• The Christian Archaeological Society from its founding until 1914 +

    The Christian Archaeological Society from its founding until 1914

    The Christian Archaeological Society (XAE) was founded in December 1884. Protagonist in this initiative was the theologian Georgios Lampakis, who was enthusiastically active in many ways until 1910. Essentially, Lampakis determined the character of the Society during its early years.

    Principal aims of the XAE at the time of its founding were to collect and to rescue monuments of Christian Antiquity, and to create a Christian Archaeological Museum. The founders of the XAE and particularly Lampakis worked in earnest to mobilize the authorities to extend the solicitude of the State to Christian monuments, early and recent.

    The Society's greatest success was the creation of its Collection of some 10,000 objects, which was for Georgios Lampakis his goal in life. This collection was made possible thanks to the mobilization of individuals, ecclesiastical bodies and civil servants throughout Greece. It was exhibited in Athens in 1898 and 1903, and was housed for a long period in the National Archaeological Museum. In 1923 the XAE Collection, together with its library and photographic archive, came into the possession of the newly-founded Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens.

    In 1892 publication began of the Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society, in which Georgios Lampakis provided news of the Society's activity and presented monuments that he located in the course of his travels. Under the auspices of Georgios Lampakis the rich and precious photographic archive of monuments in Greece and Asia Minor was formed, which complemented the collection. A catalogue of the photographs was published in the Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society, iss. IX, 1910.

  • The XAE from 1914 until the late 1950s +

    The XAE from 1914 until the late 1950s

    The illness and death of the founder of the XAE, G. Lampakis (1914), brought a lull in the collecting activity of the Society and the publication of the Bulletin. The XAE was revived in 1923, on the initiative of Alexandros Philadelpheus and Georgios Soteriou, the latter was at that time appointed Director of the Byzantine and Christian Museum and Professor of Christian Archaeology in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, a man of letters, assumed the presidency of the XAE. The Society's role as a collector had already ceased, due to the constraints imposed by the new archaeological legislation and, primarily, after the founding of the Byzantine Museum. Thus the XAE was transformed into a purely scholarly association. Publication of the Deltion was resumed, which now became a scholarly periodical with contributions from researchers in a discipline that was just beginning to be established in Greece.

    At that time the Society began to organize lectures and excursions, in an endeavour to heighten public awareness of the Byzantine monuments. In the 1930s, on the initiative of Nikos A. Bees, President of the XAE from 1932 until 1958, the publication of a Corpus of Christian Inscriptions in Greece was planned. Compilation of this commenced, with the collaboration of young researchers, and two volumes were published.

  • The XAE from 1959 to the present +

    The XAE from 1959 to the present

    In the recent phase of the Society's history, which begins with the resumption of publication of the Bulletin, which had stopped during the tumultuous decade 1940-1950, the XAE has encouraged research in Greece and entered into dialogue with the international academic community. The periodical, which appeared again in 1959, became international. In 1972 the first monograph of the series Tetradia of the Christian Archaeological Society was published.

    Alongside other activities, since 1981 it has organized annual spring conferences on Christian Archaeology and Art, and established the publications series Notebooks of Christian Archaeology and Art. Since 1988 one day of the 3-day Symposium is dedicated to a special topic.

    Virtually the entire scholarly community of Greece has participated in the Society's activities during this period, but the keynote was undoubtedly given by Academician Manolis Chatzidakis, who served as general secretary (1959-1979) and president of the society until his death (1998). For some twenty years the general secretary, Charalambos Bouras, Professor of the History of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, made a substantial contribution to bringing the visions of President M. Chatzidakis to fruition.

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Members of Administrative Boards

The most distinguished Greek Byzantinists, primarily historians of Byzantine art, were active members of the Society in its long historical course:

  • Georgios Lampakis,
  • Georgios Soteriou (General Secretary 1932-1959, President 1959-1965),
  • Nikos A. Bees (President 1932-1958),
  • Andreas Xyngopoulos,
  • Anastasios Orlandos (President 1966-1978),
  • Manolis Chatzidakis (General Secretary 1959-1979, President 1980-1998),
  • Charalampos Mpouras (General Secretary 1979-2000),
  • Doula Mouriki,
  • Demetrios Pallas,
  • Georgios Galavaris (President 1998-2001),
  • Elias Kollias (President 2001-2007)
  • Demetrios Konstantios (General Secretary 2000-2010)

Click on the following link to see all members of the Administrative Board of the CHAE from 1885 until now.

Members of Administrative Board 1885-today

Bibliography on the history of the CHAE

  • Έκθεση για τα εκατό χρόνια της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας. Κατάλογος, Αθήνα 1985
  • Ό. Γκράτζιου - Α. Λαζαρίδου (επιστ. επιμ.), Από τη Χριστιανική Συλλογή στο Βυζαντινό Μουσείο (1884-1930). Κατάλογος έκθεσης(Αθήνα, Βυζαντινό και Χριστιανικό Μουσείο, 29 Μαρτίου 2002 - 7 Ιανουαρίου 2003),  Αθήνα 2006
  • Δ. Κωνστάντιος, Η ιστορία της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας, Αθήνα 2009.