Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

Text by the President of the Le Soleil Foundation, Ms Ada Iliopoulou

It was probably karma, when about 13 years ago, on March 18, I received an invitation by Paulo Coelho, for a secret party he hosted for 120 of his friends, on a bateau-mouche in Paris – a life-changing experience, indeed.

Back then, my personal and professional life was upside down, and I felt disappointed and ready to quit everything. However, this event brought back, in an instance, the strength and vision I had forgotten I had inside.
Then, I asked him to sign the pocket copy of the Warrior of the Light I held, with a dedication. He wrote: "Be a warrior, Ada".

Thus, I decided to stay and work in Paris, to start a new life, which would be much more beneficial to me, to meet all those exceptional people I later worked with in so many different ways. 

To the greatest pleasure of all the Greek friends of the author, he dedicated his novel “Manuscript found in Accra” to a Greek and he came to celebrate his party at St George Lycabettus, bringing along 120 people from all over the world.

Already ahead of time for the Rio Olympic Games, he brought with him Brazilian journalists to whom he gave himself guided tours to the antiquities he thought they should absolutely visit. 
Together with the journalists, it was also distinguished guests and personalities from Brazil who arrived in Athens, including among others, the author’s close friend, Mr Romero Britto; Mr Britto is an artist who has presented his work in museums in 100 countries whereas his creations have been used by Coca Cola, Hublot, Audi, Evi an and Walt Disney. He was also the official artist for the 2010 World Cup, an ambassador  for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and honorary torchbearer for the Rio Olympic Games.

The author took the foreign guests to the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Lycabettus  Hill, the Ancient Agora and the old historic neighborhood of Plaka. Our mutual friend, Marco Borges, was also with us; he is the one who usually takes Paulo’s pictures and who gave us the photos you can see here. However, it was Paulo’s wish to have a photo with the Greek flag, as he is a well-known philhellene.

At a venue of St George Lycabettus, the author presented the  “Manuscript found in Accra” whose main character is a Greek  person; this was the reason that Paulo chose Athens for his well-established annual party.  

Allow me to remind you a few of his words from that evening: “Why did I choose a Greek as the main character of my book? Because you have values. To me, Greece is the cradle of civilization. It is the beginning of everything and  lies in the core of all modern societies. I chose a Greek because this country’s philosophical past is well-known. The novel also refers to the everyday troubles  of ordinary humans, it is not a theoretical book”. And he continued, “I am convinced that things have not escalated more compared to 50, 100, 1.000, 1.500 years ago. Conflicts and disputes are not necessarily something evil. They are present all around us. If you cannot look inside you and rebel, you cannot see t he world, and vice versa. Do come to terms with disputes because in the end it is what nurtures us; just like a beating heart which fights for another heartbeat. You need to keep hoping and keep fighting for all the things you want, this is what life is all about”.

The party

For many years, Paulo invited  his friends to a party that, every time, takes place in a different country. On March 17, 2013 he came to Greece and stayed at St George Lycabettus; his private party was accommodated at La suite, on March 19. 

The party started at 7.30 pm, the guests enjoying their cocktails with a view of the Acropolis. Then followed a pray to Paulo’ spatron saint and protector, St Joseph, and dinner started at 9 pm.

Chef Vassilis Milios served Greek dishes such as octopus and  pigeon peas from Santorini with an olive and lemon sauce, a roasted manouri cheese salad, lamb cooked in vine leaves with mint and egg-lemon sauce, yogurt mousse in a caramelized pastry sheet served with honey from Chalkidiki as well as hypovrychio, a nugget of a traditional vanilla flavored sugar paste dipped in a glass of cold water.

 Following the dinner, the party begun with a video of Zorba the Greek and traditional dancers, live music from different groups, plate breaking and Paulo singing together with his good friend Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions.

After so many years, I wish to  say a big thankyou to Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina.

I am so grateful for everything they gave me and everything they taught me. 

Photos by Brazilian photographer and Paolo’s friend Marcos Borges

The book 

Manuscript Found in Accra

by Paulo Coelho

The main character of the latest novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, entitled Manuscript found in Accra is a Greek “whom we all know as the Copt”. The story takes us to Jerusalem, in July 1099, just before the Crusaders invade the city.

“The Copt is a strange man. When still an adolescent, he decided to leave his native city of Athens, to go in search of money and adventure. He ended up, almost  starving, knocking on the doors of our city, and, when he was well received, he gradually abandoned the idea of continuing his journey and resolved to stay”. 
Additionally, “The Copt believes only in the present moment and what he calls Moira – the unknown god, the Divine Energy, responsible for a single law, which if ever broken, will bring about the end of the world”. 
In the moment of crisis, the Copt shall himself convene a meeting of the young and the old, the men and the women of the city. The crowd consisted of Christians, Jews and Muslims gathers in the main city square believing that they are about to hear a speech on how to prepare for battle. Everything indicates that defeat is imminent, but the Copt does not wish to talk about that. 
Instead, the Greek wishes to encourage people to seek the wisdom found in everyday life, within the challenges and the difficulties they are faced with. He is convinced that true knowledge lies within the loves we experience, our losses, the moments of challenge and the moments of glory and the constant co-existence with the inevitable aspect of death. 
The novels by Paulo Coelho have sold more than 115 million copies worldwide and are available in 160 countries, whereas they have been translated in 74 languages. In  2009, the author was included in the Guinness Book of Records 2009 for the most translated book (the Alchemist) by any living author.

In Greece by Livanis Editions. You can buy it here Xeirografo-ths-Ak_p-1154491.aspx

For other countries. com/Manuscript-Found-Accra- Paulo-Coelho/dp/0345805054

You can read some books of Paolo here for free in English