Polish military in the uniform of a lancer of the cavalry. Early 19th century.

 

SHP visited recently the historic community of Peta in the prefecture of Arta (Greece), and met the particularly dynamic mayor of the wider area, Ms. Rozina Vavetsi. The municipality of Peta (municipality Nikolaou Skoufa), has taken many initiatives during the recent years to highlight the contribution of the Philhellenes during the Greek Revolution.

In this context, SHP visited the wider area, the battlefield of Peta, the city, and of course, the monument of the Philhellenes.

The most moving moment was that of the visit to the church of Agios Georgios (St George), located in the central square of Peta. In this sacred place, one of the most heroic moments of the war for the liberation of Greece took place after the end of the battle of Peta, on July 16, 1822.

When the Philhellenes were surrounded by thousands of enemy forces, after the betrayal of the Chieftain Bacolas, fifteen Poles of the battalion of the Philhellenes, led by the Polish officer Mierzewski, fortified themselves in the church of St. George and fought for a long time with incredible bravery.

The church of St George in Peta (Arta, Northern Greece)

The battle was fierce. In the end, when the church was surrounded by the Turks, the Polish heroes came to fight body to body, inflicting terrible losses on the enemy. Finally, they climbed to the roof of the church, and continued to fight from there.

Polish officer in the uniform of the cavalry. Early 19th century.

Polish soldier in infantry uniform. Early 19th century.

The cowardly enemy realized that he could not defeat the brave Polish Philhellenes, who fought with the bravery, passion and sense of self-sacrifice of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. So in the end the Turks set fire to the roof of the church, to give a heroic end to these fearless fighters, who have now passed into eternity.

Greece and the Greeks will always be grateful to these heroes, and their sacrifice will constitute a permanent bridge of friendship and cooperation with the friendly people of Poland.

SHP will honor the contribution of the Polish Philhellenes in a special event that will be organized next year.

 

 

We are saddened and troubled by the information that the State of Turkey intends to convert the museum-monument of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to a mosque.

Independently of any religious or other ethnic state-centered convictions and assumptions we wish to emphatically remind all concerned that Hagia Sophia, already since 1985, has been identified as a world cultural heritage monument designated to function as a museum since 1934, which it has been to this day.

All cultural monuments are bearers of the highest symbolic values and, thereby, the property of world civilization. They are imbued with the timeless values of humankind which ought not to be altered, destroyed or exploited in the service of propaganda.

We call on all art history colleagues and, more widely, humanities and cultural studies scholars as well as all international historians and caring individuals, to protest and take action towards the rescinding of the intention of the Turkish government. As far as we are concerned, we will broadcast our opposition to its actions in every direction in the hope that the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul will not be altered and lose its multicultural and artistic character.

Additionally, we call upon all official agencies, including UNESCO, to proceed towards severe sanctions in light of the Turkish State’s attempted action to affect the historical and cultural character of the monument.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul firmly belongs to the ecumenical civilization of all humanity.

Athens, July 17, 2020
The executive board of the Association of Greek Art Historians

 

 

April 25, 1871, Program for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Greek Revolution, with aν eulogy at the Cathedral of Athens, in the presence of the royal couple, the Council of Ministers and other members of the Holy Synod, as well as representatives of foreign powers (EEF Collection).

Xeni D. Baloti

 

– “No! Prior to the French Revolution was the English Revolution in 1688”, Prime Minister M.Thatcher complained when she was informed that the President of France wanted to connect the G7 Summit, 1989, with the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution!

– “It is astounding that some wish to be the first ones to be imputed the practice of decapitation” Fr.Mitterrand shrewdly responded to her smiling, albeit without obviously naming her, fairly enjoying the success of the internationalization of the festivities.

In 1989 43 million visitors arrived in France solely to attend the 200th anniversary celebrations while more than 300 events were held in 115 countries to honour 1789.

The endeavour of the internalization of the “200th anniversary” was not an easy one, yet it was not the most difficult as many aspects of the French Revolution arise heated debate even today. Hence, in 1986 when the arranging of the celebrations was launched it was decided, in order for the French people not tο be divided amongst the glorious and dark pages of its Revolution, to focus on the Storming of the Bastille and the adoption of “The Declaration of Man and of the Citizen” converting at the same time the events to tribute paid to the triptych “Freedom-Equality-Fraternity” so that it can continue to be a reference for the people who envisage a better future.

Via this right balance every French citizen felt that the “200th anniversary” is a matter of their concern, thus the most consented in principle!»

To maintain this agreement the “Committee for the 200th celebrations of the French Revolution and the Declaration of Man and of the Citizen” was appointed by the Prime Minister of France (hereafter referred to as “1789 Committee”) within which a second committee was operating, the Interministerial.

In this problematic prima facie composition of the “1789 Committee” is actually hidden the success of the celebrations.

The historian and politician Jean-Noël Jeanneney was designated Head of the “1789 Committee” though all members of the Interministerial committee came under the responsibility of the Minister of Culture, the renowned Jacques Lang. It goes without saying that no one liked this informal diarchy. However, the interest of France prevailed and as later J-N Jeanneney said “J.Lang attached his personal and political importance to the success of the Committee and our plans proceeded apace at government level. The Committee did not operate in a Cartesian manner but ultimately has not gone so badly”.

The next big challenge was the content of the celebrations. Would France navel-gaze between “ifs” and “buts” of the Revolution or allow the people of 1989 to celebrate the “mother of the revolution” and consider the consequences? At that point, the officialdom rather than taking a position chose to appoint members of the “1789 Committee” 46 eminent scientists, historians and rectors, who established that: the commemorations aimed at reminding young people the history of France during the Revolution, the basic principles featuring this historical period and correlate the 1789 legacy with the high stakes in their contemporary times.

The “1789 Committee “ also decided that: a) no official ceremonial was to be established, b) projects and suggestions were to approve to be filed by bodies and individuals for which so long as they were deemed robust for implementation, would be entitled to have the “1789 Committee” Symbol, i.e. 3 flying birds in the colour of the French flag, c) it would decentralise the ceremonies, allowing to each region of France celebrate 1789 relating to its local historical experiences, d) would stipulate a correspondents’ network in order to make an organizational contribution and e) with the edition of a “ Guide for the Revolution” would assist regional Self-Government to boost the  public active involvement and volunteerism.

The “1789 Committee”, in view of the outcome, has proven to be a fully functional machine. There was neither a Ministry Department that has been activated and bequeathed a deliverable work nor an Administrative District lagging in participation. At regional level 7500 ceremonies were carried out and 2500 cultural associations participated in those!

In particular with regard to the “1789 committee’s “own works, apart from the attendance of the completion of the “Major Projects” namely the Louvre Pyramid, Le Grande Arche de la Defense, the Opera Bastille etc. was responsible for the 14th July military parade organisation with the leading theme “the Army of the Nation”, the night artistic parade, devised by Jean-Paule Goude and the musical performance in Place de la Concorde with Jessye Norman. The night of 14th July 1989, 7500 people from all over the world had gathered along Champs Elysées while in the meantime all television networks broadcasted the celebrations to 112 countries.

Almost a year later, the “1789 Committee” completed its assignment submitting to the President of the Republic of France its financial and administrative statement and to the General State Archives all the archival material concerning its operation which is now available to every researcher.

The reader, who has reached that point so far, reasonably wonders whether there was also a research and historical work which has been carried out at the time. Certainly! In fact it has been so productive that 31 years later remains inexhaustible. Nonetheless, this aspect of celebrations belonged to another Committee chaired by M.Vovelle, comprised exclusively of historians, research and academic institutions ,whose overall contribution to the renewal of the historiography of the French Revolution, is worth mentioning in another article along with the “weapons” in its arsenal once the analysis of the particular aspects of 1789-1799  decade started!

If, at their starting point, we wish to compare the French “1789 Committee” to the “2021 Greek” one, we will find out many elements in common. Whether the “2021 Committee” sets a milestone for every commemorative celebration, as it happens with “1789 Committee” for France, is an issue at stake conditional on the goals we have set , the one given: to work solely for the Greek history.

What do Domino’s Pizza, Iggy Pop and Dimitrios Ypsilantis have in common?
In Michigan, USA, in Washtenaw County, there is a city called Ypsilanti.

 

 

Most of us visited on numerous occasions London and its numerous cultural and historical sites. In most of the cases, little attention is paid to the emblematic RAF Memorial in Green Park, located near Hyde Park Corner.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) Memorial commemorates the crews of RAF who participated in particularly dangerous missions during the Second World War. Among them 55,573 pilots and aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, etc. lost their lives during the war. The memorial was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 June 2012.

Apart from paying tribute to all those men who sacrificed their lives to protect Europe from tyranny, this memorial also highlights the values on which Britain, and also Europe and the western civilisation, are founded. These are the values of the Athenian Democracy.

The plinth of the memorial bears a famous text of Pericles, of Athens:

“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”

 

 

 

SHP (www.eefshp.org) announced recently its cooperation with the Prefecture of Attica for the establishment of a Museum on Philhellenism.

The announcement was received with enthusiasm by the thousands of friends of SHP, who are aware of our work and follow our actions.

However, we consider it necessary to explain our initiative and answer some of the questions that may arise.

  • What will be the role of the Prefecture of Attica?
  • Why do we need a museum with this subject?
  • Isn’t the issue covered by some of the other important museums in the country?
  • When will the new museum be ready? Will it be launched before 2021?
  • How will it operate?
  • Who will fund it?
  • Who will ensure its maintenance?

The Museum on Philhellenism is founded by the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) and it constitutes a key element of its mission. SHP designed and organized this project, and it will staff it with important scientists and executives, at its own responsibility and at its own expense.

The projects of SHP are financed by Greek businessmen (who do not have any business relationship with the Greek state), who have already paid important amounts for the formation of the collection, while they have also allocated funds for its expansion of in the future.

In addition to its work and the establishment of the Museum, SHP plays (and it will continue to do so) an important role in the society in many areas. For example, SHP donated recently, in cooperation with its sponsor, Euro 100,000 to the Ministry of National Defense to strengthen military hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.

The role of the Prefecture of Attica, in this phase, is to support certain actions that have to do with the establishment of the Museum and a series of initiatives concerning events in Greece and internationally, during 2021. The support of the Prefecture will follow the applicable procedures.

The Museum will be ready to operate before the end of 2020, in a privately owned building of SHP in Athens, in a place that ensures easy and comfortable access to the public. After 2021, the Museum will move to a new privately owned building in the center of Athens.

The goal of the Museum of Philhellenism is to present art objects, books, documents, medals, letters, personal objects, images – lithographs, etc. that will explain the birth and evolution of Philhellenism, but also the critical role that it played for the liberation of Greece.

The Museum aspires to answer through experiential navigations, to the Greek and foreign visitors, a series of important questions. Here are some of them:

  • How was Philhellenism born from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 19th century?
  • How did it affect education in Europe turning it to Hellenic-centric?
  • How was archeology born?
  • When and how did European citizens realize the importance and uniqueness of Greek culture?
  • Who were Barthelemy and Winkelman?
  • Who inspired Rigas Feraios to design his Charta and to write the Thurios?
  • How was neoclassicism born?
  • Who were the members of the Chenier family in France and what was their role?
  • What was the Greek Language Hotel and what was its contribution to the struggle of the Greeks?
  • How was romanticism born?
  • Who was Shelley?
  • What prompted Lord Byron to love Greece and write his Hellenic-centric emblematic works that became best sellers internationally?
  • How did Lord Byron help the Greek liberation struggle?
  • What were the Philhellenic Committees and what did they offer to the Greek Revolution?
  • Who were their members?
  • What was the Philhellenic music?
  • Who were the Philhellenes who fought in Greece and what did they offer?
  • How many Philhellenes died heroically for Greece or suffered terrible tortures?
  • How many Philhellenes undertook secret missions in favor of Greece?
  • Where are their descendants today and what do they think about Greece?
  • What did the international press write about Greece in the 1820s?
  • How did Philhellenic art evolve and what was its role in the struggle of the Greeks?
  • Which enlightened intellectuals of the time passionately supported Greece?
  • To whom does Normanou Street and Hastings Street in Plaka refer and to whom does Veranzerou Street refer?
  • Who were Eynard and Dr Howe and what did they offer to Greece?
  • What did Garibaldi and Fratti offer in Greece?
  • Why is the term Philhellene a title of honor and identified with noble intentions, while in the case of all other ethnicities, the component “friend” (philos) is placed second, and attributes something with a negative connotation (e.g. Turkophile)?
  • Why only a movement on Philhellenism emerged, and nothing similar for other ethnic groups who also revolted or suffered persecution and genocide during the Ottoman period and later (e.g. Albanians, Serbs, Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Kurds, etc.)?
  • etc. etc. etc.

The answers to these questions form an integral part of modern Greek history and it is a matter of principle for Greece to know this history, to promote it and to pay tribute to those who deserve it.

At the same time, however, the Museum of Philhellenism aspires to emphasize another important dimension.

Professor Jacques Bouchard, Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at the University of Montreal in Canada, explains: “For me Greece represents Hellenism’s anchorage through the ages and the holy Land of the West“.

So why do foreign tourists, but also students from all over the world, crowd in the archeological sites of Greece? Does this act constitute, indirectly or directly, consciously or unconsciously, the “pilgrimage of the citizen of the Western world, to what constitutes the Holy Place of Western civilization”? Isn’t it what the first trip of Lord Byron (and so many other famous and anonymous) to Greece represent? Isn’t it what the work of Byron Childe Harold’s pilgrimage is about?

Greece is the center of a large cultural ecosystem.

The goal of SHP and the Museum on Philhellenism is to allow the whole planet, and especially the societies that are inspired by Western culture and rely on it, to realise that they have a place and an equal role on the side of the Greeks, who continue to be the guardians of the universal humanistic values ​​of freedom and democracy.

Our aim is to build relations of friendship and cooperation with our allies around the world, to whom we will always remind that we honor what their ancestors offered to us, and that they continue to have the same motivation to support Greece, the cradle and the Holy Land of their own culture.

Our aim is to launch a new Philhellenic movement of the 21st century.

SHP and the Museum on Philhellenism aim to fulfil this mission.

 

 

The Propylaea (Propyläen) is an impressive building, which has the form of a monumental gate to Munich, situated at the western side of Königsplatz.

The monument is inspired by Greek architectural principles and the entrance of the Propylaea of the Acropolis in Athens. It was designed by Leo von Klenze, following the Doric order outside, and the Ionic order inside.

The construction was commissioned by Ludwig I, who used for this his own private funds, with an aim to build a symbol of the friendship between Greece and Bavaria, and a memorial for the Greek War of Independence and the accession to the throne of Othon of Greece.

The Propylaea was inaugurated around one year before King Otto resigned from his throne in Greece.

The monument is composed by two towers and a gate in the middle, allowing riders on horses and carts with horses to pass by it to move to the centre of Munich.

Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler designed various reliefs and sculptures to decorate the memorial and to celebrate the Bavarian prince and the Greek War of Independence.

The inner part of the gate, bears on six walls the names of the heroes of the Greek revolution, Greeks and Philhellenes.

 

Nike untying her sandal, is a sculpture of the 5th century BC, from the parapet of the temple of Nike (goddess Victory) on the Acropolis. Georgios Vroutos (1843-1908) complemented the ancient sculpture and revived it in its original beauty.

SHP, in cooperation with its sponsor EUROPEAN DYNAMICS, offered as part of its social responsibility actions, 100.000 Euros to the Ministry of National Defense in Greece, to support its actions against the COVID-19 epidemic. It is reminded that the NIMITS Hospital is one of the reference points for the treatment of patients infected with the COVID-19 virus.

At the same time, SHP congratulates two other organisations which sponsored the activities of SHP in the past.

The Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation, and the Athanasios and Marina Martinou Foundation, which included in their important social responsibility plans, the financing of actions to face the COVID-19 epidemic.

 

The SHP participates as a cooperating institution in Initiative 21 of the 14 foundations and the National Bank of Greece, in the actions to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman yoke. The Initiative 21 prsented already 130 actions during an event at the Concert Hall of Athens (Megaron). The SHP participates in 11 of them, while it organizes alone many other actions in Greece and internationally.

The victory of freedom against tyranny, the exit from the darkness of slavery and the barbarism of cultural silence, to the spiritual light of the Hellenic Ecumenical Civilisation requires constant upgrading to principles and time values​!

You can find more information here.

An original research on the fate of the fighters of Alexander Ypsilantis that survived the lethal battles of the uprising in Moldavia and Wallachia in 1821.Many of them found refuge in Odessa and from there they started their dramatic journey of homecoming to Greece. Their farther destination was Marseilles, from where they were going to embark in ships and sail tothe Aegean. Their course was beset with difficulties.

Fugitives, in rags and starving, exposed to harsh winter elements. Many of them succumbed to these hard conditions while they were making their way through Russia, Poland and Germany. When they reached Switzerland, they were impeded by the policy of the Great Powers, while France blocked their path.

Swiss, organized in more than 100 philhellene associations, offered them hospitality in various

cantons, where they were met with moving support from citizens, from the church, and from the Press. Philhellenes describe in various publications of the era the daily lives of their guests. In their testimonies, which are presented here in Greek translation, they record stories and names of the fugitives, as well as their fight for freedom. Finally, France gives in, and, after a 3.000 km long journey, the Greeks reach Marseilles in 1823. For 158 of them, that boarded three ships, the dream of homecoming becomes reality…

Size: 17 x 24 cm.
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 50
Binding: paperback with flaps
ISBN: 978-618-5209-51-3
Language: Greek

KAPON EDITIONS
23–27 Makriyanni str.,
117 42 Athens, Greece,
Tel.: 210 9235098
Fax: 210 9210983
www.kaponeditions.gr
info@kaponeditions.gr