Athens, March 25, 2021
On the occasion of the feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos and the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution, which began on March 25, 1821, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued an epistle to be read in church by all the hierarchs of the Church.
The text of the epistle is published on Romfea.
On this day, the hierarchs call upon all Greeks to unite in pray to the Most Holy Theotokos in gratitude for her role in our salvation, giving us the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, and for the freedom of the Greek people. All Orthodox should also call upon her to implore her Son to rid us of the present pandemic, the Synod writes.
“Today is a day of remembrance, honor, and hope, in memory of the saints, New Martyrs, national martyrs, heroes, fighters, teachers of the nation, clergy and laity, men and women who gave everything for the homeland,” the epistle reads.
“We remember those who prepared the ground, those who preserved the faith, the language, and the national conscience, those who cultivated the fighting spirit, and those who kept the burning flame of hope.”
The hierarchs recall the words of St. Cosmas of Aetolia, who said that freedom would come as long as the people kept their Christian faith and Greek language and education. They also honor those who fell in the pre-revolutionary movements, and all those who “shed their blood in the battles, sieges, and naval battles of the Greek Revolution.”
“We hope and strive. We hope that everyone will remain free from all oppression and threats, relying on the holy faith of Christ and on democratic principles and values.”
The Synod calls on its flock to preserve what their ancestors fought for and walk with hope for the future, “bearing in mind that the future is what gives meaning to what preceded it—a future that reveals the presence of God in our lives.” Those who fought for freedom in 1821 would never have succeeded without faith in Christ, the hierarchs affirm.
It was specifically chosen to launch the Revolution on the feast of the Annunciation, the Synod recalls, in order “connect their struggle for the freedom of the homeland with the Orthodox faith and life, the face of the Panagia with their salvation.”
The Theotokos herself appeared in 1823, promising the Greeks that liberation would come, after which the icon of the Annunciation was miraculously found in Tinos.
With all this in mind, March 25, 2021, will mark the start of a new course for the Greek nation and people, the Synod states. “Let us try to combine our Christian Tradition and our historical continuity with the needs of the modern era,” the hierarchs call.
And invoking the memory of General Ioanni Makrygiannis, the hierarchs call on their flock to remember that, “We are weak, but our God is strong.” And with faith in Christ, the Greeks can move forward stronger, orienting the past towards the future, thereby transforming and giving real meaning to the present time, the hierarchs exhort.
“Liberation from any worldly slavery presupposes the belief that the past cannot determine man. For the life and faith of our Church, only the future can determine man. This is, after all, the meaning of repentance,” the Synod concludes.
Last month, the Synod of the Cypriot Orthodox Church issued a statement in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution, emphasizing that this great event that stirs up feelings of pride could not have happened without the Church.