Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Orthodox Church’s Contribution to Greece’s War of Independence, 1821

Throughout the Ottoman rule of Greece, the Orthodox Church was the ark of salvation for the Greek Nation, giving its powers and whole pastoral life to the liberation war. The Church realised that through the preservation of the faith, the identity, culture, history, language and traditions of the Greek nation could be maintained. The Church, through the difficulties of daily life, under a foreign rule, was able to maintain the Greek language, history and the hope of freedom, pointing out patience as a virtue. From this reality we currently have the formation of the Modern Greek Orthodox identity which is evident in Greece, Cyprus and the diaspora. 

It is a fact that, without the Church’s initiative, in educating the faithful, there would be no hope and no one would be able to leave behind the darkness of ignorance, brought about by the Ottoman Empire. The relation between Church and education was a crucial one, not only for the faithful but also for the future of the Church, since it produced future priests and hierarchs, in order to continue its work, i.e. the salvation of the faithful. The sources used for the education of the future generations were the ecclesiastical books, Holy Scripture, whilst the traditions and beliefs of the Church were also examined.Through the education and the enlightenment of the Greek population, the Greeks were able to fight off and eventually be victorious against the mighty Ottoman Empire. This independence struggle was based on religion, nationalism, Orthodoxy and Hellenism, as proclaimed by the heroes of the independence war, during the First National Assembly of Epidaurus, ‘the war was ethnic, the war was holy, a war whose only cause was the recovery of our personal freedom…and honour’.

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