Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos made an indirect message to Turkey and expressed his "honour and joy" at the memorial service held at the Holy Church of Agios Athanasios in Serres on Sunday for the 201st anniversary of the death of the Hero Emmanuel Papas.
Speaking about Papas, the minister said: "He made the revolution in Macedonia in a region where, due to the proximity to the seat of the Ottoman Empire at the time, the chances of it succeeding and having a favourable development were much smaller compared to other regions in Greece, such as for example in the Peloponnese."
"But he made the decision, dedicated his life, allocated his property, fought, suffered the heavy personal cost of seeing his family persecuted and tortured because of his activity and all this because he dedicated himself to the National Struggle," the defence minister continued.
Panagiotopoulos emphasised that "the example of Hero Emmanuel Papas should not be forgotten. The example of this national fighter must remain forever engraved in our memories and this is how we must proceed in the future as well."
"The great heroes, the true heroes, are the ones who fight with little chance of success, against the odds and against adverse conditions," he underlined.
The defence minister added that "Greece has too many such people to inspire us too, to fight today in the difficult and dangerous challenges of the new era. But because we have them to remember, that's why we fight and struggle, we move forward and we will succeed."
When asked by a journalist about the message he is sending from the birthplace of Emmanuel Papas, with the Turkish provocations continuing, Panagiotopoulos emphasised: "The Turkish provocations continue, but I have the feeling that the Turks are getting irritated while we are getting stronger.
"All I have to say is that we will get even stronger," he clarified, as emphasised in the announcement.
After the memorial service, wreaths were laid in the central square of the municipal apartment, in front of the bust of the Hero, and military parades were held.
At the end of the events, a 17-kilometre endurance race was held from the Eleftherias square of Serres, with the participation of hundreds of children from the municipality.
Present at the memorial service held today at the Holy Church of Agios Athanasios in Serres were the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Kostas Karamanlis, the MPs Fotini Arabatzi, Theofilos Leontaridis, Anastasios Hatzivasiliou, Eleftherios Avramakis and Konstantinos Boubas, the commander of the 3rd Army Corps / NRDC - GR "MEGAS ALEXANDROS", lieutenant general, Sotirios Kostaloglou, representatives of the Regional and Local Self-Government, as well as a crowd of people.
The Most Reverend Metropolitan of Serres and Nigrite, Mr. Theologos, officiated the event.