The Geopolitics of Greece: A Sea at its Heart

Throughout the history of Greece, its geography has been both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because it allowed Greece to dominate the “known Western world” for a good portion of Europe’s ancient history due to a combination of sea access and rugged topography. In the ancient era, these were perfect conditions for a maritime city-state culture oriented toward commerce and one that was difficult to dislodge by more powerful land-based opponents. This geography incubated the West’s first advanced civilization (Athens) and produced its first empire (ancient Macedon).

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The EU, Turkey, and the Islamization of Europe

by Baron Bodissey

The article below by the Austrian scholar Harald Fiegl was posted on May 15 at EuropeNews. Many thanks to JLH for translating it from the original German.

A drastic change for the worse. What do Islam and full EU membership for Turkey mean for the European model of life?

The EU regards itself as a community of values, a region of security, freedom, prosperity and law and as a unique peace project. The Christian-Western value base is not considered a settled norm, but the moral sensibility and cultural inheritance are a condensation of Christianity and Enlightenment. As such, it is in stark contrast to Islamic and oriental-patriarchal lifestyles with their group identity.

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Kazakh leader tempts foreigners with ice and frost

ASTANA (Reuters) – Freezing weather may have brought misery to Europe, but for Kazakhstan it is a selling point.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in an annual speech on Tuesday, said more diplomats should move to his country’s icy capital, Astana, to enjoy its extreme weather.

«Well today it’s only -30 C (-22 F). It only strengthens our spirit,» Nazarbayev, in power for 20 years, told diplomats at his lavish marble-and-turquoise presidential palace. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Main Swedish Party Recognizes Turkish Genocide of Assyrians

Sweden’s largest political party took a decision on Thursday during its annual convention to acknowledge the genocide of Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians during World War one. The genocide, called Seyfo in Assyrian, occurred between the years 1914-1918.

«I was very moved when the decision was taken,» said Yilmaz Kerimo, who is an Assyrian and a prominent member of the Social democratic party. «It is a positive standpoint and a great step forward. The party will now work for the recognition of the genocide within Sweden, in the European Union and the United Nations.»

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Father Simeon de la Jara: On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos

simeon1When Miguel Angel de la Jara Higgingson was seven, his mother had a vision. She sensed that her son would some day leave her for a «far away place, like an island, there where people of solitude lived who pray all the time and rarely step out into the world». Even she, however, could probably not have imagined just how far from his native Peru, both physically and spiritually, his life’s search would take him.

Now he is Father Simeon the hermit, a GreekOrthodox monk who lives on Mount Athos, a self-administrating, all-male monastic community on the Athos peninsula – the eastern most of three jutting peninsulas in the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki.

However, it’s not just his Peruvian origins that make Father Simeon such a well-known figure among visitors to MountAthos; it’s also his radiant presence as an artist, poet and painter that makes him so sought after, especially by the young.

His journey began in 1968, when at the age of 18 he left Peru to discover the world. After travelling through Europe and Asia for over two years – during which time he was exposed to eastern philosophies and religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga – he finally settled in Paris, where he lived for the next three years. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Early Centuries of the Greek Roman East (2)

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets.

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets. Φύλλο από βυζαντινό εικονογραφημένο χειρόγραφο του 12ου αιώνος, που απεικονίζει την Ανάληψη του Χριστού και δύο προφήτες.

Continuation from (1)

The Advancement of Architecture

The ruler as builder was one of the oldest ideals of a sovereign. Public buildings and other structures were, in principle, gifts to be used by the ruler’s subjects, but also monuments of the greatness of the ruler. Justinian strove hard to realize this ideal. The greatest buildings he erected or rebuilt were in Constantinople, the city which was now the embodiment of the civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire. Numerous magnificent and artistically beautiful structures were constructed or rebuilt during his reign. They included statues, churches and various other monuments. His crowning achievement was the building of St. Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom. This building was considered by many an architectural wonder of the middle ages, and is still standing strong today. Its design, size, artwork, name and its significance made it a building that symbolized the religious and philosophical epicenter of Constantinople and Byzantine civilization.

Even before he came to power, during his uncle’s reign, Justinian had already set about to rehabilitate and rebuild many churches in Constantinople and its suburbs. This work began mostly in a private capacity and reflected the piety which was to show itself further when Justinian became emperor. The chief church in this category was St. Accius, a Cappadocian soldier who had been executed at Byzantium in the early 300’s and was venerated as one of the leading martyrs who had suffered on the site of the future Constantinople. Six other churches were similarly rebuilt. One was St. Mocius. This was one of the most famous shrines in Constantinople. It was said to have been originally a temple of Zeus, which Constantine then converted into a church. Other churches included St. Plato, martyred at Ancyra, and St. Thyrsus, executed in Nicomedia in the same persecution. In the suburbs of Constantinople he rebuilt a church of the famous woman martyr, St. Thecla, who suffered in the first Christian century. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Early Centuries of the Greek Roman East (1)

Justinian with his entourage (courtiers and guards), the bishop of Ravenna Maximian and clergy. Mosaic in the church of St. Vitalius in Ravenna (548AD). Ο Ιουστινιανός με την συνοδία του (αυλικούς και φρουρούς), τον επίσκοπο της Ραβέννας Μαξιμιανό και κληρικούς. Ψηφιδωτό στην εκκλησία του Αγίου Βιταλίου στην Ραβέννα (548 μΧ).

Justinian with his entourage (courtiers and guards), the bishop of Ravenna Maximian and clergy. Mosaic in the church of St. Vitalius in Ravenna (548AD). Ο Ιουστινιανός με την συνοδία του (αυλικούς και φρουρούς), τον επίσκοπο της Ραβέννας Μαξιμιανό και κληρικούς. Ψηφιδωτό στην εκκλησία του Αγίου Βιταλίου στην Ραβέννα (548 μΧ).

I.The Foundation of Constantinople and the Adoption of Christianity

We begin our story about the history of Romiosini or the Greek Middle ages with the founding of Constantinople, the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire. Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine I (324-337) who wanted to establish, for various political reasons, a new capital city for the Roman Empire in the east. Ultimately, this change was brought about because of the turmoil which the Roman Empire was facing in the west at the time. With much of the western territories having been destroyed by the invasions of the Germanic tribes, Rome was in constant danger of being attacked. Moreover, with the eastern frontier of the Empire stretching over all of Asia Minor and Syria, Rome was no longer in a position to check the ongoing hostilities with Persia. Consequently, after a series of internal struggles among the ruling powers of the Empire, Constantine -who emerged victorious-chose as the location of his new capital the ancient Greek city of Byzantion. In 324 Constantine transformed Byzantion into «The New Rome» or «Constantinopolis», the City of Constantine. The people often referred to it simply as «The City» or, in Greek, «Hi Polis». MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »