Τρίτη, 4 Μαΐου 2010

A Double Celebration


THE GREEK REVOLUTION

March 25, 1821. On this day, Bishop Germanos of Patra raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese and one more revolution started against the Turks. The people of Greece shouted "Freed or Death" and they fought the War of Independence for 9 years (1821-1829) until a small part of modern Greece was finally liberated and it was declared an independent nation.

At the same time risings were planned across Greece, including in Macedonia, Crete and Cyprus. With the advantage of surprise, the Greeks succeeded in taking control of the Peloponnese and some other areas.

The Ottomans soon recovered, and retaliated violently, hanging the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V and massacring the Greek population of Chios and other towns. The retribution, however, drew sympathy for the Greek cause in western Europe—although the British and French governments suspected that the uprising was a Russian plot to seize Greece and possibly Constantinople from the Ottomans. In Europe, the Greek revolution won a widespread sympathy. Greece was viewed as the cradle of western civilization, and it was especially lauded by the spirit of romanticism that was current at the time. The sight of a Christian nation attempting to cast off the rule of a Muslim Empire also appealed to the western European public.

One of those who heard the call was the poet Lord Byron who spent time in Greece, organizing funds, supplies and troops, but died from fever at Mesolonghi in 1824. Byron's death did even more to augment European sympathy for the Greek cause. This eventually led the western powers to intervene directly.

ANNUNCIATION

In Christianity, the Annunciation is the revelation to The Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. The Christian churches celebrate this with the feast of Annunciation on March 25, which is nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christmas.

The Annunciation in the Bible

The archangel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth in Galilee, to the virgin Mary, and announced to her that she had been chosen by God to bear His son, Jesus. She asked how that would be, since she was a virgin. The angel replied that she would conceive through the Holy Spirit. She consented, saying "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

In Eastern Orthodoxy Mary is referred to as Theotokos. This is a traditional Eastern Orthodox hymn for the day of the Annunciation:

Today is the beginning of our salvation,

The revelation of the eternal mystery!

The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin

As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.

Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, O Full of Grace,

The Lord is with You!

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