Category: Blog

Christ is risen, and life is liberated.

Jesus Christ’s resurrection is the most important and essential celebration for the Orthodox Christianity. It’s the joy and hope for every Christian. Our Lord, after his sacrifice on the cross, showing his infinite love to the human kind, He fulfilled his promise he had given. He rose from the dead. Firstly, he became one of us and participated in the difficulties and pain of human nature because of his compassion and love to the human kind dying for it on the cross. Thereafter, he rose from the dead and gave us the eternal life.

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Greek Clean Monday: the beginning of the Great Lent and Kite Flying

In the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, the greatest feast day of the church year is Easter. The resurrection of Jesus Christ marks the resurrection of the human kind and the passing to the eternal life. The Christians need to prepare themselves spiritually for this great day of Easter. Clean Monday is the beginning of this spiritual preparation and this is why it is called as such. It falls on the 7th Monday before Easter (Pascha)
The Sunday afternoon before Clean Monday, the Christians follow the ritual of forgiveness at church during the Forgiveness Vespers. They forgive each other since this is the first and most important step before starting any spiritual preparation. On Clean Monday, the fasting season starts and lasts about 40 days. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days. People pray at home and at church, do a lot of charity work and try to abstain from sin so as to be able to love God and their fellows. This process is also called “askesis”, a Greek word that is related to spiritual self-discipline.
On Clean Monday, Greeks have many traditional customs. The most popular among them is the kite flying and symbolizes the human eagerness to approach the divine. Families usually go to the countryside where they fly the kite all together. People eat traditional food such as “halvah” – a soft candy made out of sesame paste- and a special kind of bread known as “lagana”. Lagana is made of unleavened bread. This is how it was eaten on the Exodus day when the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, leaving Egypt behind and heading to the land of promise.
Happy Clean Monday!

Aristotle’s legacy

The great Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C) was one of the brightest minds of all time. His work has influenced dramatically our world in various aspects.

 Aristotle was born in Stagira in 384 B.C, a small village located in Macedonia, northern Greece. He came from a wealthy family and his ancestors had come a long way in Medicine. His father serviced as the personal doctor of the Macedonian king Amyntas and Aristotle had received rich and profound education until he became 17 years old. Some of the basic elements of his education that influenced his spirit, included principles of civil liberties such as individual freedom, egalitarianism (the fact that everyone is equal against the laws) and citizen’s participation in the public affairs. Every free man should be engaged in politics or public affairs related to his community.

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Saint Basil the Great, the lion of Christ

Saint Basil the Great was one of the cornestones upon which the Orthodox Christian faith was based on and he belongs to the Great Fathers of the Orthodox Church. He was born in 330 A.D in Neocaesarea of Pontos located in Greek Asia Minor (now modern Turkey). He came from a wealthy and christian family with many children. Saint Basil had 8 siblings, 4 of which became Saints of our Church (Saint Gregory of Nissa, St. Naucratius the wondermaker, Saint Makrina and Saint Peter, bishop of Sevasteia). His educational background was rich and pluralistic. He studied in Caesarea , Constantinople and Athens . It was particularly in Athens where he broadened his knowledge in geometry, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and grammar. Among his classmates there were Saint Gregory the theologian and Julian, later known as the “apostate” Read more

The true meaning of the Olympic spirit

For ancient Greeks, sport meant much more than a way to keep fit. The word in Greek, athlesis (origin of athlete, athletism, pentathlon, etc) derived from the word athlos (άθλος) meaning the achievement of a very challenging goal. The labours of Hercules for example in Greek are called ‘athla’, and it is no coincidence that for ancient athletes, Hercules was their hero representing the man who kept exceeding his own personal limits of physical and spiritual strength. For that reason, statues of Hercules decorated the gymnasia in Ancient Greece as all athletes aspired to be like him. Interestingly, the word gymnasium derives from ‘gymnos’ (γυμνός) which in Greek means naked and so one can say that a gymnasium is the place of the naked. Actually, most of the Greek statues which are notoriously naked represent precisely those athletes who trained without clothes. Read more

Unravelling Pythia’s words

Pythia, is known worldwide as the mysterious woman who gave oracles at Delphi in ancient Greece and her words were respected and feared by all Greeks. Actually, Pythia was not the name of one sole woman but the title of a number of women who served that office. It derives from ancient greek “pinthanomai” (πυνθάνομαι) which means to find out, but also to the Python, the sacred snake guardian of Delphi which, like all snakes, was a symbol of wisdom and secret knowledge. Snakes live in the earth, and in Greek mythology. Python was son of Gaia (Γη) which means Earth (geometry, geography, geology). Read more

The byzantine oikoumene

Have you ever wondered who was the first and the last Roman Emperor? I am sure that you must have found the first one: Julius Ceasar. But what about the last one? The man who represented the last emperor of the Roman legacy is known as Constantine Paleologos. He died fighting against the Ottomans during the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and he spoke Greek.

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Learning Greek means more than learning a language

Are you thinking of learning a new language and Greek is among your possible choices? You may find below some arguments that can help you make up your mind.

First of all, believe it or not, Greek can help you improve your English. How is this possible? About 20% of all English vocabulary comes from Greek. Consequently, there are many words that can come in handy when you speak English and you know the Greek language. Take for example the sciences such as maths, medicine, chemistry, and astronomy. The vast majority of the relevant vocabulary and terminlogy derives from Greek. Let alone philosophy .

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