Originally published in Greek by Penelope M.
“It’s finer to live one hour as a free man than forty years as a slave and prisoner.” – Rigas Feraios
“Fight for faith and fatherland!” – Alexandros Ypsilantis
“We shall win or cease to live, but shall do so with the comfort of knowing that we did not leave the Greeks behind us enslaved.” – Laskarina Bouboulina
“O Greek nation, Greek genus, twice glorified by your forefathers, arm yourselves with the zeal of God, every one of you let him live his sword, as it is preferable to die with weapon in hand, than to shame the values of your Faith and your Nation.” – Germanos III of Patras
“Victory will be ours, if only Greek feelings reign in our hearts. The brother of the foreigner is a traitor.” – Ioannis Kapodistrias
“And we were freed from the Turks, and we were enslaved to evil men, where the impurity of Europe resided” – Makrigiannis
“When we decided to launch the Revolution, we did not consider how many we were, or that we lacked chariots, or that the Turks were fortified in the castles and the towns, nor did any wise man tell us ‘where are you going to fight, with bushels of wheat?’ Even if only one Hellene remains, we will fight always, and never for a moment think that our land will become yours. Remove that from your mind.” – Theodoros Kolokotronis
“It is not important what I will become, as long as my country is free. After I give everything I can provide for the holy cause of freedom, I will go to the battlefield of the Greeks to die if it is needed.” – Manto Mavrogenous
Words which provoke goosebumps. Words which are moving. Words of heroes which are indelibly tied to the revolutionary cause, which reminds us of March the 25th and which rouse us even today.
Long live the 25th of March! Glory to our freedom!
March 25th is the most important date in the history of modern Greece. It is a major double holiday with both national and religious symbolism, as we celebrate both the Revolution of 1821 and also the Annunciation. The day of the Annunciation was set as the day upon which the Revolution would commence, by the leader of the Society of Friends (“Filiki Etaireia”) Alexandros Ypsilantis. It was chosen as the starting point for the Greek rebirth, and that it is why it is honored to the present time as a ceremonial day, where parades and other celebrations are held.
On this day, we celebrate the independence of Greece and the Revolution against Turkish occupation, following 400 years of slavery. It is a day which references the commencement, not the conclusion of the revolution. A day dedicated to the armed uprising of the Greeks against the Ottomans, with the goal of establishing an independent state, the Greek state which exists to this day. According to popular legend, the Revolution began in Kalavryta, specifically at the monastery of Saint Lavra.
It was there where the Metropolitan Germanos III of Patras secretly raised the flag of the Revolution on March 25, 1821, triggering the struggle for liberation. It was at that time that the conditions and circumstances for the uprising of the Hellenes had ripened. The Revolution began from the Greek south because it was there were many battle-ready men and a strong naval presence were located, in order for a strong attack to be launched both on land and from the sea.
Hellenes the world over celebrate today their ancestors, those who launched the Revolution of 1821 against the Turkish occupiers, allowing us to live in freedom today in our homeland. The blue and white flag of our nation is honored today. In all corners of the world, Greeks take to the streets to march in commemoration of their independence, while Orthodox churches ring their bells in joyous celebration.
The Battle of 1821 was planned meticulously following previous failed efforts which were drowned in blood by the Ottomans, and was supported by the will and the faith of enlightened Greek patriots. The truly amazing aspect of this fight, which left foreign observers speechless, was that the Greek spirit managed to remain unconquered for 400 years, and when the moment arrived, it rose up and fought for its rights.
The Revolution of 1821 lives on as the most significant moment of that era, as it proved that the fighting spirit and iron will of a nation can change their historical fate. Despite the disunity and the dark moments, our revolutionary forefathers left behind a contract of freedom signed with their own blood.
This is why the Revolution of 1821 remains timeless and relevant for us Hellenes today. Freedom requires virtue and courage, and necessitates sacrifices in order to be conquered, and above all to be maintained.
The Hellene is never subjugated and never bows his head. He is never afraid.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.