At noon of the 5th Sunday of Lent, March 12/25, 2018, there was a Doxology at the Catholicon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as thanksgiving to God for our nation’s liberation from the Turkish occupation in 1821, and as an intercession for the repose of the souls of our Fathers who died in this fight.
The Doxology was led by H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, with co-celebrants Archbishops and Hieromonks Hagiotaphite Fathers, at the presence of the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos. The choir was formed by the choir leader of the Holy Sepulchre Archimandrite Aristovoulos and the choir of Mr. Demetrios Balagiorgos, while the service was attended by members of the Greek community and pilgrims.
After the Doxology the congregation returned to the Patriarchate in procession. There His Beatitude addressed the guests as follows;
“ [The Lord] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26) St. Paul proclaims.
Your Excellency Consul General of Greece Mr. Christos Sophianopoulos,
Reverend Fathers and Brothers,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Our blessed by our Lord and God of our Fathers noble nation celebrates today the anniversary of its liberation from the slavery and tyranny of the Ottoman arrogance.
The indeed heroic revolution of 1821 was the result of the strong and deep national and religious, that is, Christian conscience of its fighters, as General Makrygiannis writes in his memoirs; “Without virtue and pain for the country and faith in religion, there are no nations”; “for each man, his country and religion are everything”; “there is no sweetest thing than the country and the religion”.
The spirit of Hellenism, which received its completion from the evangelic Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus formed the imperceptible spiritual and cultural grandeur of Romiosini, is what made the historic event of the nation’s revolution in 1821 an event of reference for all peoples and nations.
In other words, the Resurrection of our human nature that was taken on by Christ, is the undiminished spring of hope in Christ, namely the freedom, for which “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22), according to wise Paul.
And we say this, because the participation of the Church with its clergy and faithful Christians, in the nation’s fight for its regeneration and renewal, was complete and spontaneous. Among the numerous servants of the fight for the faith and the country, distinguished are the great leaders and heroes; the Metropolitan Palaion Patron Germanos, who raised the pennon of the revolution, the Hegoumen Gregorios the righteous, Papaflessas, Athanasios Diakos, Bishop Isaiah of Salona, and members of the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.
We commemorate these great people of Church, because their fight for the removing of the barbaric yoke and their sacrifice to the point of blood were sacred. It was “a fight for the Holy faith of Christ and the freedom of the country” according to the slogan of the nation’s revolution by the Elder of Moria, Theodoros Kolokotronis.
“Faith in Christ and freedom of the country” are the natural and incorruptible, timeless values of the spiritual font, in which the nation of the Greeks was re-baptized, or rather, regenerated from its ashes. Moreover, they are the bonding link of the safeguarding of the Greek-Orthodox identity, which sustains the absolute respect towards the human person, for which St. Paul says: “God accepteth no man’s person” (Gal. 2:6), meaning the God does not look up to any person and is not biased.
The venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood, wholeheartedly and indebted participates in this sacred commemoration of the anniversary of our noble nation’s regeneration and renewal, and thus came down to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where it has offered a thanksgiving praise and Doxology to the Resurrected from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, for the benediction He has offered our nation. We have also prayed fervently and interceded for the eternal repose in the land of the living of the blessed souls of those who fought heroically and gloriously for the faith and the country, and suffered a martyr’s death in the sacred fight of our noble nation of the Roman Orthodox people.
For these, allow Us to raise Our glass and exclaim as we should;
Vive the 25th March 1821!
Vive the noble royal nation of the Roman Orthodox people!
Vive our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood!
This was followed by the Consul Generals address, stated below;
Most Reverend Arcbhishops,
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are especially glad to celebrate today the revolution of our nation in 1821 at the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Mother of Churches. In a feeling of National Pride, the Greeks all over the world celebrate today the most glorious page of our recent history and honour those who gave the fight on behalf of all, in their grandiose revolution which started on 25th March 1821, and managed through an unequal confrontation, full of sacrifices and unprecedented challenges, within an unfavourable to our fight universal environment, to lay down the Ottoman yoke, to put an end to the dark ages of the foreign sovereignty and ensure the supreme assets of freedom and national independence.
With today’s celebration we owe to remember those elements that made the success of the Greek Revolution possible and which are always relative and especially when our Country faces great challenges and is surrounded by old and new dangers; Faith in the righteous fight which bears boldness and determination, able to surpass the greatest obstacles, the innate mental vigor of the Greeks, which ensures persistence and endurance in the most adverse conditions, and of course, the national unity of soul and the coiling of all the national powers in the common cause.
All of us owe to reinforce and actively pursue the national unity of soul, since every opponent will always try – as was the case during the fight of the liberation of our nation – to bifurcate, divide and create internal dispute and differences in order to intimidate our belief in the just cause of our fight and defuse our boldness and courage.
Today we do not forget that the national revolution of 1821 was made possible because the Hellenism managed to keep its identity integral as well as its values and desire for freedom, through the long tenebrous years of the Turkish occupation. Prime role towards this cause was held by the Church, which was the depositary of our values, safeguarding our language, our Christian faith and the hope of the Resurrection of our Nation. Therefore, according to the testimony of the fighters themselves, the purpose of the fight for the national regeneration and renewal was “For the holy faith of Christ and the freedom of the country”.
Greece has never forgotten the great contribution of the Expatriates in the fight of the national regeneration and is always grateful to them. Having started from the big European Cities, The Society of Friends, joined their revolutionist brothers in enthusiasm and self-denial and had a major contribution in the initial planning of the Revolution, contributing thus to the creation of a favourable climate towards the Greeks.
March 25, 1821 remains to all of us a founding stone of our national entity and the summital station of the Nation’s contemporary history. The heroism, self-denial and determination of the Revolution Fighters and of all those who were inspired by them, to pursue a free, righteous and democratic Country, inspire us also, but simultaneously they bind us to be as estimable as they were, to rise up to the situation and work in unison for the overcoming of the obstacles, no matter how insurmountable they seem to be.
Today’s celebration underlines the need to remain always alert to defend our rights against whomsoever plots against them, and to be determined to fight the righteous fight whenever we are called for it. And this, as in the case of the Revolution, is not accomplished without real sacrifices. “Greece”, as General Makrygiannis said, “was not liberated by telling fairytales, it was liberated with the blood of the people”.
Vive 25th March 1821!