The 15th of August of the Greeks and the Covid-19 – Opinions

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The pandemic overturns the “processes” that tradition requires

Let us start this text somewhat differently, since the days reserved for us by COVID-19 are not compatible with the established festive character of the days, as it is preserved by the Greek tradition.

* Writes Petros Miliarakis

It is now commonplace to refer to a special period of the year “August 15 of the Greeks”. People mainly flood the beaches, but also resort to mountainous areas. He usually enjoys his summer vacations during this period. On the day especially of the Virgin Mary (August 15), thousands of Greeks throughout the country celebrate in churches founded for the Virgin Mary. The Greek people on the 15th of August experience between summer rastoni and celebrations and generally go through a different period than the other days of the year. Even the legislator took care to set procedural deadlines due to August (in general).

However, COVID-19 “intervenes” in the present period and more or less overturns the “procedures” that tradition requires. Of course we all have a duty, State and citizens, to protect public health. However, this does not require exaggerations: a) neither in terms of the imposition of measures that would affect the core of individual freedoms and the dignity of citizens, nor b) respectively exaggerations on the part of citizens, as members of society, to refuse necessary measures that primarily concern distances and indoors, depending on the extent of the environment, the “use of a mask”. Criticism of the relapses regarding the “use of the mask” is not of the present time.

It is obvious that the measure is imposed both by the State and by the citizens. Abusive behaviors are not allowed by both parties!

The sleep of the Virgin

The focus, however, of the 15th of August is the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which is also an official public holiday. The Honor of the Virgin Mary in general has its origins and origins in the Apostolic Period of the history of the Church. In this spirit, the evangelist Luke saves: “Behold, from this day forth blessed are all generations” (Luke 1:48).

The celebration of the 15th of August has a historical depth, with a reflection even in the modern era. It was first established at the end of the 5th century by the Emperor Mauritius and since then it is a tradition that is constantly honored by the Greek Orthodox Christian and the modern state of Greece liberated from the Turkish yoke.

In many Aegean islands (Tinos, Paros, Patmos) an epitaph is adorned and walks around in honor of the Virgin Mary.

The Honor of the Virgin Mary in general is not due to a “usual” process of piety and reverence for the Mother of Christ, but has a deeper theological and experiential foundation which is testified by the tradition of our people, with main reference to the “nicknames” attributed to the Virgin Mary.

Several churches in the Greek Orthodox area have various “toponyms”, such as Panagia Kerasiotissa (on Lake Plastira), Panagia Vlacherna (Arcadia), Panagia Elona (also Arcadia). There are other famous temples such as Panagia Soumela, Panagia of Tinos, Panagia Ierosolimiotissa, Ekatontapyliani of Paros and others of that number! However, there are even neighborhood temples in the name of the Virgin Mary, such as the derogatory mention of “Panagitsa tou Mastabas”, which concerns a district of Heraklion, Crete.

Here is the special relationship that the faithful of the Christian faith Greeks give and recognize to the Mother of Christ: “Every place and its Virgin Mary”!

This certainly does not mean that the concept of the Virgin Mary is “split”, but it proves that the Mother of Christ is “claimed” by every believer and by every place. And this is because the sweetness with which the Virgin Mary is honored by the Greek Orthodox Christians is unique!

Tradition and nicknames

According to tradition and the special (indeed) relationship of the Virgin Mary with Orthodox Hellenism, the Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Godman, the Virgin, with unique and exceptional qualities. According to the “inner relationship” of the faithful Greek Orthodox Christians with Pan-Agia, who is worshiped exceptionally by all the Saints, the mother of Christ is called: “Fairy Tale”, “Gorgoipikoos”, “Eleousa”, “Glykophilousa”, “,” Immaculate “,” Rodon the Amaranth “,” Doctor “,” Grigorousa “,” Hodegetria “,” Eleftherotria “,” Epakousa “,” Evangelistria “,” Megalohari “,” Faneromeni “,” Platytera ton Ouranos “, “Kecharitomeni”, “Axion Esti” etc. Here are just some of the countless nicknames that the faithful give to the Virgin Mary.

This text closes with the general wish to all and everyone for happiness, progress and health! By far the COVID-19!

PS: Due to the days, no special comments are required on the issue of the recent Greece-Egypt agreement. For the “celebrations” that have been formulated, I reserve soon. As for the recent challenges of Turkey, when these lines are being written, apart from the vigilance of the Greek forces, no particular comment.

* Petros Miliarakis is a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Cassation of Greece and in the European Courts of Strasbourg and Luxembourg (ECHR and GC-EU).



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