Hellenic people all over the world, in Greece, Cyprus and the Diaspora, celebrate with year-round events the 200th anniversary of the starting of the National Rebirth for the abolition of the Ottoman yoke, which fell on our nation like a moonless night and held it enslaved for almost 400 years.
Unfortunately, the lingering of the corona-virus pandemic does not allow us to celebrate this historical anniversary, as we would like to. However, we are lucky enough to be able to hold events like this one through the use of modern technology.
We respectfully commemorate and honor the New Martyrs, Ethno-martyrs, heroic fighters, clergy and laity, men and women, who shed their blood, fighting battles in land and sea, in sieges and holocausts, for Jesus Christ and for the liberation of our enslaved homeland.
The national wake-up call that was sent from river Pruth in Moldova and from the Holy Lavra Monastery was also received by the Greek island of Cyrpus, which actively responded and helped the preparation and the Struggle itself, by all means available, as well as in the national struggles that followed, up to our days.
During the preparation for the uprising, the Hieromartyr Kyprianos, Archbishop of Cyprus, had promised to send provisions and financial aid, because an armed revolt against the Turks was deemed unrealistic, due to the island’s proximity to the coast of Turkey. The arrival of Konstantinos Kanaris in Lapithos marks the fulfilment of that promise, as provisions and volunteers boarded the admiral’s fleet in support of the struggle. The historical sources record itineraries to and from Cyprus carrying provisions for the rebels.
During the revolution, a group of Cypriot volunteers under general Hadjipetros formed the “Battalion of Cypriots”. They fought many battles and were admired for their bravery. The battalion was led by its own flag, which had a cyan cross on a white field, and a motto that read “Greek flag, homeland of Cyprus”. A replica of this flag will fly at all the churches in Cyprus, as well as at the building of our Representation, throughout 2021.
The number of Cypriot volunteers is estimated to at least 1,000. The sources claim that 130 of them died in the battle of Athens, while they also had casualties in Messolonghi. There is a monument in the Sacred Town of Messolonghi commemorating the sacrifice of Cypriot volunteers who fought in the siege. The Battalion of Cypriots was revived in 1853, once more under general Hadjipetros, and fought in Thessaly.
After the outbreak of the revolution, the Turks in Cyprus carried out massacres, in order to break the spirit of the Greeks, and punish those who had supported the struggle. The Turkish authorities wanted to discourage any thoughts of spreading the revolution in the island, and also to confiscate the properties of the local leaders and the Church.
The Sultan ordered that the Greeks should be deprived of their weapons. Kyprianos, the Hieromartyr Archbishop, prompted the people to obey, in order to appease the Ottomans, who suspected that there were plans for a local uprising.
On July 9, the Ottoman commander of the island, Kucuk Mehmet Pasha –in agreement with the Sultan–, invited the church and local leaders in the Saray. After arresting them, he executed the Archbishop Kyprianos by hanging, his archdeacon Meletios, and then beheaded the Metropolitans, Chrysanthos of Pafos, Meletios of Kition, Lavrentios of Cyreneia, as well as Abbots of the Monasteries, and elders. In five days, at least 470 Cypriots were executed by hanging or decapitation.
The ottoman reprisals continued throughout the entire Revolution, and it is estimated that the Ottomans slaughtered a total of more than 2,000 Greeks in Cyprus.
Today, after 200 years, the Hellenic people around the world pay homage to the deeds of their heroic ancestors, who watered the tree of liberty with their blood and tears. The maxim “fight for your faith and homeland” echoes as very timely to the ears of modern Greeks. Because today the neo-ottoman expansionism occupies 37% of Cyprus, questions its sovereignty, and demands half of the Aegean Sea; it is obvious that we cannot afford an individualist mindset, but we must rather invest on the “us” priority of the heroic General Makrygiannis. Greeks all over the world, in Cyprus, Greece, and the Diaspora, can repel the pending danger of national mutilation, so long as we are united as firmly as an iron fist, without hoping in vain for an intervention from the foreign powers. We ought to prove worthy of our heroic ancestors, because the upcoming generations will judge us for any faults and shortcomings, or for being phobic. It is required that we reflect on the history of our national rebirth with a critical and productive attitude, in order to have reasonable hope of a bright future, worthy of our millennia-long journey in history. May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us, through the intercessions of the Most-Holy Theotokos. Long live the Greek nation!