The Ideals For Which the Orthodox Greeks of 1821 Struggled

Delivered June 5, 1866.

We began speaking last Sunday by clarifying the nature of the undertaking of 1821 and we considered it necessary first to explain the nature and objective of the polis (state). Since the task of 1821 is political in nature, it cannot be understood by those who are un­aware of what a polis is. The nature and purpose of the polis must be explained by means of rational analysis and the need for each and every constituent part of the polis must  be demonstrated. In this way we will be able to understand the political virtue in which every Greek must share who desires to contribute to the glorious completion of the glorious task.

As you will remember, the virtue of the good citizen consists in loving and saving the whole polis, and not simply a part of it. It means to care for the part as one cares for the whole, and to detest and shun foolish partisanship which sacrifices the whole supposedly to save the part, while not realizing that a person thus falls victim to his own folly. Judge for yourselves. Can we expect to complete a feat such as that of 1821 which calls for the maximum of harmony and political prudence while we create factions and wrong ourselves and the whole polis? Can we ever destroy that barbarous power which has wronged and insulted our beloved fatherland for so many centuries by beginning with our own destruction? Can we ever liberate our brethren who are in captivity and affliction, [NOTE: Epirus. Macedonia, Thrace, Crete, Cyprus and the Greeks of Asia Minor were still awaiting Independence.] while we ourselves are enslaved by dishonorable passions? “There is need especially for money,” the Athenian orator of old once exclaimed, “and without it none of the necessary things can be done.” But I say to you: there is a need especially for prudence and virtue, for without these, though we have abundance of money, none of the necessary things can be done. It is painful and heart-rending to discover that after coming in contact with  the wicked polis and its evil offspring, we have become so diseased, that today we have been rendered incapable of under­ taking a valiant and glorious endeavor. I am comforted, however, by thinking that the illness is weaker than the virtue inherent in the Greek and that it will never overcome this congenital quality.

Now rationality is the Greek’s natural virtue. Rationality consists of comprehending readily rational truths and obeying eagerly the voice of the Orthos Logos (Right Reason). The Greek is as grateful and submissive to reason, which gently and without force advises the best things, as he is unsubdued and disobedient to a tyrannical and arbitrary will. The Greek, on the one hand, rebels against tyranny, but on the other hand, bows before the truth. I rejoice today as I behold the ancestral virtue blossoming forth again in all of you. I rejoice because you did not belie my judgment of you, but rather confirmed my word through your deeds. As you recall, in the previous address I stated that you resemble a healthy and beautiful body whose natural beauty has been effaced because of a dreadful disease which has infected it. When the illness is overcome with a curative, however, the natural beauty is immediately restored. The general response to my previous address, the increase in the number of my listeners, and the willingness to listen to an instructive and not a demagogical address – to what do these all attest, but that the illness of partisanship is failing by the power of the spoken word which is rekindling and nourishing our innate rationality. Is not our natural and praiseworthy comeliness which momentarily left us returning to us? These things bear witness to the fact that I am truly praising you, and not flattering you. For praise differs from flattery, just as teaching differs from demagogy. Praise lauds real virtue while envisioning a greater record  of virtue.  Flattery  on the  contrary,  extols  existing  evil as virtue in order to destroy the more quickly the one being flattered by making him worse than he is. Just as physicians themselves strengthen the sick by giving them medical tonics, so do I today bestow upon you rightful praise for the strengthening of your soul. Become worthy of greater praise by displaying greater virtue, in order that the mouths of the philo-Tuks may be shut up, that those of the phil-Hellenes be opened, and our affairs fare more favorably.

Let us all say with all our soul and with all our mind let us say [Taken verbatim from the text of the Orthodox Liturgy]: in preference to the ideals in the name of which the glorious and sacred struggle of 1821 was begun, let every faction and party go to the devil, and let every dissension be altogether obliterated from Greece. Yes, brethren! Thus must it be done in order that the under­ taking of 1821 be consummated as quickly and as well as possible. Judge for yourselves. How can we complete the glorious feat of 1821, unless we all align ourselves under the banner of the principles for which the Greek of 1821 died fighting? We must understand these ideals and principles well. For one fights well when one understands well that for which he is fighting. Since we even pride ourselves upon the fact that rationality is a natural virtue with us, it is in no way becoming to the rational Greek to be ignorant of the cause for which he is struggling. Let us, therefore, ask who Christ is and what a fatherland is, what faith in Christ is and what the freedom of the fatherland is, because according to our patriotic anthem our struggle is for these two ideals.

All these questions are adequately explained and clarified on the force of the very concept and definition of the polis. As you recall, we made a distinction between the visible and the noumemous polis. We also indicated that the polis is comprised of these four constituent parts: the house and the citizens; the temple of worship and religion; the palace and the government; the school and philosophy. Consider the three constituent parts of the polis, i.e. the temple of worship and religion; the palace and the government; the school and philosophy; and comprehend them not only as three, but also, as one. Now we call the three one because the three originate from one source; they aim at one and the same objective; and they have an indivisible unity. If you take away one of the three, the other two are lost immediately. This triad and monad of the polis has such a logos relationship to the citizens, as a mother has to her children; For every citizen is born, nourished, and educated by the laws and the principles of the polis, by the established religion, government, and philosophy without which neither the polis can exist, nor can citizens be born. Justly then should the cause of birth, nourishment, and education be called “motherland” and “fatherland,” while they who are born, nourished, and educated by the fatherland should be called its children. Thus, here is the answer to the question: what is the fatherland?

The religion, government, and philosophy established in Christ, being a triad and a monad, by which citizens are born, nourished, and educated, and thus made noble and good, saintly, just, prudent, and partakers of the divine nature – this is our motherland and fatherland.

This scientific definition essentially is identical to the simple an­swer of the Greek villager who, when asked by an English tourist what is his country, pointed to a Church with his cane. The Ecclesia (Church) of God is our motherland and fatherland, and this conviction is deeply rooted in the heart of every Greek. This feeling of the people differs from the given definition as a seed differs from a tree or a plant which exists potentially in the seed. The scientific definition  is  the development of the national sentiment; it is the tree which lies potentially within the seed. Hence it is inferred that there can be no discord and divisiveness between the Greek masses and the Greek intelligentsia. The national paideia (culture) does nothing else but develop the seeds of the truths ·that an; inherent in the conscience of our nation, and lead them to scientific activity for the enlightment of the masses. National paideia (culture) advances and benefits our nation, and is loved and honored by our nation. On the contrary, the anti-national paideia does not develop put rather distorts and corrupts the seeds of the truth by replacing them with the tares of the foe, and murders our country. Such a culture, there­fore, is to be despised, dishonored, and rejected. It has nothing in common with  science and with truth; but bears within itself only a deadly Poison, and consequently the destruction of our nation.

Our scientific definition seals the mouths of those who with sophis­try slander the dogma of the Holy Trinity. How, say the sophists and they who conceitedly think they are wise, how are three one and one three? How can there be one God and three Gods? And  how are the three Gods one God? To those saying such things, we also have the following  to  say: “Oh most excellent gentlemen, your eye is small, or rather dull, and it cannot see heavenly things. Gaze rather at earthly things, and look at our polis and fatherland. Behold the temple of worship, the palace, and the school of our polis, and understand the noumena through them, viz. religion; government, and philosophy. Are not these three institutions distinct? But are they not also one? For the three are from one; they seek to attain one end; and they are united and indivisible in such a way that no single one of the three can exist without the others. If then, most wise gentlemen, you are unable to understand and believe earthly things, how will you be able to understand and believe heavenly things? God who said, “Let us create man in our image and likeness,” also said, “Let us create the Ecclesia of men in our image and likeness” in order that by means of the images, the creator and absolute sovereign of all may be understood and worshipped. Thus just as the Ecclesia (Church) is one and triune, so too God who created her is one and triune. Allow yourselves to be led then from the contemplation of the image to the noesis of the prototype, and understand your creator and the giver of our polis. Love God for He is morally most beautiful and most good. Do not quarrel sophistically about truth which is so plain to those who are not blunt in vision.

We have spoken these things in order to silence the sophists. Let us now consider the political implications of the Trinitarian dogma. This dogma is not an empty and fruitless theory serving simply the delight of certain scholastic minds, as they say; it is rather a source of action and energy, and the cause of a happy life. The Heavenly Trinity, being full of vital power and energy, naturally loves our Trinitarian fatherland which it created in its own image and likeness. The divine Trinity, therefore, cares for our country, provides for it, and delivers it from all kinds of dangers and afflictions. Wrongly then do some say that the three earthly powers, England, France, and Russia, saved our country from danger, and that they care for and protect us. In truth, the three heavenly powers, that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ruling over all heavenly and earthly Powers, delivered us from all perils. It is they that care for and provide the best things for us. The earthly powers, however, do not protect us; rather they enchain us. Since they are divided among themselves, they divide us too and create factions and parties among us which are the cause of our ills and difficulties today. The Heavenly Trinity does not divide us, nor does it foster insurrections among us; rather it provides us with the perfect model of unity, equality, con­cord, order, and harmony. If we conduct ourselves according to its political science, repudiating the perverse and worldly one, we shall be the most glorious of all the nations upon the face of the earth. The Greek nation comes under the three heavenly powers. It thinks and acts in a way which is neither Russian, nor English, nor French; it deliberates and acts in a purely Greek manner that is to say, the Greek nation follows the path which was indicated for it by Him said; “Let us create the Ecclesia in our image and likeness, and let it subdue the whole  earth.” The political science  of  Greece  is heavenly and a prototype. All the other nations must act in accord­ance to this science casting off their own political science as a perverse one and the cause of wicked things. So much then as regards our practical obligations stemming from the Trinitarian dogma from which every beautiful and good thing flows abundantly as from a plentiful source [NOTE: Indicative of how Makrakis interpreted ancient dogmas in a dynamic manner, transforming the dead letter into a quickening Spirit]. Now let us respond also to the question: who is Christ?

Christ is the Head, Bridegroom, and Spouse of our motherland. Christ has such a logos relationship with our motherland as the head has with our body. For just as when one is beheaded he is killed, so too does our country perish when Christ is removed from it. Without Christ, the High Priest, a holy and blameless religion cannot exist. Only Papal fanaticism, superstition, and impiety remain. Without Christ, the King, there is no equitable and just state, but rather, Roman jurisprudence, egoism, tyranny, and anarchy. Without Christ, the Guide and Master, there is no truth and true philosophy, but rather, skepticism or feigned wisdom. Now without a holy religion, the equitable state, and the true philosophy, there is no Greek polis and fatherland, but rather a perverse and a shameful Babylon. With­ out the Greek polis and fatherland, it is obvious that there are no Greeks either, but rather, barbarous people and wild beasts. We live for the sake of the fatherland; the fatherland lives for the sake of Christ. Now if we live for the sake of the fatherland, the soul of our soul is the fatherland, while the soul of the fatherland is Christ. Since the disintegration of component elements is called death, we die separated from the fatherland, as the fatherland dies, when separated from Christ. Life comes to us from Christ by means of the father­land. Securing our unity with the source of our life is a matter of vital concern and one for which we must struggle and fight with all our might.

The union of Christ with our country and motherland is called marriage. This is why Christ is called the “Bridegroom” and our motherland is called the “Bride.” Just as a woman without a man remains childless, so too our motherland without Christ is incapable of bearing and nourishing children. This marriage was instituted by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as is written in the Gospels: “A certain man had a wedding for his son.” The Apostle Paul introduced us to this marriage, for he writes to the Corinthians: “. . . I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.” “Whom God hath joined  together, let no man put asunder.” But neither can anyone put this bond asunder. Every human or satanic attempt to dissolve this good and divinely instituted marriage is futile. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We are born, nourished, and educated by virtue of this excellent marriage. This is why we are called beloved sons of God, destined for the praise of the glory of the Great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for whom and through whom are all things. Christ and our motherland are as parents to us in the precise and proper sense of the word. We are all then brothers in the exact sense of the word. Wherever there is brotherhood, there also is equality; wherever there is equality, aristocracy and a privileged class have no place. Aristocracy and privileges are altogether opposed to the nature of the Greek polis and fatherland, to the nature and the character of the Greek nation; for this reason they do not have a proper place among us.

I opened this speech by stating that there is especially need for prudence and virtue; that without these we have an abundance of material wealth, those things that must be done cannot be done. Now from what has been said, it already becomes clear what needed prudence and virtue consist of. Prudence consists of understanding the truth, of understanding who Christ and our motherland are; and that they are related to us as parents to children. Virtue consists of loving Christ as much as Christ loves us. Did Christ die for our salva­tion and glory? We too must scorn death and pain for the honor and the glory of Christ. How many victories, how many trophies, how many glorious deeds does the love for Christ and truly praiseworthy love of country achieve! For us, love of country is nothing else but love for Christ and for those who are Christ’s. He who possesses this virtue loves his brother and is benevolent. For no one who loves his mother does injustice to her children and his brothers, but  rather cares for and cherishes them as much as he can. Now Christ indicates the care of his sheep as the sign of his own love: “Simon, son of Jonas,” he asks, “lovest thou Me?” ”Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” Thus there is no doubt at all that the love for one’s brothers is inseparable from the love for one’s country; and that he who loves his country loves also his brother, while he who loves Christ loves them both. It is only with such prudence and such virtue that the task of 1821 can be completed in the quickest and the best manner; otherwise, it will not be completed at all.

Now let us hear also what the divine law commands us: “Honor your father and your mother in order that you may prosper, and that you may have a long life upon earth.” To dishonor one’s parents h the greatest crime. For this reason the law states also: “Let him who speaks ill of his father or mother be put to death.” He who is prudent and loves h_1s country honors his parents according to the divine law, He loves his brothers and always and everywhere works the deeds of honor and glory. But he who is senseless and foolish dishonors Christ and his motherland by denying and speaking ill of them, for which reason he loves foreign mores and customs. In order, therefore, that we may avoid death and enjoy a long life on earth, we must cast off foolishness and other vices, and strive after prudence and the other virtue which is inseparable from it. No one nourished and educated in the motherland and by the motherland speaks ill of and dishonors his father and mother; but only they, who like the prodigal son, aban­doned the paternal home and, withdrawing to a distant land, squan­dered the property of his parents by living a dissolute life. If these prodigal sons come to their senses and return to the paternal home, confessing that they sinned by dishonoring such a father and such a mother, they will be shown much mercy and will merit great glory, gladdening their parents and rejoicing in the bosom of their love. We not only shall refrain from showing envy, but we shall also glorify God exceedingly; for our brothers were dead and came to life again; they were lost and were found. The good shepherd seeks out the lost sheep, and the woman searches for the drachma which she lost. Now if they are found and become aligned under the banner of 1821 oh what joy there will be in heaven and what great rejoicing upon earth! “. . . There will be more Joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Brethren, there is a battle before us.

“For the holy faith of Christ,
For the freedom of the fatherland!” *

[* The vow taken by all the revolting Greeks in 1821]

Shall we – who well know who Christ and the motherland are – not honor our father and mother in order that we may prosper and enjoy a long life upon earth? Yes, let us honor them in order that we may prove ourselves noble and valiant children of a noble and glorious fatherland, and not children born of fornication. In this way no one can reproach us in a Homeric manner saying: “Behold people who are without brotherhood, lawless, homeless, useless, a dead weight on earth, worthy of drowning and perdition.” Behold the principles in the name of which the glorious and sacred struggle of 1821 began! Behold the sublime ideals from which all the duties of both our inner and outer Political science spring! Why then did I often state and write that there are neither political principles nor political men in Greece? Because the ethnic ideals suffered an eclipse, as occurs to the sun. Just as when the eclipse of the sun takes place and the unlearned think that the sun has disappeared, so too they regarded the apparent eclipse of the ethnic principles as their extinction. But lo, the time of the eclipse has passed, and the political horizon of our country is illuminated anew. We can see afresh the national ideals and responsibilities which both our inner and outer political science imposes upon us and which arise from them. What then are these responsibilities? We come to reply to this question by explaining what the freedom of the fatherland is and what faith in Christ is.

Freedom of the fatherland presupposes autonomy. Freedom and autonomy are two distinct concepts, but so interrelated that the one cannot be understood without the other. In order that we may reach a clear and accurate understanding of them, we must again examine the polis in another perspective.

Let us view the polis as comprised of three parts: the laws, those who govern, and those who are governed. There are three distin­guishable kinds of laws and authorities of the polis: religious laws and religious authority; political laws and political authority; and philosophical  laws  and  philosophical  or  intellectual  authority The religious laws and religious authority govern our relations with God and our duties to God. The political laws and political authority govern our duties and relations with  one another. The philosophical laws and educational authority govern the intellect of the citizens and preserve harmony in the polis. Understand Christ as the head over all the laws and all authorities. It is from Him that religious, political. and philosophical law springs, as well as the offices of priesthood, government, and prophecy. The citizens are governed on the basis of this three-fold authority of the polis and show forth the virtues of holiness, righteousness, and prudence, while living the life of freedom and felicity. Viewed in such an analysis, our polis and fatherland again seems to have as Lord and head Christ from Whom all laws, all authority, and all offices originate; on the other hand, as the ministers and servants of Christ and of the laws, the polis has the governing ones, through whom it begets, nourishes, and educates the citizens. When these matters ate understood in such a way, autonomy is exhibited in the arrangement of the laws which the polis itself cherishes and loves. Freedom is exhibited in the absolute and boundless activity of all authority in accordance to the existing laws. The autonomy of the fatherland demands that all the existing or established laws are in agreement with the acknowledged Head of the fatherland. Freedom requires that the demand of the existing laws be executed freely and unconditionally by the designated public servants. Autonomy precedes freedom: It is impossible for us to have a free country, unless we previously had an autonomous country. The autonomy of the father­land is abolished when foreign and adulterated laws which are in opposition to the authority of Christ displace the genuine laws. Free­dom is forfeited when the lawful activity of the three-fold authority is hindered or oppressed by a hostile power, or by human caprice and desire. The concept of freedom excludes wholly the idea of bonds or restrictions. A free public servant is only the person who in no way is hindered in carrying out the law, neither by his own desire, nor by that of another.

Thus also did the ancients aptly declare that he who governs must first govern himself. When autonomy is lost, freedom is also sur­rendered. The abolition of freedom, however, does not necessarily entail the abolition of autonomy. For it is possible that a hostile power may obstruct or restrict the activity of the public servants of State, Church, and School, as it sees fit, while not nullifying the exist­ing laws by introducing others. But existing laws which are not en­ forced are of no avail. Thus while freedom without autonomy is intrinsically impossible, autonomy without freedom is of no avail. Consequently both the autonomy and the freedom of the fatherland must be established and must be fought for with all our might. A polis which is not autonomous and free is ”not worth its salt.” The virtue and the happiness of the citizens progresses in proportion to the polis’ autonomy and freedom. Does the polis enjoy complete and perfect autonomy and freedom? If so, then the citizens become adorned with every virtue and rejoice in complete and perfect happi­ness. Virtue wanes, evil and misery augment in proportion as freedom is curtailed and autonomy is overthrown or obliterated.

O chosen people of Greece! Do you desire your happiness? Seek out your complete and perfect autonomy and freedom. Seek them out – but rationally, not through mob rule. A people who strive after its own autonomy and freedom rationally is not mad; neither does it behead its ruler, nor does it profane the holy, nor does it loot homes, nor does it perpetrate anything unlawful. Rather, such a people ask: does the existing and prevailing legislation in this land, which was redeemed with the blood of my fathers who fought for the faith and fatherland, originate from within my head and was it enacted by the vote and test of my enlightened will, or was it not? After the question, one proceeds to the diagnosis; from the diagnosis to the decision; from the decision to the execution. This is the way, O Greek nation, and this is the rational manner in which you should seek your autonomy and your freedom. For, unfortunately, with the exception of the law code of the Church, every other code is neither the product of your mind, nor the decree of your enlightened will, but an evil futility from the wicked Babylon, perversely created by corrupt men for the overthrow of your autonomy and the abolition of your freedom. You are autonomous only religiously, while politically and intellectually you are subject to tyranny and dishonor [NOTE: The message of Makrakis was the relevance of Christ to both the intellectual and political areas of human life]. But even the autonomy of the Church is of no avail because it is autonomy without freedom; because the activity of the ecclesiastical authority is fettered from all sides and is oppressed by the anti-national forces which oppose the rights of the Church and the freedom of the fatherland.

When the Synodal Tome was issued by the Ecumenical Patriarch­ate of Constantinople through which the independence of the Church of Greece was recognized, a great clamor arose here against having a government within a government. There were those who wrote and proclaimed that we should avoid this irregularity with all the power within our means. At that time I was still studying at the Great School of the Race [i.e. the Patriarchal College of Constantinople]. I heard many arguments against having a state within a state, but I was quite at a loss as to the meaning of this expression. Those who were opposing the idea were actually saying nothing clear about it. But eventually I realized for myself that having a government within a government is truly the greatest of absurdities. For just as Christ teaches, it is not permissible to serve two masters. And having a government within a government means nothing else but recognizing contrary authorities and serving two masters. When I finally understood the significance of the expres­sion, I also became aware of the fact that those who were rejecting this absurdity were actually working for it without realizing it; and that they in fact were the ones who were creating a state within a state. In Greece government has only one authority, Christ. Who is also confessed as the head of the Church and Lord of us all. When, therefore, in Greece we recognize anti-Christ authorities and laws which are contrary to those of Christ, what else results except the absurdity of the state within the state against which so much opposition was raised? Thus we should give up this absurdity with all our might by dishonoring and abolishing every law which is contrary to the prevailing authority [NOTE: Separation of Church and State for Makrakis was impossible in a unified homogeneous Orthodox commonwealth]. The responsibility of the inner political science held by those who are aligned under the banner of the ideals of 1821 is complete and perfect autonomy and freedom. The Greek of 1821 fell in battle

“For the holy faith of Christ,
For the freedom of the fatherland!”

The Church and the fatherland must therefore be autonomous and free in every way and for everything. What our outer political science should be will become quite clear, once we explain the holy faith in Christ, our calling, and our destiny in another discourse.

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