Katerina Sakellaropoulou
Image credit: Mononews

Greece’s first female president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou has sent a message to Greeks abroad for March 25 celebrations, marking Greek Independence Day, the 1821 Greek Revolution against Ottoman Rule.

President Sakellaropoulou stressed that this year, “national duty calls on us to show a spirit of collective conscience and individual responsibility.”

She expressed that the days we are living, “bear the heavy burden of the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic,” which is why there will be no parades and events for the national anniversary. However, “next year we will celebrate the 200 years since the revolution of 1821 in the most brilliant way.”

Her message reads as follows:

My dear compatriots,

Greeks and Greeks abroad,

I am very pleased to address you today, Greek expatriates, for the first time since the start of my term of office, on the occasion of our national anniversary. On March 25, 1821, the Greeks rebelled to overthrow the Ottoman empire, regain their precious freedom and build a modern, free and Democratic State, following the example of the American and French Revolution.

The contribution of the Greeks to the diaspora in the struggle of 1821 was decisive, as important centers of Hellenism were spiritually, politically, economically and numerically located outside the territories that became the first Greek State. In Odessa the friendly society was founded and the struggle for freedom started in Moldavia. Many Expatriate Greeks took part and died in the struggle, while the Greek communities in Vienna, Paris, Bucharest, Iasi, Budapest, Trieste, Venice and elsewhere contributed spiritually and materially to the revolution.

However, the role of the Greeks of diaspora did not stop with the achievement of our independence. From the very first moment, all the forces of Hellenism everywhere were on the side of the new Greek State. It is no coincidence that most of the great national benefactors came from abroad, while the same applies to many other personalities who played a key role in the public life of Greece. And you today, worthy successors of the Greeks of that time, I am sure that you will continue to stand by the side of Greece, as we, who reside within the borders of the Greek State, must be on the side of Greeks everywhere.

This need is even more intense today when our country is facing strong challenges in an international environment. We must all act with determination to deal with the aggressive behaviour of our neighbouring states, which, among other things, treat desperate people as a tool to undermining our national sovereignty, regardless of human suffering and international law. At a difficult time, we must at the same time preserve the values of Hellenism, such as freedom, democracy, equality and human rights.

On the basis of these values, united and creative, we will move on to a future of prosperity that embraces us all. A future that, inspired by the European vision, is linked to a new patriotism, which does not inspire cosmopolitanism but is its co-owner. This patriotism was borne in mind by George Seferis, when speaking to the Greeks of Egypt, a historical part of expatriate Hellenism, about General Makrigiannis, referring to “the moment we look and look and try to distinguish the destiny of Hellenism through the storm. And beyond the wide turn that the history of the world makes in our years.”

My dear compatriots and countrymen,

The days we live bear the heavy burden of the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a tragic health crisis that requires calm and strict conformity with the measures of those responsible. This year, there will be no parades and events for our national anniversary. But every Greek, wherever he is, is sure to feel national pride and celebrate the day not collective but in his heart and soul. This year, national duty calls on us to show a spirit of collective conscience and individual responsibility. I wish and hope that this struggle, which concerns not only Hellenism but humanity whole, soon, with the cooperation of the international scientific community, will be won. And that next year we will celebrate the 200 years since the revolution of 1821 in the most brilliant way.

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