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Author Topic: Loss of identity among Greeks?  (Read 3281 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 20, 2008, 11:29:50 PM »

This thread was split from the following discussion:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16895.0.html

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What I found interesting about the spread was that they depicted group worship settings for the various other Christian denominations, but for the Orthodox they had pictures of monks and clergy.  I think it shows a bias on the part of the news agency, showcasing the pageantry of Orthodoxy, but the communal experience of the Protestant and Catholic and Anglican and other Churches.  They very easily could have shown the huge masses of people who gathered at the Sepulchre, or in Moscow or Thessaloniki or any other major Orthodox city.... but instead they showed off the clergy with their beards and fancy clothes - and no faithful.
There is a trend in this country that renames anything having to do with Greeks. The last time I was in Costco's. They are selling spanokopita as Mediterranean spinach pie. Tzatziki as Mediterranean cucumber dip. Trust me. This is the last culture/empire the world would want to revive.
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 11:32:39 PM »

There is a trend in this country that renames anything having to do with Greeks. The last time I was in Costco's. They are selling spanokopita as Mediterranean spinach pie. Tzatziki as Mediterranean cucumber dip. Trust me. This is the last culture/empire the world would want to revive.

I don't think Greece has to worry about losing their identity, or their name.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 11:41:11 PM »

There is a trend in this country that renames anything having to do with Greeks. The last time I was in Costco's. They are selling spanokopita as Mediterranean spinach pie. Tzatziki as Mediterranean cucumber dip. Trust me. This is the last culture/empire the world would want to revive.

My friend, the words tzatziki, baklava, kataif, tourlou, and imam baildi, to name but a few, are not exactly Greek words, are they? The same dishes are found in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt and other parts of North Africa, and the Middle East. Spare us the "nationalist threat" argument, please.
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 09:39:34 AM »

It seems that the Orthodox photographed were the most recognizably Orthodox:  The priests and monastics.  We don't put on as much of a spectacle as the other forms of Christianity do, so they had to find something that looked ethnic, quaint, or whatever they believe Orthodoxy to look like.

I agree. There is much ignorance and for the purposes of sensationalism the "picturesque" form of Orthodox worship is the most representative. But I do not agree that we necessarily appear ritualistic and antiquated. That would  be in the subjective eye of the beholder.

Personally speaking, the huge theatre-like churches and the suit-and-tie pastor or evangelist- look impersonal, slightly alarming and dangerously at risk of being mistaken for anything besides worshipping in church. Really, for all I know, if there was not a decription of the photo next to it, this photo could have been taken in a political pre-election gathering (because in the photo, the little tags people wear are not really legible, there is not any religious symbol in the camera view nor any other indications of worship). No offense meant nor judgement laid, just an observation.
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 11:54:27 AM »

My friend, the words tzatziki, baklava, kataif, tourlou, and imam baildi, to name but a few, are not exactly Greek words, are they? The same dishes are found in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt and other parts of North Africa, and the Middle East. Spare us the "nationalist threat" argument, please.
Indeed, it is much easier to say "Mediterranean" that "Turkegyptosyriafribalkan."

I like a lot of Mediterranean foods, from Greek Kalamata olives and feta cheese and Turkish baba ganouj to Moroccan cous cous and Spanish paella. And of course, there's Italian fettuccine. Semolina has to be one of the greatest culinary developments of history.

The point is that as commerce becomes more global, we begin to have access to products from all over the world, and Costco is right in the thick of globalization. Things which we once considered of one ethnicity, such as rice, we now realize are shared by many peoples. We're also beginning to understand that the Chinese don't eat cashew chicken and most Palestinians have never seen a Reuben sandwich. What some see as a decline of nationalism may just be a better understanding of that nation.
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 03:51:46 PM »

Chuckle...where's my Turkish Greek coffee...I know I put it somewhere around here.
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 05:08:19 PM »

My friend, the words tzatziki, baklava, kataif, tourlou, and imam baildi, to name but a few, are not exactly Greek words, are they? The same dishes are found in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt and other parts of North Africa, and the Middle East. Spare us the "nationalist threat" argument, please.
How did Feta cheese receive a Protected designation of origin from the EU than?  Roll Eyes  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_designation_of_origin
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 05:28:47 PM »

Chuckle...where's my Turkish Greek coffee...I know I put it somewhere around here.

HAHAHA!!!!!   Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 05:33:12 PM »

How did Feta cheese receive a Protected designation of origin from the EU than?  Roll Eyes  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_designation_of_origin

If you know anything about how Eurocracy works, this is hardly surprising. However, my Australian friends tell me that the white brined cheese is still merrily sold as feta there, whether it comes from Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, or Australia. The stupid thing about the EU ruling is that feta is not a geographic name, unlike Parma ham, Champagne, or Burgundy, where appellation controlee rules at least make sense..
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2008, 07:40:21 PM »

If you know anything about how Eurocracy works, this is hardly surprising. However, my Australian friends tell me that the white brined cheese is still merrily sold as feta there, whether it comes from Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, or Australia. The stupid thing about the EU ruling is that feta is not a geographic name, unlike Parma ham, Champagne, or Burgundy, where appellation controlee rules at least make sense.. 

Doesn't surprise me, since the US and Australia don't really care as much about EU protected designations...
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2008, 07:51:32 PM »

There is a trend in this country that renames anything having to do with Greeks. The last time I was in Costco's. They are selling spanokopita as Mediterranean spinach pie. Tzatziki as Mediterranean cucumber dip. Trust me. This is the last culture/empire the world would want to revive.

I'm sure this is some sort of conspiracy against Greeks.  After all, to anyone not from Greece or its neighbors, "tzatziki" is completely self-explanatory as to what it is.[/sarcasm]
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2008, 09:09:51 PM »

How did Feta cheese receive a Protected designation of origin from the EU than?  Roll Eyes  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_designation_of_origin

I don't know, if wikipedia were in paper form I wouldn't use it to light the bonfire.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2008, 09:36:43 PM »

I like a lot of Mediterranean foods, from Greek Kalamata olives and feta cheese and Turkish baba ganouj to Moroccan cous cous and Spanish paella. And of course, there's Italian fettuccine.
Baba Ghannouj is indeed of Mediterranean origin, but it's Arabic and not Turkish.  The Turks have a great culinary pallette, but only because most of it is either of Greek or Arabic in origin. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 09:40:34 PM »

I don't know, if wikipedia were in paper form I wouldn't use it to light the bonfire.
Maybe you could trust the EU Agriculture and Rural Development website. police
http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/qual/en/1bbab_en.htm
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 09:47:11 PM »

Maybe you could trust the EU Agriculture and Rural Development website. police
http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/qual/en/1bbab_en.htm

Of course I can trust the EU website! It's from the source not just some wikipedia.
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2008, 07:59:46 AM »

If you know anything about how Eurocracy works, this is hardly surprising. However, my Australian friends tell me that the white brined cheese is still merrily sold as feta there, whether it comes from Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, or Australia. The stupid thing about the EU ruling is that feta is not a geographic name, unlike Parma ham, Champagne, or Burgundy, where appellation controlee rules at least make sense..
Feta cheese is strictly made from 60% lamb milk-40% goat milk. Anything else is simply not feta, just plain ol' white cheese. The Danes make "feta" cheese from cow milk, while the Bulgarians use 80-100% goat milk. Don't know anything about Australian feta cheese (never heard of it, actually), sorry.
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2008, 08:51:45 AM »

Feta cheese is strictly made from 60% lamb milk-40% goat milk. Anything else is simply not feta, just plain ol' white cheese. The Danes make "feta" cheese from cow milk, while the Bulgarians use 80-100% goat milk.

Really? My grandparents and uncles in the Peloponnese have been making feta cheese and yoghurt forever and they mostly use goat´s milk if I am not very much mistaken. Is it not proper feta then?
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2008, 09:35:44 AM »

Really? My grandparents and uncles in the Peloponnese have been making feta cheese and yoghurt forever and they mostly use goat´s milk if I am not very much mistaken. Is it not proper feta then?
Actually Sophie, nomenclaturaly speaking, Feta is the name of the white cheese made only in the region of Attica. The white cheeses made in the Peloponnese are not Feta (the name Sfela comes in mind, the delicious white cheese of the Peloponnese). 
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2008, 05:42:59 PM »

Them where does this leave the Epirots of NW Greece, who have been using sheep's milk for centuries? Last time I looked, the label said feta. Sheep's milk, not goat's milk, is routinely used to make dairy products like cheeses and yoghurt in Epirus, and the other northern provinces.

while the Bulgarians use 80-100% goat milk

Not so. The best Bulgarian feta is from 100% sheep's milk, like the Northern Greeks do.
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 04:44:37 AM »

Actually Sophie, nomenclaturaly speaking, Feta is the name of the white cheese made only in the region of Attica. The white cheeses made in the Peloponnese are not Feta (the name Sfela comes in mind, the delicious white cheese of the Peloponnese). 

I would like to see where that figures because my peloponnesian hometown is actually reknown to a degree for its feta. As for sfela, this is not the cheese I was talking about. This is not a cheese made in my particular homeland, but in Laconia and Messinia - and I had to look it up to see what it is as I had not heard of it.
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« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2008, 05:01:35 AM »

Mmmmmmmmm......Feta and watermelon......I can't wait for the Australian Summer!
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2008, 08:17:17 AM »

The Parnassos region makes the best Feta cheese in the world. It's a combination of Goat and sheep's milk as Apostolos said. Where I'm from in Greece the feta is made from strictly goats milk because of the mountainous region. Sheep don't climb as well as goats. Feta made from goats milk or sheep's milk isn't as good. It's the combo of both that works just right. Thankfully it's not to long of a drive to go to Parnassos. My favorite is Arahova feta. yummy. It is also sold in Astoria Queens. Under the label Arahova.
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« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2008, 09:17:25 AM »

This truly is an interesting issue if we consider "identity" through the faith (Orthodoxy). Is identity defined by the liturgical language of the particular Orthodox Chuch (e.g. Russian, Greek, Bulgarian etc.) Or does something more significan apply? I believe that what unites Christians is the very name and meaning of the word "Church" (the body and bride of Christ) and this IDENTITY takes priority over those cultural assumptions that can be reflected in the division of languages and people at the Tower of Babylon.

We can't help but recognize heritage but this must take second place because if it doesn't then true unity or communion throughout the Orthodox Church cannot occur.

In the period of the Byzantine Empire, Greeks referred to themselves as "Romans" although they were Greek. But the liturgical practice was conducted in the Greek (at least in the East). Did these Greeks have a loss of identity? I don't believe so otherwise we would not be calling ourselves Greek today.

Returning to the subject of identity, can we really say we will lose ourselves as "Greeks" (or anything) as long as we have Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2008, 02:10:01 PM »

Baba Ghannouj is indeed of Mediterranean origin, but it's Arabic and not Turkish.  The Turks have a great culinary pallette, but only because most of it is either of Greek or Arabic in origin. Smiley
Thank you for the correction. At any rate, nothing made of eggplant can possibly taste bad.  Tongue Cheesy Shocked Grin
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2008, 06:10:15 AM »

This truly is an interesting issue if we consider "identity" through the faith (Orthodoxy)
Actually in the ME and the Balkans, under the influence of the Ottoman system of Milliyet, national identity or ethnicity was and if I may say is defined by faith; People were bound to their milliyets by their religious affiliations, rather than their ethnic origins. So, in the population exchange after the 1922 catastrophe of Minor Asia, and according to the Lausanne treaty (1923), you have Muslim Cretans, ethnically Greeks, perceived as Turks and therefore moved to Turkey, while on the other hand, Christian Cappadocians, a large persentage of whom did not speak a single word in Greek, perceived as Greeks and moved to Greece. Ethnicity in the Balkans, is by largely defined by faith. The language comes second. One of our heroes in the revolution of 1821, Athanassios the Deacon, after the unlucky for the Greeks battle of Alamana bridge (near Thermopylae), was captured and brought before the Turkish Pasha alive. According to tradition, the conversation they had, goes like this:
"Turkish Pasha: Will you become a Turk, deacon? (note, the Pasha asks him not to become a muslim but a Turk).
Athanassios the Deacon: I was born a Greek, I shall die a Greek"
(the rest of the story goes like this: Athanassios was impaled and roasted alive οn a spit (literally BBQ-ed). At the time of his sacrifice he was 33 years old).   
In the period of the Byzantine Empire, Greeks referred to themselves as "Romans" although they were Greek. But the liturgical practice was conducted in the Greek (at least in the East). Did these Greeks have a loss of identity? I don't believe so otherwise we would not be calling ourselves Greek today.
Yes, in the Byzantine Empire, Greeks did indeed called themselves "Romans"; but "Romanity" had nothing to do with ethnicity. It was mostly a cultural (Orthodox Christians who spoke Greek) and not an ethnic identity. Besides until 11th-12th century AD, the adjective "Greek" was used in reference to the Heathen Greeks. However, one must stress that Byzantine Greeks, felt the continuity they had with the ancient Greeks; they felt it & wrote down that the historic link between medieval Greeks and the ancients had never been broken:
-Anna Comnena writes in her work "The Alexiad" (after she's boasting about how well she speaks & writes Greek; she's proud she's not using her contemporary colloquial dialect but rather classical Greek in her writings, "the language of Aristotle" as she says. She describes the Byzantines as Greeks (Hellenes):
"There could be seen a Latin being trained, and a Scythian [she probably means a Slav] studying Greek, and a Roman handling Greek texts and an illiterate Greek speaking Greek correctly" (Book 15:7-9) (in Greek: "Καὶ ἔστιν ἰδεῖν καὶ Λατῖνον ἐνταῦθα παιδοτριβούμενον καὶ Σκύθην ἑλληνίζοντα καὶ Ρωμαίων τὰ τῶν Ἑλλήνων συγγράμματα μεταχειριζόμενον καὶ τὸν ἀγράμματον Ἕλληνα ὀρθῶς Ἑλληνίζοντα").
-Pletho Gemistus wrote this to Emperor Manuel Palaeologus, for the people under his reign:
"We are Hellenes (Greeks), as the language and the ancestral education testifies" (in Greek: "Ἕλληνες ἐσμέν τὸ γένος, ὧς τε ἡ φωνή καὶ ἡ πάτριος παιδεία μαρτυρεῖ).
-Byzantine historian Laonicus Chalcocondyles in his work "Demonstrations of History-Historianum Demostrationes" (in Greek: "Ἀποδείξεις Ἱστοριῶν"), strongly believed in the connection between the ancient Greek civilization & his contemporary one. He describes the people of Byzantium as "Hellenes" (Greeks).
Returning to the subject of identity, can we really say we will lose ourselves as "Greeks" (or anything) as long as we have Orthodoxy?
Not only Orthodoxy, but the language also is what defines us as Greeks:
"GREEK, the language they gave me; poor the house on Homer's shores. My only care my language on Homer's shores..."
Odysseus Elytis, 1979 Nobel laureate for literature.
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