greek dance troupes.

Special gatherings will be organized with the aim of having young Greek women interact with those of the older generations in order to learn from one another.

The ultimate goal is the creation of the Museum of Hellenism of Montreal.

Photos: Justine Frangouli-Argyris