Thursday, June 18, 2015

Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens, a Modern Hero

Walking in central Athens, right in front of the Metropolitan Church of Athens, one finds the statue of Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens. He was Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece from and also Regent of Greece (1944-46). He claims this prominent position in Athens, due to the fact that he assisted the people who suffered, during the German Occupation of Greece, and defended their rights and freedom and opposed strongly to the persecution and holocaust of the Greek Jews.

Knowing what had happened in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, he advised the Jewish community of Athens to dissolve itself and flee. He also instructed the Greek Orthodox clergy to issue false baptismal papers to anyone who needed them. He even encouraged the priests to ask their congregations to hide the Jews in their own homes. Because of this courage and defiance towards Nazi Germany, he is considered a great Modern Greek hero, promoting life and dignity and not death and evil. 

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