The commemorative series of stamps SYNAGOGUES OF GREECE was presented at an event organized by the Hellenic Post (ELTA) and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), in the Old Parliament, on April 18, 2024, the first day of circulation of the stamps.

The six stamps of the series are illustrated with the historic synagogues of Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Trikala, Ioannina and Rhodes, while the two envelopes present the Synagogues of Corfu and Chania.

Through this special series of stamps, with which ELTA honors Greek Jewry and its centuries-old history, the cultural wealth, elaborate architecture, and religious tradition of Greek Jews will be highlighted internationally.

During the event, greetings were addressed by the President of KIS David Saltiel and the President of ELTA Daniel Benardout.

“A stamp is not just a pre-paid fee for sending mail. It is a carrier of culture and has its own social role in spreading important messages", said the President of KIS, adding that "the extremely elegant stamps of the Synagogues present the rich religious tradition of the Greek Jews, giving elements from both Sephardic and Romaniote traditions".

The President of ELTA, Daniel Benardout, emphasized, among other things, in his address: "From the depths of History, from ancient times, as far as Romaniote Jews are concerned, and of course later, during the large mass settlement of Sephardic Jews in our country, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Synagogues became the reference points and pillars of Jewish culture, the preeminent symbols of Diaspora Jewry. We honor this symbol of faith and identity today by issuing these stamps. We honor a cultural heritage, which spanned centuries, generations, dreams, steps towards the future, and at the same time kept intact and alive the imprint of an old, sacred tradition".

The speeches were followed by the screening of the video prepared by ELTA for the event (see it here).

In the video, reference is made not only to the Synagogues of the stamps but also to other historical Synagogues throughout Greece, while the soundtrack includes the Romanian, bilingual prayer "Adonai ata yadata", performed by the soprano Mariangela Hadjistamatiou, with the musical ensemble Pellegrinaggio al levante.

There followed the speece of the creator of the stamps, Dr. Myrsini Vardopoulou, painter and engraver, who referred to the process of stamp design, emphasizing: "A stamp is not a technical achievement thanks to which an image is simply reduced. The stamp should not reduce the image, but summarize it. Summarize its meaning in such a way that its form interprets its content and its content justifies its form. This is the only way it can function as a product... In the case of the Synagogues, the image should convey the greatest possible information, for this the spaces were literally studied with care, to keep as many of their details as possible, to better understand their structure". At the same time, Mrs. Vardopoulou - referring to her own immersing into the Greek-Jewish tradition, which resulted in her artistic expression on the stamps, concluded with the wish that "the respect for the history of the Jewish community is enough to start its journey today as a message of this edition ».

The director of the Jewish Museum of Greece, archaeologist, Mrs. Zanet Battinou, key speaker of the event, presented "The Synagogues of Greece through the ages". With a parallel display of photographs of the Synagogues, the director of the JMG gave brief details of the function, importance, architecture, ritual objects and holy books, guiding the public through the richness of Jewish history and Synagogues throughout Greece, from Thrace, Epirus, up to Crete.

The event ended with a Jewish song performed by soprano Mariangela Hadjistamatiou.

The event was attended by the Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis, the Secretary General for Religious Affairs, of the Ministry of Education Giorgos Kalantzis, ND Members of Parliament Zoe Rapti, and Vassilis Oikonomou, Ambassador Chrysoula Aliferi Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Combating Anti-Semitism, the CEO of the Growth fund, the National Fund of Greece, Grigoris Dimitriadis, the CEO of ELTA Grigoris Sklikas, the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, presidents and representatives of Jewish Communities and Organizations, philatelists and many people.