Happy Independence Day! I fully realize in this chilly weather that today is not July 4. March 25, however, marks the 190th anniversary of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Greece was a strong empire, impacting language and culture around the world for much of ancient history. Even after Greece fell to Roman rule, Greek thought and influence remained strong. However, in 1453 the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Empire.
On March 25, 1821, Metropolitan Germanos of Patras raised a revolutionary flag under a tree outside of Agia Lavra, a monastery in the Peloponnese. This wasn’t the first clash between the Greeks and the Ottoman Empire in those 400 years. The Turks had burned monastery, which was built in AD 961, to the ground in 1585. The Greeks rebuilt it in 1600 but then the Ottoman Empire armies of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt destroyed the church in 1715. The Greeks rebuilt it again, and in 1821 Germanos gave an oath to the Greek fighters and raised the flag. Pasha’s army destroyed Agia Lavra again in 1826.
The War for Independence lasted nine years. Finally, on 1829, a small part of Greece was liberated. Slowly, other parts of Greece were liberated. On July 21, 1832, the Treaty of Constantinople, which put the Greek borders in writing, was signed, and on August 30, 1832, it was ratified. Still, it wasn’t until after World War II that other Greek lands were returned to Greece.
You can read my full article on the church where the revolution began in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.
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Get out your blue and white… in New York, the Greek Independence Day Parade will be taking place this Sunday, March 27, beginning at 1:30. The parade goes up Fifth Avenue, starting at 64th Street until it reaches 79th Street.
If you can’t get there, you can watch it on WWOR TV Channel 9. It will be anchored by Greek-Americans Ernie Anastos, Nick Gregory, and Nicole Petallides.
I’ve attended the parade many years, and when I was a kid I even got to ride on one of the floats!
Read my write up on the 76th Annual Greek Independence Day Parade in New York that took place a few years ago on Daily Frappe for more insight on the history of the parade and Greeks life in America.