The Church of Greece aspires to carry out a series of anniversary events during the year of the Lord 2021, in which 200 years are completed from the outbreak of the 1821 Revolution and the obtention of our National Palingenesia (i.e. Regeneration). The body responsible for the planning and implementation of these events all around Greece is, by command of the Holy Synod, the Special Synodic Committee on Cultural Identity, which assumed the eminent task of highlighting the importance of this particularly significant anniversary for our present and future, by thoroughly studying the lessons extracted from the sacrificial struggle of our glorious ancestors.

Within this framework, with the approval and wholehearted support of the Holy Synod, the Committee has planned ten annual International Scientific Colloquia to take place by the year 2021, having implemented eight of them to this day and having published the Proceedings of the first seven in respective volumes.

The Greek and the ecumenical aspects of the Revolution

From the productive and fruitful scholarly workings so far, it has been proven that the Greek Revolution of 1821 was the most decisive factor for the organization of Modern Hellenism, at the national, political, and cultural levels. However, as is the case with the genuinely great events, its ecumenical aspect was also imprescriptible. It is not accidental that, despite the warnings of Greek followers of Enlightenment that the nation was not ready to revolt because of the absence of spiritual and social development, the Revolution did take place and, despite its considerable issues, achieved Regeneration, by resonating with the feelings of a large part of European thinkers and artists, while at the same time it fueled the international movements in favour of national independence and of shaking off any form of servitude.

By the same token, the Revolution touched and rallied different and diverging groups and social classes of Greeks, such as merchants, armatoloi (i.e. Christian Greek irregular soldiers) and klephts (i.e. highwaymen and warlike mountain-folk turned self-appointed anti-Ottoman insurgents), intellectuals, teachers, enlightened personalities of the Church, which, within the framework of the Ottoman state, constituted the leadership of the enslaved Greek nation, a leadership both accountable in the legal sense of the term and culturally and nationally unchallengeable. This realization constitutes a most persuasive proof of the importance of the commemoration of this event in tracing the future not only for today’s Greek society but also of modern man more broadly. The reason that caused the members of the Body of Christ to come together in an armed rebellion was the preservation of the supreme good of the key condition of truth of the human person, as this was understood equally in the word of the Gospel and crystallized in the imperative of Freedom, not merely as national delineation vis-à-vis the ‘Other’ nor as potential of unlimited choices on an individual level but as struggle against any condition of death.

The notion of Justice as part of the freedom from the unjust structures of death, the notion of the Freedom “to think freely and therefore to think well”, Peace through the truth in people’s thoughts, and many other similar values are what amounts to the notion of Liberty and vindicate the unrepeatable dilemma which leads to every form of sacrifice: Freedom or death!

The aspiration of the Church for 2021

As the Orthodox Church strives constantly to minister this continuous and blood-stained claim to Freedom in practice through Its word, by means of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution It aims to refocus thought on the events of that great and crucial historical period, under the lens of the notion of freedom and its significance within a broader environment, today shaped by modern conditions and by the consequences of the grave spiritual and financial crisis that has been hitting Greek society over the last many years and of the respective crisis in inter-state relations, within societies and in the state of affairs of the entire planet.
At the same time, though, it also aims to respond to the systematic, organized, and well-planned attempt at deconstructing historical truth that has been observed lately, mainly with regard to the contribution of the Church to the cause of the Struggle for Freedom. It acts thus not in an apologetic mindset but for the purpose of historical restoration on the basis of authentic historic sources which do not obey commands from above or dubious expediencies but monitor the events and hearken to the perennial voice of the Fighters.