top of page

Memorial evening, in honour of the distinguished Russian-Cypriot painter- poet  Symeon Volchkov

on the centenary of his birth (1919-2019)


Welcome address by H.E. Mr. Α. M. Panyukhov, Minister Counsellor at the Russian Embassy in Cyprus


Dear friends, Honoured guests,

Worthy organisers and participants in the evening dedicated to the memory of the distinguished Russian Cypriot painter and poet Symeon Volchkov on the occasion of the centenary of his birth.


I have the honour on the occasion of this memorial evening, which is organised by the Russian Cultural Centre, to address all of you gathered here tonight and especially Larissa Bargilly, the daughter of the artist, who for many years has preserved her father's memory.


The life of Symeon Volchkov and his family is closely bound up with Cyprus but also with the Embassy of the Russian Federation and with the Russian Centre of Science and Culture. Perhaps not everyone knows that the architectural design of this building in which we sit tonight is the work of the well-known and distinguished architect, Markos Bargilly, Larissa’s husband.


Symeon Volchkov was always a true friend of the Russian Embassy. In 1974, during the tragic events in Cyprus, the Embassy of the Soviet Union actively contributed to saving the paintings of the artist and transporting them out of occupied Famagusta, a far from easy operation which was deeply appreciated by the artist and his family, who donated a painting by Symeon Volchkov to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union in Cyprus.


Anatoly Andreyevich Gromyko, the son of Andrei Gromyko, the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, was distinguished not only for his diplomatic career but was also a member of the Russian Union of Painters, and he referred to Symeon Volchkov as his teacher.


Symeon Volchkov was a master both of words and of the art of painting, and he extolled the beauties of his beloved Russia and of Cyprus, these two special countries which are close to all our hearts.


On behalf of the Embassy of the Russian Federation and of the Ambassador personally, I would like to pay my respects to the artist Symeon Volchkov and to wish all the members of his family prosperity and happiness.

Thank you!


23 May 2019, Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia

Memorial evening, in honour of the distinguished Russian-Cypriot painter and poet  Symeon Volchkov

on the centenary of his birth (1919-2019)


Greetings by Claire Angelidou, Former Minister of Education and Culture



Symeon Vassileyevich Volchkov, Russian painter and poet, born in the Ukraine, lived the last years of his life in Cyprus.


In 1969 he held his first exhibition in Famagusta, organised by the Lyceum Club of Greek Women of Famagusta of which I was then general secretary, and so I had the chance to meet him personally.


He was the kind of man who, once you had met him, you could never forget. He was a man of many qualities, a philosophical man, a man full of beauty and love, and I believe that to find the combination of a painter and poet in the same person is very rare. He came as a stranger and loved this place so much that he considered it his own, he loved it and he celebrated it as though he was a Cypriot poet or painter. You cannot differentiate between the way he wrote his poetry and the way he painted. And it is very important, a foreigner to become one with the land and present it so authentically and in such a lively manner. As a painter he was very creative. But his poetry also was of a very high standard. He gave much to Cyprus and we owe him our gratitude. His wife Katerina was faithful friend and constant support in his life and his work.


23 May 2019, Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia

Memorial evening in honour of the distinguished Russian-Cypriot painter and poet  Symeon Volchkov

on the centenary of his birth (1919-2019)


Greetings by the Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture Mr. K.D. Louis



Your Excellency Mr. S. Osadchiy, Ambassador of the Russian Federation,

Honorable Mrs. Bargilly and other members of the artist's family,

Mr. Charis Thrassou, President of the Cyprus Russian friendship Association,

Worthy ladies and gentleman, Dear friends, teachers and students!


Today we honour, one hundred years after the date of his birth, the Russian-Cypriot artist Symeon Volchkov, who became a Cypriot citizen because he adored Cyprus and spent the last fifteen creative years of his life here, on the island which was his second home after his beloved Russia.


But he never deserted the eternal, intangible realm of Art, searching in it for the good and Beauty which, in accordance with Dostoevsky's saying, can save the world.


As the Ministry of Education and Culture, we joyfully promote a varied program of activities and events with the intention of educating and cultivating our students aesthetically, at the same time honouring the creators and artists.


We praise therefore, that gentleman of Painting and Poetry Mr. Symeon Volchkov and his works, which immortalise the beauty of Cyprus and of Art. The Cyprus which he walked,  traversed, and explored with the charismatic  eye of the artist, with the brush of the painter but also the pen of the poet…


We are fortunate that with this centenary occasion the art-loving public and in particular our creative students, those aspiring poets and painters, have had an opportunity to encounter and be inspired by his work.  Tonight we have the pleasure of enjoying a small sample of the artistic creations from the participants in the All-Cyprus Art Competition between Lyceum pupils.


Finally, allow me to make special reference to the strong cultural bonds which unite our small country and the great Russia. Symeon Volchkov was and will remain a connection between us.



23 May 2019, Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia

Memorial evening, in honour of the distinguished Russian-Cypriot painter-poet  Symeon Volchkov

on the centenary of his birth (1919-2019)


Greetings by the President of the Cyprus-Russia Friendship Association, Mr. Harris Thrassou



Esteemed guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends...


It was with great pleasure that the Cyprus-Russia Friendship Association and I personally agreed to participate in organising this event in honour of a man who himself honoured his native land of Russia and his second homeland Cyprus.


I first met Symeon Volchkov about fifty years ago, through my friendship with my colleague and collaborator Markos Bargilly, Symeon’s son in law, husband of his daughter Larissa. I was a young man then, while he was middle-aged and at the height of his creativity. I first knew him as an artist and later as a human being and a friend.


I remember that shortly before the Invasion he had prepared an exhibition of painting which was to be held in what is today occupied Famagusta, and the paintings of this exhibition were destined to remain trapped there for some time. Later, when with the help of the Soviet Embassy and representatives of the United Nations he succeeded in freeing almost all of his paintings and moved the exhibition to Nicosia, I was able to offer him some small assistance in organising it, for which he himself felt great obligation and insisted that I accept one of his paintings as a gift. That was our first acquaintanceship, destined later to develop into true friendship.


Our meeting place in the beginning was the Russian Cultural Centre, where he participated in almost all of its events, most of which were organised in collaboration with the Cyprus-Russia Friendship Association. After almost every occasion, I offered to take him to his home, which was a small apartment next to his daughter Larissa’s apartment. And, of course, by way of reward he always had ready a tasty snack and at least one glass of vodka over which we discussed many subjects, for Symeon Volchkov was an inexhaustible source of knowledge, as a painter and poet but above all as a human being who possessed wide-ranging knowledge and life-experiences.


Highly educated and accomplished, Symeon Volchkov knew all there was to know about Russian civilisation and he adored the Greek spirit. He was truly a remarkable Philhellene.


He had a special love for Cyprus, for its people as much as its natural beauty, for he had walked from one end of the island to the other and recorded it in his exceptional paintings, whether of castles or beaches or wonderful landscapes.


As our friendship increased he said to me one day "My dear Harry! I want you to bring me the painting I gave you so that I can do more work on it and I will give you another, better one, one of my favourites.” In spite of the fact that he constantly reminded me of his request, I avoided it out of politeness.


Later, after his merciless death, I felt somewhat guilty for not giving him the chance to realise his wish, until one day his daughter Lara telephoned and said “Harry, I have the painting which my father intended for you.” And so his wish was fulfilled, which made me very happy.


There is much that one could say about Symeon Volchkov.  He lived a remarkable life and left a rich heritage of paintings and poetry. But more than an exceptional artist Symeon Volchkov was an exceptional human being and a true friend, and I will never forget his friendship and his humanity for as long as I live.


The paintings of Symeon Volchkov are equally unforgettable. His daughter Larissa Bargilly is to be congratulated for her careful and correct handling of them, but also for her commitment to honouring her father's memory, as in tonight's occasion.


I thank you all for giving me your attention.



23 May 2019, Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia

Memorial evening, in honour of the distinguished Russian-Cypriot painter-poet  Symeon Volchkov

on the centenary of his birth (1919-2019)


Greetings by the Cypriot artist Andreas Charalambous


If my friend Markos Bargilly, that important and remarkable architect, who amongst other things created the very building in which we now find ourselves, had not gone to Russia and met the beautiful and brilliant Lara (daughter of the painter we are celebrating today), we should in all probability never have had this opportunity to admire the wonderful works of Symeon Volchkov  here today.


Your Excellency Counsellor at the Russian Embassy, Mr. Α. M. Panyukhov,

Mr. Kyprianos Louis, General Director of the Ministry of Education and Culture,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends...


It gives me great pleasure indeed to participate in this magical aesthetic journey to which we are called tonight by the maestro Symeon Volchkov. The dynamic and expressive composition and sure draughtsmanship, the fine and pleasing color harmonies and the passionate and dramatic chromatic contrasts which suffuse all his works afford us exceptional aesthetic pleasures.


I had the honor and the joy to be Volchkov’s personal friend. He visited me many times in my studio and many times I visited him in his. And so I have seen many of his works in the process of their creation. We had many discussions on the subjects of art, philosophy, the history of art and aesthetics. He was an extremely educated, cultured and gracious person.


His need to record and to express emotions, anxieties, experiences and other things which could not be expressed pictorially, led him, inevitably I would say, to poetry. He wrote many poems which have been published in bilingual editions, in Russian and Greek.


Cyprus became Volchkov’s second home. He loved the land, the light, the colors, the atmosphere of the island. He loved its people, the ancient monuments and of course its history. I refer to these things because they are particularly manifest in his paintings.


His art is realistic in the sense that it moves within the realm of the figurative. But there are two elements which either together or separately infuse his work, and these are romanticism and Impressionism. Cypriot history and the Cypriot landscape  are full of both.  And so Cyprus became for him an endless source of inspiration.


I thank the Russian Cultural Centre for giving us the opportunity to enjoy once more the beauty which radiates from the work of Symeon Volchkov.



23 May 2019, Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia

bottom of page