Emm. Kriaras and the Institute

Emm. Kriaras was a member of the Institute’s first Board of Directors (Manolis Triandaphyllidis Foundation), from 1959 to 1969, the personal choice of the founder of the Institute of Modern Greek Studies himself. Together with N. Andriotis, I. Th. Kakridis, St. Kapsomenos, L. Politis, Ag. Tsopanakis and Ch. Fragistas, he forged the Institute’s identity during the first years after its foundation, and contributed to the establishment of its historical role in the country’s research and educational matters, in his capacity as General Secretary from 1959 till 1963.  

In 1969, a year after he was dismissed from his job at the University by the junta regime, Emm. Kriaras handed in his resignation to the Institute’s Board of Directors, for the first time on January 25. Initially, the other members of the Board were reluctant to accept it. However, after his own insistence (he made a second attempt on July 1, 1969), the other Board members acquiesced on August 4, 1969, when they realized the deeply personal reasons which compelled him to resign – Kriaras himself later regretted his act: ‘A few months after my dismissal by the junta regime, I come to realize that I do not feel very comfortable during the board meetings at the Manolis Triandaphyllidis Foundation. In contrast to Board members, I had been deprived of the right and obligation to teach. This was not pleasant, psychologically speaking. They went to class, I went home. For this reason I decided, without much thought, to retire, giving up my position at the Institute. Of course, this was a step I had never thought I would take, me resigning my position at the Board of the Manolis Triandaphyllidis Foundation. They tried to talk me out of it, they did not succeed. After some time, I came to regret my act, it was too late.’ (Emm. Kriaras, Address at the Symposium celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Institute’s foundation, Hall of the Old Building of Philosophy, November 21, 2009, Thessaloniki, see also Emm. Kriaras, ‘Μανόλης Τριανταφυλλίδης’, Ερευνητικά, Thessaloniki, Institute of Modern Greek Studies, 2005, p. 218).

Of course, Emm. Kriaras’ ties with the Institute were never severed. Even with its poor financial resources, at times, the Institute supported Emm. Kriarasin the compilation of his Lexicon of Medieval Greek Demotic Literature (1100-1669) (see Introductions to vols., 4, p. ι΄, 5, p. θ΄, 7, p. ια΄, 8, p. ια΄). At the same time, Emm. Kriaras himself made a generous contribution of 20,000 euros to the Institute in loving memory of his wife, Aikaterini Striftou-Kriara (1906-2000), on the 3rd anniversary of her death, in 2003. Moreover, during the last decade of the great philologist’s life, the Institute published some of his most important works: Ανιχνεύσεις (2004), Ερευνητικά (2005), Αλληλογραφία (2007), and, only two years before his death, Ανακάλημα της Κωνσταντινούπολης (2012).