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SPYROS PANAGIOTOPOULOS / dit: SILVANUS (Greece, Kalamata b. 1957 / act: Athens)

Silvanus Silvanus was born Spyros Panagiotopoulos on 5 July 1957 in Kalamata of Messinia, Greece. After his high school years at home, he studied optometry in Rome, 1978-1981. In 1982 he attended the Drama School of the Hellenic Conservatory and the Theater Laboratory of Nelly Karra in 1983. In 1984 he came in contact with the Odin Teatret of Holstebro, Denmark, and attended its seminars in Athens and in Denmark. In 1985 he returned to his birthplace and participated as an actor in the performances of the Municipal Theater of Kalamata under the direction of Notis Perigialis.

In 1986 Spyros Panagiotopoulos became a novice at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai. As a novice monk in Sinai, he was christened 'Silvanus', the name he cherished hence. At Saint Catherine's Monastery Silvanus experienced the beauty of Byzantine painting under the guidance of his teacher Doula Mouriki, Professor of Art History at the National Technical University of Athens, and worked with her on Sinaitic icons, 1988-1992. At the same time he met Platon Rivellis, his mentor at PhotoCircle, 1989-1992, and took over the publishing activities of the Sinai Monastery. There, he photographed the holy relics, and - in doing so - inherited the love for creative photography with the encouragement of Rivellis. In 1992 PhotoCircle published an album under the title Silvanus: Photographs. From 1993-1994 he worked as a photographer for the Museum of Kikkos Monastery in Cyprus. In 1994 he traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, on a reporter's visa. Since 1995 he worked with the Byzantine Museum of Athens as a photographer of Christian art, and participated in its publications. Simultaneously he worked with the Benaki Museum, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Hellenic Culture Organization S.A., the Church of Greece, The American College of Greece, and with various publishing houses.

In December 2004, the Byzantine Museum of Athens presented Silvanus' personal exhibition Photographs 1992-2003. In the words of Platon Rivellis who prologued the exhibition: "Silvanus works as a photographer with care and ability, but simultaneously preserves untouched his enthusiasm and respect for his own artistic course; the course that is responsible for his engagement with the medium. His photographs comprise the vestiges of a movement in the world of shadows, which never ceased to fascinate him, and at the same time they constitute his innermost and sincerest sense of identity. I am glad to have been next to him, even for a while, at the beginning of this journey".

[Megakles Rogakos 05/2005]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
RIVELLIS, PLATON Silvanus: Photographs 1992 PhotoCircle, Athens
MONACHOS AMONACHOS My Soul 1993 Domos Publications, Athens
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits throughout Time 2008 ACG Art, Athens

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