After the tremendous earthquake that involved Messina in 1908 destroying, first of all, several Orthodox churches, some Byzantine icons were transferred in Greece. Today the Icons coming from Messina are hosted in the Byzantine – Christian Museum of Athens in a splendid and modern location nearby the Greek Parliament.
For the first time, after 1908, the Byzantine Icons coming from Messina will be back in Italy for few months. There are 41 Icons, some are bifacial, dated between XIV and XIX cent.; these icons were exposed at the Interregional Museum “Maria Accascina” in Messina, with other 9 Icons of the same Museum and 16 precious manuscripts dated between X and XVI cent., made available by the Regional Library of the University “Giacomo Longo” of Messina. “Among the reasons for the exhibition of these Byzantine Icons, words of Giovanni Ardizzone, the President of the Sicilian Assembly and of the same Fondazione Federico II, there is the relationship between Greek and Byzantine cultural heritage, on a side, and on the other, the Sicilian island acquired the enlightened guidance of the Norman kings. In the complicated multi ethnic reality of the Medieval Sicilian Island, the Norman dynasty, with the approval of the Church of Rome, wanted to protect the principles of the Byzantine culture and of that power model that the Roman Byzantine Empire – being the Greek community leader of it– continued to represent. The exhibition “Immagine e scrittura. Presenza Greca a Messina dal Medioevo all' età moderna”, is viewable to the public from March 24th to May 26th .
From June 8 the exhibition is hosted at Sala Duca di Montalto of the Royal Palace of Palermo.
The Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports General Secretariat for Culture / Byzantine and Christian Museum is the owner of the 41 Icons from Athens