The study of myth and religion has always been integral to and crucial for the study of Greek and Roman antiquity. However, there is a disparity between the importance of the subject and the interest it arouses and the lack of specific research centers or institutes of international stature devoted to the study of myth and religion in antiquity. In Europe one might mention, for instance, the «Centre Louis Gernet d'etudes comparees sur les societes anciennes» in Paris or the «Centre international d'etude de la religion grecque antique» in Liege, the former having a larger thematic target, the latter focusing more particularly on aspects of cult practice.

The need to host an ongoing academic dialogue responsive to international scientific approaches, emerging research data and continually stimulated by new academic research led to the «Centre for the Study of Myth and Religion in Greek and Roman Antiquity» being founded by the Department of Philology of the University of Patras in 2004 on the initiative of Menelaos Christopoulos, Professor of Ancient Greek Literature.

The Centre aims to encourage and advance scientific research on myth and religion in Greek and Roman antiquity through basic research, doctoral dissertations, conferences, videoconferences, seminars, lectures, teaching, data bases on specific subjects, printed and electronic publications. The Centre officially opened in 2006 with the organization of an international conference on «Light and Darkness in Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology and Religion» which took place at the University of Patras from 6 to 8 July 2007. After putting on a series of seminars and several lectures, the Center is currently compiling an electronic dictionary of mythical figures and preparing to publish an e-journal titled Electra.