Archbishop’s Encyclical on the Anniversary of 25 March 1821
Ref. No.: Α00232
March 25th is a day that brings us twofold joy as we celebrate both our Holy Orthodox Faith and our Hellenic Nation; it is a day of joy, deliverance and hope for Christendom. It is the day on which an Angel of the Lord promises salvation and regeneration to all of humanity. The Angel comes to proclaim the arrival of the God-Man, the Savior of the world. It is also the day we remember an event of extraordinary bravery. On this day we honor our ancestors who declared the Revolution of 1821, the Greek men and women who bravely fought on the battlefields, sacrificing everything, including the most precious gift of life, in order to harvest the sweet fruits of freedom
The Revolution of 1821 is the most significant event of our people’s recent history, for by it our Nation achieved its own independent governance, which then became a beacon of hope for Hellenes around the world. It is, however, also an event of global significance as the first national uprising for independence of a subjugated nation, which became an example for other subjugated peoples.
The efforts of the Greeks in 1821 were not limited to a select few, or to those of a particular social class or group, no, it was a struggle put forward by the entire Nation. There was no distinction between the few and the many, for they were all united by a common purpose. And their purpose in 1821 was defined by their common national and religious identity.
They fought for their Holy Faith in Christ and for the freedom of their homeland. These two ideals united the Greeks. Yannis Makriyannis stated: “And should we die, we die for our Homeland and for our Faith. Such a death is sweet”.
Thus, today, as we piously venerate the tombs of the immortal dead, we raise up our minds and hearts in thanksgiving to our liberators, the heroes and martyrs of the Greek War of Independence.
And as we approach the historic 200-year anniversary of the Revolution of 1821, we assure our forefathers that Orthodoxy and Hellenism have stayed the course and will continue onward, hand-in-hand. They are inseparably bound together. It is the sacred duty of each among us to keep these ideals alive as unbreakable components of each of our shared identity as Greek Orthodox Christians in Great Britain and all of the United Kingdom, as well as around the world.
Also, of course, as we near the 200-year anniversary of the Revolution of 1821, we will not neglect the still-open wound that continues to afflict the body of Cypriot Hellenism. We demand that the international community at long last address the plight of this martyric island and bring healing to the long-standing unresolved division there, according to the statutes of international law and with respect for those who lost their lives or were displaced from their homes, so that Cyprus may secure for herself an unwavering trajectory of peace into the future.
London, 18 March 2020
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain