Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
March 25th has for us Greeks a dual dimension. The first is the ecclesiastical, as on this day we celebrate the feast of Annunciation. The Annunciation became the revealing starting point of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. God, in the person of Mary, placed a bridge between heaven and earth. Maria became the ladder of God’s incarnation and man’s deification (theosis). The moment of the Annunciation became the beginning of human race’s rebirth in the person of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, today we are celebrating the rebirth of the Greek Nation after an agonizing period of four hundred years of slavery. The Revolution of 1821 is the greatest event in the history of modern Greece and the starting point of the creation of the Modern Greek State. At the same time the Revolution is of global importance, as this was the first national revolution for independence of an enslaved Nation, which set a tangible example to the other enslaved peoples.
The Revolution might not have happened if, in the four hundred years of slavery, the Church, through her priests and monks, had not taken over the historic debt to protect the Nation from islamization and maintained alive:
- our faith in Christ,
- the Greek language and culture,
- the Greek consciousness,
- the religious and cultural tradition of Hellenism,
- the love for the enslaved Motherland.
The Church even gave her blood in the struggle for freedom. History has recorded eleven Ecumenical Patriarchs, amongst them the national martyr Patriarch Gregory V, one hundred Hierarchs, and six thousand priests and monks who, with their blood and their sacrifice, watered the tree of freedom.
As descendants of these heroes, let us never forget that the purpose of the fighters of 1821 was both national and religious. As Theodoros Kolokotronis said: “When we armed ourselves, we did that first for our Faith and after for our Homeland“. So Greeks fought for the Faith of Christ and for the Freedom of our Fatherland. These two ideals united and unite the Greeks. Orthodoxy and Hellenism move together. They are inextricably linked to each other. It is our honor and sacred debt to keep alive within us Orthodoxy and Hellenism, wherever worldwide a Greek heart is beating. Amen!