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Paintings by Theophilos in a new museum at the frontier village Lia

A new museum made its appearance hosting rare paintings at the borders with Albania, northwest of Ioannina, at the foot of the Mourgana mountain, at the border village of Lia in Thessprotia, there where you do not expect art to be a priority and appear before you, but only scarred faces and wild vegetation. 

The new Ifantis Museum came as a natural continuation to a place we have known through Nicholas Gatzoyianni’s (Nicholas Gage) book "Eleni", at a place that hosts the castle dating from the 3rd c. B.C. constructed by the legendary King Pyrrhus of Epirus, at a place where Cosmas of Aetolia taught, at a place where two churches, Agia Paraskevi (Saint Paraskeve) and Agios Dimitrios (Saint Demetrius), are hidden. Up until now, the three icons by the great folk painter Theophilos were kept at the Agia Paraskevi church. 

With the initiative of businessman Alekos Ifantis, who undertook the cost of the restoration of the building and the construction of the Museum, the support of the municipality of Filiates and the Region of Epirus, the new museum that bears honoris causa the name of its "benefactor", is adjacent to the school that has its own history. It was originally built with the donation of a Greek immigrant from South Africa in 1934, it was abandoned during the Greek civil war, and twenty years later it operated as housekeeping school. Apart from the paintings of Theophilos which are designated as monuments by the Ministry of Culture, the museum hosts also four paintings of Sotiris Sorogas, a renowned artist with origin from the area. 

The museum was inaugurated by the US Ambassador in Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and among others, Nicholas Gage attended the ceremony and gave a speech.
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