This Week in History: July 8-14



On this day in 1956, the island of Amorgos along with other islands of the Cyclades was shaken by an earthquake of magnitude 7.7. The damage on Amorgos was extensive, as was the damage on the neighboring island of Santorini. It was the biggest earthquake in Greece in the 20th century (up to that point). The tremor and subsequent destructive tsunami demolished 529 homes and left 53 dead and 100 injured.

JULY 10:

On this day in 1965, Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark was born in a house called “Mon Repos” on the island of Corfu. The house had served as a residence in the 18th century for the English governors of Corfu and belonged to the Greek royal family. It was also the birthplace of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1921. Princess Alexia is the eldest child of Constantine II and Anne-Marie of Denmark, who were King and Queen of Greece from 1964 until ‘on the abolition of the monarchy in 1973. Between her own birth and the birth of her brother (Pavlos) two years later, Alexia was the heir presumptive to the throne of the Hellenes. She was educated at Hellenic College London (which her parents had founded in 1980) and then at a division of the University of Surrey, where she obtained her BA in history and education. A year later, she completed a postgraduate certificate and became a primary school teacher in London’s Southwark town center before moving to Barcelona, ​​where she became a teacher of children with developmental disabilities. In July 1999, Alexia married Carlos Javier Morales Quintana, architect and sailing champion. The couple have four children: Arietta, Ana Maria, Carlos and Amelia. The family lives in the Canary Islands in a house designed by Carlos Javier.

JULY 13:

On this day in 1965, Photis Kontoglou, Greek writer, painter and iconographer, died at the age of 69. Raised by his mother and uncle, who was abbot at a nearby monastery at Aivali on the Aegean coast of Asia. A minor, Kontoglou spent his childhood in the monastery, at the sea, and among the fishermen. In 1913, he enrolled at the Athens School of Fine Arts. When the First World War broke out, he decided to leave school and travel through various European countries. After returning home to Asia Minor, he and the rest of the Greek inhabitants of the region were driven from their homes. After many hardships and hardships, Kontoglou arrived in Athens. From 1923, he spent some time on Mount Athos where he discovered the technique of Byzantine iconography. In 1923 he became curator of Byzantine icons at the Byzantine Museum in Athens and two years later he was appointed professor of art history and painting at the American College. Kontoglou is most famous for its painting and church iconography (including Kapnikarea Church in Athens, the monumental fresco of the Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople, and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Charleston, South Carolina). According to Nikos Zias, professor of art history at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Kontoglou succeeded in “shaking off the waters of the pond of unchanging interwar prosperity and shaping Greek national consciousness”.


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