The Calling and Mission of the Orthodox Greek Nation

Be joyful and rejoice with me! For last Sunday the spoken word with the help of a parable came to teach us the meaning of faith in Christ. Today by means of a certain ancient narrative the spoken word comes to point out clearly the manifest destiny of the Greek nation: You will see  that the  undertaking of  our foreign  policy  will be logically inferred from both stories. Success in this task requires nothing less than the eager willingness and cooperation of the entire Greek nation.

King Darius once had invited guests to a great banquet. When everyone had finished eating, three of his bodyguards decided to take part in a contest to determine who would offer the wisest saying. Each of them agreed to write down a maxim. The one, whose saying would be judged the wisest by the king and the nobles of the court, was to be acclaimed the winner; he would be crowned with royal honors and even be honored as a kinsman of the king. The first contestant wrote, “Wine prevails over all.” The second, “The king prevails over all. The third, whose name was Zorobabel, wrote, “Women prevail, but the truth is victorious over all.”

The king not only approved of the contest, but he summoned all the magistrates and nobles of the empire to judge whose maxim. con­tained the greatest wisdom. After the judges were seated, the first contestant approached and said: “Gentlemen, why does wine not prevail over all? Wine deceives all persons who drink it. It has the same effect upon the mind of both the king and the orphan, the free­ man and the slave, the pauper and the rich man. Wine turns every mind to good cheer; it takes away every sorrow and the memory of every debt; and it thus makes a person so bold that it scorns king and despot. Not only does wine make men versatile, but also it rouses them to war against both friends and brother, thus proving itself more powerful than the bonds of kinship and friendship. When people become sober, they forget what they have done. Gentlemen, why does wine not prevail over all, since it has such power and makes those who indulge do such things?” Having said these things, he sat back in silence.

The second contestant then approached the judges and said: “Gentlemen, man rules over the earth, the sea, and all things in them. But the king rules over all men and they do whatever he commands them. If the king tells his subjects to wage war against another people, they will do it. If he orders them to launch a campaign against an enemy, they will do it. While remaining loyal to the king’s work, his subjects overcome obstacles such as mountains, city-walls, and ram­parts; they kill and are killed. If the subjects are victorious, they carry all the spoils to the king; Those who do not fight in battle, but rather till the soil, pay taxes to the king. Merchants and manufacturers do the same. Should the king order that a certain person be executed, it is done. Should he decree that a person be pardoned, or punished or honored, or  disgraced, it is carried out accordingly. The sovereign decrees that a city be laid waste, or constructed, and it is done. He deems that a tree should be uprooted, or planted, or cut, and so it is: The whole nation and the whole army obey their sovereign. Gentle­men, why can we not say that the king prevails over all, since he has so many people and armies who are servants and executors of his will?” Having said these things, he too remained silent.

When the third contestant, Zorobabel, approached the judges, he began saying: “Gentlemen, it is true that the king is mighty, that he has many subjects and that wine is powerful. But who is it that rules over them all? Is it not women? It is women who bore forth the king and the whole of mankind which is lord over the earth and the sea. It is they also who gave birth to and nourished the men who planted the vines from which wine is made. Women fashion our clothing; they bring glory to men; and there can be no people without women. How weak every man seems to be before a good and beautiful woman! How much gold and silver does one not spend for her? How many pains and hardships does he not undergo for her sake? A man foresakes his father and mother for a woman, and becomes a slave for her; he becomes overwhelmed by her, and finally lays down his life for her. Do you not admit that a king is great in authority, and that all lands revere him? And yet how more powerful than the king is Apame, the daughter of Arsakes the Wonderful? Apame used to be seen sitting on the right hand of the king. With one hand she would remove the crown from the head of the king and place it on her own. With the other hand she would slap the great king, while he gaping stared at her. If she looked at him with a smile, he too would smile. If she was angered with him, he would flatter her that she might speak to him. Gentlemen, how can we say that women do not prevail over all since they do such things?”

Then the king and his court looked at one another, admiring the truth of the contestant’s words, while the latter began to speak about truth: “Gentlemen, are not women powerful, the earth vast? the sky high? the sun rapid in its course? and is not he who creates these things great? Truth too is great and the most powerful force of all. The whole earth calls upon the truth; heaven blesses it; all works shake and tremble at its presence; and whatsoever is unjust has nothing to do with the truth. Wine, the king, women, and sons of men are all unjust, as are all their works in which there is no truth; and in their injustice they suffer perdition. Truth abides and prevails forever; it lives and rules eternally: there is neither prejudice nor corruption in truth; rather truth is concerned only with righteous acts and is quite removed from everything unjust and wicked. All people are pleased with the works of truth, for a truthful judgment allows no element of injustice. Truth is the power, the kingdom, the authority, and the majesty of all the ages. Blessed is the God of truth.” And with this, he stopped talking. Then all the listeners lifted their voices and said: “Great is truth, and it prevails over all things.” Thus it was this man who understood and explained the power of truth that received the award of victory.

Now then you, the chosen people of God, and offspring of the good polis, how can you fail to be triumphant ever all hostile nations, since you are fighting “for the holy faith of Christ,” for the truth and its just claims? Today all the great and powerful nations of the earth have armed formidable armies and fleets, and have entered the battle­ field of blood-thirsty Mars. But for what purpose? One nation is driven on by greed; another is goaded by vainglory. While one nation strives to acquire things it lacks; another fights to guard things it acquired unjustly. Every one of these nations has set its hope upon a treacherous strategy, and upon the blind fate of war. But in God’s name! Do these purposes and motives justify devastations and destruc­tion? Do they justify the shedding of human blood? What kind of a civilization is this?

But such, however, is not the case with us. Brethren, we today are entering the great drama of the political scene not in order to commit injustice or to gain the advantage over another, but rather, to vindi­cate the righteous demands of the eternal Truth which until now have been trodden upon by falsehood and barbarism. We enter the political arena relying not upon arms, not upon war chariots, not upon wea­pons, nor upon great numbers of armies and fleets, but upon the very power of the Truth, for the Truth is great and it prevails over all. The just claim of the Truth can never be abolished, and anyone who fights against it “kicks against the pricks.” The previous oration proved scientifically that the holy faith in Christ, for which the Greek of 1821 died fighting, is nothing else but the very claim of Truth. I say “scientifically”  to the shame of the sophists of this age who think themselves wise. It is they who fight the truth m the name of science, while they themselves are liars and unscientific. The present address comes to prove that the Greek nation was called by God to bear the Truth before the nations and kings and the sons of Israel; to strengthen and fortify the just claim of Truth; and to expend it throughout the earth. Let us then draw up the proof from the words and the deeds of Truth itself.

Christ warned the Jews because of their disobedience and hardness of heart: “Truly, truly I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken  from  you  and  given  to  a  nation  bringing forth the fruits thereof.”[Matthew 21:45] Let us ask: which nation does Christ mean here, to which he transfers the kingdom of God, having taken it from the ungrateful Jews? The prophet Habakkuk responded first to this question, saying: ”Lord, in the midst of two beasts thou shalt be known.” The kingdom of God is taken from the irrational animal which cries out, “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him! and it is given as a gift to the rational animal which harmoniously chants: “I have given heed, O Lord, to the mystery of thy dispensation; I understood thy mighty acts, and glorified thy divinity.”

Secondly Christ himself responds to this question in the following manner: When certain Greeks, who were among those going up to the feast of Passover, asked to see Jesus at the time He was about to be sacrificed as the Lamb of the New Passover, Jesus stated: “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.” [John 12:23] In this manner, the Lord designated the nation through which the Son of Man was about to be glorified; the nation to which the kingdom of God, having been taken from the foolish Jews, was being transferred. Thirdly the calling and mission of the Apostle Paul replies to the question under discussion. Christ spoke of Paul to Ananias in a vision as follows: “. . . He is a chosen vessel of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and Kings and the Sons of Israel.” [Acts 9:15]

Now since St. Paul has passed away let us ask:  who is it that bears the glorious name of Christ before the Gentiles and Kings and the Sons of Israel? Is it not the Greek nation which is his disciple and successor? St. Paul himself testifies to this by writing to the Corin­thians: “If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”[I Cor. 9:2] This is to say that if I, Paul, was called by God as a chosen vessel to carry the glorious name for Christ before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel, after I pass away I leave my work with you. Because if I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

It is, therefore, obvious from these words that the calling and mission of St. Paul became the calling and mission of the Greeks. Paul was a chosen vessel in the same way that the Greek nation is. St. Paul carried the Truth before Gentiles and Kings and the Sons of Israel, as the Greek nation is bearing the same Truth today before the whole earth. For this reason does St. Paul boast, for we are his pride in the day of the Lord, just as he is ours. He boasts because his work shall never be abolished. He knows that he sowed the Truth upon that ground which was to keep the Truth pure and intact until the end. Writing also to Timothy, the first ordained bishop of Ephesian Church, he says: “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to  behave in. the household of  God,  which is the church  of  the living God, and pillar and support of the truth.” [1 Tim 3:14]

According to Paul, therefore, it is not the Bishop or a Pope who is the pillar and support of the truth, but the whole Church, i.e. the God-called and God-enlightened people of the Lord. It is this people, who, while remaining so many centuries without shepherds and teachers, being without guidance or ill-guided, being harassed by so much impiety and unbelief, and abandoned to itself, nonetheless carries the Truth before Gentiles and kings and the sons of lsrael. [Note: Reference is made to the 400-year period of Turkish domination during which the clergy, as well as the laity, underwent oppression and the pastoral ministry of the Church had suffered] And it is this same people of God that shall vindicate all the demands of the Truth. Since the time of Christ, 1866 years have been recorded to this day. Inquire of history: what has the Greek nation been doing during this time, and for what has it been laboring? It has been doing nothing else but bearing the Truth and being engaged in the task to which God has called it. The Greek nation has allowed neither the anti-Christ Mohammed to replace the truth with the blasphemous Koran, nor the pseudo-Christ Pope to overthrow it with hypocrisy and deceit, nor the many divisive heresies to adulterate the Truth through a distortion of Scriptures; nor the atheistic academicians to refute the Truth with sophistry. The Truth fights against all foes, and proves itself more powerful than all of them, for the Truth is great and prevails  over all. The righteous demand of the Truth can never be vanquished, nor can that nation be obliterated which battles.

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

The history of nineteen centuries, therefore, confirms the words of Christ and St. Paul in which the destiny and mission of the Greek people  is  very  clearly  proclaimed.  This  vocation  and destiny was symbolically prefigured by Christ on Palm Sunday. The Gospel writers record that six days before Passover, Jesus, having arrived in Bethany, said to two of His disciples [Matthew 21:2]: “Go into the village opposite you, and straightway as you enter it ye shall find an ass tied and a colt with her, on which no one has ever sat; loose them and bring them unto me. If any man says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord hath need of them.’ “The disciples did as they were told and led the ass to Jesus. Having sat upon the ass, Jesus entered Jerusalem and was acclaimed king by all the people who cried out, “Hosanna, blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel” But these same people after a few days cried out, “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” When Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?” they responded, “We have no king, but Caesar.”

That acclamation, therefore, was a type and a foreshadowing not an actuality; and everything that Christ did on Palm Sunday simply prefigured things to come. Having sat upon the ass, Christ did not enter  Jerusalem to be acclaimed then as the king of the Jews, for shortly thereafter he was to be reviled and crucified by them. Rather, He entered the city in that manner in order to indicate to under­ standing persons the manner in which he was  thereafter to be ac­claimed. Let us examine the allegorical significance of the act: the ass colt upon which no man had ever sat signifies the Greek nation which no power has been able to subject to its own will. The Greek nation has always remained without a master and king, never recog­nizing any other guiding principle save that of right reason and law. In spite of the fact that the Greek nation is such, it nevertheless remained enchained and bound not only by the Roman masters of the earth, but also by the shackles of ancient paganism. Christ sent his disciples out of Bethany to the village opposite them to untie the ass. This means that Christ sent his apostles to Greece which lies opposite Judaea in order to set the Greek nation free from the fetters of idolatry and tyrannical Rome. The Romans and they who lay victims to idolatry and profiting from it objected to the apostles saying, Why are you untying the colt? In defending their action, the apostles were carrying out their mission. They set the Greek nation free from its bonds and led it to obedience to Christ.

Thus Christ alone, by means of the apostolic word, subjected the Greek people to His own will; the Greeks recognized Christ alone as their lawful king, chanting until this day: “That we may receive the king of all, who is encircled invisibly by the hosts or angels. Alleluia!” [Taken from the Cherubic Hymn of the Orthodox Liturgy] While the Jews reject the Kingdom of Christ and recognize that of Caesar, shouting, “We have no king but Caesar. Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” the Greeks reject the authority of Caesar, and recognize the Kingdom of Christ. We have no king save the Son of David, to whom the Lord God said:

“Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”[Psalm 2:8]

Let those who are ignorant, therefore, of the ruling principle and authority which the Greek nation recognizes learn what they are; and let them not speak gross lies, claiming that our nation recognizes no authority. The Greek Revolution, for example, has nothing in common with the French Revolution. The French revolted against the clergy and the aristocracy, and they replaced tyranny with anarchy until they reverted to the point where they had started. We, however, revolted against the anti-Christ authority of Mohammed, battling

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

The French Revolution broke out in the name of the rule of the masses, i.e. anarchy. The Greek Revolution was waged in the name of the rule of Christ, i.e. in the name of the Principle of orderliness, to which the Greek people bow their heads saying, “Let us bow our heads unto the Lord.”[Taken from the Orthodox Liturgy] Never, therefore, will we exchange the Greek principle for French anarchy. Never will we allow the Greek people to be called anarchical, for over our nation there reigns the King of kings and Lord of lords. Now if corrupt diplomacy, apprehensive of the power of the ass since the beginning of the sacred fight, contrived bonds and enchained the ass, Christ sends anew the apostolic word in order to release the ass from the shackles of diplomacy and sin. And should people ask, what are you doing, loosing the ass? Yes, for the Lord hath need of it, in order that sitting upon it, He may go up to the New Zion. There he shall cast out from the Sacred Temple of the Holy Wisdom (St. Sophia) in Constantinople the thieves and robbers, and be acclaimed by both the Jews and the other peoples of the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. [Here Makrakis expresses the “Great Idea”, namely the aspiration of the Greeks for the recovery of Constantinople]

That this must be done was prefigured on Palm Sunday. At that time the Jews acclaimed Christ King as He sat upon the ass loosed by the Apostles. That prefiguration signifies that the Jews will believe in the Son of David, when they see him as Lord of the Greek nation, ruling over the holy city and abolishing the anti-Christ authority and power. Then having become baptized, the Jews shall inhabit Jerusalem, having gathered together from all the nations according to the prophecies concerning this event. Then they shall be fulfilled that which has been written:  “In his days there shall rise up· righteous­ ness and much peace, until the moon is destroyed. And he shall reign supreme from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the world.” The present age is one of tremendous and benevolent changes. The resolving of the drama already begun will be the destruction of the anti-Christ authority of Mohammed: the resurrection of the great Greek kingdom in Byzantium; the conversion of the Jews to Christian­ity; and the preponderance everywhere of Christian Law and Christian Civilization.

The main role in the drama already begun is played by the Greek race, since it bears the Truth before the Gentiles and Kings and the Sons of Israel. The Greek race alone is able to strengthen and fortify everywhere the principle of orderliness and all the just claims of the Truth which it bears.

It is for this reason, therefore, that we must understand well the responsibility of our calling and mission in order that we may act in a manner befitting ourselves and the importance of the matter. We must understand according to the Holy Scriptures of God and the witness of nineteen centuries that we serve as a vessel chosen to carry the Truth before the whole world and to extend it over the entire earth. We must realize the loftiness and glory of our destiny, lest we debase it. The majesty of Christ has become the majesty of the peo­ple who bear Him. The Truth is honorable and glorious as is its vessel. The Truth can never be vanquished as its vessel can never be destroyed. The vessel of the Truth cannot be crushed, for the power of the Truth is its own strength. The Truth is great and it prevails over all; the vessel of the Truth is also great and it too prevails. The powers of England, France, and Russia are great because they have impressive armies and fleets. The Truth and nation that bears it, however, are victorious over all. Blessed be the God of Truth, and blessed by God who selected a vessel worthy of the Truth. Let him who wants to understand the majesty of the Greek nation learn the majesty of Christ. For Christ and we are one; we have become one flesh with Him; and we are bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh [An excellent illustration of the thought of Makrakis in which he demonstrates the political and sociological relevance of Orthodox ecclesiology and Eucharistic theology]. Christ is our pride, glory and praise.

At the International Exposition either of London, or of Paris, we have nothing else worthy of ourselves to exhibit but the Truth which we have held for nineteen centuries. We certainly do not have ornaments and riches to exhibit which come from industrial skill. For it has not been given to us to engage in industry, but rather, to bear the Truth. This is why we have religious, political, and philosophical laws to display; these are derived from Christ the High Priest, King, and Professor. We have Religion, Government, and Philosophy to exhibit, of which the good polis consists, and upon which the happi­ness of society depends. Now, everyone easily understands that with­ out these things everything else is of no value. We saw that the polis is constituted basically of the three institutions that are represented by the temple of worship, the palace, and the school, and that with­ out these it is impossible to inhabit a polis. But which religion befits the temple of worship? Which form of government befits the palace? And which philosophy befits the school? Only we can answer these questions – no one else.

We can claim the best and greatest entry in the International Expo­sition and we excell all other participants. What can measure up to the worth of Christ? Through Him and to Him are all things, and without Him everything is reduced to naught. To have Christ is to possess everything. To have Christ is to lack nothing. This is our glory! this our grandeur! this our pride! As much as we are honored when Christ is honored, so much are we dishonored when Christ is dishonored. It is the Jews and the Judaizers who dishonor Christ, the ones who say that He is not very God of very God, but a liar and imposter. Such people are held as murderers of Christ and guilty of the death of the Son of God. Tell me: is it the sword of the public executioner that beheads the criminals in a state, or the decision of the judge? And if the public executioner beheads an innocent man, who is responsible, the executioner, or the judge? It was not the Roman soldiers who crucified Christ, but rather, the unjust judgment of those around Annas and Caiaphas. And every­ one who denies the divinity of Christ is held as a member of that unlawful Sanhedrin, and shouts together with the Jews: “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him! For He set himself up as the Son of God while in no way being so; may His blood be upon me and upon my children.” For this reason divine judgment shall seek out the blood of Christ from the hand of all those who deny Him; because whosoever denies Christ is a Christ-killer.

Whoever is a Christ-killer is also a Greek-killer. For what else does a person who calls Christ a liar, claim, but that the Greek race, which carries this lie in the face of all sacrifices, is the most foolish and worthless race of all; and that not only is it worthy of no honor and gratitude, but everything to the contrary? The laws punish not only thieves, but also those who are accomplices to the crime. Now if Christ is a liar and worthy of death, is not that nation which has accepted and deified this imposter also worthy of death? Thus just as the glory of Christ is our glory, so too the dishonor of Christ is our dishonor, and every Christ-killer is also a Greek-killer. We also pronounce against such people the necessary excommunication: let every Christ-killer and Greek-killer be excommunicated and accursed! After death let him be beaten and may his body never disintegrate! While even stone and steel dissolve, let such a man never decompose. [NOTE: It is commonly believed among Orthodox that the body of one excommunicated never decomposes]

I must interpret this excommunication to you, because unfortunate­ly it is misunderstood, and instead of being utilized, it is being abused. Let us, therefore, first ask: what does it mean to be excommu­nicated? ”Excommunicated” means to be separated from and cast out of the good polis. It means that he who by reason of his attitude has virtually assassinated the king and the citizens, and has overthrown the whole polis, does not have the right of citizenship. To be excom­municated means that, if a certain Greek, who, having lost his wits altogether, should deny the Divinity of Christ, he is stripped of every civil right, and is considered as a Jew and not a Greek; Such a person is also called accursed, i.e. lacking all rationality and virtue, being replete with every irrationality and wickedness.

When Daniel was put in the lions’ den, the wild beasts recognized him as a prophet of God and did no harm to him, even though they were hungry. In the case of Christ, however, although the law and the prophets, John the Baptist, and Christ’s own words and deeds bore ample witness to him, the Jews were incapable of recognizing Him as the Son of God; rather they ravingly sought his blood, and tore Him as under the judgment of wild beasts. The Christ-killing Jews, there­ fore, are more senseless and wilder than the lions that recognized and respected Daniel. Now is not the one who espouses the judgment and the act of the Jews also a Jew, accursed, and lacking all rationality and virtue, while filled with all evil and irrationality? For this reason, such a person after death does not disintegrate, because he is severely punished; even stones and steel shall dissolve, but such a person will never dissolve. What does this statement mean? Does it not mean, as is commonly understood, that while stones and steel can deteriorate, the body of an excommunicated person in the grave does not decom­pose? No, in fact it does not mean that, but rather, the following: those sentenced to death are executed either by stoning or by the steel sword. The statement, therefore, means that since the stones and the steel by means by which an innocent man is slain are insensate instruments of the perpetrated evil, they are absolved of the crime. In the case of the Christ-killer and and Greek-killer, however, he is in no way absolved, but even after death does not decompose and is severely punished; i.e. he remains unforgiven and is for all eternity beaten like a drum. Such is the significance of the ecclesiastical excommunication which should be pronounced only on those who dishonor Him who is worthy of all honor and glory – only on the Christ-killers and Greek-killers who are replete with every senselessness.

Let us, however brethren, hasten to confirm the fact that we have been called, and chosen! Let us; brethren, make speed to prove by word and deed to the shame of foolish men that, while Christ is the Truth of truths, we were called by God to carry and vindicate the righteous demands of this Truth before Gentiles and Kings and the Sons of Israel. Let us heed to wisdom in order that we may act in a manner befitting ourselves for the glory and praise of God Who has honored us with such a calling and mission. Let us understand perfect­ly well that our calling from God places upon us the responsibility of destroying the anti-Christ authority of Mohammed, and of establish­ing throughout the East and West the Christian law and a Christian Civilization; This is our obligation as regards our foreign policy, a ask respected by all the nations and by every rational person, because it springs logically from venerable and true principles. He who accepts a principle must also accept its inferences and deductions. And that nation which would oppose our foreign policy must first destroy those principles out of which our policy is derived. The object of our foreign policy is identified with the realization of the so-called Great Idea [NOTE: The “Great Idea” or “Megali Idea” refers to the age-long nostalgia of the Greeks for the recovery of Constantinople from the Turks and the restoration of the Byzantine Empire and Civilization with all its former glory and expansion] of the Greek nation, which today has been proved to be both rational and true to the shame of those foolish people who make fun of it. Its success is secured for the following Aristotelian syllogism speaks diviningly in its behalf:

Every rational and true idea becomes actualized.

The Great Idea of the Greek nation has been proved rational and true.

Therefore, the great idea of the Greek nation becomes actualized.

Now the most truthful oracle of the prophets decrees moreover that what ever must be done must be done quickly; Since however, we do not have the time now to cite the related truthful prophecies, we bring this speech to a close and we implore you to be mindful always of these three indivisible and inseparable truths:

  1. Christ is the Truth, and faith in Christ is the just demand of the Truth.
  2. The Greek nation was called by God to bear the Truth before Gentiles and Kings and the Son of Israel; the grandeur of the Greek nation is proportionate to the grandeur of the Truth.
  3. The just demand of the Truth and of our calling place upon us the responsibility of destroying the blasphemous Koran; and of establishing in Constanti­nople and throughout the world Christian Law and Christian Civilization.

This sacred obligation will be the subject of the next discourse.

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