Author Topic: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?  (Read 5882 times)

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Offline Robb

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Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« on: February 05, 2010, 01:20:53 AM »
What are the similarities between Southern Italian and Sicilian culture and the Greeks?

I am aware that many Greeks colonized Southern Italy and Sicily during the Magna Greca days, but how has this effected the present culture and religious traits of Southern Italians.

I tend to notice that Italians, even though Catholic, have a completely different concept of God and religion then other Catholic peoples.  This tends to be more open, more personal and familial and less legalistic then that of Northern Europeans.  In fact it seems very close to the way Orthodox Christians view God.  There is also a more festive spirit in worship with Italians.  They have many processions and like to have a strong faith in the saints and their power to help us on Earth.  Is this similar to Greek Orthodox culture?

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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 01:30:10 AM »
I tend to notice that Italians, even though Catholic, have a completely different concept of God and religion then other Catholic peoples.  This tends to be more open, more personal and familial and less legalistic then that of Northern Europeans.  In fact it seems very close to the way Orthodox Christians view God.  There is also a more festive spirit in worship with Italians.  They have many processions and like to have a strong faith in the saints and their power to help us on Earth.  Is this similar to Greek Orthodox culture?



I find it is just a common feature amongst southern European cultures, whether Spanish, Portuguese, southern French, Italian, etc.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2010, 12:06:30 PM »
Southern Italians and Sicilians were Greek Orthodox up until the 11th century. Ethnically, the population was probably not 100 percent Greek, but the area was ruled by the Byzantine Empire, and the churches were administered by Greek clergy. There may have been some use of Western Rites as well in those areas. Later, after the schism, in the late 11th century, the Normans took over the area. Greek bishops were ejected, Latin bishops were installed. But, amongst the masses, Orthodoxy still continued, even as Latin Roman Catholic priests were installed in the parishes, which took a while, and Roman Catholicism became dominate. There is a story from the Council of Florence, where many southern Italian clergy agreed with St. Mark of Ephesus on the issue of purgatory, and said they had always believed as St. Mark explained things.
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2010, 01:33:06 PM »
Half my Italian family is from near Naples, across the Adriatic from Greece. My great grandmother's maiden name was Grieco ("Greek"). I always figured I had Greek ancestry.

Must be where I got all the dark body hair ;)

Offline lubeltri

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2010, 01:35:18 PM »
The other half of my family is from near Viterbo, in Lazio, formerly part of the Papal States. Hmm, what to do.... ;)

Offline Robb

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 04:16:30 PM »
The real similarities that I notice about the Southern Italian form of Catholicism is how similar so many things are too Greek Orthodoxy.  The spirit of the people is still very much of an Orthodox religious mentality, despite centuries of imposed Romanizing.  The average S. Italian and Sicilian approached religion in a far less legalized way then does the average Northern European Catholic (Or, at least as they used to back in the days).  This rigid, Scholastic mentality of the Nordic nations never seemed to have gotten hold of the people down there.  They still preserve a very festive and joyful faith in God, his Blessed Mother, and the local patron saints of the many villages and towns.

What a pity that the people could not have held onto their Orthodox faith.  Perhaps it would have better for the Muslims to have conquered Southern Italy for a time, at least until the Normans had disappeared as dominant power in Europe?
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 05:42:33 PM »
Perhaps my favorite southern Italian of all is none other than St. Thomas Aquinas, Mr. Scholasticism himsellf :)

Offline mike

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010, 06:08:52 PM »
Perhaps my favorite southern Italian of all is none other than St. Thomas Aquinas, Mr. Scholasticism himsellf :)

I have to say that scholasticism allures me. I love the black vs. white distinction.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Similarities between Southern Italians and Greeks?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 12:13:34 PM »
Well, there was a service written for Aquinas, at one of the false councils. But the Orthodox seem to have misplaced it.  ;D
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