25 March 1821 is an extremely important Date that every Greek Orthodox should always remember!
Lest We Forget…
It is a Double Celebration,
a Double Joy,
a Double Feast,
a Double Victory!!
1. A National Feast: The Annunciation (“Evangelismos”) of the Theotokos (Mother of God).
2. An Orthodox Feast: The Liberation Of Greece or, The Declaration of the War of National Independence of Greece from the Ottoman Oppression.
Both Feasts are highly significant for all Greeks Worldwide, unless some happen to be atheists or Masons who have no interest in Orthodox Celebrations and rather oppose them with alarming animosity…
Let’s take a brief look at both.
1. The Annunciation:
From every other woman in the world, Mary is chosen with the Greatest Honour Ever! She becomes the Most honourable Woman, more hounourable than the Cheruvim, the most Gracious and Full of Grace, addressed by an Archangel with a Super-Exclusive Salutation, an especially rare greeting that has never been rendered ever before to any other woman in the history of the Bible: “i Keharitomeni!”=The Woman who has the fullness of grace!
She is chosen – By Divine Choice – to be the Special One, the Pure One, the Holy Mother of Jesus Christ the Lord and God! It’s not a small thing to be the actual Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord, and I cannot believe nor undersyand that there are “christians” out there, (how dare they!) who degrade her and speak very lowly of her! We, the Orthodx, do not worship her but we rightfully “give honour to whom honour is due!” (Romans 13:7).
Christ the Word of God, the “Logos”, has no Mother in Heaven and no Father on earth! He is born pre-eternally of the Father in Heaven and conceived by the descent of God the Holy Spirit within the Virgin’s Womb. A “Virgin-Birth” is no extraordinary Miracle or something “difficult to perform” for the Almighty God! The most “difficult” for God was to “empty Himself”, “strip Himself” from His Divinity:
“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and gifted Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, (in Divine worship) in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (God), to the glory of God the Father!” (Philip. 2:5-11).
She is called “Mother of God” not because she gave birth to God in Heaven, but to the Human Nature which Christ united with His Divine Nature (which He always had from before time and “there was never a time that He was not God – “St Athanasios the Great”) and thus became the God-Man Jesus, “o Theanthropos Iisous!”
She is called “Panayia” = The Most Holy One, NOT in comparison to God but in comparison to other humans, other Saints. She is “The Virgin” and “Ever-Virgin” because she bypassed the laws of nature and remained a Virgin even after giving Birth! This is exactly what the 3 Stars signify on her Veil in her Icon: She was a Virgin:
* Before Birth,
* During Birth and
* After Birth!
She even defended her Virginity and that is WHY she strictly asked the Angel:
“But HOW could this ever happen since I am NOT with a man?” (and do not intend to be either)…
Once the Archangel assured her that there would be no human interraction but this will be an Act of God, a Miracle generated by the Holy Spirit, she then bowed in reverence, willingly agreed, humbly submitted to God’s will and said:
“Here I am! May it then happen according to God’s will!”
And thus she wrote Glorious History by being the most glorious Woman ever, “the Altar”, “the Holy Chalice”, “the Ark”, “the Channel”, “the Sacred Heavenly Ladder” and “the Gate through which the Lord of Israel has entered! And this Gate remained SHUT, even while He entered and passed through it!” (Ezekiel 44, 2).
The Redeemer, the Saviour of All, carried out His Plan of Divine Economy for the Salvation of the World and the Panayia played an immense role!
Being the Theotokos, the Mother of God, she also became the Mother of all Christians, just as Jesus Christ said to Apostle John whilst still on the Cross:
“Take her as your Mother!”
The Holy Feast of the Annunciation, of “Evangelismos”, speaks not only of the Good News of Salvation, but of the Great, the Greatest News: that Salvation is here because God is here! God appeared through Mary, “God appeared in the Flesh!” (1 Timothy 3:16).
And now a few thoughts regarding the National Feast:
From 1453 onwards, the Orthodox Greeks were slaves for 400 years to the Ottomans, the Turks who illegally occupied the Holy City of Constantinople. We suffered untold slavery and fearsome martyrdom. But this is how we spread: not by killing but by being killed…
The Very Ancient, Outstanding Historical Nation that produced all Sciences & Arts, the Most Sacred Cradle of Democracy and Holy Nurturer of Orthodox Christianity, is now conquered by barbarism…
We did not ever give up hope and did not lose our heritage, our ethnicity, our utmost love for our Nation and especially for Orthodoxy!
We had deep, unshakable faith that one special day: “Once again by the passing of years and times, it will all be ours again!” («Πάλι με χρόνια με καιρούς, πάλι δικά μας θα’ ναι!»).
And this special Day came! It came on the 25 March 1821, where the Most Respected Bishop Yermanos of Patras, Greece, raised up the Glorious Cross of Christ and proclaimed that the Glorious Trinitarian God is with the Greeks! Representing, voicing and being wholeheartedly embraced by ALL Greeks, he proclaimed the Holy War of Independence, which was NOT “to expand our national borders and kill others to make them Orthodox” but to regain our God-given Freedom to remain Orthodox and fight for the sake of our Holy Orthodox Faith!
The Huge, World-Famous Greek Victory that followed, was seen and recognised as one of the Greatest triumphs of Orthodoxy!
Glory to our Glorious God for All!