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Author Topic: Question for the Greeks...  (Read 667 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: April 03, 2011, 05:02:08 AM »

Was in liturgy this morning (here in Greece) and I was surprised when all the sudden a bunch of people walked in with flags, a banner, and in traditional Greek clothing. They stood up near the choirs & the iconostasis until the end of the service.
At the end of the service, a table with flowers and a man's photo was placed in front, and the Priests began more prayers and litanies. Then they made a short speech, then some other guy came up and gave a speech (it seemed to be a lot more passionate). At the end he said something like: ____ kypros! (not sure what the first word was) and the people (I think mainly men) responded and they began to sing what I figured was the national anthem of Greece.
The banner had writing on it on top of what looked to be an old flag of Greece (no stripes, just a white cross on a blue background) and the only words i remember were "Kypros" and "Aiodi" (that second is probably wrong, I was reading it backwards, as the flag was turned around)

What in the world was this? Was today (April 3, 2011) some sort of celebration in Greece?
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Basil 320
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 06:13:10 AM »

My guess is that this was a delayed commemoration of Greek Independence Day, March 25th, 1821, when Bishop Germanos (Herman) of Old Patras, raised the flag of Greece, upon the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy for the Annunciation Feast Day, announcing the rebellion against the barbarous Moslem Turks, who had occupied Greece, the other Balkan States, and the Northern Mideast, since the mid-15th century (+/-).  It seems like the faithful were also reminded that the Turks also are currently (since July, 1974) illegally occupying one third of Cyprus (Kypros); the matter of the occupying Turks' charging admission to a confiscated monastery has been in the news recently.  The flag you noticed is the Naval Flag of Greece. The table with the flowers and the picture, was probably for a Memorial (Mnymosino) Service, the picture was of whoever was being memorialized; koliva (primarily boiled wheat) was probably on the table, too, if there was no koliva, it may have just been a Trisagion Service (not including "Blessed at Thou O Lord, teach me Thy statutes...").  Today is the anniversary of the birth of Theodore Kolokotronis, a noted general in the Greek army during the revolution, so, perhaps the Memorial Service was for him, perhaps that was the reason for the events you witnessed.  Are you in the province of Arcadia?  My recollection is that Kolokotroni was an Arcadian.  Commemorating the dual holiday's of the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos and Greek Independence Day is not uncommon in Greek Orthodox Churches, though such commemorations within the church, are very much in decline in America; what you witnessed exceeds anything I've ever seen in America.  Typically, at the most in the U.S., there's only a short Greek School play. (My parish priest had to tell the Greek School they were not to play Greek patriotic music in church).  I don't have first hand knowledge about how common what you witnessed is in Greece or Cyprus.  In the past, laity have been given a blessing to speak of such maters in the churches.  During WWII, Archbishop Athenagoras of America, (a friend of President Roosevelt's) of blessed memory, (later Ecumenical Patriarch) had authorized informed laity to speak in the church, following the sermon, about the patriotism associated with America's fight against the Axis Powers.  (The Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis in which I live, prohibits laity from speaking in church--I imagine exceptions can be made, with his permission.)

The dual celebrations of March 25th are largely responsible for the Greek government's pressure upon the Archbishop of Athens to convert to the civil, New Calendar (in 1923?), so that both holiday's would be commemorated on the same day.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 06:38:59 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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88Devin12
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 06:49:10 AM »

My guess is that this was a delayed commemoration of Greek Independence Day, March 25th, 1821, when Bishop Germanos (Herman) of Old Patras, raised the flag of Greece, upon the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy for the Annunciation Feast Day, announcing the rebellion against the barbarous Moslem Turks, who had occupied Greece, the other Balkan States, and the Northern Mideast, since the mid-15th century (+/-).  It seems like the faithful were also reminded that the Turks also are currently (since July, 1974) illegally occupying one third of Cyprus (Kypros); the matter of the occupying Turks' charging admission to a confiscated monastery has been in the news recently.  The flag you noticed is the Naval Flag of Greece. The table with the flowers and the picture, was probably for a Memorial (Mnymosino) Service, the picture was of whoever was being memorialized; koliva (primarily boiled wheat) was probably on the table, too, if there was no koliva, it may have just been a Trisagion Service (not including "Blessed at Thou O Lord, teach me Thy statutes...").  Today is the anniversary of the birth of Theodore Kolokotronis, a noted general in the Greek army during the revolution, so, perhaps the Memorial Service was for him, perhaps that was the reason for the events you witnessed.  Are you in the province of Arcadia? My recollection is that Kolokotroni was an Arcadian.  Commemorating the dual holiday's of the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos and Greek Independence Day is not uncommon in Greek Orthodox Churches, though such commemorations within the church, are very much in decline in America; what you witnessed exceeds anything I've ever seen in America.  Typically, at the most in the U.S., there's only a short Greek School play. (My parish priest had to tell the Greek School they were not to play Greek patriotic music in church).  I don't have first hand knowledge about how common what you witnessed is in Greece or Cyprus.  In the past, laity have been given a blessing to speak of such maters in the churches.  During WWII, Archbishop Athenagoras of America, (a friend of President Roosevelt's) of blessed memory, (later Ecumenical Patriarch) had authorized informed laity to speak in the church, following the sermon, about the patriotism associated with America's fight against the Axis Powers.  (The Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis in which I live, prohibits laity from speaking in church--I imagine exceptions can be made, with his permission.)

The dual celebrations of March 25th are largely responsible for the Greek government's pressure upon the Archbishop of Athens to convert to the civil, New Calendar (in 1923?), so that both holiday's would be commemorated on the same day.

Ah okay thank you!

I'm actually in the province/periphery of Thessaly.

There was also a camera there, and when I was taking photos of icons on the ceiling, I was asked (first in Greek, then in English when I told them I don't speak Greek) if it was for television. So I assume the event would be part of the news or something.

I hope they weren't offended when I didn't join in the anthem (for one I don't know it, for two I'm American, for three I don't agree with singing it in Church, but thats another debate for another time), it seemed like everyone did.
What is sad is more people sang the anthem than ever sing the hymns of the church... Sad
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 06:51:20 AM by 88Devin12 » Logged
88Devin12
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 06:57:31 AM »

As I was looking a Greek flags on Wikipedia I recognized the word "Arkadi" which was one of the words in Greek on the banner/flag.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_flag
However, I'm now unsure whether the flag also said Kypros, or whether it said Kriti...

According to Wikipedia today also marks:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_3
1834 – The generals in the Greek War of Independence stand trial for treason.

Also, another question, they sang another hymn before the anthem, and if I remember, it had the word "Stratos" in it. It was also very Byzantine, but I couldn't think of any hymn where we mention an Army.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 07:12:40 AM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2011, 02:01:18 PM »

Some of the hymns we use in American have been modified and were war-related hymns asking the Mother of God to basically grant us victory in war by her powers, and then the hymns for the cross asking God to give the emperor or king victory over their adversaries by the power of the cross. Obviously these hymns didn't always "work" since the empire fell.
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 02:15:43 PM »

My guess is that this was a delayed commemoration of Greek Independence Day, March 25th, 1821, ....
mmmm.... 1st April is Cyprus' national day - it's more like to have been a commemoration of this (as 1st April was not on a Sunday, they used the first after).
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Basil 320
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 05:10:40 AM »

Re. Reply No. 3, 88Devin12, The "very Byzantine" hymn you heard may have been the Apolytikion of the Holy Cross Feast, "Soson Kyrie.."  "O Lord Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, grant victory to the faithfull, against their adversaries, and protect Thy people, by the power of Thy Holy Cross."  The word "Strato," Army or Armed Forces," is not in this hymn.  "Strato" is in the Great Litany of Peace, and in the Prayer Behind the Amvon, "...Save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance...Give peace to the world,  to the Churches, to the Priests, to our civil authorities to our Armed Forces..."  The Kontakion of the Annunciation Feast is another good possibility, and possibly why you received the impression that "strato" was in it, "To thee, the Champion Leader..." in Greek is, "Ti ipermaho, stratigo ta nikitiria."  Both of these hymns are commonly chanted at patriotic events.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 05:16:25 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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