Author Topic: Greek Independence Day  (Read 1769 times)

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Offline GiC

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Greek Independence Day
« on: March 25, 2005, 02:34:02 AM »
Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Feast of the Annunciation, Day of Greek Independence

Protocol 27/05

March 25, 2005
Feast of the Annunciation
Day of Greek Independence

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation this year, we remember an event of major significance. For on this day, the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary the uniquely Good News: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). In the face of such an awesome message, we are struck by the purity of trust and the strength of faith in Mary’s response to the angel: "Let it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

The Virgin Mary’s response is more than just a declaration of her great faith. Her words mark the moment when the Theotokos became the first person to receive the Good News and the only person to become the Mother of God. These words also mark the beginning of a new humanity perpetually connected with God in body and soul, a human family committed to the pursuit of service and love according to the will of God. At the same time, these words of the Most Holy Virgin constitute a reversal of the painful legacy of death and separation from God left to our human race by Adam and Eve, our original ancestors. The lifelong commitment of the Theotokos to the will of God, expressed by her words, is thus a restorative act of the highest order that functions to reconcile our entire human family to the caring embrace of Almighty God. On this day we therefore affirm as Orthodox Christians, united in our love of one another and in our ultimate trust in God, the vital importance of our absolute commitment to Him on a personal, family, and community level.

Our Holy Orthodox Church also considers the wider social and political implications of this Feast of March 25, as it pertains to the noble struggles of peoples for national independence over the course of world history. It is in this context that we celebrate March 25 also as the Day of Greek Independence. We remember on this day the inspiring journey of faith and trust exhibited by the people of Greece in 1821, who came together after centuries of oppression under Ottoman captivity. In the midst of considerable fear and doubt, these brave Hellenes displayed before the entire world a pursuit of freedom and independence that was bold, confident and resolute. They demonstrated before a perceptive and watchful international community the ultimate liberty and security that followed from renouncing ephemeral self-interested desires and pursuing instead community, national, and universal ideals. Faced with the prospect of indefinite subjugation, they faithfully declared their independence; and, under the protection of the Theotokos, they achieved a final victory and established their free state.

My beloved Christians, as we gather together on this day to mark this glorious Feast of the Annunciation, as we reflect upon the return of our human race to God made possible through the commitment of the Theotokos to His will, and as we consider the broader implications of her attitude and actions for genuine freedom for all nations in our world, I pray that her words of joyful obedience to God may be ours. May we be able to respond with the same trust and faith in the Lord, "Let it be done to me according to your word". May the intercessions of the Theotokos keep and protect us always as community and as nation, and lead us to a life of freedom in dependence on the only Lord, our God.

With paternal love in Christ,

Archbishop of America

Offline Theodoros

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Re: Greek Independence Day
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2005, 11:04:49 AM »
« Last Edit: March 25, 2005, 11:07:03 AM by Theodoros »
Keep your mind in hell and do not despair

Offline GiC

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Re: Greek Independence Day
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2005, 02:47:15 PM »
A Brief History of the Struggle for Greek Independence:

In the 1770s and 1780s Catherine booted the Turks from the Black Sea coast, created a number of towns in the region, including Odessa, and gave them Ancient Greek or Byzantine names. She offered Greeks financial incentives and free land to settle the region, and many took up her offer.
In Odessa in 1814, three businessmen Athanasios Tsakalof, Emmanuel Xanthos and Nikolaos Skoufas founded a Greek independence party, the Philiki Etairia (Friendly Society). The message of the society spread quickly and branches opened throughout Greece. Members met in secret and came from all walks of life. The leaders in Odessa held the firm belief that armed force was the only effective means of liberation, and made generous monetary contributions to the freedom fighters.

Meanwhile there were also stirrings of dissent amongst Greeks living in Constantinople. The Ottomans regarded it as beneath them to participate in commerce, and this had left the door open for Greeks in the city to become a powerful economic force. These wealthy Greek families were called Phanariots. Unlike the Filiki Etairia, who strove for liberation through rebellion, the Phanariots believed that by virtue of their positions they could effect a takeover from within. Influential Phanariots included Alexandros Mavrokordatos and Alexandros and Dimitrios Ypsilantis.

Ali Pasha's private rebellion against the sultan in 1820 gave the Greeks the opportunity they had been waiting for. The legend says that on March 21, 1821 Bishop Germanos of Patras hoisted the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese, an act of defiance that marked the beginning of the War of Independence. Fighting broke out throughout the Peloponnese, with fearless Maniot freedom fighters, led by Petrobey Mavromichaelis, governor of the Mani, laying siege to the most strategic Turkish garrisons and razing the homes of thousands of Turks. The worst atrocity occurred in the city of Tripolitsa (present-day Tripolis) where 12,000 Turkish inhabitants were massacred.

The fighting escalated throughout the mainland and many islands. Within a year the Greeks had captured Monemvassia, Navarino (modern Pylos), Nafplion and Tripolitsa in the Peloponnese, and Messolongi, Athens and Thebes. Greek independence was proclaimed at Epidaurus on 13 January 1822. The Turks retaliated with massacres in Asia Minor, most notoriously on the island of Chios, where more than 25,000 civilians were killed.

The Western powers were reluctant to intervene, fearing the consequences of creating a power vacuum in south-eastern Europe, where the Turks still controlled much territory. But help did come from the philhellenes; aristocratic young men, recipients of a classical education, who saw themselves as the inheritors of a glorious civilization and were willing to fight to liberate its oppressed descendants. Philhellenes included Shelley, Goethe, Schiller, Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset and Lord Byron. Byron arrived in Messolongi an important center of resistance in January 1824 and died three months later of pneumonia.

The prime movers of the revolution were the klephts Theodoros Kolokotronis (who led the siege of Nafplion) and Markos Botsaris; George Koundouriotis (a ship owner) and Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, both from Hydra; and the Phanariots Alexander Mavrokordatos and Demitrios Ypsilantis. Other heroes were: Georgios Karaiskakis, Odysseas Androutsos, Konstantinos Kanaris, Makriyannis, Papaflessas, Athanasios Diakos, Bouboulina, Manto Mavrogenous and many more. If you familiarize yourself with these names, walking along streets in Greece will take on a whole new meaning as a disproportionate number are named after these heroes.

The long list makes it clear that the cause was not lacking leaders; what was lacking was unity of objectives and strategy. Internal disagreements twice escalated into civil war, the worst in the Peloponnese in 1824. The sultan took advantage of this, called in Egyptian reinforcements, and by 1827 captured Modon (Methoni) and Corinth, and recaptured Navarino, Messolongi and Athens.

At last the Western powers intervened, and a combined Russian, French and British fleet destroyed the Turkish-Egyptian fleet in the Bay of Navarino in October 1827. Sultan Mahmud II defied the odds and proclaimed a holy war. Russia sent troops into the Balkans and engaged the Ottoman army in yet another Russian-Turkish war. Fighting continued until 1829 when, with Russian troops at the gates of Constantinople, the sultan accepted Greek independence by the Treaty of Andrianople.


Offline Stavro

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Re: Greek Independence Day
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2005, 03:26:11 AM »
Happy Independence Day to the Greeks !

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Greek Independence Day
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2005, 12:59:14 PM »
Yes, Many Years to the Hellenic Republic and our Hellenic members here. Technically I am just a third-generation "Greek"-American and not a 'real' Greek  :D

And yesterday was a double celebration for some - also the Patronal Fest of my parish, The Annunciation in New Kensington, PA. Complete with Thursday evening Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy. I particularly enjoyed a visiting Antiochian priest whose Greek was commendable - very good for a convert.

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides