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Greek independence: The struggle continues

We have inherited a contract of freedom, signed by our forefathers with blood. Freedom requires virtue and courage and necessitates sacrifices in order to be conquered and to be maintained.

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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.

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Archons of Greek Orthodox Church issue toothless letter about abortion law

The good news is the Archons did say some good things in reaction to the New York abortion law. But there was no consequence.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In relation to our previously published piece about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing abortion into the New York State Constitution, we noted that at the time of the article’s writing, no entities within the Orthodox Church in any jurisdiction issued any kind of statement condemning this law. Of all fourteen universally acknowledged Local Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church was particularly of note, since their Archons awarded a humanitarian award known as the Athenogoras Award to extremely liberal, pro-abortion politicians, Andrew Cuomo being one of these.

Well, the Archons did issue a statement yesterday:

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Condemns New York’s New Abortion Law

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, strongly condemns the State of New York’s new Reproductive Health Act that was passed on January 22, 2019. This new law allows abortions up to the moment of birth and gives people who are not doctors the right to perform abortions.

The Order also deplores the celebratory atmosphere surrounding the new law, as One World Trade Center was lit pink to commemorate the passage of the law, as if it represented a great advance for the rights of women. The rights of no human being are ever advanced at the expense of another. The State of New York will not truly have respect for the rights of women until it once again restores legal protections for every human being, from his or her first moment of existence until natural death.

Hailed as progress, New York’s Reproductive Health Act is not actually an advance, but a regression, a return to a time of barbarism when the weak were at the mercy of the strong and had no protection from legal structures or governing authorities.

The Order implores New York’s legislators to reconsider this dangerous new law and reinstitute protections for all human life, no matter how weak and vulnerable. Only when such protections exist can any society truly prosper.

Rev. Alexander Karloutsos
Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Is this enough?

It does not seem to be so. Governor Cuomo and his award, along with pro-abortion Roman Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, also received this award at the same time Governor Cuomo did.

What did not happen in this letter was that neither politician was named, nor were the four (out of five) Greek Orthodox politicians in the New York State Assembly that voted FOR this law.

Neither did the Archons move to rescind the Athenagoras Awards they gave to Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Biden. This move appears to be still far too politically calculated, and keeping with the tragic, curious and distressing behavior of the leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Monomachos.com is a popular blog site whose editor, George Michalopulos, is undoubtedly one of the giants among those Greek Orthodox who seriously uphold at the notion that the Church ought never compromise herself. Yet, he was very happy with the letter that is shown above because for him it represented a “180-degree turnabout” in terms of the history of the Archons’ behavior, which he noted elsewhere as smacking of “the feeling that their primary job is to raise money for Istanbul.”

He neglected to mention the lack of mention of the Awards, but perhaps understandably, his surprise at any sort of traditional statement by this group was leading to exuberance where perhaps it is not deserved.

The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have an overall alignment with very liberal figures, and it is unclear as to why. But this tendency of people that are considered good and faithful Greek Orthodox churchgoers to align with liberal politics in the United States is very different than the sharply conservative tendencies of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, or Greeks or Romanians in the US.

The other rather liberal church is the US is the Orthodox Church in America, but this group does tend to involve itself in social causes in the US – especially abortion – in a very conservative, if rather feeble, manner. They do make their presence known at the annual March for Life and this is of great value.

We wish to name all the Greek Orthodox elected New York assembly members here, with their votes regarding the state abortion measure:

Michael Gianaris             (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Andrew Gounardes         (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Nicole Malliotakis           (R)                            – No. (and she is a woman!!)
Aravella Simotas             (D)                            – Yes.
James Skoufis                  (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.

This measure enshrined abortion at any point in a woman’s pregnancy as a constitutional right. The law stipulates several following procedures are now “rights:”

  • The law allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
  • The law allows abortion through the third trimester.
  • and the law repeals protections for babies that survive abortions (this means that if the baby gets delivered alive, it will still be killed.)

This is a barbaric law, and a resounding victory for people aligned with some very dark ideas about life and death. It is a tragedy, and while the Archons’ letter condemning it is at least a token statement, it really wants a full-throated response from the Christian world.

In fact, even Muslims and religious Jewish people ought to be outraged as well. All the Abrahamic religions understand that only God is the author of life. In this viewpoint, people do not themselves create life. We only cooperate with God to bring it into existence, by his blessing.

But we can cause death, and this power is influenced by forces that are not interested in God, traditional values, family, children or anything of the sort.

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Greek MPs pass Prespes deal with 153 votes in 300-seat House

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year.

The Duran

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Via Ekathimerini


Greece’s parliament on Friday ratified a landmark accord that changes the name of neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ending a decades-old dispute and opening the way for the ex-Yugoslav republic to join the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who hammered out the deal with his FYROM counterpart last year, secured the parliamentary majority needed to get the accord approved with support from independent and opposition lawmakers.

“Today we are writing a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalism and conflict is giving way to friendship, peace, and cooperation,” Tsipras wrote on his social media account.

FYROM has already ratified the deal, brokered last year, and its prime minister promptly sent a tweet hailing the Greek parliament’s vote.

The settlement seeks to end a 28-year old row between Athens and Skopje over the use of the term “Macedonia” by renaming the tiny Balkan state “Republic of North Macedonia” to differentiate it from Greece’s northern province of Macedonia.

Greece’s European Union allies welcomed the ratification.

“They had imagination, they took the risk, they were ready to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. “Mission impossible accomplished.”

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year. A general election is due by October, and his party is trailing the opposition New Democracy by up to 12 points.

The debate in the Greek parliament was heated, with voting almost interrupted on Friday when an MP for the right-wing Golden Dawn Party, asked to cast his vote, responded: “No to treason!”

Several MPs in favour of of the accord reported attempts to intimidate them.

Many Greeks fear the agreement could lead to territorial claims against Greece and say it constitutes an appropriation of their country’s ancient cultural heritage. Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Protests against the deal have at times turned violent this week, and on Thursday evening police fired teargas to disperse crowds outside parliament. Smaller groups of people braved heavy rain on Friday to demonstrate outside the parliament.

New Democracy slammed the agreement.

“This deal should never have been signed or brought to parliament for ratification,” party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament. “It is a national defeat … a national blunder that is an affont to the truth and history of our country.”

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