22 Nov 2017

Advance Look: January 29, 2018

Should the British Museum return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece?

The fate of the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles has been controversial for over 200 years.  At our January meeting, Pharos' January 2018 meeting will feature four (unbiased) members of the Championship UBC Debating team to discuss the pros and cons of this contentious issue within the formal rules of competitive debating.  To start things off Hector Williams will give a short overview of the carvings and their significance within Greek culture.  This is certain to be a lively evening, so put it on your calendars.



14 Oct 2017

October+November 2017

Monday 30 October 2017 at 7:30
The Great Mothers: Rhea and Cybele in Ancient Athens
Dr. Arden Williams, UBC Classics, Near East & Religious Studies

The cult of the Mother of the Gods, simply known in Athens as Meter, is one of great antiquity.  Meter's role in the Eleusinian Mysteries connects her both with Rhea, mother of the Olympians, and the family drama of the Eleusinian myth.  Across the Aegean, there were also cults of Great Mother goddesses, like that of Cybele, whom the Athenians identified with Meter and Rhea.  The Romans had adopted the goddess Cybele in response to a prophecy, but found spects of her worship disturbing.  The situation in Athens was rather different.  A small private association in Piraeus established a cult of Cybele as Meter.  The documents published by this group offer a glimpse into how the traditional cult of Meter was transformed by the introduction of elements of the cult of Cybele into something distinctly Athenian.


Monday 27 November 2017 at 7:30
Liquid Memories in the Forum of Constantine: Pagan Symbolism and Meaning in a Christian Emperor's Capital
Prof. Dimitris Krallis, Hellenic Studies, SFU


The forum of Constantine does not conform to the image we have of the first Christian Emperor as a disruptive figure ushering in a new Christian age.  Filled to the brim with pagan statuary it remains a puzzle, as it confounds anyone who seeks to understated Constantine through a Christian prism.  This presentation proposes ways to understand the forum's symbolic armature by focusing on Constantine's Greco-Roman identity.



12 Apr 2017

Commemorating the History of the Greek Community in Vancouver: The Kits House Stained Glass Window

Pharos is pleased to have been a contributor to the commemorative stained glass window in Kits House as described below:


The Kits House. We drive by it and walk by it . . . and some of us still remember it as our church, our Greek school, our Sunday school. Some of us still refer to it as “our old church.” Some of us were married in the church, others baptized. It served the Greek community from 1930-1972 and after that has been serving the Westside community.

When Kits house was updated, they forgot something.
To show the multicultural nature of the center and that all were welcome the community center added “welcome” to the steps. Each step has “Welcome” in a different language to represent all the cultures that the center touches …
but they forgot one.

The many Greek associations and businesses and St. George’s congregation stepped forward, and this was rectified. While the project has been referred to as “The Kits Stained Glass Project,” the project also encompassed the creation of 2 memory boards to show visitors how the Greek Community used the building. St. George’s Cathedral has also donated 2 pews from the original church to be returned back home. They will be placed in the basement hall with the 2 memory boards.

Upcoming Event. On April 19, St. George’s Church will be holding an evening service at our old church. A formal announcement will soon follow. Mark your calendars, tell your parents and let's all meet at the old church for a service like old times.



7 Mar 2017

March + April 2017


27 March 2017: Upper Hall, Hellenic Centre @ 7:30
Greek Bibles
Dr. Cillian O'Hogan, UBC

The fourth century saw the creation of pandects - large manuscripts containing all the books of the Old and New Testament - for the first time. Remarkably, two of these pandects survive almost intact: Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, both written in Greek. These two manuscripts reveal a great deal about the formation of the Christian canon, book production in late antiquity, and the history of scripture. This talk will explore some of the most interesting features of these late antique Bibles, and address the controversial question of the circumstances of their creation.


24 April 2017: Upper Hall Hellenic Centre @ 7:30

Hades Kitchen: Cooking and Eating in 
Ancient Greece
Dr. Jennifer Knapp, 
Coordinator of Classical Studies, Langara College

Everybody eats.  Food is a necessity, but it is far more than simple nutrition.  It can reflect culture, be an expression of identity, and reveal aspects of economics, environments, religious beliefs, and social interactions.  This talk will explore how ancient Greeks cooked, what they ate, and discuss the role food played in their society.  We will discuss the evidence we use to reconstruct ancient food, and will be introduced to the flavours of 2000 years ago.  Join us after the talk for a sampling of ancient Greek food and drink.

14 Jan 2017

January + February 2017


Monday 30 January 2017 at 7:30 pm
The Politics of Fatness in Archaic Greece
Dr. Emily Varto, Associate Professor
Department of Classics, Dalhousie University

This talk explores how modern narratives that imbue fatness with personal and communal ethical significance compare to ancient narratives of fatness, particularly in archaic Greece politics. Through examining art and poetry, it explores how fatness was not exactly a marker of elite status, but was a metaphor of the abuse of status with economic, social, and ethical consequences for family, community, and state. Although elitism was central to the significance of fatness in archaic Greece, so were ideas about uncontrollable appetite, lack of restraint, and communal harm familiar to us from modern narratives about lower socio-economic classes.



Monday 27 February, 2017 at 7:30 pm 
The Silent Grandeur of Cyrene, a Greek City in Libya
Gerald Schaus, Professor Emeritus
Wilfred Laurier University


In 2007. Col. Gaddaffi’s son, Saif, announced a $2 billion plan to turn the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a popular destination for eco-tourism. Today, the city stands largely deserted in a struggling Libya, despite the grandeur of its monuments, built originally by Greeks from the Aegean islands, and re-built by Italian archaeologists in the 20th century. The temple of Zeus was as large as the Parthenon; the sanctuary of Apollo was home to a gushing spring of water “where the heavens had a hole”, the sanctuary of Demeter reflected the bounty of the fertile land, and people, especially its rulers, became wonderfully wealthy from their harvest of a wild miracle plant called silphium, from which the ancients made medicines of many kinds before it became extinct.