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Minorities in Greece
Aspects of a Plural Society
First published in the United Kingdom by
C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd,
38 King Street, London WC2E 8.JZ
in association with the Centre of Contemporary Greek Studies
2002 selection, editorial material and II1troduction, Richard
Clogg; Chapter I, Kallistos Ware; Chapter 2, Charles Frazee;
Chapter 3, .John Iarrides; Chapter 4, Steven Bowman; Chapter S,
Ronald Meinardus; Chapter 6, I. K. HasslOtis; Chapter 7, T . ./.
Winnifrith; Chapter 8, Anastasia KarakaSl(lou; Chapter 9, John
Campbell; Chaptcr 10, Elisabeth Mesthencos.
All rights reserved.
The authors have asserted their right to be identified as the authors
of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act 1988.
A Cataloguing-in-Publication data record for this book
is available from the British Library.
1-8S06S-705-X case/}()lIIld
1-8S065-706-8 paperback
Typeset in Sa bon by Curran Publishing Services Ltd, Norwich
Printed and bound in Great Britall1
Notes on the COlltributors
1 Old Calendarists
2 Catholics
3 Evangelicals
4 Jews
5 Muslims: Turks, Pomaks and Gypsies
6 Armenians
7 Vlachs
8 Cultural illegitimacy in Greece: the Slavo-Macedonian 'non-minority'
9 The Sarakatsani and the klephtic tradition
10 Foreigners
STEVEN BOWMAN is Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of
Cincinnati. His publications include The Jews of Byzantium, 1204-'/453
(\ 985; 2(00); and, as editor, Marco Nahon, Birhenau. Cam!) of Death
(\ 989); 111 lure Veritas: Studies in Callan Law ill Memory of Scha/er
Williams (1991); The Holocaust in Greece: Eyewit11ess Re/)orts (2002),
together with a number of articles on Greek Jewry during the Byzantine
period and during the Second World War. He is editor of The Sephardi and
Greek Holocaust Library (four volumes presently in preparation). His
Ago1ly of Greel< Jewry during World War II is currently in press in English
and Hebrew versions. He is currently working on a study of the Jews in the
Greek resistance and of the mediaeval book of Yossipon.
JOHN CAMPBELL is an Emeritus Fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford.
He was the first British social anthropologist to carry out field research in
Greece. He is the author of HOllour, Falllify, and Patrollage (1964) and,
jointly with Philip Sherrard, of Modem Greece (1970), a historical and
cultural survey. With J. de Pina-Cabral he was co-editor of Elt1'olJe
Observed (1992). In 1962 he was UNESCO director of the Social Sciences
Centre in Athens, and subsequently lecturer in modern Balkan history at
Oxford University. He is an honorary Doctor of Philosophy of the
University of Thessaloniki.
RICHARD CLOGG is a Fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford. His publi-
cations include Politics and the Academy: Arnold TO)'l1bee and the J(oraes
Chair (1986); Anatolica: Studies in the Gree/? East in the Eighteenth and
Nineteellth Centllries (1996) and Anglo-Greeh Attitudes: Studies in
History (2000). His A C011cise History of Greece (2nd. ed. 2(02) has been
translated into a number of languages, including Greek and Turkish. He is
currently working on a large-scale history of the Greek people in modern
times which will seek to integrate the history of the Greek East and of the
Greek diaspora with that of the Greek state.
CHARLES FRAZEE is Professor of History Emeritus of the California
State University, Fullerton and currently teaches church history at the
Episcopal Theological School, Claremont, California. In 1965 he received
a PhD in Eastern European History from the University of Indiana where
his focus was on Greek studies. He is the author of Catholics and Sultans:
The Church in the Ottoman Em/)ire (1983). His most recent articles (on
Greece and Istanbul) were published in The Encyclo!)aedia of Monasticism
(2000). He can be reached at
JOHN O. IATRIDES received his education in Greece, the Netherlands,
and the United States and served with the Hellenic National Defence
General Staff and the Prime Minister's Press Office (1955-58). He is
Connecticut State University Professor of International Politics and has
taught courses on contemporary Greece at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and
New York universities. His publications include Balhan Ti-imzgle: Birth and
Decline of an Alliance across Ideological Boulldarres (1968); Revolt i11
Athens: the Greeh Communist 'Second Round', '/944-1945 (1972);
Ambassador MacVeagh RelJOrts: Greece, 1933-1947 (1980); Greece in the
1940s: A Nation in Crisis (1981); and Greece at the Crossroads: The Civil
War and its Legacy (1995). I-Ie is currently working on a book-length study
of Greece in the Cold War.
I. K. HASSIOTIS, a Professor of Modern History in the University of
Thessaloniki, is the author of some 150 articles and 12 books. These
include, in Greek, The Greel<s Oil the Eve of the Naval Battle of Lel)anto,
1568-1571 (1970); A Concise History of the Modern Greeh Dias!JOra
(J 993); The Origins of Euro/Jean Unity (2000); The G r e e ; ~ World During
the Tour/whratia (2001). His edited works include The Jewish
Communities of South-easte1'11 Europe from the Fifteenth Century to the
end of World War 1J (1997); Thessalonihi: History, Society and Culture (2
vols. 1997) and The G r e e ~ s in Russia and the Soviet Union: Migration,
Organization alld Ideology (1997).
ANASTASIA KARAKASIDOU is an Associate Professor of Anthropology
at Wellesley College. She holds graduate degrees 111 anthropology and
archaeology, and has published on issues of nation-formation, ethnicity,
nationalism and ideology in northern Greece and the Balkans. Her major
publication is Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood: Passages to Nationhood in
G r e e ~ Macedonia, 1870-1990 (1997). She is currently working on medical
and environmental issues and is involved in a study of cancer as an
epidemic on the island of Crete.
RONALD MEINARDUS is the Resident Representative of the Friedrich-
Naumann Foundation in the Philippines. This German non-governmental-
organisation is engaged in the promotion of liberal democracy in many
countries of the world. Before moving to Manila, he represented the
Foundation in Greece and in South Korea, where he also taught as a
Professor at Hanyang University in Seoul. He has published two scholarly
books on international politics and written numerous academic articles on
Greek affairs and on political developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He is currently also a commentator on Asian affairs for media in Asia,
Germany and Greece.
ELIZABETH MESTHENEOS is a freelance social researcher and consult-
ant who has undertaken research and programme evaluation on refugees
and migrants in Greece for the UNHCR, the Greek Council for Refugees,
and the Hellenic Red Cross. She has been responsible for European Union-
funded research on social exclusion, on refugee integration in Europe and
on refugee self-employment in Greece. She has participated in European
networks for refugees. She also works within the SEXTANT research
group, National School of Public Health, and specialises in research on
older people. A full list of her publications can be found on
KALLISTOS WARE is titular Bishop of Diokleia and an assistant bishop in
the Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical
Patriarchate). Between 1966 and 2001 he was Spalding Lecturer in Eastern
Orthodox Studies in the University of Oxford, as well as priest in charge of
the Greek Orthodox parish in Oxford. He is an Emeritus Fellow of
Pembroke College, Oxford. His publications include The Orthodox
Church (Revised ed. 1993), which has been translated into more than ten
languages, and also The Orthodox Way (1979) and The Inner Kingdom
(2001). He is the co-translator of two Orthodox service books, The Festal
Menaiol1 and The Lenten Triodion, and also of the The Philo/wlia, of
which four volumes have so far appeared (a fifth is in preparation).
TOM WINNIFRITH was born in 1938 and educated at Tonbridge and
Christ Church, Oxford. He has taught at Eton College and the University
of Warwick. In 1984 he was Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.
In 1987 he published The Vlachs: The History of a Ballwn Peo/lle (2nd. ed,
Duckworth 1987). In 1992 he edited Pers!Jeclives Oil Albania (Macmillan)
and in 1995 produced Shattered Eagles: Bal/<an Fragments (Duckworth).
For the last three years he has been engaged, as a Leverhulme Emeritus
Fellow, on a history of Northern Epirus or Southern Albania, to be
published by Duckworth in 2002.
'HJ.lde; uYU1t<DJ.leV Kat 0l'EAA.11Vee;, ou J.lOVOv '[Oue; Au'ttvous, OVtae;
XPUJ'tluvou<; Kat oJ.loyevei<;, UAA.a. KUt 'tou<; UAA.09pliaKou<; lUlWV, oiov
Kat UJpullAi'tU<; W<; Kat '[OU<; ApJ.leviou<;.
We Greeks love and honour not only the Latins ICatholics!,
being Christians and kin, but our fellow citizens of other
religions, Muslims and .Jews, as well as Armenians.
AioAO<; (19 August) 854)'
This mid-nineteenth century quotation from a newspaper published on
Syros, an island in the Cyclades which had, and still has, a substantial
Catholic population, may present too rosy a picture of Greek attitudes
towards minorities during the 180 years of the country's independent exis-
For from the outset, Orthodox Christianity and the Greek language
have been deemed to be thCkey detei:ininants of Greek identity.l Article .3
of the 1975 Constitution declares the dominant religion in Greece to be the
'Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ, recognizing as its head Our Lord
Jesus Christ':1 Article 13 guarantees freedom of religious belief and practice
in respect of all known religions but proselytism is proscribed.
Nikiforos Diamandouros, one of the leading analysts of Greek political
culture, wrote at the beginning of the 1980s:
the sensitivity surrounding the issue of minorities in Greece is
further indication that the process of national integration initiated
over a century ago at the primary
and secondaryfevels are viitually silent on such groups as the
Kutzovlachs, the Pomaks, the Sarakatsans, and the Albanian and
Slav-speaking populations of Greece. The virtual identification of
hellenicity with Orthodoxy, on the other hanel, has made it very
difficult for such religious minorities as the Roman Catholics, the
Protestants, the Jews and the Muslims to become fully integrated
into the dominant Greek culture. Even today, when the traumatic
experiences associated with the irredentist struggles of the turn of
the century and of the civil war years are fading, these groups
remain, for the vast majority of the ethnically homogeneous Greek
population, at worst unknown and at best obscure and alien
Minorities in many parts of the world have encountered, and continue to
encounter, disabilities of various kinds. It is no surprise, therefore, that the
lot of minorities in Greece has by no means always been an easy one, but
there has been exaggerated criticism of the treatment by the Greek state of
its minority populations. In a regional context, minorities have generally
fared significantly better in Greece than have those in neighbouring coun-
tries. There remains, however, a great deal of Ignorance about the nature
and situation of the country's minorities, both within Greece and without.
The ignorance that exists about this particular aspect of Greek society is
strikingly illustrated in a best-selling book of travels in the Mediterranean,
The Pillars of Hercules, by the 'internationally acclaimed' travel writer Paul
Theroux. This was published in 1995, not long after the workshop from
which the papers contained in this volume issue was held. In the course of
his 'Grand Tour of the Mediterranean' during the early 1990s Theroux
visited lerapetra in Crete, There he was affronted by the sight of a half-
ruined eighteenth-century mosque apparently used for concerts. He asked
himself whether this was worse than the Turks having turned Aghia Sophia,
Justinian's great Church of the Holy Wisdom in Istanbul, together with
many other churches, into a mosque. 'Probably not' was the answer. 'But',
he went on, 'there were still Christians functioning in Turkey and there
were no Muslims in Greece,' Apart from the tourists and some retirees,
there were no foreigners in Greece.
'There were Arabs in Spain, Albanians
and Africans in Italy, Moroccans in Sardinia, Algerians in France; but there
were no immigrants of any kind in Greece. The Albanians that came had
been sent back.' Whether it was Greece's 'feeble economy that kept every-
one except Albanians (whose economy was abysmal) from wishing to settle
there, or Greek intolerance', was something he did not know.
One of the purposes of this volume is to redress the casual but damag-
ing ignorance demonstrated in such a passage, which will have been read
by tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of readers. There are, of course,
Muslims in Greece, whose minority status is enshrined in the Treaty of
Lausanne of 1923, just as there are large numbers of foreigners, Moreover,
although the overwhelming majority of Greeks, over 95 per cent, are, at
least nominally, Orthodox Christians, there are small religious minorities,
Catholics, Jews and Protestants, just as there are small linguistic minorities.
Most members of the Muslim minority now consider themselves to be
Turks. Likewise, a very small number of Slavic and Vlach speakers consider
themselves to constitute part of an ethnic minority, Moreover, as many as
5 per cent of the population are Old Calendarists. These are Orthodox
Christians who remain tenaciously attached to the Julian calendar, which
in 1923/4 the Greek state and, somewhat more reluctantly, the Holy Synod
of the Church of Greece replaced with the Gregorian calendar, These Old
Calendarists reject the authority of the established Church and have their
own parallel hierarchy and their own monasteries and nunneries.
Establishing the size of Greece's minority populations, religious and
linguistic, is not easy, as not since 195] have the decennial censuses sought
to record religion, mother tongue origin, At that time, in a total
population of 7,632,801, 7,472,559 citizens reported their religious affili-
ation as Orthodox (97.9 per cent); (1.4 per
28,430 as Catholic (0.4 per cent); 12,6i7as Protestant Of other Cllristian
(0.2 per cent); 6,325 as Jewish (0.1 per cent). (The number of Jews
recorded in the 1951 census was scarcely a tenth of the Jewish community
as it had existed on the eve of the Second World War, as almost the entire
Jewish population of Greece had been deported by the German occupiers
in 1943 to Auschwitz, where virtually all were killed.)" Greek was given as
the mother-tongue of 7,297,878 (95.6 per cent), of the country's inhabi-
tants; Turkish as that of (2.4 per cent), Slavic as that of 41,0] 7
(0.5 of 39,855 (0.5 per cent)
and Albanian as that of 22,736 (0.3per cent). 51,420 (0.7 per cent) gave
another mother tongue. The figure for the number of mother tongue Slavic-
speakers is almost certainly too low. The census was taken only a short time
after the end of the civil war of 1946-49, and, given that Slavophones were
disproportionately represented in the ranks of the defeated communist
Democratic Army, there would have been a strong II1centive for Slavic
speakers to play down their linguistic preference.
more gave their mother tongue as Turkish than gave their
religion as Mi.lsEI11:Tllis Is explained by the fact that many of the incom-
ing refugees from Asia Minor in the 1920s spoke Turkish as their first and, .
in some cases, their only language.
Among some of the older generation
of these /wramal1/i Greeks, Turkish remained their first language into the
later. by no means all Muslims in Greece were
Turkish speaking. The Muslim Pomaks, for instance, who were concen-
trated in Western Thrace along the border with Bulgaria and were recorded
in the 1951 census as numbering 18,671, were Slav speaking.
With the collapse of communism throughout most of the Balkans at the
beginning of the 1990s, the disintegration of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, and, most significantly from the perspective of Greece, the
emergence of an independent state of Macedonia from what had been the
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the question of minorities in the Balkans
became a pressing issue. The issue became a Iwfto thema, or burning issue,
in Greece, despite the fact that Greece's educational system had proved to
be an efficient mechanism for 'hellenizing' populations of diverse ethnic
and linguistic backgrounds as they were gradually incorporated into the
Greek state during the course of its expansion during the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, and despite the fact that Greece, following the
1923 Exchange of Populations and the settlement of the refugees, became
a more ethnically homogeneous country than any of the other countries ()f
the Balkan peninsula."
Claims emanating from Skopje, the capital of the new Republic of
Macedonia, that there existed a Slav Macedonian minority in Greece
inevitably occasioned heated discussion in Greece. There were a number of
court cases in Greece, attracting aclverse publicity outside the country, as
individuals, usually on the far left, were charged with spreading alarm and
despondency by claiming the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority. In
Greece there had likewise been much anguished discussion of the fate of the
Greek minority in Albania (numbering some 59,000 according to the] 989
Albanian census but over 300,000 strong according to Greek nationalists)'"
and of the Greekmil2(lrity in Tm:lsey, once approximately the same size as
Muslim nlinorit)' iI1 on the verge of extinction, probably
numbering not more than 2000.
A measure of this new interest in, and
concern fOJ; minoritieslecl to the establishment in Greece of an offshoot of
the London-based Minority Rights Group.'"
This volume should not be taken as an attempt to demonstrate that
Greece constitutes a patchwork of ethnic minorities but rather to provide
some basic information, with particular regard to the historical back-
ground, about minority populations which, taken together, the Old
Calendarists and recent immigrants apart, amount to scarcely 4 pCI' cent of
the population. A widely accepted definition of what constitutes a minor-
ity is that formulated by F. Capotorti and adopted by the United Nations,
for whom he acted as Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities:
a group numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a State,
in a non-dominant position, whose members - being nationals of
the State - possess ethnic, religious m linguistic characteristics
differing from the rest of the population and show, if only implic-
itly, a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture,
traditions, religion or language."
This sensible and non-threatening definition runs counter to theifrequently
expressed view in Greece that a minority must have a recognized legal
status, a status that is formally accorded only to the Turkish-speaking
Muslims of Western Thrace by the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne of
J 923. This treaty, which remains in force, constituted the peace settlement
that followed the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-22, a war that ended with
the catastrophic defeat of the Greek armies in Asia Minor. 'The Muslims of
Western Thrace, who were exempted from the Exchange of Populations
that formed part of the Lausanne settlement, were guaranteed educational,
religious and linguistic rights, together with control of their religious foun-
dations. Similarly, the Greeks of Istanbul and of the islands of Inwros
and Tenedos (Bozcaada), which straddle the strategically
important entrance to the Dardanelles, were likewise exempted from the
Exchange of Populations of theIr educational, reli-
gi()us and linguistic rights, together with control of community property.'i'
Both minorities over the years have a,wned that these treaty rights have
been seriously infringed. It is worth noting that the Muslims of Greece are (
free to express their complaints with a considerably greater degree of (
vigour than are the Greeks of Turkey. ' -.J
One of the funclamenta I reasons for the degree of sensitivity that exists
Greece over the issue of minorities, a sensitivity which sometimes puzzles
outsiders given their small numerical size, lies in the way In which the issue
became a live one during the civil war that wracked Greece between 1946
and 1949. During these years the Greek Communist Party fought to bring
Greece within the orbIt of the communist bloc, into which her Balkan
neighbours to the north, Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, had
been incorporated in the aftermath of the Second World War. When the
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) announced on 24 December 1947 the
establishment of a Provisional Democratic Government of Greece, it
created a 'General Directorate of National Minorities', working to the
'Prime Minister' in attending to the problems of minorities." By early 1949
as many as half of the combatants of the communist Democratic Army of
Greece (DSE) were Slav speakers frol11 the northern provinces of Greece.
Their importance to the continuation of the struggle was reflected in a reso-
lution adopted at the Fifth Plenum of the Central Comillittee of the KKE
held in January! 949. This declared that such was the contribution of the
Slav-Macedonians to the struggle against Anglo-American imperialism and
domestic J1lonarcho-fascism that 'there should be no doubt' that, with the
victory of the Democratic Army and of the People's Revolution, the
'Ivlacedonian people will realize their full national restitution, as they them-
selves want it .. ,'''
Such a declaration was a forceful reminder that between 1924 and 1935
the Greek COJ1lmunist Party had advocated, at the behest of the
Communist International which was itself under the IIlfiuence of the
powerful Bulgarian ComJ1lunist Party, self-determination for the inhabi-
tants of Greek MacedoJ1Ja and Thrace.'" Only in 1935 did the COJ11intern
line change, when the challenge posed by German Nazism and Italian
Fascism ushered in the era of the Popular Front and an attempt to form
alliances with socialists, agrarians and others. The slogan now adopted by
the KKE was 'equal rights for all nationalities' in place of the former advo-
cacy of 'a united and independent Macedonia'. It is noteworthy that when,
in 1982, Andreas Papandreou, newly elected as Greece's first socialist
prime minister, granted blanket permission to return to Greece
to those
communists who had fled to the Eastern bloc countries in the aftermath of
the 1946-49 civil war, the concession was limited to those of Greek ethnic
origin. This was seen as discriminating against the Slav Macedonians who
had constituted such a large element of the communist Democratic Army
of Greece by the closing stages of the civil war.
When the Macedonian issue was at its height during the first half of the
1990s, Greece's partners in the European Union were baffled that a politi-
cally stable Greece, with a relatively strong economy, well-equipped armed
forces and membership of both the NATO alliance and the European
Union, could view with such apprehension the emergence of an independ-
ent Republic of MacedollJa (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and
perceive it as any kind of threat, given its small size, weak economy and the
threat to its stability posed by a large and increasingly restless Albanian
minority. Official Greek government propaganda focused on demonstrat-
ing that Macedonia as a geographical entity had been, as the slogan on tele-
phone cards, T-shirts, beach bags and elsewhere had it, 'Greek for 4000
years' and on seeking to demonstrate Greece's prior claim to the region by
reference to the glories of the era of Philip of Macedon and of Alexander
the Great, to whom, somewhat improbably, lVlacedonian nationalists also
laid claim.
This emphasis on the distant past of the region resulted in there being
little understanding outside Greece that Greek apprehensions were ..m::,a-
sioned by events which had occurred rather than in
remote classical antiquity. The greater part of the refugees from Asia Minor
in Greek Macedonia in the 1 920s, and as a
result many living in northern Greece had parents, grandparents or great-
grandparents whose lives had been turned upside down by the process of
uprooting and re-settlement. They were naturally alarmed at any sugges-
tion of claims against the country's territorial integrity, for these might
result in further upheavals. Moreover, during the Second World War, west-
ern Thrace and a part of Greek Macedonia had suffered from a harsh
Bulgarian occupation. Greeks had been killed in large numbers by the
Bulgarian occupiers, 'ethnically cleansed' in larger numbers from the
region, and Bulgarians settled in their place. Those from countries whose
borders had been long established and were unchallenged sometimes found
it difficult to appreciate the anxieties of those living in a country whose
final borders were established as recently as 1947, when the Dodecanese
islands were incorporated into the Greek state. Konstantinos Karamanlis,
who retired from the presidency of Greece as recently as 1995, had been
born in the village of Kiipkoy or Proti in Macedonia in J 907 when the
region still formed part of the Ottoman Empire and when the region was
being bitterly fought over by rival Greek and Bulgarian bands.
The papers included in this volume were given at a workshop held at St
Antony's College, Oxford in 1994. A number of factors, not all within the
control of the editor, have led to a major delay in their publication. Since
the holding of the workshop, the situation in Greece has necessarily
changed, particularly with regard to official attitudes towards minorities
and to the status of aliens, and changed for the better.
The following is but one example of the changed climate. Ioannis
Kapsis, deputy foreign minister in the Papandreou admll11stration in the (\ ,\1;
1980s, forcefully impressed upon the American journalist, Robert Kaplan, ('

that 'no Tu rks . . .Il1 ere are,()ll,lysSlD:C:; reek. Wh()
be Muslim and happen to speak Ti.l;:lds11 to each other ... '21 But by 1999 the
Greek foreign 111inister, Pal)andreou, the son of1\ndJ:eas
Papandreou, was stating that he had no objection if members of the coun-
try's Muslim minority chose to call themselves Turks, and indeed, in the
1990s, it was clear that most members of what is officially termed the
Muslim minority had come to consider themselves as forming part of an
ethnic Turkish minority.
Although the publication of these papers has been delayed, much of their
content nonetheless remains relevant and this collection makes available a
permanent record of a conference which brought together much interesting
material about an issue about which relatively little has appeared in
English. It is hoped that the various contributions will help to dispel some
of the ignorance and misunderstanding surrounding the situation of
minorities in Greece.
A point that arose in discussion at the workshop was the paradoxical
fact that until recently there was no unambiguous expression in Greek for
'ethnic minority', despite the fact that 'ethnic' in English is clearly of Greek
derivation. The traditional term etlmiki melO11otita used in connection with
, minorities was unsatisfactory, as the expression 'national minority' has
rather different connotations from the term 'ethnic minority'. It might be:
held, for instance, that neighbouring states would be entitled to take a I
greater interest in a 'national' m1110rity than in an 'ethnic' one, DI' that a( J
( 'na.tional n.'.1' n .. orit
' might h. av.e .... c1a.,.im. e.ce.'.:.I.e .... 6rlfliite w .. it .. li. <11.1. o .. t. he .. r s.tarel .
and thus be perceIved as a kmdof TrOjan Honse. It IS the case that there IS'
ij(lW an expl'essionin Greek for 'ethnici'nii16I'ity', i.e. etlJ/lutih mCiC>llOtita,i
but it is that would at a pop,ular level. . !
An 1I1dICatlon of the seinantlc' confUSIon that'Tan anse occurred 111
February 1995 when the US State Department issued a statement critical of
Greece following a dispute over the appointment of one of the Muslim
community's two muftis. The statement declared that 'the issue of the treat-
ment of ethnic ml110rities in this region of the world Ithe Balkansl is espe-
cially sensitive'. Commenting on the statement, the Greek government
spokesman, Evangelos Venizelos, emphasised that the term used by the
State Department was 'ethnic' and not 'national' minorities as had been
reported in some news channels. Venizelos was reported as saying that 'the
word "ethnic" is a term of an ethnographic nature which does not indicate
any reference to a specific state. If the word was used literally, then there is
no problem. Otherwise clarifications must be sought and diplomatic repre-
sentations will be made, if necessary' Y
This survey covers the main minority groups, Old Calendarists,
Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims (Turks, Pomaks and Gypsies),
Armenians, Vlachs, Slav-Macedonians, Sarakatsani and foreigners.
Unfortunately, however, there is no coverage of one significant minority
group. This comprises the Arvanites, the Orthodox Christians of Albanian
descent, who migrated to the Greek lands during the Middle Ages and
subsequently. These now fully identify with their Greek co-nationals, and
generally only the older generation now speak arvallitika, or Albanian
intermixed with Greek, Turkish and Slavic words. They are principally to
be found in Attica, where they are prominent in the production of retsina,
the resinated wine of the Mesogeio; Boeotia; Southern Euboea; in the
regions of Nafplion and Megara and on some of the islands of the Saronic
gulF' Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis, the great naval hero of the Balkan
Wars of 1912-13 and between 1924 and 1929 the President of the Greek
Republic, was a native of Hydra and spoke Greek and arvallitilw. These
Arvanites constituted an important element among those fighting for inde-
pendence from the Ottoman Turks during the 1820s. Until the Second
World War there was a small group of Muslim Albanians, the Chams, who
were settled in Greece in Epirus, just over the border from Albania. These,
however, fled, or were driven, across the border in late 1944, amid accusa-
tions that they had collaborated with the occupation forces.2-IALtl]ough the
forthecompulsory excl1,lnge of populations betweeI1 Gre-ece and
- been religious affiliation and not 'national
consciollslless\i:11e Chams, although very largely Muslim, had been
exempted on the grounds that they were Albanians.
Finally, I should like to express my gratitude to the contributors to this
volume, not only for their contributions but for their forbearance during
the long period of its gestation. It goes without saying that each contribu-
tor is responsible only for the contents of his or her contribution. I am
grateful to Dr Anna Mastrogianni for compiling the index.
1 Quoted in Vasilis Kardasis, Syros: stavrodromi tis Anatoli/ Mesogeiou
(1832-1857), (Athens, 1987) 384. The emphasis on the Catholics arose fro111
the fact that Syros, where the newspaper was published, was home to the
largest Catholic population in Greece.
a critique of the policies of the Greek state towards minorities, see the
of Adamantia Poll is, 'Greek National Identity: Religious Minorities,
Rights and European Norms', Jotlmal of Modem Greeh SWdies, X (1992)
171-95. See also Panayote Dimitras, 'Minorities: An Asset or a Liability for
Greece?', COlltel11!JOrary Ellropean Affairs, IV (1991) 139-54.
3 The first constitution to be elaborated during the Greek War of Independence,
that of EpIdavros of 1822, declared that 'those indigenous ll1habitants of the
state of Greece who believe in Christ are Greeks and enJoy all political rights
without distinction', A year later, the second National Assembly, meeting at
Astros, WIdened the definition to include as Greeks those coming from outside
who believed in Christ and who had Greek as their mother tongue. The consti-
tution of Troezene of 1827 further broadened the defillltion of what consti-
tuted a Greek, Pantelis Kerkll1os, / Ellillihi Ithageneia ell AlgY/Jto, (Alexandria,
1930) 8-9. Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos who, as professor of history in the
Ulllversity of Athens in the mid-nll1etecnth century, first adumbrated the notion
of an unbroken continuity between classical antiquity, Byzantium and the
emergent modern Greek state, a central tenet of traditIonal Greek historiogra-
phy, declared that 'the Greek nation is composed of all the people who speak
the Greek language as their own tongue', Konstantll1OS Paparrigopoulos,
istona tOil Ellinilwu Etlmous (J proti lI/o/'jJhl: 1853), cd. K. Th. Dimaras,
(Athens,1970) 33. See also Giorgos Veloudis, 0 jahob Phili/JjJ Fallmerayer hai
i genesi tou EllillilwlI Istoris1l1ou, (Athens, 1982) 71 and llias Anagnostakis
and Evangelia Balta, La decouverte de la CafJIJadoce all dix-lIellVihlle sii!c1e,
(Istanbul, (994) 33. In the funeral oration which he gave in 1872 for his
university colleague, Konstantinos Asopios, Paparrigopoulos asked rhetori-
cally 'What is Hellenism? To which he gave the answer: 'the Greek language'.
'What then is the Greek language? Hellenism', K. Th. Dimaras, [(O/lstalltinos
PaIJarrigo/loulos: I ejJol<.ln tau - / zoi tou - to ergo tOil, (Athens, (986) 260.
4 Antoine Pantel is, Les grands {Jrobli!lI1es de la nouvelle collstillltion helleniqlle,
(Athens, 1979) 319-22. Article 3 of the 1975 Constitution, whIch IS promul-
gated in the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Undivided Trinity, likewise
states that the text of the Holy Scriptures cannot be altered, nor can it be trans-
lated without the authorisation of the Autocephalous Church of Greece and of
the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. .
S This constitutional ban on proselytism, underpll1necl by legislation dating from
the pre-Second World War Metaxas dictatorship, has been the source of much
confusion, as courts have interpreted it in different ways. Ir IS not even certain
whether the ban on proselytism applies to the Orthodox Church Itself,
Stephanos Stavros, 'CitizenshIp and the Protection of Minorities', in Kevin
Featherstone and Kostas Ifantis, cds., Greece ill a Changing btrope: Between
Bllro/Jean Illtegratioll and Ballwn Disilltegrat/()//?, (Manchester, 1996) 121.
6 P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, 'Greek Political Culture 111 TranSItion: Historical
Origins, EvolutIon, Current Trends', in Richard Clogg, cd., Greece ill the
1980s, (London, 1983) 55.
7 At the time that Theroux's hook was published legally registered aliens living
in Greece numbered 213,400, in a population of some ten and a quarter
million, Athens News Agency /3ulletlll, 29 October 1994. The actual number
of foreigners liv111g 111 the country at that time was much hIgher.
8 The Pillars of HerCIIles: A Gralld TOllr of the Mediterraneall, (New York,
1995) 325. Theroux appears to have had an unhappy time in Greece which
struck him as 'a cut-price theme park of broken marble, a place where you
were harangued in a high-minded way about AnCIent Greek culture while some
swarthy little person picked your pocket', 314.
9 When Thessaloniki (Salonica) was incorporated into the Greek state in 1912
during the First Balkan War, the largest single element in the population of the
city comprised Spanish-speaking Sephardi Jews who had sought refuge in the
Ottoman Empire following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Such was the
importance of the community during the period of Ottoman rule that Salonica
was known as the Jersualem of the Balkans.
10 For these Turcophone Greeks of Asia Minor a whole literature was published
in kara11lanlidika, Turkish printed in Greek characters. Printll1g Il1 karaml1n-
lidika continued in Greece for the Turcophones for a few years after the 1923
Exchange of Populations. The last recorded publication was in Thessaloniki 1!1
1929. Included in the Exchange of Populations were a small number of
Turkish-speaking Protestant Greeks. On the Turkish-speaking Greeks of Asia
Minor see, inter alia, Richard Clogg, 'A Millet Within a Millet: The
Karamanlides', in Dimitri Gondicas and Charles Issawi, eds., Ottoman Greeks
in the Age of NatIOnalism: Politics, Ecollomy alld Society ill the Nineteenth
Centllry, (Princeton,1999) 115-42.
11 George Mavrogordatos, The Stillborn Republic: Social Coalitions and Party
Strategies ill Greece, 1922-1936, (Berkeley, 1983) 226. Chapter 5 of
Mavrogordatos's book constitutes an excellent analysis of the situation of
minorities in inter-war Greece.
12 On the Greek minority in Albania see, illter alia, Basil Kondis and Eleftheria
Manda, eds, The Greek Mil/ority ill Albania: A Doculllentary Record
(1921-1993), (Thessaloniki, 1994) and V. Kondis, Ellillis11loS tiS Voreiou
Ipeirou /wi EllilloallJalli/; shheseis: engrapha apo to Istori/w Arhheio tOil
'\ Ypourgeiou /:xoteriholl, (Athens, 1997).
13 jOn the Greek minority in Turkey see Alexis Alexandris, The Greek Minority
... of Istallblll and Greeh-Tllrhish Relations 1918-1974, (Athens, 1992) and
I-Iuman Rights Watch/Helsinki, Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity:
The Gree/;,s of Tllrlwy, (Athens 1992). The report of the New York-based
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki organisation paints a stark picture of the situa-
tion of the Greek minority in Turkey during the early 1990s:
The Greek community in Turkey is dwindling, elderly and frightened. Its
population has declined from about 110,000 at the time of the signing
of the Lausanne Treaty in 1923 to about 2,500 today. Its fear stems from
an appalling history of pogroms and expulsions suffered at the hands of
the Turkish government. A Helsinki Watch mission visited Turkey in
October 1991 and found that the government there continues to violate
the human rights of the Greek minority. These acts include harassment
by police; restrictions on free expression; discrimination in education
involving teachers, books and curriculum; restrictions on religious free-
dom; limitations on the right to control charitable institutions; and the
denial of ethl1lc identity. All of these abuses violate international human
rights laws and standards that have been signed or endorsed by the
government of Turkey, including the European Convention on I-Iuman
Rights and the Paris Charter.
14 The first publication of this group was Meiol1otites still Ellada /wi 0 politilws
hOSIllOS, Etaireia gia to Dikaiomata ton Meionotiton E.D.M, (Athens, 1992).
I S Cited in Christos L. Rozakis, 'The International Protec("ion of Minorities in
Greece', in Kevin Featherstone and Kostas Ifantis, eds, Greece ill a Changlllg
Ellrope: Between European Integratioll and Ballwll Dlsllltegratioll?,
(Manchester, 1996) op. cit., 96.
16 The Exchange of Populations signed in January 1923 at Lausanne provided for
'a compulsory exchange of Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion
established in Turkish territory and of Greek nationals of the Moslem rcligion
established 111 Greek terntory'. The cnterion for the exchange was religious
affiliation and not cthl1lc IdentIty. It is worth noting that III the prelimll1ary
discussions leading up to thc exchange, all the partIes to the Lausanne negoti-
ations, the Greeks, the Turks and the BrItish, were agreed that the Turkish-
speaklllg Greeks would remain ill silll in Asia MinoL In the event, however, the
Turcophone Greeks were included ill the compulsory transfer of populations.
17 Prosorilll DllI/ohratil::1 [(YIJC/'I1ISI. Idryti/::I Praxi hili D/ilggelllla pros tOil
Eflillilw Lao, (No place of publication, December 1947). In 1949 thIS (lirec-
torate was headed by Stavros Kotseff, Te) [(oll1l1/()ltlllstilw [(o/l/mll tis Efladas,
E/)isillla [(eill/eml, VI 1945-1949, (Athens, 19H7) 509.
18 Evangelos Kofos, NatlOllalislll alld Commlt/llsm ill MLlced()lIia, Cfhessaloniki,
1964) 177. The importance of the Slav-Macedolllans to the communist cause
is further demonstrated by the establishment early In 1944 of the Slav-
Macedonian NatIonal Front (SNOF) whIch led to the estahlishment of Slav-
speaking units fighting alongside ELAS, the fight1l1g force of the
communist-controlled National Liberation Front (EAM), to the clisquiet of
rank-ancl-file members of EAM/ELAS who were alarmed at the separatist
tendencies that were soon manifested. During the period of the CIvil war SNOF
was reconstituted as NOF. A principal objective of NOF was secunng 'national
equality' and the recognition of 'the national rights of our people" i.c. ("he Slav-
Macedonians, Progral/ll/la /; /wtastatilw tOil Lai/wapcfe/iI)efOti/w Meto/lou
tOil S/auolllahedoI1011 (N.O.E), (January 1948) 2.
19 On the Macedonian quest"\on as an issue in the affaIrs of ("he Balkan commu-
nist partIes durll1g the imer-war period see Kofos, op. cit., 66-94 and Alekos
Papapanagiotou, II) Ma/.:.edonilw zitil/1a lwi to Val/wllilw /(OIl1I11OlIllISti/.:O
hhlillla 1918-1939, (Athens, 1992).
20 Some of the refugees had been granted permIssIon to return by earlier conser-
vative governments.
21 Robert Kaplan, B<1l/wlI Ghosts: A joumey Throllgh !listory, (London, 1994) was repor("ed that Kaplan's book was a principal source of PreSIdent Bill
Clinton's knowledge of the complexIties of Balkan politics.
22 Athells New Agellcy Blllletill, 1 February 1995.
23 The Arval1ltes are claImed by Albanian nationalists to number over a million,
Alballiall Life, No.2 (1995) IS, far too high a figure.
24 See, for instance, Giorgos Margaritis, 'I skotell1l plevra ron ethnikon ti1l"l-
amvon: Thesprotial941-44 kal 0\ Tsamides" () ['olitls, 117 (January 1(92)
25 Panayote Elie DimItras, 'Minoritcs linguistIqucs en in Henn Giordan,
cd., Les I/I/l/oritcs ell Ellrope: dmlls de [,h 01/1 lIIe , (Pans, 1992) 306.
'Any change in the calendar will cause confusion among the
ignorant and introduce a division Illto the Church.'
The Emperor Alldrol1ilws II Palaiologos (1.324)
A dispute about thirteen days?
On 3 March 1924 Chrysostomos I (Papadopoulos), Archbishop of Athens
(1868-1938), despatched a telegram to all the diocesan bishops of the
Church of Greece. In this he announced that the Church of Greece, which
hitherto had followed the Old Style or Julian Calendar, would now change
to the New Style Calendar, which had already been adopted by the Greek
civil authorities in February of the previous year. In the words of the Arch-
bishop's telegram:
The Church of Greece, in accordance with the decision of the Holy
Synod, has accepted the correction of the Julian Calendar as speci-
fied by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whereby 1 () March in the
Church calendar will be reckoned as 23 March ... In this way from
the 23rd of the present month of March there will exist one single
calendar in Greece for both Church and state.
When he issued this fateful telegram, did Archbishop Chrysostomos feel any
misgivings? Almost certainly he did. In 1924, the Greek nation and Church
were both in a troubled and uneasy situation. The past nine years had
proved a divisive and traumatic period, first because of the 'National
Schism' (Etlmilws Dihhasmos) between the Royalists and the Venizelists,
and then much more because of the military catastrophe in Asia Minor, with
its tragic aftermath of institutionalized 'ethnic cleansing'. Inevitably these
events had repercussions on church life. Indeed, Chrysostomos had himself
been appointed Archbishop in March 1923 under disputed circumstances.
His predecessor, Archbishop Theoklitos I, had been deposed by the revolu-
tionary government of Plastiras and GOl1atas. Chrysostomos had been
elected, not by the total hierarchy of the Greek Church, but by a group of
only five bishops, hand-picked by the government; and, of these five, no
more than three had voted for Chrysostomos. Although he was a distin-
guished scholar, who as Archbishop turned out to be a gifted pastor, he was
from the start a controversial figure.
The revolutionary government that had engineered Chrysostomos's
appointment placed him under heavy pressure to introduce the New Calen-
dar in the Church at the earliest possible opportunity. Left to himself, he
would almost certainly have preferred to wait. He knew that very little had
been done to prepare the parish clergy and the laity for the calendar change,
and he was also aware that a number of bishops were unhappy about the
alteration, although in the event none of them in 1924 voted directly against
it. I-Ie must surely have foreseen difficulties, at any rate in the period imme-
diately following the change. What, however, neither Archbishop Chrysos-
tomos himself nor anyone else in March 1924 can have anticipated was that
the introduction of the New Calendar would bring about within Greek
Orthodoxy a lasting schism, which seventy-five years later still remains
unhealed. As a result of the 1924 calendar change, there exist in Greece
toclay substantial numbers of Palaioil1lcrologitai or 'Old Calenclarists' -
sometimes they are styled Palaiocortoiogitai or 'Old Feasters' -- who have
their own bishops, parishes and monasteries that are totally independent of
the New Calendar State Church. They call themselves Gllisiol Orthodoxoi
Christia11oi, the 'True Orthodox Christians' of the Greek land. Undoubtedly
in the past the Old Calendarists constituted the largest religious minority
within Greece, and probably they still do so today. They are a minority, we
may add, that was for a long time subjected to persecution.
Should we dismiss the calendar controversy in twentieth-century Greece
as a dispute utterly devoid of genuine religious significance, a misunder-
standing that simply concerns technicalities of astronomy and chronology?
Surely, it will be said, the thirteen-day discrepancy between the Old Style
(Julian) and the New Style (Gregorian) calendars has nothing to do with
Christian doctrine or morality. In the words of Metropolitan Anthimos of
Alexandroupolis, 'The calendar problem is primarily scientific and in no
way spiritual, and so it provides no justification whatsoever to those who
make it grounds for schism from their Church.' The Olel Calendarists, he
continues, are nothing more than 'time-worshippers'. I The
mentality of the Paiaioimcr%gitai, so their opponents maintain, exempli-
fies in a striking fashion the failure - all too common in the history of East-
ern Christendom - to draw a proper distinction between the essential and
the incidental, between the unchanging faith and transitory customs that are
historically and culturally conditioned. Out of ignorance and superstition,
it is argued, the adherents of the Old Style have elevated the Julian Calen-
dar into a dogma.
The Pa/aioimcrologitai, for their part, view matters from a radically dif-
ferent perspective. The calendar controversy, they believe, is very far from
being merely a dispute about thirteen days. For the Orthodox Church there
is an essential interconnection between doctrine and prayer, between theol-
ogy and liturgical symbolism; any distortion in the Church's worship will
therefore have direct consequences upon the way in which the Orthodox
faith is understood and lived. The introduction of the New Calendar in 1924
is to be seen as an unauthorized innovation that has broken the continuity
of Holy Tradition and shattered the unity of the Orthodox world. In the
words of the chief leader of the Old Calendarist movement from 1935 until
his death, Chrysostomos (Kavouridis), formerly Metropolitan of Florina
(1870-1955): 'We see the calendar reform as involving the exactness of the
norms of Orthodoxy and the age-old practice of the Orthodox Church; and
we prefer to remain faithful to the decisions of the seven Ecumenical Coun-
cils.' If any alteration in the calendar is to be made, Metropolitan Chrysos-
toI110S argues, this can be done only by the decision of a Panorthodox Synod,
representing the entire Orthodox world, and not by individual Orthodox
Churches acting unilaterally.2
We shall not begin to understand the viewpoint of the Palatoimcr%gitai
unless we recognize that for them the Julian Calendar possesses a profound
symbolical significance. It is to be seen as the touchstone of loyalty to the
Orthodox faith in its true and full integrity. 'For the Church', writes Met-
ropolitan ChrysostoI110S of Florina, 'the issue of the calendar is not merely
a question of chronology and dating, but it is a question of ecclesiastical
unity and concord in matters relating to faith and divine worship .... Every
deviation from the Julian Calendar, of whatever kind, introduces confusion
and destruction into the whole system of church order and of proper rhythm
that governs the expression of Orthodox divine worship."
For the Old Calendarists it is no chance coincidence that, four years
before the calendar change, the Patriarchate of Constantinople issued in
:1920 an encyclical advocating closer unity with Western Christians. The
abandonment of the Julian Calendar, according to the Palaiolmcr%gitaI,
has been accompanied by a broader abandonment of the Orthodox tradi-
tion as a whole through involvement in the ecumel1lcal movement. Accord-
ing to Professor Dimitn Kitsikis of Ottawa, a New Calenclarist sympathetic
to the Old Calendarist position, this constitutes 'the essence of the conflict':'
The calendar change, writes the Old Calendarist Metropolitan Kyprianos of
Oropos and Fili, 'is not simply part of an extensive religious and ecclesias-
tical reformation, but it is one with ecumenism, which aspires to the assim-
ilation of Orthodox by heretics and the submission of Orthodoxy to the
Papacy. \ ... Our adherence to the traditional church calendar IS first and
foremost bound up with the struggle against the heresy of ecull1enism.'('
Such is the Old Calendarist case. Even if the change of calendar was not in
itself a direct change of doctrine, it violated the Church's oneness by
disrupting its liturgical unity. Moreover, the calendar change was only 'step
one' in the rapprochement with the 'heterodox' through involvement in
ecumenism; and this is a doctrinal issue, because such involvement has led to
a progressive betrayal of the Orthodox faith. Are the Old Calendarists justi-
fied in making these claims? And how did the calendar schism originate?
Calendar controversies: from the first to the
twentieth century
It is no easy task to provide a full and fair account of the Greek Old Calen-
darist movement. It is a complex story, and only an outline can be attempted
here; I am conscious of many omissions. The interpretation of the evidence
is frequently disputed, and so any treatment such as the present is likely to
provoke the ire of either the New or the Old Calendarists, and possibly of
both of them at once. Moreover, there is a dearth of systematic and well-
researched studies on the subject. Most of the existing works are written
from a predominantly ecclesiastical perspective, with little demographic or
sociological analysis. It is difficult, for example, to obtain information about
the number of Old Calenclarists, their geographical distribution within
Greece, and their educational and social background.?
The calendar has proved a contentious issue from the earliest beginnings
of the Christian Church. Already in the 50s of the current era St Paul
rebuked the Galatians for 'observing special days, months, seasons and
years' (Galatians 4: lO), while a slightly later epistle, possibly not by St Paul,
deplores arguments about the calculation of 'annual festivals and new
moons' (Colossians 2: 16). Controversies during the second and third
centuries concerning the date of Easter were largely resolved by the First
Ecumenical Council, assembled at Nicaea in 325. This specified that the
Christian Pasch a should be kept on the first Sunday following the first full
moon of spring (i.e. the first full moon after the vernal equinox). This means
that Easter is a moveable feast, primarily dependent upon the moon, but
also involving the solar calendar, since it must invariably follow the equinox.
The Nicene Fathers placed the vernal equinox on 21 March. In calculat-
ing this date, they relied upon the Julian Calendar, introduced by Julius
Caesar in 45 Be. Presumably they employed this reckoning because it was
the calendar followed by the civil authorities within the Roman Empire, not
because they attributed to it any intrinsically sacred character. What inter-
ested them was the astronomical fact of the equinox, rather than the accu-
racy of any particular calendar. The Palaioimerologitai, however, argue that
the adoption of the Julian Calendar by the First Ecumenical Council and its
subsequent use within the Church has conferred upon it a religious signifi-
cance which it did not originally possess.
The Julian Calendar presupposes a year of 365 % days; but this is not
strictly accurate, since the actual length of the year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48
minutes, 45 seconds," and so the Julian year is slightly more than 11 min-
utes too long. This results in an error of approximately one whole day in
every 128 years. In consequence, as the centuries passed, Easter was some-
times no longer being observed by the Church on the date intended by
Nicaea, that is to say, on the first Sunday after the full moon following the
true astronomical equinox. In eighth-century Northumbria the Venerable
Bede realized that something had gone wrong with the Paschal computa-
tion, but nothing was done at the time to correct the errors that he had
detected. Five centuries later Roger Bacon succeeded in calculating the
length of the year with astonishing accuracy - he reckoned it as 365 days, 5
hours and 49 minutes, which is only a few seconds in excess of the true
figure - and in his Opus Maius, sent to Pope Clement IV in 1267, he pro-
posed a thorough revision of the calendar, including the date of Easter. But
once more no action was taken.
The Byzantines of the Palaeologan era were likewise aware of the inac-
curacy of the Julian Calendar. In 1324, exactly 600 years before the adop-
tion of the New Calendar by the Church of Greece, the learned humanist
Nikiphoros Gregoras submitted a scheme for calendar reform to the
Emperor Andronikos II; but the latter, with a prudence that was certainly
prophetic, decided to make no change for fear of causing a schism within the
' When in 1371 the monk Isaakios Argyros made similar proposals
for correcting the date of Easter, the canonist Matthaios Vlastaris reacted as
Andronikos II had done. 'It is better to make no change', he wrote, 'for any
such innovation ... will cause no small conflict within the Church.'11 In the
next century Georgios Gemistos Plethon (ca. 1360-1452) suggested a far
more radical reformation of the calendar, linked to 1115 secret schemes for a
revived paganism; but there was never any prospect that his fantastic notions
would actually be adopted. '"
By the late sixteenth century the Julian Calendar was in error by a full ten
days. The true astronomical equinox now fell not on 21 March but on 11
March according to the Julian reckoning; but the Church, both Eastern and
Western, continued to date the equinox to 2l March according to the Julian
Calendar. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII eliminated the inaccuracy by intro-
ducing the New or Gregorian Calendar named after him. Ten days were
omitted from the month of October in that year, so that henceforward the
date 21 March once more corresponded to the true equinox. T6 prevent
anomalies in the future, the Pope decreed that the century years were only
to be leap years when divisible by four hundred (for example, 1600,2000).
Thus the clifference between the Julian and the Gregorian Calendars,
amounting to ten days in the sixteenth century, was still ten days in the
following century. In the eighteenth century it increased to eleven days, in
the nineteenth to twelve, and in the twentieth to thirteen. In the twenty-first
century, since 2000 will be a leap year, the difference will remain at thirteen
days. There is a slight inaccuracy in the Gregorian Calendar, which results
in an error of one day in approximately every 3,300 years; but this is of
course negligible in comparison with the error of one day in every 128 years
according to the Julian Calendar.
Pope Gregory XIII hoped that the Orthodox East would agree to adopt
the New Calendar, and in J 582-83 he made approaches to Patriarch
Ieremias II (Tranos) of Constantinople. II These met with no success. Synods
held at Constantinople in 1583, 1587 and 1593 rejected the Gregorian Cal-
endar; and when the Greek Orthodox bishop in Venice, Gabriel Severns,
attempted to introduce the New Style in his church, he was sharply repri-
manded by the Patriarch. Ieremias II's reasons for opposing the Gregorian
Calendar were not scientific but religious. He objected to it because, in the
first place, when reckoned according to the New Style the Christian Pascha
sometimes precedes the Jewish Passovel; and this he believed to be prohib-
ited by the Council of Nicaea. Secondly, he feared that Rome would exploit
the introduction of the New Calendar as a means of infiltration and prose-
lytism. Thirdly, and most seriously, he saw the new Papal Calendar as an
innovation, sundering what he termed the 'golden chain' of Holy Tradition.
'We preserve the rules concerning Pascha without calling them into ques-
tion', he wrote, 'and we have an eternal ordinance, to be observed until the
glorious coming of Christ.'''' For him continuity of Tradition mattered more
than astronomical exactitude.
The New Calendar was gradually adopted throughout Western Europe -
in England not until 1752 - but Greece, along with the other Orthodox
countries, continued to follow the Julian Calendar not only in church wor-
ship but also in civil affairs. In 1902 Patriarch Ioacheim III of Constantino-
ple sent an encyclical letter to the heads of the other Orthodox Churches, in
which with remarkable foresight he raised, among other things, precisely
the two issues which have most greatly exercised the Orthodox Church in
the twentieth century: reunion with the non-Orthodox denominations and
the reform of the calendar. In their replies several Orthodox Churches did
not rule out the possibility of adjusting the calendar at some future date, but
none of them saw any pressing reason for a change in the immediate pres-
ent. This is hardly surprising, since the Julian reckoning was still being fol-
lowed by the civil government in the countries where they were located.
Summing up the consensus of the Orthodox Church, Ioacheim wrote in
J 904 that any reform of the Julian Calendar was 'premature and quite
superfluous at present' .IS
Two decades later, following the Great War of 1914-18, the situation
throughout the Orthodox world had dramatically changed. The civil
authorities in the countries where most Orthodox were living, stich as
Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, had now changed or were in
process of changing to the Gregorian Calendar. The continued observance
of the Olel Style by the Church created obvious difficulties, particularly
where Orthodoxy was still recognized by the government as the national
Church. This new state of affairs is reflected in the encyclical issued by the
Ecumenical Patriarchate in January] 920, entitled 'Unto the Churches of
Christ everywhere', which reopened the questions raised by Ioacheim III in
1902 concerning Christian unity and the calendar, but with a markedly dif-
ferent approach. While Ioacheim had been cautious about inter-Christian
rapprochement, insisting that the Orthodox Church is 'the pillar and the
ground of truth', the 1920 encyclical boldly proposed the foundation of a
'League of Churches', similar in character to the 'League of Nations' that
was in process of foundation.
The 1920 encyclical, which serves as a surprisingly complete blueprint
for future developments in the Faith and Order Movement and the World
Council of Churches, went on to propose eleven ways in which Christians
of different communIons could co-operate together. Significantly the first of
these was 'by the acceptance of a uniform calendar for the celebration of the
great Christian feasts at the same time by all the Churches'. Thus, whereas
Ioacheim III had concluded in 1904 that there was no need for any alteration
of the calendar, the 1920 encyclical now openly supported the cause of cal-
endar reform. Old Calendarist writers have frequently drawn attention to
the connection which the 1920 encyclical established between the changing
of the calendar and the promotion of Christian unity. This shows, in their
opinion, that from the start plans for the adoption of the New Calendar
were closely linked with the pursuit of ecumenism.
Three years later the Ecumenical Patriarch Meietios IV (Metaxakis)
(1871-1935) decided that the time had come to start carrying into effect
the proposals of the 1920 encyclical. He therefore convened a
Panorthodox Conference at Constantinople from 10 May to 8 June 1923,
with calendar reform as the main item on its agenda. The delegates voted
unanimously that both for fixed feasts, such as Christmas and the Annun-
ciation, and for the Paschalion - the tables determining thc date of Easter
- the Orthodox Church should henceforward follow the 'Revised Julian
Caiendar'. For all practical purposes this is identical with the Gregorian
Calendar, for the two coincide exactly until the year 2800. But, conscious
as they were of strong anti-Catholic feeling throughout the Orthodox
world, the participants at the 1923 meeting were anxIous to make clear
that they had not adopted the 'Papal' Gregorian Calendar, but had mcrely
emended the Julian reckoning.
Unfortunately the Constantinople conference of 1923 proved controver-
sial and divisive. It was convened in haste, at a time of grave political inse-
Clllity following the ASIa Minor disaster, when the future cOlltinuance of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul was in serious doubt. Indeed, during the
course of the conference, a group of rioters broke into the Phanar on I June
and assaulted Patriarch Meletios. Moreover, Meletios hilllself was (to put
matters mildly) a problematic figure. Forceful and energetic, highly intelli-
gent, dedicated to a programme of wide-ranging reform, he had made many
enemies during his stormy years as Archbishop of Athens (1918-20); and his
time as Ecumenical Patriarch (1921-23) proved equally tumultuous. I-Ie was
widely suspected of being a Freemason, which did little to enhance his rep-
utation among conservative Orthodox.
Nor was this all. In addition to the revision of the calendar, the 1923 con-
ference proposed other changes which alarmed Orthodox traditionalists. It
decided that deacons and priests could delay marrying, if they so wished,
until after ordination; that they could be allowed to contract a second mar-
riage after the death of their wife; and that the fasts could be abbreviated.
The proposals endorsed at the 1923 conference coincided closely with the
programme of the 'Living Church' in Russia, which from] 922 onwards had
set itself up in opposition to St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow.
Yet more disquieting was the gravely unrepresentative character of the
1923 conference. While claiming to be 'Panorthodox', it was in fact noth-
ing of the kind. It was attended by delegates from no more than five Ortho-
dox Churches: Constantinople, Serbia, Romania, Cyprus and Greece.
Because of personal disagreements with Meletios, the Patriarchs of Alexan-
dria, Antioch and Jerusalem refused to send representatives. Bulgaria was
not invited, because between 1872 and 1945 it was out of communion with
Constantinople. Most seriously of all, conditions of persecution made it
impossible for the Church of Russia to send delegates. Tvvo Russian bishops
from the dias/Jora did in fact participate, but not as official representatives
for the Russian Church; and one of these, Archbishop Anastasy (Grib-
anovsky), a member of the Russian Exile Synod at Sremski-Karlovci
(Serbia), openly expressed reservations about most of the proposals, includ-
ing the calendar reform, and withdrew before the end of the conference.
Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, on the other hand, although unable to send
delegates, was by no means opposed in principle to the introduction of the
New Calendar. In 1918 he had allowed the Church of Finland to change to
the New Style; and, not long after the Constantinople conference, on 1 st
October 1923 he issued a decree, proclaiming the adoption of the New Cal-
endar by the Russian Church as a whole. But, because of troubles caused by
the reformist 'Living Church' movement, Tikhon never carried this decree
into effect.
It was the hope of Patriarch Meletios and the other members of the 1923
Constantinople conference that the calendar change, as regards both the
Paschalion and the fixed feasts, would be adopted simultaneously by the
Orthodox Churches throughout the world. In the event tillS did not happen,
and so a confusing situation arose, which regrettably has persisted up to the
present day. On 10/23 March 1924 the only churches to introduce the New
Style were Constantinople, Greece and Cyprus. Romania changed to the
New Calendar in October 1924, Alexandria in 1928 (by this time the Patt'i-
arch of Alexandria was none other than Meletios IMetaxakis I), and Anti-
och also in 1928. Bulgaria adopted the New Style only inl968. The New
Calendar is also followed by Albania, Finland and the Orthodox Church in
America (the former Russian 'Metropolia'), except in Alaska, The Patriar-
chate of Jerusalem, on the other hand, partly out of a deSire not to disturb
the status quo in the Holy Places, has continued up to the present to keep
the Julian Calendar. So also have the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Georgia
and Sinai, together with the Holy Mountain of Athos (here one of the
'ruling' monasteries, Vatopedi, adopted the New Calendar in 1924, but
returned to the Old Style in J 975). The Orthodox Church of Poland has
wavered between the two calendars: at present it officially follows the Old
Calendar, but some parishes use the New Style. In the Orthodox Church of
the Czech Republic and Slovakia both calendars are foliowed.
Here it will be helpful to make a terminological distlllction between
'Orthodox Churches following the Old Calendar' and the 'Old Calen-
darists'. By 'Orthodox Churches following the Old Calendar' are meant
Churches such as Jerusalem, Russia and Serbia. These, although adhering to
the Julian reckoning, remain 111 full communion with the Patriarchate of
Constantinople, the Church of Greece, and the other New Style Orthodox
Churches. By 'Old Calendarists' are meant those Orthodox Christians, in
Greece and elsewhere, who have broken off all communion, not only with
the New Calendar Orthodox Churches, but also with the Orthodox
Churches following the Old Calendar, such as Jerusalem, Russia and Serbia,
which continue in communion with the New Calendarists. Thus the Ortho-
dox Churches following the Old Calendar form, along with the New Cal-
endar Orthodox Churches, a world-wide Orthodox communion that is
single and undivided, whereas the Old Calendarists constitute a distinct and
separate movement.!O
When in the autumn of 1923 it became clear that the change of calendar
was not going to be adopted simultaneously by all the member Churches
throughout the Orthodox world, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens pro-
posed a compromise, which was accepted by the Holy Synod of the Church
of Greece and by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Let the New Style be intro-
duced, he suggested, solely for fixed feasts such as 25 December (Christmas)
and 25 March (Annunciation, the Greek National Day); on the other hand,
the Paschal ion, determining the date of Easter, should for the time being be
left unchanged, with the vernal equinox (21 March) still reckoned accord-
ing to the Old Calendar. 'f'his satisfied the Greek civil authorities, who
wanted the Church to celebrate Christmas and the Greek National Day at
the same tllne as the state, whereas the date of Easter was not a problem for
them, because It falls on a Sunday. At the same time, it ensured that Easter,
the chief feast of the Christian Year, would continue to be observed on the
same date by virtually all Orthodox Churches. This intermediate arrange-
ment - New Style for fixed feasts, Old Style for the Paschal ion - continues
until now to be followed by all the New Calendar Orthodox Churches,
except for the Church of Finland and a few Orthodox parishes in the West-
ern world, which keep Easter on the same date as the West. Like most such
compromises, it involves certain irregularities. For example, in New Calen-
dar Churches the fast preceding the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul (29
June) is abbreviated, and in certain years it disappears altogether.
The unrepresentative character of the 1923 Panorthodox Conference, and
the mixed which its decisions received in the Orthodox world at
large, paved the way for the future calendar schism in Greece. There is no
good reason to doubt the sincerity of Archbishop Chrysostomos, who endeav-
oured to serve the Church as best he could in a troubled era. But his telegram
of 4 March 1924 was to have far-reaching and unhappy consequences.
The emergence of organized opposition
At first resistance to the introduction of the New Calendar was muted. In
1927 E/;:/disia, the official iournal of the Church of Greece, claimed that the
number of those who continued to follow the Old Calendar was 'very few';
they had no more than two or three chapels in Athens, with small groups in
five places elsewhere in Greece.
But by 1933 the New Calendarist hierar-
chy had begun to take a more serious view. In a letter to the government
dated 14 October, the bishops referred to the Palaioimerologitai as 'a size-
able minority', which constituted 'a threat to national unity'Y A year later,
in their declaration of 16 November 1934, they used yet more alarmist lan-
guage. There was, they said, 'a state of lamentable ecclesiastical anarchy ...
an immediate danger of schism and division, not only within the Church
but within the nation'.2'
For their part, the Old Calendarists claimed to possess by the mid-1930s
no less than 800 parartimata or branches.
Doubtless some of these were
small, comprising perhaps one or two families worshipping in their own
homes and served occasionally by itinerant priests. But even authors hostile
to the Pa/aioinzerologitai concede that their numbers may have risen at this
time to about 300,000.25 If we include, alongside active Old Calendarists,
others who sympathized with them but did not break openly with the offi-
cial New Calendarist Church, then their numbers in the 19305 may well
have exceeded a million.
Initially no bishop in Greece espoused the Old Calendarist cause. The
Pa/aioimer%gitai were at first served largely by priest-monks coming from
Athos. The movement, especially before 1935, was overwhelmingly a 'grass
roots' phenomenon, dependent upon lay leadership. Most of its supporters,
as Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina later pointed out, belonged to the
poorer and less-educated strata of society.2(, But it had also some supporters
in high places, such as Christos Androutsos, Professor of Dogmatic Theol-
ogy in Athens University, the historian Pavlos Karolidis, and Manouil
Gedeon, Great Chartophylax of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Outside the
Greek world Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky), head of the Russian
Exile Synod at Sremski-KarlovCl, was a particularly outspoken opponent of
the New Calendar.
Two formative events occurred in 1925. First, on 6119 January, the feast
of Theophany according to the Julian Calendar, the Pa/atol1l1erologitai went
in solemn proceSSIOn to the harbour of Piraeus, to conduct the customary
blessing of the waters. From that time onwards this became a regular annual
event. Observed with great outward pomp - with banners, brass bands, and
children in Greek national costume, followed by hundreds of nuns and thou-
sands of the faithful - the Theophany blessing has come to constitute the
chief visible demonstration of the Old Calendarist presence. As the Old Cal-
endarist movement split into rival factions, the service began to be con-
ducted simultaneously at a number of different POlI1ts along the coast.
A second formative event, part of the shared memory of all
Pa/aioimerologitai, took place during the night preceding the feast of the
Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14/27 September 1925. A group of Old Cal-
endarists had gathered outside Athens to celebrate an ali-nIght vigil at the
chapel of St John the Theologian on the slopes of Mount Hymettus. Shortly
before midnight, according to the testimony of witnesses - including mem-
bers of the police who had been sent to stop the service - a great Cross of
light appeared in the sky above the chapel and remained plainly visible for
more than an hour. I-Jere, for the Palaioime1'O/ogitai, was striking testimony
of divine blessing upon their struggle.
Before long the movement began to develop its own martyrology. On the
feast of the Archangels, 8/21 November 1927, as the police tried to break
lip an Old Calendarist service at Mandra in Attica, a young married woman,
Katerina Routis, was badly wounded, dying in hospital seven days later. She
is honoured by the Palaiol1l1emlogitai as the New Martyr Katerina. A some-
what different act of violence occurred on 21 May in the same year. As Arch-
bishop Chrysostomos of Athens entered the Church of St Constantine and
St Helena in Piraeus, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the patronal feast,
he was attacked by an Old Calendarist barber, who tried to cut off the Arch-
bishop's long white beard. Chrysostomos's cheek and hand were cut by the
barber's scissors, but his beard escaped largely intact. The Old Calendarist
leadership was quick to disown this assault, but it served to fix in the mind
of the general public the impreSSIon that the Palaioll71erologifi71 were bigoted
For the first eleven years of their existence the Old Calendarists were
hampered by lack of Episcopal leadership, which meant among other things
that they could not ordain their own pnests. The situation changed in a spec-
tacular way on 13/26 May 1935 when three bishops - Metropolitan
Germanos of Dimitrias, Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly of Florina,
and Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos - announced, before a large
congregation at the Olel Calendarist Church of the Dormition in central
Athens, that they were joining the Palaioimerologitai. If we read between the
lines in the various proclamations which the three issued at this time, it was
clearly not their intention simply to assume leadership of a separate Old
Calendarist movement. They hoped that other bishops in the New Calen-
darist hierarchy would join them, thereby creating a situation in which
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens would be deposed or forced to
Metropolitan Germanos of Dimitrias would then replace him, and in this
way the Greek Church as a whole would return to the Old Style and the
calendar schism would be brought to end. What has never been properly
clarified is how far the three bishops, before coming out into the open, had
consulted the political leaders and obtained at any rate tacit support. The
attempted COUIJ d'eglise by the three occurred shortly after the Venizelist
defeat in March 1935, at the height of the ensuing Royalist reaction. Did
that influence the three in choosing this precise moment to take action?
More specifically, did they consult the future dictator Ioannis Metaxas, as
was suggested at the time?
Whatever the answer to these questions, we would certainly be unjusti-
fied in dismissing the Old Calendarist struggle as nothing more than a siele-
effect of the interwar conflict between Royalists and Venizelists. The truth
is more complex. While many Palaioimerologitai, being conservative in their
general attitude, were likely to be Royalists, this was by no means invariably
the case. Venizelos on his side displayed no particular hostility towards the
Old Calendarists. In a parliamentary debate on 22 January 1931, for exam-
ple, he argued that, if the Palaioimerologitai were to found a Church of their
own that was clearly distinct from the official New Calendarist Church, then
they could be tolerated by the civil authorities. In reality the calendar dis-
pute was always primarily a religious controversy. Political factors, while
playing some part, were never decisive.
Acting promptly, the three bishops sought to consolidate their position by
consecrating four other bishops in the early days of June 1935. But their
hopes of support from the hierarchy of the New Calendarist Church of
Greece were disappointed; not a single bishop joined them. Nor did they
receive any help from the politicians. On 14 June the Spiritual Court of the
New Calendarist Church declared all three to be deposed from sacred orders
and reduced to the status of lay monks; they were also condemned to con-
finement for a five-year period in specified monastic houses. The decision of
the Court was not unanimous, and several bishops sitting on it would have
preferred a milder penalty.
One of the three bishops, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos,
recognizing that their 'take-over bid' had failed, sought pardon from the
New Calendarist church authorities; and after a six-month period under
discipline he was restored to his diocese. The other two, Metropolitans
Germanos of Dimitrias and Chrysostomos of Florina, were duly conveyed
to their places of exile by the police. But by October 1935 they managed to
make their way back to Athens, where they circulated freely in clerical dress.
The civil authorities allowed them to continue largely unhampered in their
efforts to organize the Old Calendarist movement. The attitude of de facto
toleration continued under the Metaxas regime and during the German
occupation. So the calendar schism remained unhealed.
Divisions among the Palaioimer%gitai
In 1937 Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, in what may be regarded
as an. eirenic gesture towards the State Church, drew an important distinc-
tion: the New Calendarist Church of Greece, he stated, although schismatic
'potentially' (dYllamei) could not yet be regarded as schismatic 'actually'
(energeia). Basically this signified that, in the eyes of the Metropolitan and
of those Palaioimerologitai who agreed with him, the New Calendarist
Church was not as yet altogether deprived of divine grace, not were its sacra-
ments to be considered invalid. While rejecting the New Calendar as an
unauthorized innovation and breaking off all communion with those who
had adopted it, Metropolitan Chrysostomos did not claim the right to pass
judgement on their status. This, he believed, was a matter that could only
be settled by a future Pan orthodox Synod.
At times Metropolitan Chrysostomos spoke as if he considered that the
Old Calendarist movement and the New Calendarist State Church, despite
their mutual alienation, were still fellow members of a single all-embracing
Church of Greece. He and his followers saw themselves as resisting the cal-
endar change and, as it were, 'walling' themselves off from it. In this con-
text he used the word (mum, 'look out', 'guard' or 'watch': the Old
Calendarists formed a group of vigilantes within the Church of Greece,
keeping watch over the integrity of the truth which had been compromised
by their New Calendarist brethren. But they did not claim to have defini-
tively replaced the New Calendarist hierarchy as the true Church of Greece.
Whereas various later leaders of the Palaioimerologitai have styled them-
selves 'Archbishop of Athens and All Greece', this was something that Met-
ropolitan Chrysostomos never did. The only title that he employed was
'former Metropolitan of Florina'.
A much stricter position, however, was adopted by one of the Old Cal-
endarist bishops who had been consecrated in June 1935, Matthaios
(Karpadakis) of Vresthena (1861-1950), an ex-Athonite monk who was the
founder of two large Old Calendarist monasteries in Attica: one for women
at Keratea, established in 1927, and one for men at Kouvara, founded in
1934. Matthaios firmly rejected the dYlla111ei/energeia distinction. In his
opinion the New Calendarist Church of Greece was already fully schismatic;
it was therefore without the grace of the Holy Spirit, and so all its sacra-
ments, including baptism, were null and void. It should be noted that for its
part the New Calendarist Church took a similar view concerning Old Cal-
endarist sacraments, which it rejected as invalid. Despite various attempts
at reconciliation during 1937-50, a sharp separation developed between
Chrysostomos and Matthaios. Shortly after Matthaios's death, during
1950-51 Chrysostomos seemed to adopt the stricter position of his departed
colleague, but he then apparently returned to his earlier standpoint. In this
way the Pa/aioimer%gitai were split into two rival factions, the more mod-
erate 'Florinites' and the more extreme 'Matthewites'. Initially the
'Florinites' were by far the more numerous.
Chrysostomos's main associate during the attempted 'take-over' in May
1935, Metropolitan Germanos of Dimitrias, died in 1944 during the Nazi
occupation. Disappointed by the failure of the Old Calendarists to win wider
support among the hierarchy of the Church of Greece, Germanos had grad-
ually withdrawn from active involvement in the struggle; and in 1943 he
appealed to the Holy Synod of the State Church, asking to be received back
and reinstated in his Episcopal orders. No immediate action was taken by
the Synod, perhaps because of the difficult situation prevailing in occupied
Athens; but after his death the Synod granted him a posthumous pardon,
and decreed that at his funeral he should receive the honours customarily
given to a deceased hierarch.
Doubts have been expressed about the sincerity of Metropolitan Ger-
manos in espousing the Old Calendarist cause in 1935, and it has been sug-
gested that his real motive was personal ambition and the desire to replace
Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos) as Archbishop of Athens. This is perhaps
unjust. Throughout his ecclesiastical career Germanos had consistently
upheld traditionalist views; and, even though he did not vote against the cal-
endar change in 1924, he had certainly begun to express reservations about
it by 1928. On the other hand, no serious misgivings have ever been
expressed about the sincerity of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina.
Despite many personal privations he remained unwavering in his support of
the Old Calendarist cause until his death in 1955. In his writings he always
spoke with dignity and restraint, never insulting his opponents; and New
Calendarist sources readily acknowledge his genuine nobility of character.
A major attack on the Palaioill1er%gitai was launched by government
decree on 3 January 1951. Although during 1924-35, in the early years of
the movement, they had been subject to sporadic and sometimes violent
harassment from the police, this had diminished from 1936 onwards. In
1951, however, the civil authorities - acting under strong pressure from
Archbishop Spyridon of Athens - decided that the moment had come to
eliminate the Palaioimer%gitai once and for all. The aged Metropolitan
Chrysostomos of Florina was exiled to a remote monastery in Mytilini; Old
Calendarist clergy were arrested, their beards cut off and their heads shaved;
virtually all their churches were closed; monks and nuns were expelled from
their monasteries. Even New Calendarist writers such as the present Arch-
bishop of Athens concede that the Pa/aioimer%gitai were subjected at this
time to 'intimidation, not to say terrorism'.""
Although driven temporarily underground, the Old Calendarist move-
ment was not destroyed. By the middle of 1952 the government tacitly
acknowledged that the use of violence had proved a failure. The persecution
was gradually relaxed, and Metropolitan Chrysostomos was allowed to
return to Athens. Although the Holy Synod and many of the diocesan bish-
ops went on appealing to the government and the police to use repressive
measures, the civil authorities to their creclit showed an increasing reluc-
tance to employ force. Since the early J 970s there have been few instances
of arrests or closure of churches, although Old Calendarist clergy continued
for a time to encounter bureaucratic obstruction when seeking to open
places of worship or when requesting passports for foreign travel.
The question naturally arises why, since the Greek constitution allows
freedom of worship to what are termecl 'recognized religions', the
Pa/aioi11ler%gitai were for so long subjectecl to repression and police
harassment. The answer lies in the particular character of the Old Calen-
darist movement. The Old Calendarists claimed to be, not a sect newly
founded in 1924, but nothing else than the 'True Orthodox Christians' of
the Greek land. This meant that, from the viewpoint of the New Calendarist
State Church, they were not a separate denomination clearly distinct from
the Orthodox Church of Greece, but simply a faction within it - an assem-
blage of rebellious children who refused obedience to the properly appointed
ecclesiastical leadership, but over whom the hierarchy of the Church of
Greece could still claim canonical authority. In the words of a memorandum
addressed by the New Calendarist Holy Synod to the government on 1
March 1980:
The Palaioi111er%gitai in Greece disagree with our Church for
reasons that are not doctrinal. In consequence they are neither
schismatics nor heterodox; and so they cannot claim the right to a
parallel and indepenclent existence as Orthodox Christians along-
side the Church of Greece and within the limits allowed by the
Constitution .... They have of course the right to leave the Church
by their own free choice, in which case they would then be charac-
terized as non-Orthodox. But they will not so much as envisage the
possibility of such a course, since they consider on the contrary
that they alone are genuine Orthodox.'!)
Such is the reasoning which led the New Calendarist church authorities, and
for a long time the Greek civil authorities as well, to deny freedom of wor-
ship to the Pa/aioimer%gitm. A particularly vexatious disability to which
they were subjected concerned the non-recognition of their marriages. Since
the State Church regarded their sacraments as invalid, the civil authorities
refused to register their marriages, with the result that their children were
considered illegitimate - a serious social stigma in Greece, at any rate in the
past. It was not until 1969 that the state abandoned its negative stance and,
despite protests from the New Calendarist Holy Synod, allowed the mar-
riages of the Palaioimerologitai to be officially recorded. Paradoxically this
occurred during the otherwise illiberal regime of the Colonels.
On various occasions since the late 1920s, the New Calendarist Church
of Greece and the Greek government have suggested a possible solution to
the conflict: let the Old Calendarist congregations continue to observe the
Julian reckoning, but let them be served by priests appointed by the local
(New Calendarist) diocesan bishop. Any such compromise, however, was
unacceptable to the Palaioimerologitai. From their point of view it would be
a betrayal to submit in this way to the jurisdiction of a New Calendarist
bishop and to commemorate his name in the Divine Liturgy. For them to
enter into communion with the State Church, a minimum requirement
would be that the latter in its entirety should return to the Julian Calendar.
It would also be necessary, so most Palaioil11erologitai would add, that the
State Church should break off all relations with other Orthodox Churches
following the New Calendar.
During the late 1940s, with the advancing age of Chrysostomos of Flo-
rina and Matthaios of Vresthena, both groups of Palaioimerologitai grew
increasingly concerned about the continuation of their episcopate. In 1948,
two years before his death, Matthaios proceeded on his own to consecrate
four new bishops. According to the rules prevailing in the Orthodox
Church, a new bishop must be consecrated by three or at the very least two
existing bishops, not by one alone. There have, however, been rare occa-
sions in the past when a consecration performed by a single bishop has been
recognized as valid, even if irregular. Yet, bearing in mind the oft-repeated
claim of the Old Calendarists to be strictly loyal to the Holy Canons, it is at
the very least ironical that Matthaios and his entourage should have acted
in this way in open violation of the canonical tradition of the Orthodox
Chrysostomos of Florina died in 1955 without consecrating any bishop
to succeed him. The main group of Old Calendarists, the 'Florinites', were
now left without an episcopate; for all four of the bishops consecrated in
June J 935 had by this time died or returned to the State Church. In Decem-
ber 1960 the 'Florinites' therefore sent one of their number, Archimandrite
Akakios (Pappas), to America, where he sought Episcopal consecration from
the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in
New York. This body was the continuation of the Russian Exile Synod that
had been resident at Sremski-Karlovci (Serbia) during the interwar period.
But the Russian Synod, headed by Metropolitan Anastasy - who as a
member of the 1923 Panorthodox Conference in Constantinople had
expressed reservations about the calendar change - rcjected the request of
Akakios, on the grounds that they had no authority to interfere in the inter-
nal affairs of the Church of Greece, and also because Akakios was person-
ally unknown to thcm.
This, however, was not the end of the story. Later in the same month of
December 1960, two bishops belonging to ROCOR, Archbishop Serafim of
Chicago and the Romanian Bishop Teofil (Ionescu), in defiance of the deci-
sion by the Ncw York Synod, proceeded to consecrate Akakios Pappas at
Detroit under conditions of strict secrecy. A bizarre feature in this clandes-
tine consecration was that Bishop Teofil was himself a follower of the New
Calendar, a fact of which Akakios was fully awarc. It was not until Decem-
ber ] 969 that ROCOR gave its official approval to the consecration of
Akakios; by this time Metropolitan Anastasy was dead. In May 1962
Akakios consecrated three further bishops, with the assistance of another
member of ROCOR, Archbishop Leonty of Chile and Peru, who had trav-
elled to Greece for this purpose. When Leonty's action came to the knowl-
edge of the New York Synod, he was severely reprimanded for acting
without its approval. In this way the 'Florinites' recovered the episcopate,
albeit in a manner that was distinctly questionable.
During 1963-94 the 'Florinite' group was headed by Archbishop Avxen-
tios (Pastras). The later years of his lengthy rcign were marked by a series of
schisms, with the result that by the 1990s the Old Calendarist movement as
a whole had become split into at least eight subdivisions, with each group
headed by its own synod of bishops, and with each synod cxcommunicat-
ing all thc others. This unhappy fragmentation, along with the undignified
polemic that has accompanied it, has greatly impaired the influence of the
Palaioimerologitai. In April 1998 the number of rival jurisdictions was
slightly diminished, when two Old Calendarist bishops in the United States,
Paisios and Vikentios, were received into communion by the Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople. They claim to have twenty parishes, with
30,000 faithful. They have been allowed to retain the Julian Calendar, but
the two bishops with their clergy were reordained.
Among the existing Old Calendarist jurisdictions, the one which contin-
ues most directly the tradition of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina is
the group headed by Metropolitan Kyprianos of Oropos, with its centre at
the Monastery of Fili in Attica. Its dependency in North America, under
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, issues theological publications of solid
value. The Fili group, which is affiliated with ROCOR, consistently refuses
to condemn the sacraments of the New Calendarists as invalid. By contrast,
most if not all of the other Old Calendarist Jurisdictions - although for the
greater part tracing their succession from Avxentios (Pawas), and therefore
ultimately from Chrysostomos of Florina - now adhere to the 'Matthewite'
standpoint, condemning the sacraments of the 'mainstream' Orthodox
Churches as invalid and devoid of sanctifying grace. Thus the 'Matthewite'
position, which initially was upheld by no more than a small minority of
Pa/aioimc1'%gitai, has gradually become the majority view.
How numerous are the Old Calendarists in Greece? Spokesmen for the
Pa/aioimcr%gitai, both in the 1930s and more recently, have regularly
claimed about one million supporters.
] But a double census, taken in 1969
independently by the civil authorities and by the State Church, suggests that
the true figure is much lower. I-Iere are the results (the statistics from the
Church of Greece do not include Crete and the Dodecanese).J.I
Churches and chapels
Monasteries and hermitages
Church of Grcecc
In both lists the Old Calendarists are concentrated mainly in Athens,
Piraeus, Attica and Thessalonica. Old Calendarist sources reject these
figures as unduly low, and in this they seem justified. Personally I would
accept as not unreasonable the estimate given in the Fili/Etna publication,
The Old Calelldar Orthodox Church of Greece: 'they still number in the
hundreds of thousands' .J5
At no point in its history has the Old Calendarist movement in Greece
possessed any seminary for the training of its clergy. But if the
Pa/aioi111er%gitai have few theological centres, they possess numerous
monastic houses. Indeed, the most striking feature about the entire move-
ment is the dominant role played within it by monasteries and monastic
clergy. What St Theodore the Studite said in ninth-century Byzantium is sin-
gularly applicable to the 'True Orthodox Christians' of the twentieth cen-
tury: 'Monks are the sinews and foundations of the Church'.'" Almost all the
Old Calendarist bishops reside in monasteries of which in many cases they
are the founders. Particularly impressive is the large number of nuns in the
movement of the Pa/aioimerologitai; but it should be remembered that since
the 1920s there has been a revival of women's monasticism in the New Cal-
endarist Church as well. Perhaps the Pa/aioimcr%gitai have today (not
counting Mount Athos) a total of about 2,000-2,500 monks and nuns,
which is roughly equivalent to the number of monastics in the State Church.
The Old Calendarist laity have been profoundly influenced by the pre-
vailing spirit of monastic piety. 'The Faithful', states Bishop Amvrosios, a
member of the Fili group, 'who are, for the most part, simple and humble
persons, are known for their old-fashioned modesty and Christian behav-
iour, their careful keeping of the regulations of the Church - in particular the
fasts, which are now almost totally disregarded by the members of the State
Church - and their love of the Traditions of Holy Orthodoxy .. " Many of
these families could be better described as "little monasteries", which
explains, in turn, the many monastic vocations'.17
The primary source of this monastic ethos is the Holy Mountain of Athos.
In its early years, as noted earlier, the movement was largely dependent on
the ministrations of itinerant monk-priests from the Mountain, and but for
this support the Old Calendarist cause might never have become firmly
established. As regards the present situation within Arhos itself, all the
monks follow the Old Style, but of the twenty 'ruling' monasteries only one,
Esphigmenou, is 'Old Calendarist' in the strict sense, that is to say, not in
communion with the Church of Greece; the remaining monasteries all
commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch during divine worship. Outside the
twenty main monasteries, however, there are many smaller hermitages which
refuse all ecclesiastical communion with the New Calendarists. Writing in
1982, Archbishop Christodoulos reckoned these 'zealot' monks, as they are
known, to number about 300-400, out of an overall total of 1,146 monks
on the Holy Moul1tain.
The Greek Old Calendarist movement also has supporters outside
Greece itself. They are to be found in Cyprus and in most parts of the
Greek diaspora: for example, in the United States (especially in the New
York district of Astoria), in Canada (with large communities in Toronto
and Montreal), in Australia, in Britain (here the number is exceedingly
small) and elsewhere in Western Europe. In addition, there are non-Greek
Old Calendarist groups in Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia and
Kenya. Many members of the State Church of Greece, on emIgrating to
North America, are attracted to Old Calendarist parishes, not solely or
primarily because of the calendar, but because they find in the churches
of the Palaioimer%grtai the Orthodox piety with which they are familiar
in the Mother Country. In churches of the New Calendarist Greek Arch-
diocese, they are often bewildered by what they encounter: pews, fitted
carpets, organs, mixed choirs dressed in coloured robes, clean-shaven
clergy wearing suits and clerical collars. In the Old Calendarist churches,
on the other hand, they discover a more congenial atmosphere: no pews
but only stalls around the walls, perhaps no electric light but only
beeswax candles and olive oil lamps, Byzantine chanting, clergy in rasol1
and IwlY111ll1afchiol1. Let us not be too quick to dismiss these features as
no more than 'cultural'. In the traditional Orthodox world view outward
objects and gestures possess an inner and symbolical value, and every
liturgical action finds its place within an all-embracing whole in which
nothing is purely incidental. Deserving of particular mention, among the
Old Calendarists in North America, is the important monastic centre at
Boston, Massachusetts, consisting of Holy Transfiguration Monastery for
men, and Holy Nativity Convent for women. These belong very definitely
to the 'Matthewite' persuasion. Holy Transfiguration Monastery has
issued, among other publications, several volumes of liturgical transla-
tions and a fine edition of St Isaac the Syrian.],)
What future have the Palaioimerologitai? It is tempting to dismiss them
as a survival from the past, doomed to gradual extinction. Their significance,
it might be argued, belongs to the Greek world of the 1920s and 1930s. In
that disturbed era - with the struggle between the Royalists and Venizelists,
with the Asia Minor disaster and the collapse of the 'Great Idea', and with
the many other changes in Greek society following the first world war - con-
servative Greek Orthodox clung in their bewilderment to the Julian Calen-
dar, regarding it as a guarantee of continuity in a time of change; they saw
it as symbolizing all the values in the traditional way of life which seemed
to them under threat. The calendar fulfilled the same symbolic role, though
to a lesser degree, in the late 1940s, another troubled time in Greek national
life. But does the Old Calendar have the same power as a symbol in the late
1990s? What significance have the Paiaioimerologitai today, weakened as
they are by internal divisions, within a Greece that is part of the European
Such a conclusion, however, may be premature. Following the collapse of
Communism in 1988-89, there has emerged throughout Eastern Europe a
growing conservatism within the Orthodox Church. This trend is especially
evident within the Church of Russia. At several leading monasteries, for
example, under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow - which is of
course in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other New
Calendarist Churches - visiting clergy who follow the New Style are no
longer invited to concelebrate and may even be refused communion. Con-
servative tendencies are also gaining strength within the Church of Greece
and, still more, among the Orthodox in North America, whether Greek or
non-Greek. Although at present marginalized, the Greek Pa/aioimer%gitai
- and their allies in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia - may still have
a part to play on the Orthodox world of the twenty-first century.
1 Anthimos D. Roussas, To Palaioilllerologiakon (Athens, 1974),14-15 .
2 Akriuis thesis tou imerologialwu zitimatos (Athens, 1950), 11-12.
3 To Proton Panelladikoll Synedriol1 tOil o/Jadoll tOll IoulimlOu Eortologiou,
(Athens, 1947) 16,44.
4 The Old Calendarists and the Rise of Religiolls COllseruatisl1l /11 Greece, trans-
lated by Novice Patrick and Bishop Chrysostomos of Etna (Center for Tradi-
tionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, CA, 1995), 14; for the original French text of
this article, see Cahiers d'hudes surla Mediterranee orientale et Ie mOllde tllrco-
iralliell, XVII (] 994), 17-51.
5 In Bishop Chrysostomos, Bishop Auxentios and Bishop Ambrose, The Old Cal-
endar Orthodox Church of Greece (4th ed.: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox
Studies, Etna, California, 1994), 103. This is the most balanced Old Calendarist
treatment of the subject available in English.
6 'Schism' or 'Walling-Of!,? A Pastoral EIJistle, supplement to the periodical
Orthodox TraditlOlI, XV, 4 (1998) 15.
7 The most thorough existing study, written from a New Calendarist viewpoint,
is the 460-page doctoral dissertation by Christodoulos K. Paraskevaldis (now
Archbishop of Athens), Istoriki kai Iwnollil::.i theOl'isis tOll PalalOl11lerologitilwlI
zitimatos kata te tll1 genesl11 kai till exelixin aftoll en Elladi (Athens, 1982),
which is closely based on the archives of the Holy Synod at Athens. For Old Cal-
endarist accounts in English, consult Bishop Chrysostomos and others, The Old
Calelldar Orthodox Church of Greece, (see note 5); and The Struggle against
ECllmenism: The History of the True Orthodox Church of Greece from .1924
to .1994 (The Holy Orthodox Church in North America, Boston, Mass., 1998).
These represent respectively the 'Flonnite' and the 'Matthewite' standpoints. In
Greek, consult also: Stavros Karamitsos-Gamvroulias, I ago ilia ell to kipo tis
Gethsimani (Athens, 1961); A. Panotis, in Th risk ef tiki Iwi lthiki Ellkyk-
IOIJaideia, I (Athens, 1962), 817-27; and Antonios M. Pa padopoulos, I Ekklisia
tis Ellados enanti thematol1 1Janorthodoxoll endiapherontos fwta ton eilwston
aiona (Thessaloniki, 1975): 39-67 (the first of these is Old Calendarist, the
second and third New Calendarist). There is a wealth of information in It'cnce
Doens, 'Les Palaiolmcrologltes en Grece et leurs monasteres', !reI/ikon, XLIV,
4 (1971), 548-65; XLV, 1 (1972),51-74.
The serious enquirer needs also to read the numerous writings of Arch-
bishop Chrysostomos of Athens and of Metropolitan Chrysostomos, formerly
of Florina: the main titles are listed in the very extensive bibliography of
Paraskevaidis, TheOl'isis.
8 Compare the title (which speaks for itself) of the work by Kallistos Makris, Old
Calendarist Bishop of Corinth, The God-Ins/Jired Orthodox ./lIlian Calendar
us. the Paise Gregorian Papal Calendar (Slovo Publishing Co., Chicago, 1971).
9 That is the length 111 AD 2000; the year has slowed down by ten seconds since
AD 1.
10 Nikiphoros Gregoras, History, VII, 13 (Bonn edition, 372).
11 Vlastaris, 'On the Holy Pascha', Alphabetical Treatise XVI, 7, in G. A. Rallis
and M. Potlis, SYlltagma tOil theion IWI /Croll kanol1on, VI (Athens, 1859) 424.
12 See C. M. Woodhouse, George Gell1istos P1etholl: The Last of the Hellenes
(Oxford, 1986), 352-3.
13 See V. Peri, Due date: un 1ll1ica Pasq1la. Le cmgml della l110derna disparitil litllr-
gica in 1111 IIna trattatiua eCIIlllenica tra Roma e COllstal1tillo/Joli (1582-84)
(Milan, 1967). Compare G. V. Coyne, M. A. Hosk1l1 and O. Pedersen, eds.,
Gregorian Reform of the Calendm: Proceedings of the Vatican Conference to
Commemorate its 400th AllIliuersary, 1582-1982 (Vatican City, ] 983), espe-
Cially 228-32, 261-2.
14 Paraskevaidis, Theorisis, 20, note 21.
15 Ioacheim III's 1902 encyclical, and his further letter of 1904 commenting on the
responses from the other Orthodox Churches, can be found 111 Constantin G.
Patelos, The Orthodox Chllrch ill the Ecumenical Mouemel/t: Documents mid
Statements 1902-.1975 (World Council of Churches, Geneva, 1978),27-39. For
the answer of the Church of Russia, see Athelstan Riley (ed.), 13irhbeck and the
Russian Church, (Anglican and Eastern Association, London/New York 1917)
247-57 (with W .J. Birkbeck's comments, 258-67).
16 The full text of the 1920 encyclical is given in Patelos, The Orthodox Church
in the ECllmenical Mouemellt, 40-3.
17 For the proceedings of the 1923 Conference, see Pralailw hm A/Jophaseis tou
en /(ollstalltll1()ufJOlel Pal1orthodoxou SYlledrioll (10 Maroll-8 /01lI1ioIl1923)
(Constantinople, 1923); on the calendar, see 6-7, 13-14, 17-24,36-40,50-77,
80-84,89,129-31,169-71,189,199-208,211-15. The minutes are frank and
vivid, with many fascinating details.
18 The Masonic connections of Meletios IV were confirmed by Athenagoras II
(Kokkinakis), Archbishop of Thy ate ira and Great Britain during 1963-79, who
was serving under Meletios as a deacon in Alexandria at the time of the latter's
death III 1935. I was present at a diocesan clergy meeting in London on 7
November 1978, at which Athenagoras described how he had been an unwill-
ing witness of the Masonic funeral given to Meletios. Compare Kitsikis, The
Old Calendarists and the Rise of Religious Conservatism ill Greece, 16-17,
ctting evidence from the Masonic Bulletin of the Grand Lodge of Greecc. It is
sometimes alleged that Archbishop Chrysostomos (Papadopoulos) of Athens
was also a Freemason, but I know of no specific evidence to prove this.
19 The case of Serbia during the interwar period shows that, while doubtless incon-
venient, it is by no means impossible for Church and state to coexist with dif-
ferent calendars, even when Orthodoxy constitutes the national Church. Might
not Greece in 1923--4 have followed the same policy as Serbia?
20 In practice, however, the line of demarcation is sometimes blurred. For exam-
ple, the Old Calendarist group headed by Metropolitan Kyprianos of Oropos
and Fili is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
(ROCOR); clergy of ROCOR concelebrate with clergy of the Patnarchate of
Jerusalem and the Church of Serbia; Jerusalem and Serbia are in full commun-
ion with the New Calendarist Orthodox Churches. Such instances of 'mediate'
communion are relatively frequent in church history; a notable example is the
fourth-century Melitian Schism at Antioch.
21 Ekklisia, V (1927) 21.
22 Ekk/isia, XI (1933) 320-2.
23 El<klisla, XII (1934) 369-70.
24 See To ProtOIl Panel/adikon Synedriol1, 4; Karamitsos-Gamvroulias, I agollia,
25 This is given as an absolute maximum by Metropolitan Ioacheim of Dimitrias,
To Palaioill1erologiakOlI Zitima en El/adi (2 parts: Volos/Athens, 1948-52), part
II, ] 7. But elsewhere he suggests that the Old Calendarists were never more than
50-60,000 (part 1,8), or at the most 100,000 (part II, 15).
26 Akrivis thesis tou imer%giakou zitimatos, 75-76.
27 In statements to the press made during May 1935, Metropolitan Chrysostomos
of Florina mentioned by name nine other bishops who, he claimed, had prom-
ised to join the three (Paraskevaidis, Theorisls, 237, note 395).
28 A somewhat different political matter also calls for mcntion. The Slav Christians
in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were, as already noted, still following the Old Cal-
endar. The Greek government was alarmed that, as a result of Old Calendarist
propaganda, the Slav-speaking minority in Northern Greece would establish
closer links with the Slavs across the border who kept the Old Style; in this way
the calendar dispute would strengthen Slav separatist movements on Greek soil.
This possibility is mentioned by Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kavouridis), who
had served as Bishop of Pelagonia (Bitola) during] 911-18 and of Florina
during 1926-32, and who was therefore well informed about the situation in
these regions: see his comments in Ala-ivis thesis tou illlerologia/wlI zitimatos,
53. He also mentions how Slav-speaking Orthodox in Greek territory would
cross into Yugoslavia to keep church festivals according to the Old Calendar:
see Pragmateia !Jeri tIS allothell ek/Jolitistikis apostolis tis E.llados !wi tall artion
tis kataptoseos aftis (Mytilini, 1951), 113-14.
29 Paraskevaidis, Themisis, 304, note 601.
30 Memorandum of the Church of Greece to the Ministry of Education, 1 st March
1980 (in El<klisiastihI Alitheia, no. 82).
31 See the decree of Stylianos Pattakos, Minister of the Interior, dated 5 April 1969,
specifying that the sacraments of the l'alaroi11lerologitai should henceforward be
recorded in the lixiarchi!w viIJlia.
32 See the letter of Metropolitan Anastasy to the Greek ArchbIshop Iakovos of
America, printed in the journal T)'/lOS (subsequently Orll)()doxos Ty/JOs)
July-August 1961.
33 See, for example, KitsikIs, The Old Calel1darists alld the RIse of Religiolls COI1-
seruatlSI1l ill Greece, 30 (writing in 1994): 'The Old Calendar movement is esti-
mated to approach a million Faithful in Greece, out of a populatIOn of ten
million, not countll1g the sympathizers who prefer for the moment to remain in
the bosom of the official Church.'
34 Full details, with the figures for each l10marchy or diocese, are given in Paraske-
vaidis, Them'isis, 380-88.
35 Bishop Chrysostomos and others, The Old Cale/ldar Orthodox Church of
Greece, 46.
36 Short Catecheses, 114: cited by J. M. Hussey, in The Call1lmdge Medieval His-
tory, IV, 2 (Cambridge, 1967), 184.
37 Bishop Chrysostomos and others, The Old Calendar Orthodox Chllrch of
Greece, 45-46. Bishop Ambrose (in the world, Adrian Baird) is of British origll1.
Many members of the New Calendarist Church of Greece do 111 fact observe the
38 Paraskevaidis, TheOlisis, 396. The figure of 1,146 represents the number of
Athonite monks in the year 1972. By 1999 the total had riscn to about 2,000
and of these perhaps 400-500 are zealots; but this is no more than a guess.
39 The Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syriall (Holy Transfiguration Monastery,
Boston, Mass., 1984). The translator and cditor, Dr Dana Miller, has left the
L-________ --------
The Catholic community is one of the larger religious minorities in Greece
yet it is but a small fraction of the country's population, numbering abou;
one-half of one percent of the total. The Catholics are of both the Latin and
Eastern rites, although the latter are newcomers, having come to Greece as
a result of the exchange of population in the 1920s and are but several thou-
sand people with only two parishes in all of Greece. The Latins have the
~ U c h larger population, principally located on two of the Cycladic Islands,
111 Athens and its suburbs, and in the larger towns where island emigrants
have settled in recent years.
The early centuries
The origins of the Latin Catholic Church in Greece date from the early thir-
teenth century. Previous to that time all the population of the Greek penin-
sula, the Ionian and the Aegean islands belonged to the Eastern church. It
should be noted, however, that European Greeks for many centuries were a
part of the Roman patriarchate. At Nicaea, when Canon VI set up jurisdic-
tions for Alexandria, less clearly for Antioch, and without mention of Rome,
there was a presumption that papal territory included all of the European
lands and Latin North Africa.'
This ecclesiastical structure was jeopardized once Constantinople became
the capital of the Roman Empire and its bishop was elevated to a major
position within the Christian hierarchy. First Thrace and then other nearby
provinces joined Constantinople as the political boundary between the two
parts of the Empire shifted westwards. The popes vainly sought to hold the
line by appointing Thessaloniki's archbishop to vicarial status with the right
to consecrate bishops, hear disputes, call local synods, and, in general, to
supervise the subordinate Balkan churches.l
The exact moment when the Greeks finally shifted their allegiance to
Constantinople's patriarch is unclear. Some authors date it from 727 and
Emperor Leo Ill's seizure of papal patrimonies in Illyricum. It is preferable,
however, to place it closer to 752 and the fall of Ravenna to the Lombards.
For the Byzantine Greeks, Italy became like Syria, under foreign and bar-
barian occupation, which made it impossible for the bishops of both Rome
and Antioch to carry out their duties. There was, therefore, no other choice
than to look henceforth to the patriarch of Constantinople.'
The Fourth Crusade and the Duchy of the
While Latins and Greeks, delegations from Rome and Constantinople,
passed back and forth over the following centuries, it was only with the
foundation of Italian merchant colonies in Constantinople that members of
the Latin Church began to take up permanent residence in the East. While
properly the Italians from Amalfi, Pisa, and more importantly, Venice and
Genoa, could have attended the Byzantine Churches of the imperial capital,
they preferred to bring their own clergy with them, and to build Latin
churches in their sections of the city. Relations between Latins and Greeks
were often strained, for Westerners were a privileged elite, and bore the onus
of representing foreign interests in the Byzantine capital. The status of these
Constantinopolitan colonies was a fragile one. However, the arrival of the
Venetians and Franks of the Fourth Crusade established a much more per-
manent footing for Latin Christians in the capital and its lands. A direct
result of the Fourth Crusade was the foundation of the first permanent Latin
churches on what is now the territory of the nation of Greece:'
In the spring of 1205 a noble adventurer from Venice, Marco Sanudo,
with a small fleet of ships cruised into the Aegean. His goal was to carve out
an empire for himself and his friends, to create a thalassocracy based on the
island of Naxos. During the negotiations carried on between the Venetians
and the Crusaders whIch divided the Byzantine Empire between them, Tinos
was assigned to the Latin Emperor, Andros to Venice, but the other islands
seemed so unimportant that they were omitted from the partition. This per-
mitted Sanudo and captains from several other prominent Venetian families,
the Ghisis and the Dandolos, with the blessing of the Venetian Doge and the
Latin Emperor, to create an independent state in the Aegean. Sanudo met
only token resistance when he occupied Naxos and proceeded to build a for-
tified palace, his castro, on the site of the ancient city. The castro was forti-
fied with a wall which circled the acropolis of the town. Next to the palace
Sanudo or his successor built a cathedral for his Venetian aides and the first
Latl11 hierarch, his name unknown, arrived to take up residence on the
island. The Naxian archbishop shared jurisdiction over Greece since he had
colleagues on the mainland, in Athens, Corinth, Patras, Thebes and Thes-
saloniki. Moreovel; Pope Innocent III, who had accommodated himself to
the Latin conquest, went about creating additional Latin bishoprics through-
out the Aegean. The Cycladic islands of Andros, Santorini, Milos, Syros,
Kea, Kythnos, and Tinos also received Latin bishoprics.'
The Greek bishops on the islands and the mainland found themselves
forced into exile. Their cathedrals and revenues were now as a consequence
attached to the Latin Church. On the other hand, Greek parish priests and
monks were left in place so long as they agreed to recognize the Latin bish-
ops as their superiors and were willing to commemorate the Pope of Rome
and the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople in the diptychs of the Liturgy. The
Latins dealt with the Greeks through their representative, the /Jrotopapas."
Nothing of the Catholic Church on mainland Greece remained after the
Ottoman conquest. Western Christians either died in battle or fled the coun-
try, leaving no one to continue the heritage of the Latin principalities of the
Middle Ages.
In 1385 the Venetians settled on Corfu, establishing a Catholic presence
in the Ionian Islands which expanded over the years to include Kephallonia,
Zakynthos, Kythera and finally, in 1684, Leukas. As was usual in Venetian
lands only Latin bishops were permitted to function and Greek parish clergy
and monks had to accept the Catholics as their superiors. Nominally they
became Byzantine-rite Catholics so long as Venice was the master of the
islands. Venetian rule on Corfu was patterned on that of the mother city,
complete with a Libro d'Om that listed the island aristocrats, both Greek
and Latin. The Italian immigrants who settled in the Ionian islands were
obviously Latins, and over the centuries, a handful of Greek families joined
the Catholic church.'
The Latins of Sanudo's territories, the Duchy of the Archipelago, were
always few in number. While accurate figures for the Middle Ages are
impossible to determine, it is likely that the Catholics of Naxos may have
reached 500, one-tenth of the total population. On the smaller islands the
numbers were even less. A few families from the West, some from Spain,
France, or Dalmatia, as well as Italians were found on each of the Cyclades
as administrators, landowners, and merchants. On all twenty inhabited
Cycladic islands the Latin lords built one or sometimes more castros to fend
off their enemies - and enemies they had in abundance: the Byzantine fleet
after the Palaiologans regained Constantinople, the Catalans of mainland
Greece, the Seljuk Turks of Anatolia, but more dangerous than all the rest,
swarms of pirates of every Mediterranean nationality. Every castro had its
Latin church but it proved difficult to find enough clergy to view clerical life
in the Cyclades attractive. Even bishoprics went unattended for long peri-
ods by their appointees.
So long as the Duchy of the Archipelago existed, the number of Catholics
appears to have remained constant. Because it was difficult to find women
from the West willing to emigrate to the Cyclades, Italian men frequently
took Greek wives and the children were more likely to enrol in the church
of their fathers, if for no other reason than the economic and social privi-
leges that came with Latin church memberships.s
During the Middle Ages, on two Cycladic islands, the Catholic commu-
nity found itself in a much more favoured position. On Syros and Tinos the
Catholics became a Church of the majority. On Syros the Latin Church
seems to have gained its position through conversion. Without sufficient
records to document exactly when or how this occurred, a strong possibil-
ity exists that the Greek clergy on the island were so few that the several hun-
dred people who lived on Syros in the Middle Ages simply opted to receive
the sacraments in the Latin cathedral built atop the hill of Ano Syros.
Tinos had a different experience, for this island was not a part of the
Duchy of the Archipelago, but had been taken in the thirteenth century by
the Ghisi brothers, Andrea and Geremia. In 1379, when the last of their
dynasty, Giorgio III, died, he willed the island to Venice. Henceforward the
Republic of St. Mark held Tinos and nearby Mykonos, appointing its gov-
ernors and staffing its civil and military officials. Tinos was fortunate to
have a formidable mountain located on it. Here the Ghlsis and later the
Venetians constructed a castro and located St. Helena's fort. The Venetian
town, the Exombourgo, was walled and beneath it the Greek inhabitants
had their residences in the Bourgo. Both Latin and Greek churches shared
the mountain. Time after time, when all other islands were struck by enemy
fleets and armies, or pirates seeking captives and loot, Exombourgo
remained secure. Catholic citizens from all over the Aegean were always
assured that they could find a protecting wing in its shadow. Crete received
the major share of Westerners who fled their homes in difficult times, but
Tinos was not far behind. The Catholic community of Tinos prospered,
therefore, since for half a millennium it took in foreign Catholics, the chil-
dren of mixed marriages who were brought up to be Catholic, and converts
from the Greek Church. 10 Syros and Tinos were unique. It was only on those
two islands of the Cyclades that Catholics put down strong roots. On all the
other islands the natives remained firmly attached to the Greek church and
the Latins remained a small minority.
The Catholic Church was also represented on Chi os, Rhodes, and Crete,
islands that today form part of Greece. The Latin period in Chios begins
with the Genoese occupation, which began in the thirteenth century after
Michael Palaiologos signed the Treaty of Nymphaion. Soon the Genoese
built Latin churches, invited western clergy to settle there and a Latin bish-
opric was established. Several churches here, and on Santonni, were double
churches shared by both Catholics and Orthodox. The stability found on
Chios attracted the Franciscans and Dominicans to build convents, which
became the largest in the Aegean.1! The Catholics of Rhodes have a history
only because of the presence on that island of the Knights Hospitallers of St.
John. Once expelled from the Holy Land in 1306, the Knights came to
Rhodes, making it the centre of their activities in the East. A Catholic arch-
bishop, sponsored by the Knights, made his home on the island so long as
it was in Latin hands. After the forces of Sultan Siileyman conquered
Rhodes, no more Catholics remained on the island. Finally, the island of
Crete, so long a Venetian possession, had a significant population of West-
ern Catholics from the thirteenth century to the conclusion of the Candian
War in 1669. The stormy relations between Venice and the native Greeks
reflected on the status of the church. Catholics on Crete were equated with
foreign rulers and the Western Church made little headway convincing the
Greeks of Crete that there was anything to gain by acknowledging the Latin
church as a friendly institution.
The Greek Catholic Church under the Ottomans
For over a century after the Fall of Constantinople, the Catholic rulers of the
Duchy of the Archipelago and the Genoese on Chios were not troubled by
the Ottomans. Both island governments paid tribute to the sultans, who, so
long as they received these funds, were content to leave them alone. By 1500
most Catholics of Italian origin had become at least partially Hellenized,
using the Greek language in their day to day business. During the reign of
Siileyman the Magnificent in the early sixteenth century, the political con-
dition of Catholics was to change. The Sultan's admiral Khair ad-Din Bar-
barossa, frustrated over a failed expedition against Italy and Venetian-held
Corfu, took out his vengeance on the smaller Greek islands of the Aegean.
The Ottoman fleet attacked Aegina in the Saronic Gulf, taking all who were
survivors into slavery. Then Barbarossa laid siege to the castro of Kephalos
on Paros. The Parians, some 6,000 of them, shared the same fate as the cap-
tives of Aegina. The Duke of Naxos, Giovanni II Crispo, bargained with
Barbarossa, and agreed to pay a higher tribute. Therefore the Turkish admi-
ral spared Naxos from pillage. Several years later a delegation from Naxos,
complaining over Giacomo IV Crispo's misrule, asked the Sultan to remove
him from office. Murad II agreed. He appointed his confidant, Joseph Nasi,
to become the Duke of Naxos. This appointment was unique since Nasi was
a Jew and never before had a non-Muslim held such a high position in the
Ottoman state.
Nasi never went to Naxos;but appointed as his deputy, Francesco Coro-
nello, who was a converso, a Catholic of Sephardic Jewish background, to
govern his islands. It was a good choice, since Coronello's Catholicism made
him more acceptable to the nobility of the islands, if not to the Orthodox.
Coronello was anxious to keep the social structure of the archipelago as he
found it. As a result on Naxos, Syros, and Santorini the Catholic landown-
ers were not disturbed in their possessions and church life continued as
In 1566 Genoese rule on Chios came to an end when Piyali a ~ a
sailed into the harbour. A Turkish force was sent ashore, and placed t l ~ e
heads of the more important families under arrest and the army plundered
several of the Catholic churches. The bishop and many Franciscan and
Dominican friars went into exile, an absence that allowed a Greek metro-
politan from the Patriarchate of Constantinople to become the chief repre-
sentative of Christianity on the island. I ..
Catholic fortunes were strengthened at this time thanks to the protection
given to the Latins by the French. In 1527 a French ambassador arrived in
Constantinople to discuss co-operation with the Ottomans in joint action
against their common enemy, the Habsburgs. Over the years the upshot of
talks between the French and Ottomans was a treaty, known as the Capitu-
lations of 1569, which promised that France should be in a position to guar-
antee the safety of Catholics throughout the Ottoman Empire. Often
renewed, the Capitulations allowed clergy to serve in Ottoman territories as
chaplains to French merchants and diplomats. II Soon French missionaries,
Jesuits and Capuchins, arrived in Constantinople and Thessaloniki to take
up the positions given them under the Capitulations. The older religious
orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, had been content to minister to the
known Catholics. For the Jesuits and Capuchins this was not enough. They
believed that they should aggressively work among the Greek and Annen-
ian populations of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover they were especially anx-
ious to introduce the reforms mandated at the Council of Trent.
The papacy in Rome also hoped to win converts from the Orthodox. In
1576 Pope Gregory XIII opened the Greek College in Rome, attached to St
Athanasius' Church, for training priests to work in the Greek missions and
in Southern Italy which now held a significant Greek and Albanian popula-
tion. If not Catholic already, students were expected to convert and subse-
quently receive ordination in the Byzantine rite. The College had a mixed
record. For some students their stay in Rome made them able Catholic mis-
sionaries, but for others the experience gave them an abiding hatred for the
Latin Church. Some of the latter, on their return to the islands rejoined the
Orthodox community and received high positions at the Ecumenical Patri-
archate or served as bishops in the hierarchy. Several years later, the found-
ing of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith centralized the
administration of the Catholic missions in the East Mediterranean. Hence-
forth, through this institution the Latin bishops in the Aegean made their
reports to Rome.
In 1579, upon the death of Joseph Nasi, the Cyclades were incorporated
into the regular administration of the Ottomans. Sultan Murad III sent out
a bey and a Iwdi to Naxos and to the other larger islands to represent his
government. Murad issued an ahd-nameh, an imperial decree that promised
the islanders, both Catholic and Orthodox, freedom of religion, a guarantee
of their properties, and the right to build new churches and ring bells, both
extraordinary exemptions for Christians living in Muslim lands. Island
Christians were also exempt from the dev?irme, the child-tribute, which
provided recruits for the Janissary Corps and the Sultan's Palace School. 'H
After the early seventeenth century the bey of Naxos was usually an
absentee. Other Cycladic islands also held few Turkish residents. This period
was one of the great ages of piracy in the Aegean. Christian buccaneers liked
nothing better than to capture a bey or kadi since they were not only
Muslims, but were presumed to be the wealthiest individuals on the islands.
After their capture Turkish officials could be sold as slaves in the markets of
Malta or some Italian port.
On one occasion each year, both Catholics and Orthodox in the Cyclades
were reminded that they were a subject people. The fleet of the Kapudan
J a ~ a sailed into Paros' Bay of Dhrio and awaited the arrival of delegations
bringing their tax money. For the rest of the year the islanders were allowed
to handle their own internal affairs. Elections were held for officials known
as epitrojJOi or syndikoi. These officers headed the /Wil1otita, the commu-
nity, of each island. Their functions included fiscal, judicial, and adminis-
trative decisions. On Naxos there were three communities, one for the
Catholics and two for the Orthodox. Each year the men of the Naxian
Catholic community gathered at the old ducal chapel of the castro. They
carried on their business in Italian rather than Greek, and their elected leader
was known as the capi del cittadini. As often as not, elections went in favour
of the Coronello family's candidates.
Throughout Naxos the Catholic nobles lived during the summer in
towers, known as pyrgoi, which were both homes and fortresses. The IJyrgos
entrance was always on a second floor so that a ladder that connected to the
ground could be retracted in case of danger. The roof was flat and provided
a level place to throw down fires, rocks, or burning oil upon unwelcome
invaders. The jJyrgoi were difficult to take without a siege, which discour-
aged the efforts of pirates and rebels. When winter approached the Catholic
families moved back to their homes in the castro.
Latin nobles filled their days overseeing their crops, tending their herds,
and hunting the wild animals that miraculously survived in the back coun-
try. Women occupied themselves in managing the household servants, in
sewing, and embroidering. Parties and dances were frequent, gambling all
pervasive. Each island had its own costume, but all tried to model it on the
latest Italian fashions. Both sexes, even in the Aegean climate, believed in
wearing multiple layers of clothing, which certainly served a purpose in
winter but did little to promote comfort during the hot, dry summers.I'!
Despite the ahd-Ilameh, over the years a decline in the Catholic popula-
tion occurred on most islands of the Cyclades. The Latins on Paros
decreased to fifty people; los had even fewer. Siphnos held 100 Catholics in
1600, fifty years later there were none. The numbers on Syros fluctuated. At
that time approximately 2,500 Catholics lived on the island, and only 100
Orthodox. Santorini had but 700 Catholics in a population of 10,000."0 At
this bleak moment the Catholics received an infusion from two very differ-
ent sources. One was from western pirates settling in the Greek islands.
Small communities appeared, and with donations - no questions asked -
new Catholic chapels were built or old ones repaired. Milos, the principal
port of the Aegean, was especially favoured since foreign pirates preferred
to winter in its spacious harbour. The other advance for Catholicism came
as the result of a shipwreck by two French Jesuits on the island of Naxos.
The Archbishop of Naxos (since 1522 Naxos had that honour once the
Archbishopric of Rhodes had been eliminated) invited the Jesuits to stay.
They were given the ducal chapel for their church. At that time, the Naxos
clergy numbered nine secular priests and a single Franciscan Observant. The
Jesuits on Naxos, and subsequently on other islands, befriended the Ortho-
dox who welcomed them to preach and teach in their churches. The French
missionaries were anxious to raise Catholic consciousness by forming reli-
gious confraternities, giving missions, and especially surrounding the Feast
of Corpus Christi with pageantry. For a week candlelight processions made
their way through the narrow castro streets. Forty I-lours' Devotion was one
more practice of personal piety introduced at the prompting of the Jesuits."'
In 1587 a Jesuit foundation also opened on Chios, with a school on the site
of a former Franciscan church. A few years later French Capuchins also
appeared jOining the Dominicans who had long been on Chios. In 1645 one
of their members, Alessandro Baldrati, accused of apostasy from Islam, was
burned aliveY
Syros also had a seventeenth century martyr, Bishop Giovanni-Andrea
Carga. In 1617 a Turkish fleet anchored in the Syros harbour, and its admi-
ral accused community leaders of providing Christian pirates with provi-
sions, a charge that probably was true. Carga and 200 others were jailed.
The pa?a gave Carga the choice of conversion to Islam or death. The bishop
remained constant in his faith and therefore on 18 November 1617 was
hanged. Later his body was buried in St. George's Cathedral in Ano Syros."
The death of Carga did not intimidate the Catholics. A visitation later in the
century counted 4,000 believers and 170 churches and chapels. The large
number of these places of worship was due to a custom that required indi-
vidual families to build a special chapel for themselves. Bishop Antonio
Demarchis could report to Rome that 'the Pope's island remained firm in its
loyalty to Rome?' On Santorini the church was in good condition thanks
to able bishops and a Jesuit presencc. In Kartharatto Bishop Antonio
Demarchis founded a convent of cloistered Dominican nuns, the only Latin
community of sisters in all of the Ottoman Empire.
After the Candian War, the French became morc active in the eastern
Mediterranean and a new Capitulation was agreed upon. This allowed the
Catholics of the Aegean to fly the French flag before their churches, a prac-
tice that was intended to inform both Muslim and Orthodox of the special
relationship between Paris and the Greek Catholics."" However, the conclu-
sion of the Candian War proved a disaster for the Catholics of Crete. When
the island surrendered after a siege of twenty-five years, the Catholics had
all their churches converted into mosques or they were sold to the Ortho-
dox and the Armenians. Venice held on to two small garrisons, at Grabousa
and Soudha, served by Capuchlll friars. Many Latin landowners as well as
Orthodox converted to Islam in order to hold on to their property."7
Catholic missionaries were also active on the Greek mainland in the sev-
enteenth century. In 1640 two French Jesuits arrived in Athens before
moving on to Khalkis in Euboea. The Capuchins followed the Jesuits to
Athens, purchasing a house in the Plaka which held the 'Lantern of Demos-
thenes', in reality the choreographic monument of Lysikrates. One of the
Capuchins introduced the tomato to Greece.
" During the Ottoman-Venet-
ian conflict, which In 1687 brought a Venetian army to Athens (and resulted
in the bombardment of the Parthenon), the Venetian commander took all the
Athenian mosques and handed them over to the Catholics. However, the
western army's success was short-lived. In 17] 5 the Ottomans advanced on
Navplion and its Latin archbishop, Angelo Maria Carlini, died in the defense
of the Palamidis fortress. At the conclusion of this war the last Aegean
Catholic bishopric was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, when the
Treaty of Passarowitz ceded Tinos to the Turks."'! Chian Catholics were also
victimized by the war between Venice and the Ottomans. In 1694 the Venet-
ian fleet put ashore on the island, ousted the Turks, and confiscated the
mosques. Its actions were applauded by the 5,000 Catholics of the island,
but Orthodox Chians showed no enthusiasm, well aware that a Turkish fleet
would soon be coming their way. This in fact happened in the spring of
1695. The Latin bishop, many of his clergy and the leading families of the
island boarded the ships of retreating Venetians. Only in 1720 was it possi-
ble to restore the Catholic bishopric 011 Chios, but times were turbulent and
the restoration of the churches, which had been closed, long delayed. By
1747 the Catholics numbered but 2,000, and only three churches, in addi-
tion to the cathedral, were functioning. Due to emigration to Smyrna and
Constantinople, the Catholic population continued to decline throughout
the eighteenth century.11l
During the same period, a French traveller, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort,
toured the Aegean and made a report of his findings. On most of the small
islands he found the Catholics barely hanging on. Two Capuchins were on
Crete, one was on Kil11olos. When on Milos the bishop died, he had so many
debts that his chalice and vestments had to be sold to pay them. Naxos'
Catholics now stood at 350, served by Jesuits, Capuchins, and secular
priests. On the positive side, local women had formed a convent of Catholic
Ursuline nuns and opened the only girls' school in all of the Ottoman
Empire. Syros counted 6,000 lay Catholics, thirteen secular priests, two
Capuchins, twenty-seven Franciscans and nineteen Dominicans. There was
certainly no dearth of Latin c1ergy.11 Some years later a report on Tinos
showed that the Turkish conquest had caused the destruction of Exom-
bourgo, but the Latin bishop now lived in Xinara at the foot of the moun-
tain. The Catholics were 8,000 in a population of II ,000. ~
Greek Catholics were dealt three serious blows at the end of the eigh-
teenth century. The first was due to the suppression of the Jesuits, which
forced the missionaries to go either into exile, losing their properties and
churches, or to go underground, which at best put severe limitations on their
work. Officially the French Lazansts were to replace them, but there simply
were not enough members of this religious order to fill all of the abandoned
posts left empty due to the Jesuits' misfortunes. A second setback appeared
when, during the course of the Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774, a Russian
fleet occupied the Cyclades. Albanians in the Tsaritsa's service desecrated
many Naxian churches and seized others. Finally the 1789 Revolution
meant that subsidies from the government and personnel 110 longer came
from their protectors, the French. Greek Catholics were now isolated during
the years of the Revolution and the Napoleonic era. It was not until 1815
that the restored Bourbon monarchy once more resumed France's traditIonal
role as patron of the Catholics. Soon a new crisis appeared.
Catholics and the Greek War of Independence
The revolution of 1821 presented a dilemma for Greek Catholics in the
Cyclades. On the one hand there was universal sentiment among all Chris-
tians to be done with Muslim rule, yet Catholic islanders had few grievances.
The sultan's government was little interested in what the Catholics did, so
long as tax monies were promptly delivered. Moreover, if the revolution-
aries were successful, the Catholics would find themselves in a nation whose
foundations were based upon Orthodoxy and Hellenic nationalism. French
protection was likely to disappear and the Catholics would then become a
very small minority in a state that was overwhelmingly Orthodox.
Throughout the eighteenth century, it appears that relations between
Greek Orthodox and Catholics had become more tense. In the Ottoman
lands the success of Latin missionaries in setting up churches united with
Rome among the Armenians, Syrian Jacobites, and especially the Antloch-
ene Melkites made the clerics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ever more hos-
tile. Wandering monks charged the Catholics with abundant crimes and in
extreme Orthodox circles, the Pope was pictured as the devil incarnate.
In 1821 the total Greek Catholic population was approximately 16,000
people, almost all of them living on the two islands of Syros and Tinos. The
various Greek revolutionary governments located in the Peloponnese did
their best to convince their Latin countrymen and women that they should
support the insurrection. Their offiCials visited the islands, promising that
complete religious freedom would be guaranteed in any Greek nation state.
The delegates also sought to collect monies from the Catholics as well as
promises of support.
In April 1822 Alexandros Mavrokordatos, president of the Provisional
Government, dispatched an invitation to Archbishop Andreas Veggetti of
Naxos to come to Corinth to discuss the role of the Catholics. Veggetti wrote
back that he needed permission from the Congregation for the Propagation
of the Faith and a safe-conduct from Constantinople before he could pro-
ceed. In addition to wooing their own island Catholics, other Greek gov-
ernments that appeared during the conflict sent representatives to Rome
seeking papal support, but Pius VII was cautious. Who could be sure that
either Greek defeat or victory might not bring down the wrath of the Turks
on the remaining Catholic communities of the Ottoman Empire? Pius did
show a willingness to accept any refugees from Greece who sought asylum
in the Papal States and appropriated funds for their support.
Early in the conflict Archbishop Veggetti added to Catholic anxiety when
he acted on behalf of a group of Turkish prisoners held on Naxos. He res-
cued the Turks, placed them in a building owned by the Church and saved
their lives by putting them on board a French ship. The Orthodox bishop
on Naxos prepared an assault on the Catholic-held castro, but cooler heads
prevailed and the attack never materialized. Catholics throughout the
islands complained that they were caught in the middle of a conflict not of
their making, facing hostility from both the Ottomans and the Greek
Throughout the Revolution the Latins on both Tinos and Syros flew the
French flag before their churches and continued to pay the cizye to Con-
stantinople. Their stance was difficult to maintain. An army of Greek insur-
gents landed on Syros attempting to require the Catholics to abandon their
neutrality. This force made it possible for the landing of hundreds of refugees
on Syros, nearly all of them Orthodox, especially after the massacres of
Chios and Psara. Gathering at the port of Syros, the exiles put the town of
Ermoupolis under construction, soon to become the largest city of the
Cyclades and, in fact, in all Greece. The Chie1i1 massacre had taken place in
1822 as a result of a raid on the island's Turks from neighbouring Samos.
Once the Samians withdrew, an Ottoman army appeared and clambered
ashore. The Orthodox bishop was hanged and his cathedral burned to the
ground. The Catholic cathedral also went up in flames. The only safe place
of refuge on all of Chios was to be found in the French consul's grounds,
where a Capuchin friar sheltered 300 men, women, and children.
On Tinos, while the war was in progress, an Orthodox nun received
a vision of a hidden icon. Workmen discovered the icon of the Panagia
which was universally looked upon as a miracle by the Orthodox popu-
lation. Needless to say, the icon discovery also became a symbol of God's
blessing on the Revolution, and, in time, was placed in a church, the
Evangelistria. It is now the most important pilgrimage site in all of
Greece. The Catholics of Tinos, because of Mary's intervention, were
further placed on the defensive.
Catholics in the kingdom of Greece
There was little enthusiasm among Catholics when they learned that the
Great Powers, Great Britain, France, and Russia, meeting in London to draw
its boundaries intended to include the Cyclades, but not ChlOs, 111 the new
Greek state. A dispatch to Rome from the Catholics on Syros in 1829
The Greeks have revolted against their sovereign. Three Christian
powers have decided to make a portion of the country of (:reece
independent and we have learned with deep sorrow that our Island
is included in this part. We will be forced to abandon our
homeland or to change our religion in order to live with people so
intolerant. ](,
As a matter of fact, the peace treaty creating the new Greek state provided
guarantees for the Catholics, and the expected retaliation by the Orthodox
never occurred.
As the Revolution progressed, an assembly of Greek insurgents met at
Troezen and in early 1827 elected Ioannis Kapodistrias president of Greece.
Kapodistrias realized that if the Revolution was to succeed it must the
diplomatic support of the British and French as well the RUSSians. As a
former joint foreign minister in St. Petersburg, Kapodlstnas knew well that
the Paris government would be especially sensitive about the we!fare the
Greek Catholics. Therefore, the President did his best to ameliorate mCI-
dents of dispute between Catholics and officials of the Greek
As a result the Catholic community on Syros sent two delegates to partICI-
pate in the National Assembly of Argos. .
The Protocol of London, signed 3 February 1830, launched the
Greek Catholics, willingly or not, upon a new course. The French Kmg,
Charles X, renounced his role of protector over them in return for assurances
that the Greek government would recognize their bishops and
special status of the Latins of the islands. An to Kapodlstnas
required that Catholics enjoy freedom of worship, of t!1elr prop-
erties, and that Latin bishops should retain all the nghts and J.:rmleges that
they held before the conflict. No discrimination against CatholIcs 111 emplot
ment or serving in public office was to be permitted.
Helping the Catholic
cause in Greece was the Powers' decision to invite Leopold of Saxe-Coburg,
a German Catholic, to become the ruler of Greece. Kapodistrias had little
choice but to accept Leopold's nomination. He wrote him that it.w.auld made
a great difference in his acceptance in Greece if Leopold was wdlll1g to .con-
vert to Orthodoxy, 'the religion of the country'. Negotiations still.m
progress when assassins killed Kapodistrias, Leopold refused the kll1gslllp,
and conditions in Greece fell into near anarchy.]"
Again the Powers intervened and one more time their choice fell upon a
German Catholic prince, Otto, the young son of the Bavarian king, Ludwig
of Wittelsbach. After some delay Otto (the Greeks knew him as Othon),
arrived in the country to the great encouragement of the people who had
not had a stable government since Kapodistrias' death. The Russian repre-
sentatives in Greece as well as the stronger Greek nationalists in the
government did their best to convince Otto that he should abandon
Catholicism for Orthodoxy, but throughout his life he remained a Catholic.
If the king would not convert, the political leadership believed that an heir
might well be brought up an Orthodox Christian, but such did not
happen.]') For the Greek Catholics there must have been some satisfaction
in the knowledge that the sovereign shared their faith, although for polit-
ical reasons the king was always careful not to give the impression he
favoured his coreligionists:
Soon after Otto's arrival the Vatican and the Catholic ambassadors
appointed to Athens became active in seeking recognition for Luigi Blanci,
the Franciscan bishop of Syros, to be named Apostolic Delegate to Greece.
Such an appointment was considered to be one more assurance that the
Catholics should not be submerged in the Orthodox sea of the new Greek
state. On 22 May 1838, King Otto's government issued a document giving
B1anci his title, an office he held until his death in 1851.'" A statistical survey
of Greece in J 835 counted 17,648 Latins in the country. Included in this
number were 1,850 Bavarian troops who had come with King OttO:'1
Because several hundred Latins now made their home on mainland Greece,
B1anci formed a Catholic council for Athens. At its head was the Austrian
ambassador, Anton Prokesch-Osten, while its secretary was the Bavarian
court chaplain, Andreas Arneth.
It was this council which supervised the foundation of the first new
Catholic church to be built on the mainland of Greece, dedicated to St Paul
the Apostle, in the Piraeus. Its financing was raised by subscription among
the nobility in Western Europe, with Ferdinand I, the Austrian Emperor, and
his wife Anna Maria Carolina as the major donors. Meanwhile the Bavar-
ian soldiers worshipped in a chapel set up for their use. Dedicated to St.
Luke the Evangelist, King Ludwig, Otto's father, was its major patron. Sev-
eral new parishes also opened outside Athens. In 1840, Navplion received a
Catholic house of worship, which served the 300 Catholics who lived in the
town and monuments to the Philhellenes who fought for Greece were
erected on its walls. Other parishes appeared at Pylos and Patras:
One of Otto's plans was to construct a Catholic cathedral in Athens. His
goal was to place it in a very conspicuous site on one of the city's major
streets, between the Academy and the Royal Palace. Prokesch-Osten pur-
chased the property and took charge of obtaining the finances. The king's
architect, Leo von Klenze, received the commission to design the church, but
many years were to pass before the Cathedral dedicated to St Dionysios the
Areopagite was completed. Louis Napoleon, Emperor of the French, was
responsible for much of the money, which finally, in 1865, allowed the
church to be dedicated:'"
On 2 September 1843 an army colonel led his troops before the Royal
Palace, demanding a constitution for Greece. Reluctantly King Otto agreed
to the demands and work commenced on the constitution. The final
document carried the statement, 'the crown of Greece pertains to the
dynasty of King Othon. I-lis successor will profess the Greek Orthodox
religion'. In addition the draft outlined, 'the dominant faith in the Kingdom
of Greece is the Greek Orthodox religion.' Neither statement was likely to
inspire confidence within the Catholic community. The Latin bishops wrote
to Pope Gregory XVI and to King Louis Philippe in Pans asking that
pressure be put on the Athens government to add a clause on Catholic guar-
antees. Bishop Blanci asked Rome if a Catholic should take an oath of
allegiance to the new constitution as it then stood. Both the French and
Austrian ambassador in Athens intervened on the Catholic side so that in
their oath to support the constitution, Latins might add the clause,
'provided the rights of the Catholic Church are preserved' :'5 In 1862 a new
breed of Greek politicians decided King Otto must go and in a bloodless
coup the king was dethroned and went into exile. Officials settled on a
candidate from the Danish house of Gli.icksberg, George I, who appeared
in Athens a year later. Unlike Otto, George agreed that his children should
be brought up in the Orthodox faith. As a result of the British transfer of
the Ionian Islands to Greece at this time, the Catholic bishopric of Corfu
became part of the nation. In the late nineteenth century Pope Pius IX
decided to promote Athens to an archbishopric. On 23 July I il75 Ioannis
Marangos was named to that post. There was no official governmental
recognition of his appointment at that time, nor until the present, despite
the fact that the Latin Archbishop of Athens since that dare has been the
major Catholic hierarch in Greece:'6
In 1938, during the Ioannis Metaxas regime which had only recently
come to power as the result of a military coup, a wave of nationalism
swept the country. There would have been little opposition to the premise
that to be Greek is to be Orthodox. The result was legislation that any
person or group that wanted to have a place of worship constructed must
have two permits: one from the Ministry of Education and Religious
Affairs and a second from the local Greek Orthodox bishop. This legis-
lation remains in force to this day. After the Second World War the
Catholic Church suffered a small decline on Corfu and a major disaster
on Rhodes. On both islands many Western Catholics had made their
home, taking advantage of Mussolini's plan for a revived Italian presence
in the East Mediterranean. When the war ended, most Italians returned
to their homeland. Corfu's Catholics declined by 500, but on Rhodes,
where in 1946 there had been 13,000 faithful and eleven parishes, in
1992 the archbishopric was vacant, only three parishes remained, and for
the whole year the Catholic community counted but six baptisms. After
the war the small Armenian Catholic community in Athens and Piraeus,
about 600 people, increased thanks to a new wave of refugees. They
worship in two parishes, St Gregory the Illuminator and St Teresa:!?
Byzantine-rite Catholics
In 1861 a Latin priest of Syros, Ioannis Hyacinth Marangos, organized
a small congregation of Catholics of the Byzantine rite in Constantinople.
He also set up a religious order for men, the Congregation of the Most
Holy Trinity and another for women, the Congregation of the Holy
Family, later secularized on orders from Rome. Four disaffected
Orthodox clerics came over to his group, but hostility from the Greek
community in Constantinople meant that it remained very small. In 1878
Marangos moved to Athens, and the community's house in Constan-
tinople then had but three occupants. By 1900 the Ottoman capital's
Assumptionist parish, served by French missionaries and transformed
into a Byzantine-rite church, held between 200 and 300 Greek Catholics.
Two other small Ottoman Orthodox communities joined the Catholic
Church, while keeping their former rite. One was located at Kavseri in
Anatolia, another in Malgara in Thrace. Their priest,' Isaias
Papadopoulos, began a school in Malgara and in 1907 was named vicar
general for Catholics of the Byzantine rite. Five years later Papadopoulos
was consecrated a bishop. In May 1917 the Roman Congregation for the
Oriental Churches assumed the direction of the Byzantine-rite Catholics
in Greece and Turkey.
When, at the conclusion of the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-22, an
exchange of populations was made, most of the members of these Byzan-
tine-rite communities moved, one to Athens, the other to Gianitsa, a
small town located north and west of Thessaloniki. The Athens group
under Bishop George Kalavassi settled on Acharnon Street, obtained
funds for building a church, and opened a seminary and student resi-
dence. Rome has continued to appoint bishops to follow Kalavassi
despite the deep hostility to the Byzantine-rite Catholics found in the
country. Since the Second World War a new cathedral has been built in
Byzantine style and the offices of the Eastern church diligently kept. A
woman's congregation, the Sisters of Pammakaristos, run an orphanage,
several student residences and a hospital. The Little Sisters of Jesus,
although Western in origin, have identified with these Byzantine-rite
Greek Catholics. Priests of this community edit and publish the Catholic
newspaper of Greece, The presence of a Byzantine-rite
Catholic bishop in Athens, united to Rome, is the major obstacle
preventing better relations between Rome and the Orthodox church.'!"
The present
Today the Catholics of Greece number approximately 53,000 people. As in
the past, the two Cycladic islands of Tinos and Syros remain centres of
Catholicism. Syros now holds 7,800 Latins and Tinos approximately 2,600.
In addition, several thousand foreign Catholics, many of them refugees from
Middle Eastern wars, now make Greece their home. The largest groups of
foreign Catholics come from two very different parts of the world: Poles
have found work in Greece as construction workers and Filipinos in domes-
tic occupations. Many, particularly the Poles, are in Greece illegally and are
not counted as parishioners in the parishes.
There has been a major emigration of Catholics, along with the popula-
tion as a whole, into Athens and its suburbs. Now a majority of Catholics,
approximately 36,000, live in the capital region located in the fourteen
parishes in the area of Greater Athens. Eleven of them are in the care of sec-
ular priests and three are served by religious orders: Capuchins, Jesuits, and
Assumptionists. In addition two orders of male religious conduct schools:
the Marist Brothers and the Christian Brothers, assisted by personnel drawn
from Western Europe. A number of religious orders of sisters teach, care for
the aged, or for orphans. They number about eighty individuals. These
include the Sisters of St Joseph, the Sisters of Charity, the Ursulines, the Sis-
ters of the Holy Cross, and the Benedictines. There is also a convent of clois-
tered Carmelites.
The ecclesiastical division of the Latin Church falls into six dioceses. Two
archbishoprics are located in Athens and Rhodes. Metropolitan sees are
found on Corfu and Naxos-Tinos, a bishopric on Syros, and a vicar apos-
tolicate in Thessaloniki. Rhodes and Thessaloniki, with 1,500 in the former
city and 2,900 Catholics in the latter, do not have resident hierachs but are
served by apostolic administrators under the direction of Athens and Corfu.
The Catholics of Corfu number about 3,000 individuals. The bishops work
together closely. Documents and policy statements are issued in the name of
the Holy Synod of the Catholic Hierarchy of Greece made up of the four res-
ident Latin bishops of the country. The secretariat has its office on Tinos:!9
Catholic parishes are located in Piraeus, Patras, Volos and Larissa. Crete
has four churches: Iraklion, Khania, Agios Nikolaos and Rethymnon (the
latter two only open in summer). The Cycladic islands of Syros and Tinos
have many churches and chapels. Some villages are entirely Catholic, others
are shared with the Orthodox. Tinos is exceptional since many of the
Catholics here are farmers and make up a rural society, a way of life that has
almost disappeared on the other islands. On Naxos and Santorini, while sev-
eral church properties that date from the Middle Ages are still in the pos-
sion of the Catholic church, the severe decline in the population makes the
communities barely able to survive. The cathedrals have become parish
churches, serving the remnant of Catholics who still make these islands their
homes. The church on Santorini still holds a Dominican convent of clois-
tered nuns, but recruits must now be sought from Spain. There are simply
not enough vocations from Greek Catholic women. Santorini's church also
sponsors a cultural centre in the Ghisi mansion of Thira. Here exhibitions
of art and memorabilia of the island's past attract hundreds of visitors, espe-
cially in the summer tourist season. Churches are also open during the
summer on Paros, Milos, Andros, and Mykonos for vacationers, but no per-
manent congregations exist. In the Ionian islands, the cathedrals of Corfu
and the parish church of Zakynthos share the Catholic population. A visi-
tor to Greece will find both positive and negative features in the current sit-
uation. A look at the congregation at Sunday Mass in the churches on Syros
and Tinos will reveal a considerable number of empty pews. Like their
Orthodox countrymen and women, weekly attendance at the Eucharist does
not seem to have a high priority for the current Catholic generation. On the
other hand, the major holidays attract large crowds.
The changes made by the Second Vatican Council have affected the
church. The priest's vestments are modernized and the altars have been
turned around so that the celebrant faces the congregation. There is much
more of a dialogue between priest and people, with singing and public recita-
tion of prayers, than was found thirty years ago. A major change is the use
of the spoken Greek language in all church services creating better under-
standing of the meaning of the Liturgy. Most adult congregants, both men
and women, now communicate weekly. Women also now serve as lectors at
Mass, a practice that would have been looked upon as altogether unheard
of before the Council. The liturgical changes offer opportunities for lay
Greek Catholics to have much more participation in the Liturgy than the
Orthodox Greeks, where attendance at the Eucharist is passive and receiv-
ing communion, except for young children, considered extraordinary.
Catholic organizations are to be found providing social events from child-
hood to old age. There are youth groups that take students on excursions
and to summer camps. Adults and senior citizens have their own activities,
religious, cultural and educational. Women especially enjoy bus pilgrimages
to the shrines associated with Catholicism in Greece. In 1993, a delegation
of young Catholics from Syros traveled to Denver to greet Pope John Paul
The Orthodox atmosphere of Greece makes it somewhat difficult for
Catholics. Especially at election times politicians tend to drape themselves
in the robes of Orthodoxy, despite the secular nature of the Greek govern-
ment. Catholics have long given up proselytization. While in 1938 Metaxas
introduced legislation forbidding Catholics to make converts from among
the Orthodox, the present constitution has broadened this prohibition to
make it contrary to the law to seek converts from any 'recognized religion'. II)
Despite their long shared history, Orthodox Greeks still regard Catholics
with suspicion believing that even if they do not actively seek converts, their
very presence in Greece must have the unstated purpose of paving the way
for conversions.
A good example of subtle discrimination occurred in the summer of 1993
when a government decree required candidates for the police force to state
their religion. This law brought forth a futile protest from the synod of
Catholic bishops. For political reasons, members of the Mitsotakis govern-
ment in 1993, as well as officials in the New Democracy Party appear to
have encouraged attacks on the papacy and the Catholic Church. One New
Democracy official claimed that Catholics were, 'Greek according to law,
but not according to consciousness' .. " Many Greeks believe the Vatican
stood behind the Bosnian Muslims and Croatians in the struggle against the
Orthodox Serbs. No less a figure than the Minister of National Defence
claimed that the Vatican Bank was the major source of funds for the Muslim
armies of Bosnia. Vandals sprayed graffiti on the Catholic church in Patras.
Responding to this challenge, in November 1994 Nicholas Phoskolos, Latin
Archbishop of Athens, felt it necessary to list eleven issues of discrimination
agianst the Catholic Church in a memorandum to the Minister of Religion
and Education.
Phoskolos detailed the following charges. Greek Catholics are regularly
discriminated against in the work place, in the army, and often when they
seek employment. (A person's religion was at the time listed on Greek iden-
tity cards.) Secondly, Catholic students are often humiliated in public
schools. The canon law of the Catholic Church is not recognized by the
state, and ,110 Catholic church building may be constructed without the per-
mission of the local Orthodox bishop. Catholics want their canon law to
provide the guidelines over the monasteries and convents under their jusis-
diction and to establish clerical schools and seminaries whcn they see fit.
Teachers should be employed in public schools to teach Catholic children
with books approved by the bishops. Phoskolos also called for the abroga-
tion of laws 1784 and 1939, which forbid the establishmcnt of a private
school that is affiliated with a non-Orthodox institution. He also asked for
the right of Catholics to establish welfare agencies and for the state to deny
the practice of the Orthodox clergy officiating at mixed marriages to
demand that the children be baptized and raised Orthodox.
Another demand was for the repeal of laws 590 and 977 that reserve the
clerical habit to Orthodox clergy, and he also called for abolition of Article 2
in the penal code that speaks of 'tolerated religions' rather than 'recognized
religions'. In addition he requested the correction of Article 12 of law 1363
passed in 1938 that states, 'the entry into the kingdom of Greece of all heads
of religions, confessions, and heretical sects who do not have Greek nation-
ality is permitted only by the ministers of Religion and ForeIgn Affairs. Those
who violate this law will be expelled without any further formality.'
On the first Sunday of Lent in 1995 Phoskolos ordered the reading in all
Catholic churches of a pastoral letter entitled 'The Way of the Cross' in
which he repeated the demand that Catholics enjoy all the fights of Greek
citizens. He urged his people to work toward that end after detailing many
of the grievances he set forth in his memorandum to the Minister of Reli-
gion. Despite all the Archbishop's efforts, the Catholic Church remains with-
out public legal status in Greece, which the law gives only to Orthodox
Christians and to Jews.
Literature in some publications of the Orthodox press continues to
promote polemical articles against Catholics. Many accusations are without
foundation. In the present contest between Orthodox and Catholics in
Ukraine, the popular press is completely on the side of the Orthodox,
applauding the fraudulent synod of 1946 which led to the absorption of the
Ukrainian Catholic Church by the Orthodox. The journal Athena claimed
that 1,500 churches have been taken by the Catholics in Ukraine, ousting
priests and faithful and contending that mobs have killed some of the priests.
The Orthodox hierarchy in mainland Greece within the Athens archbish-
opric is adamantly opposed to any ecumenical discussions with local
Catholics. Archbishop Christodoulos let it be known that Pope John Paul II
would not be welcome in his jubilee journey to the sacred places of early
Christianity. On Crete relations between Catholics and Orthodox are friendly
and the Church of Greece has sent delegates to several Catholic-Orthodox
colloquia that have met outside the country. Most bishops and practically all
Orthodox monks and nuns resent the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios's
willingness to deal with the Vatican. Archbishop Serapheim of Athens, occa-
sionally lumped Catholics and all other Western religions in the category of
heresies. His successor since 1998, Archbishop Christodoulos, has shown
himself equally hostile to the Catholic presence in Greece.
The Greek government for decades has provided a theologian to teach in
the public schools, but until very recently only Orthodox theologians were
hired. Even on Syros where 400 Catholic students attended high school,
religion classes were monopolized by Orthodox teachers. Catholics were
instructors of other subjects in the schools but never taught religion. Only
recently has there been change, thanks to continued protests from Bishop
Frangiskos Papamanolis. Another difficulty put into the way of Catholics is
the control that the Ministry of Education and Worship and the local
Orthodox bishops have over church construction. For Catholics to put up a
school or church building requires the consent both of the Ministry, the local
hierarch, and in fact, if not in law, the tacit permission of the Archbishop of
Athens. As expected, the process may take years. It is frustrating for Catholics
to note that in Western Europe Catholics offer their churches for Orthodox
services, Western governments give recognition to the Orthodox and their
clergy, and Catholics welcome Orthodox visitors. Yet in Greece constant
obstacles are put in the way of Catholic activity. When the Catholics compro-
mise, such as agreeing to the Orthodox church calendar so that the Orthodox
and Catholic Easter coincide and refusing to allow communion in the hand
because of Orthodox sensibilities, there is no reciprocity on tbe part of their
fellow Christians.
Problems are especially acute in the realm of education.
Recent legislation has prohibited schools to be located on church property.
Whatever the government's motivation for such a law, the result has been to
force Catholic schools either to move or to change their constitutions so as to
be recognized as private, not Catholic, schools. ,"
The future
A problem currently exists for the Catholic church to recruit candidates for
priesthood. For the first time in history there are no students in Rome's
Greek College and but a handful are students in other West European sem-
inaries. For the present the church 11<1s enough priests, but the future does
not look promising, although, except for Poland, the same state of affairs
exists throughout Europe. Probably the most serious of all future problems
will result from the frequency of mixed marriages. Statistics now show four
out of five Catholics choosing Orthodox spouses. This is especially critical
in the metropolitan climate of the Athens region. Because it is so much easier
for the whole family to belong to the Orthodox church, a husband or wife
may very well give up his or her religion, especially in towns where there is
no Catholic church.
For the past eight centuries Catholics have shared in the history of the
Greek people in the East Mediterranean. This experience has often been pos-
itive and at other times, admittedly, events have turned sour. As a minority,
the Catholics have often felt threatened and without doubt in the past
depended too much on political protection and financial support from the
West. This dependence has made tbeir countrymen and women consider
them to be foreigners, despite their long residence in the country and the
excellent ethnic credentials of the majority of Cycladic Catholics.
The Catholic church of Greece can take pride in its years of service to its
communicants. It has brought them superior educational opportunities, con-
tacts with the western world denied the Orthodox, and a spirit of universal
community which has kept them from a narrow nationalism, which identi-
fies Christianity with a particular people or place. In the future, it may be
that Greece's participation in the European Union will provide a model for
Orthodox and Catholics to imitate living in harmony within the Christian
ecumene. It would be a tragedy for the Christian world, if Catholicism, for
almost eight hundred years a part of Greek life, should disappear in the
twenty-first century.
Johannes ManSI, eel., SacrOrIlm cOllci/ortlm l10va ct alll/Jlissimil col/cclio, (Flo-
rence and Venice, 1759-98) II 670-\.
2 Pope Damaslls to Anysills of Thessaloniki, Rome, 386 in Philip Jaffe, ed.,
Regesta fJO/ftificum tomanorum, (Leipzig, 1885) I 41. Subsequently other Popes
renewed Thessaloniki's privileges. See also Louis Petit, 'Les eveques de Thessa-
lonique', Echos d'Orient, IV (1901) 140-5.
3 V. Grumel, 'L'annexion de !'IIIyricum oriental, de la Sicile et de la Calabre au
patriarcat de Constantinople. Le temoinage de Theophane Ie Chronographe',
Recherches de science religieIlse, XL (1952) 191-200. The problem is how to
interpret Theophanes. Should patrimonies include bishoprics? See Theophanes,
Chrollicle, I-I. Turtledove, trans., (Philadelphia, 1982) 100-1.
4 Kenneth Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1521, (Philadelphia,
1976-84) I 36-42; Charles Frazee, 'The Catholic Church 111 Constantinople,
1204-1453', 13allwn Stl/dies, XIX (J 978) 33-49.
5 Giorgio Fedalto, La Chiesa Latina ill Oriente, (Rome, 1973-78) II 163; Charles
and Kathleen Frazee, The Island Princes ol Greece, (Amsterdam, 1988) 21-3.
6 The churches of Ayios Mamas on Naxos and the Panagia tis Gonias on San-
torini were two cathedral properties transferred to the Lat1l1s. Western bishops
preferred to build their own cathedrals in Greece. See also A. Stella, 'Chiesa e
stato nelle rclazioni dei Nunzi Pontifici a Venezia', Stlldi e Test;, CCXXXIX
(1964) 307-8.
7 On the VenetIan occupation of Corfu and Ionian Islands, see John J. Norwich,
A History of Venice, (New York, 1982) 260-1; Frederic C. Lane, Venice, A Mar-
itime Re/JUblic, (Baltimore, 1973) 198, and A. Foss, The IOlliall Islallds,
(London, 1969). Corfu had Western clergy since the time of the Norman inva-
sion of Robert Guiscard in 1147.
8 The Santorini castros were at Skaros, loa, Pyrgos, Akrotiri and Emborio. See
Ioanl1ls Dclendas, Oi Katholikoi tis Salltoril1ls, (Athens, 1949) 36-8; Michael
Danezis, Salllorilli, (Athens, 1971) 149.
9 Different views on the origins the Catholics of Syros exist. Emile Kolodny 111 'Oi
Katholikoi ton Kykladon" Tilliaka Analekta, I (1979) 5-11, believes them to be
of foreign origin. This is disputed by Antonios Sigalas in '01 Ellinikoi katalogoi
ton Katholikon tis Syrou', Kykladika, I (1956) 241-290 and in 'I nomi e cog-
nomi veneto-italiani nel'isola di Sira', Studi 13yzantllli e Neo Ellenici, VIII (1921)
194-200. The latest publication on Syros is the volume by Markos Roussos
Milidonis, Syra Sacra, (Athens, 1993).
10 On the history of Tinos see G.1. Dorizas, I 1I1esaioniki Tillos. (Athens, 1976)
41-55 and Charles Frazee 'Tinos: Venetian Outpost of the Aegean', Modern
Greek Studies Yearbook, VII (1991) 133-43. The best account of Cycladic his-
tory during the early part of the Tourkokratia is to be found 111 B. J. Slot, Arch-
ipelaglls tllrhatlls. Les Cyclades entre colollisatioll lati/le et oCCll/Jation
ottolllane, 1 SOO-I718, (Istanbul, 1982) I 59-63.
11 The history of Chios is told by Phiiip Argenti, The Occllpatioll of Chios by the
Gel10ese and their Admmistratioll of the Is/alld; 1346-1566, (Cambridge, 1958).
12 The history of Rhodes under the Knights may be followed in Ernie Bradford,
The Shield and the Sword: The Kllights ol St. Jolm. jemsalem, Rhodes, and
Malta, (New York, 1973) 140-75 and for Crete, see Lane, Venice, 43, 75-6.
13 For the last days of the Naxian dukes, seee B . .J. Slot, 'I tourkiki kataktisis ton
Kykladon, 1537-38', KYl1lo/ialw, VII (1978) 62-4; Robert Sauger (Saulger) His-
toire nouvelle des anciens dllcs et mitres sotlverains de I'Archi/Je/, (Paris, 1699),
292-301. For Nasi's career consult P. Grunebaum-Ballin, 'Joseph Naci, duc de
Naxos', Etudes jllives, XIII (1968) 82ff.
14 Argenti, OCc/II}ation, I 364-8.
15 .J. de Testa, Recl/eil des traites de la Porte ottol11ane avec les puissances
etrallgeres, (Paris, 1864-94) I 91-6.
16 Pietro Pirri, ed., 'Lo Stato della Chiesa Ortodossa di Constantinopoli e Ie sue
tendenze verso Roma 1!1 una Memoria del P. Guilio Mancinelli, S. 1.' in Miscel-
lanea Pietro Pumaslom-Biondi, (Rome, 1947) I 79-104; Rocco da Cesinale
Cocchla, Storia delle missioni del Cappuccmi, (Paris, 1867) I 55-69. In 1744 the
JesUIts built the church of St. LOlliS in Thessaloniki. See Apostolos Vacalopou-
los, A History of Thessalonihi, "[ E Carney, trans., (Thessalonilo, 1972) 993-4.
The baptismal register of the Catholic parish in Thessaloniki has been published
by Yves-Jean Dymon, 'To mitrocin vaptiseon tis Katholikis Ekkleslas Thessa-
ionilm, 1702-1727', Mahedonika, XI (1971) 38-68.
17 P. De Meester, Le College Pontilical grec de Rome, (Rome, 1910); Raphael de
Martinis, Juris pontilicii de Propaganda Pide. pars !}rima, (Rome, 1888-97) I
1-3; Alphons Mulders, Missiollsgeschichte, (Regensburg, 1960) 263-74.
18 The text of the ahd-nallleh is to be found in Abbe Pegues, I-listoire et
/}hen0111elleS du volcan et des iles vo/calllqlles de Santorill, (Paris, 1842) 609-13.
19 For the life on the islands, sec Slot, Archipelagus, 25-30. There IS a great amount
of travel literature on the islands, beginning with Cristoforo Buondelmonti's
Libel' inslliaru/I/ Archipe/agi. He journeyed about 1415. Other important works
are Deshayes de Courmenin, Voyage du Levant fait par C01l1111C11I(/ement dl/ Roy
en 1621, (Paris, 1645); Olfert Dapper, DescrilJtio/1 exacte des Isles de I'Archipel,
(Amsterdam, 17(2) and Antoine Des Barres, L'estat present de I'Archlpel, (Paris,
1(78). On the commUl1ltles, see E. Koukkou, Of /winotik.oi thesll10i stis Kyk-
lades /::.ata tin TOllrkohratiall, (Athens, 1980).
20 Georg Hofmann, Vescovadi Cattolici della Grecia: Naxos, Orfen/alia Christiana
Analecta, (Rome, 1938) CXV 34ff; Tinos, Orientalia C/mstICIl1a Allalecta,
(Rome,1936), CVII 20ff; Thera, Orientalia Christialla Analecta, (Rome, 1941)
CXXX 54-5. See also Agamemnon Tselikas, Martyrres apo tl Santori/ll,
1573-1819, (Athens, 1985).
21 V. Laurent, cd., 'Relations de ce qui s'est passe en Ia residence des peres de la
Compagnie de Jesus etablie a Naxie Ie 26 septembre de I'annee 1627', Echos
d'Oriellt, XXXIII (1934) 218-26, 354-75; XXXIV (1935) 97-105, 179-204,
22 P. Argenti, The Religio1ls MinOrIties of ChIOS, Jews and l\O/l/(/// Catholics,
(Cambridge, 1970) 225-7.
23 Sophronius Petndes, 'Le Venerable Jean-Andre Carga, eveque latll1 de Syra',
ReVile de 1'0rient Chretiell, V (1900),407-44; Georg Hofmann, Syros, Orren-
talia Christiana Allalecta, (Rome, 1937) CXII 9-23.
24 Visite I, 538-9, Archlvo della S. Congregazione di Propaganda, quoted in Georg
Hofmann, 'La Chiesa Cattolica in Grecia, 1600-1830', OrIentalia Christiana
Periodica, II (1936) 405.
2S Hofmann, Thera, 10-11.
26 The Capitulations of 1673, signed by Marquis de NOll1tel and Mehmed IV, pro-
vided in Article II, that 'Bishops who depend on France and other regions that
profess the religion of the Franks, of whatever nation or place, so long as they
act in that capacity, shall not be troubled in the exercise of their duties WIthin
the boundanes of our empire where they have lived for a long time'. Quoted in
Basile I-IOlnsy, Les CapitlllatlOns et la protectioll des chretlells all Proche-Orient
all XVI. XVlI. XVlII sik/es, (Paris, 1956), 252; Cesar Fa 111111 , I-/isto/re de la
rillalite et dll protectorat des eglises chretfellnes ell Onellt, (Paris, 18S3) 24-40.
27 Ubaldo Mannucci, 'Contributl docul11entarii per Ie storia della distruzlOne degli
episcopati latini 111 Oriente nel secoli XVI, XVII', BessaricJIle, XXX (1914)
28 Auguste Carayon, Relatiolls illedites des 1111SSIOns de la C0111/HIKlIle de Jesus a
Constantinople et dalls Ie tepallt all XVIII siecle, (Paris, 1894) 123-38;
Clemente da Tcrzorio, Le lI1issiOili dei Minoti CaIJ/mccilli, Slll1tO storico, (Rome,
1913-38) IV 366.
29 Hofmann, La Chiesa Cattolica, II 176-7.
30 Philip Argenti, The Occupatioll of ClJ/os by the Venetralls, I ("J..!, (London,
1935) gIves a full description of this event. See also Abbe Orsc, Girauel anel
Saint-Aroman, Actes des a/Jotres 111odemes, 011 l11issiOlls catholiques: voyages
des missionaires dalls tOlltes les pmtis du l11o/lde, (Paris, 1852) II 144; Charles
Frazee, Catholics ami Sultans, (Cambridge, 1983) 174-6.
31 Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, RelatioIT d'll11 voyage du Levant, (Paris, 1717) II
32 Hofmann, Tinos, 21-23; Carayon, Missioll des .Jesuites, 65-6.
33 Georg Hofmann, Das Papsttull1 ulld del' Griechische Freiheitskam/Jf. Orientalia
Christiana Allalecta, (Rome. 1952) CXXXVI 72-8,192-4; Spyndon Trikoupis,
[storia tis ellinikis e/Janastaseos, (London, 1853-57) I 184.
34 Robert Walsh, A ill COllstallti11ople, (Loncion, 1836) 42-3.
35 Philip Argenti, ed., The Massacres of Chios described 111 COllfem{Jorary Diplo-
matic [{eports, (London, 1932) 82-4; Hofmann, Chios, 29-30.
36 Quoted in COIIITiere de Snlyme, 22 March 1829.
37 Demetrios Sabkhas, I nomihi thesis tis [(atholilm ell ti
Epilerateia, (Athens, 1978) 55-6; E. A. Betant, ed., Correspolldence du Comte
.f. Capodistrias./mJsidelTt de la Grecc, (Geneva, 1838) IV 421.
38 Betant, Correspondence, IVI 0, 79.
39 Stamatios Laskans, Diplomatilei istoria tis F-llados. 1821-1914, (Athens, 1947)
42ff; S. Laskaris, I [(atholihl Eldelisia e/1 Elladi, (Athens, 1924) 2ff.
40 Otto's marriage remained childless throughout his life.
41 Georg Hofmann, 'Papa Gregorio XVI e la Grecia', in Gregorio XVI, Miscel-
lanea commemorative, (Rome, 1949) II 137-40. See also I. Petrou, ElcHisia
fJOlitilei still Ellada, 17S0-1809, (Thessaloniki, 1990).
42 Archivo della S. Congregazione di Propaganda, Congressi, 39, Archipelago.
43 'Apostoliki epitropeia Ellados', quoted in Evgenios Dalezios, 0 ell Athil1ais
l:wthedrilws lIa05 tOll Agioll Diol1ysioll tOil Areo/JagitoTl, 1865-1965, (Athens,
1965) 17-19.
44 Dalezios, [(athedril:.os 1I00S, 43-108.
45 Hofmann, Papa Gregorio, II 145-54.
46 Successors to Marangos as Catholic Archbishops of Athens have been: Joseph
Zaphinos (1892-95), Gaitanos Deangelis (1895-1900), Antonios Delenda
(1900-11), Louis Petit (1912-26), Ioannis-Vaptistis Phillippousis (1927-47),
Markos Sigalas (1947-50), Markos Makrionitis (1953-59), Venediktos Print-
ezis (1959-1972), Nikoiaos Phoskoios (1973- ).
47 AlIl1uario pe)1fti(icio, 1946, (Rome, 1947)151, 274; idem., 1992, 55, 463. On
the Armenian Catholics of Greece, see Jean Mecerian, 'Un tableau de la diaspora
armenienne', Proche Oriellf C/mJtlell, XI (1961) 63 and A. Angelopoulos, 'Pop-
ulation distribution of Greece today according to language, national conscious-
ness and religion', Balhilll Studies, XX (1979) 126.
48 The Decree on Ecumenism issued by the Second Vatican Council says, speakll1g
of the Orthodox Churches, 'in each of these churches, the Church of God is
built up and grows in stature'. Uniatism, the formation of Catholic Churches of
former Orthodox, is no longer considered viable as a means of creating a united
Christian Church, Oriente Catto/ico: cemu stenia e statlstiche, (Rome, 1962)
124-5; Sotirios Varnaldis, 'L'ecciesiologie de l'uniatisme dans la creation des
exarchats de Constantinople et d'Athcnes', /relliholl, LXV (1982) 400-22.
49 Tourist Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens, The Catholic Church ill
Greece, Athens, n.d.
50 A commentary on the 1975 constitution is provided in Sabkhas, I lIomihi thesis,
51 Katholilci, Athens, 14 September 1993.
52 Athelia, (January, 1993) 24.
53 The Orthodox Synod of Greece strongly protested a request by the Papal
Nuncio to Greece that the Catholic Archbishop receive the title 'Metropolitan
of Continental Greece'. Archbishop Serapheim of Athens called It totally unac-
ceptable, 'one more step in the general plan against Orthodoxy', See Vasilios
!vlakrides, 'Orthodoxy as a conditio sll1e qua non: reitglons and state polItIcs 111
modern Greece from a soclo-historical perspective', Osilarchliche Studien, XL
(1991) 281-305.
54 Salakhas, I nOll1ihi thesis, 211-12.
For the overwhelming majority of Greeks, for whom national self-awareness
is fully synonymous with the Eastern Orthodox faith, the existence in their
midst of religious minorities totalling less than 3 per cent of the population
is hardly a cause of serious concern. To be sure, periodically the Moslems of
Greek Thrace are viewed as the tool of an aggressive Turkey, while Greek
Catholic clergy might be accused of serving the Vatican's global aims. How-
ever, in both these instances it is the foreign patron rather than the Greek
client group who is perceived as constituting a national threat. With the vir-
tual destruction of the Greek Jews, other religious communities in the coun-
try are too small, isolated and inconsequential to trouble the public at large.
Indeed, were it not for the determination of the Greek Orthodox Church to
root out 'heresy' and 'proselytization', religious freedom would not be an
issue in Greece. Yet the prevailing influence of the Orthodox Church (for-
mally the Church of Greece) over state institutions and society often reduces
religious minorities to the status of second class citizens or worse. And
although the Protestants of Greece are not the primary target of intolerance,
they nevertheless feel its effects, at least in part because of wide-spread igno-
rance and confusion concerning their identity and beliefs. In the words of
one foreign Protestant official, 'religious liberty in Greece would seem to be
theoretical rather than practical'. 1
On 23 September 1983 the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece
launched a new 'anti-heresy campaign' with a circular addressed to all
Orthodox parishes and to the country's armed forces, warning them of
'provocative proselytizing activity by agents of multinational and Protestant
organizations, societies and Eastern religions'. Naming first the Jehovah's
Witnesses, the circular included among the 'heresies of protestant origin' the
following: 'Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Free Evangelical
Churches, Presbyterians, etc.'. Also listed were 'all kinds of "initiation rites"
organizations, especially of Hindu origin, parapsychology, mediums
magic'. Within seven days of the circular's date its recipients were to submit
to the Archbishop'S office information on all such groups 'as well as on how
vou are confronting the problem'.2 Thus, in the eyes of the highest Orthodox
;uthorities, universally recognized Protestant denominations were lumped
together as heresies with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Hare Krishna, magic and
parapsychology, and local priests and their support groups, as well as the
country's military, were urged to take action against them all. As the circular
makes deal; one of the most vexing problems faced by mainstream Greek
Protestants is the refusal of the Orthodox hierarchy, court rulings notwith-
standing, to recognize them as members of long-established, universally
known Christian Churches. If the head of the Greek Orthodox Church
could invalidate the Protestant Reformation by the stroke of his pen, it is
hardly surprising that lower-level clergy and civil servants act accordingly ..
Indeed, encouraged by their superiors, but also acting on their own Illl-
tiative, Church officials frequently bring charges before state courts against
non-Orthodox groups whose activities they find offensive. Thus in July 198.4
the Metropolitan of Kavala demanded that the police prevent further publ,lc
meetings of the organization 'Greek Missionary Union' which had 1I1
the town square a musical performance titled 'Freedom and Joy'. Accordll1g
to the Metropolitan's report to the court authorities, 'the study of the pnnted
materials [distributed I and the Igroup'sl method of operation lead to the
conclusion that it is a Protestant offshoot, engaged in intense proselytization
against Greek society'.J
Often the root cause of the problem appears to be the deSire of Orthodox
prelates to draw attention to themselves as defenders of the Nation
foreign influence. A case in point is that involving the Evangelicals of Katenm
whose difficulties with the authorities in the 19605 attracted the attention of
the British government because the pastor under attack was a Greek Cypriot
and thus a British subject. According to the British diplomat who ll1vestlgated
the matter, the Katerini Evangelicals were a model community 'so well organ-
ized socially, and the esprit de corps existing among them is so strong,
rarely has anyone of its members been known to have become a publIc
burden - other than to his own community - due to ill health, destitution or
unemployment'. However, the success of the Church in attractll1g members
had aroused the hostility of the local Orthodox prelate who, 'apart from
other considerations (the Metropolitan is a grand poseur, a forceful and
extremely ambitious personality, ever ready to champion any cause which
would help him in the public eye), as a matter of policy M. Barnabas has qUite
understandably felt called upon to combat the challenge of the Evangelical
Church'. Accordingly, after arranging for the civil authorities to exproprIate
the small garden of the Evangelical community, the Metropolitan accused
pastor of proselytization and had him declared an 'undesirable', thus preCIpI-
tating his expulsion from the country. The police report, filed at the Metro-
politan's instigation, included the charge that the pastor had received 'consid-
erable sums of money' from the British consulate in Thessaioniki, some other
purpose not being out of the question .. ::'
The problem created by the attitude of the Orthodox hierarchy and pliant
state agencies is more serious than the size of the religious communities
affected would suggest. As the only Eastern Orthodox member of the Euro-
pean Union, Greece can no longer disregard with impunity international
scrutiny and ignore mounting charges that it does not provide adequate pro-
tection to its religious minorities. Genuine integration into the supremely
secular and multicultural Western European community requires the aban-
donment of outmoded chauvinistic practices which serve no useful purpose
and alienate Greece's partners. Resolutions of the European Parliament and
decisions of the European Court (concerning the treatment of Jehovah's Wit-
nesses) have already put Greece on notice that its performance on the issue
of religious freedom does not measure up to the community's standards.'
Moreover, for all its practical significance, adherence to international
conventions is not the only issue. Religious intolerance in this instance
reveals arbitrary and regressive images of national identity and patriotism
and undermines respect for the fundamental rights of all Greek citizens,
regardless of their religious affiliation. The basic question is this: Who
decides what defines Greekness, and by what criteria? Can a non-Orthodox
citizen of Greece, who feels and conducts himself as a Greek, expect to be
treated as a full-fledged Greek by the authorities of his own country?
This essay deals mostly with the Greek Evangelicals. Other Protestant
groups, as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses, are mentioned only in passing,
when their experiences in Greece raise questions of broader significance. It
should also be stressed that the subject of religious freedom in Greece is
something of a moving target. Despite a number of court decisions, the
impact of the 1975 constitution's relevant provisions remains unclear. Sim-
ilarly, the practical effect of European Court rulings on the Greek system is
as yet uncertain."
Origins, pathfinders, adversities
The history of the Greek Evangelicals, whose roots coincide with the
nation's liberation from Ottoman rule, is one of sharp contrasts and con-
tradictions, of the occasional acceptance of individuals and wholesale rejec-
tion of their religious community. Thus, as a boy in Crete, Eleftherios
Venizelos, the charismatic politician who dominated Greek politics during
the first third of the twentieth century, was a regular subscriber to the
EfJhimeris ton Paidon (Children'S Newspaper) published by the first promi-
nent Greek Evangelical, Mikhalis Kalopothakis, a protege of Petrobeis
Mavromikhalis and editor of the journal Astir tis Al1atolis (Star of the East).
But the church which Kalopothakis built in Athens and where he preached
for forty years (1871-191]) was the regular target of stone-throwing and
noisy disruptions, and he was threatened with bodily harm. In 1895, when
his congregation placed on the church facade the sign 'Greek Evangelical
Church', the Metropolitan of Athens had the police remove the work
'Greek' on the grounds that it constituted proselytization and possible
deception of the innocent passers-by/
The commander of the allied forces in the First World War at the
decisive battle of Skra, Colonel (later General) AthanaslOs Kyriakou, was
a prominent and devout Evangelical. He was decorated by Greece,
Britain and France and was buried with great honours at the prestigious
First Cemetery of Athens." But when during the civil war an army private
died after taking part in the Grammos campaign against the communist
insurgents, the Metropolitan of Alexandroupolis would not allow him to
be buried in the public cemetery because he was an Evangelical. After
much publicity the young man was laid to rest in a remote corner of the
cemetery, away from other graves." And at the very same time when
Protestant churches across the United States were raising millions of
dollars to rebuild] ,000 Greek Orthodox churches damaged or destroyed
in the violence of the 1940s, and to provide priests with cloth for vest-
ments and food for their flock, the Orthodox authorities in Edessa would
not allow a tiny Evangelical congregation to occupy the small church it
had built.IO Finally, while the international community, with the formal
participation of Greece, struggtes to establish norms for the protection of
individual human rights everywhere, including religious freedom, there
are today Greek judges who rule that to promise a person a place among
God's chosen after death constitutes an attempt to convert by 'false and
deceptive means' and is therefore illegal."
The birth of the Greek Evangelical movement in the early decades of the
nineteenth century occurred independently but virtually simultaneously in
mainland Greece and in the Greek communities scattered across Asia Minor
and Pontos. Especially in Asia Minor it was the very modest by-product of
an ambitious if naive design of American and British Protestant missionary
societies to bring Christianity to the Moslem masses of the Ottoman Empire.
This was to be accomplished through the 'revival' and restoration to its orig-
inal 'purity and vigour' of the Greek Orthodox faith, the influence of whose
followers spanned the Moslem world even as they remained under Ottoman
subjugation.'1 Rather than making converts to Protestantism, these Western
missionaries hoped to reform, enlighten and invigorate the Eastern Ortho-
dox Church by persuading its members to abandon ritual, mysticism and
icon-worship in favour of personalized Christian faith based exclusively on
the message of the Gospel. Individual salvation was to be achieved through
personal communion with the Creator, through the understanding and
acceptance of the Gospel as God's command delivered to man Simply and
directly through Christ and his Apostles.
Such reform and redirection of religiosity required a certain level of liter-
acy and the availability of the Gospel in understandable Greek. Accordingly,
the missionaries combined traditional philanthropy with education in the
three Rs, so that the individual could read and think for himself, and the
translation and distribution of the Old and New Testaments. Using the cos-
mopolitan port city of Smyrna as their main base of operations, where they
established some of the best educational institutions of the Near East, they
spread out across the Ottoman Empire establishing schools, orphanages,
relief stations, training and certifying teachers of Greek, and distributing
Greek editions of the Bible. Although they taught the Bible, they saw their
mission as one of enlightenment, not of conversion. They believed that they
were helping fellow Christians rediscover and return to what they consid-
ered to be the true meaning of Christianity as defined by Christ and recorded
by his apostles.
Often the graduates of missionary schools would be invited by Greek
towns and villages in distant regions of the Ottoman Empire, which had
never seen a foreign missionary, to come and operate a Greek school. Most
of these young teachers simply taught the three Rs and nothing else; a few
also became messengers not of a 'foreign' religion but of a personalized
Christian faith based on the Bible and especially the New Testament. They
were not aware of any change in their identity as Greeks caused by their
particular understanding of the Christian faith. Moreover, their function as
'evangelists' was often unplanned.
Thus, in the late 1870s, the village of Semen near the Black Sea, cOl1sist-
ing of some 140 Greek families, hired a teacher (Ioannis Valavanis) for its
elementary school. Some time after his arrival the teacher was seen eating
eggs and butter on a day of fasting. The matter was reported to the village
School Board which appointed two of its members to investigate and rec-
ommend appropriate punishment. Asked to explain his conduct, the teacher
produced a copy of the New Testament in Greek and read aloud from First
Corinthians, VIII/8: 'But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we
eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.' And from
Matthew XVlll: 'Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but
that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.'
The illiterate but reverent villagers admitted that for the first time in their
lives they had actually understood a passage from the Bible. They invited the
teacher to read and explain to them the scriptures at regular gatherings. By
1887, over the strong objections of the local Orthodox priests and some vil-
lagers, an Evangelical meeting hall was built, which served also as the one-
classroom elementary school of the children of the congregation. A new
teacher, with more serious religious training (GeOl'gios Lemonopoulos) came
to serve as teacher and pastor. In 1917, in the tragedies spawned by the First
World War, when the Turkish authorities destroyed the village, some fifty to
sixty families of Evangelicals moved to the nearby town of Kotyora (Ordu),
where an Evangelical community had been in existence since 1880.
Although no accurate numbers exist, at the time of the 'Great Disaster', the
defeat in 1922 of the Greek armies in Asia Minor, and the ensuing exchange
of populations, there were approximately thirty to forty Greek Evangelical
churches and many more family-size groups across Asia Minor.14
Needless to say, the Evangelicals of Asia Minor who crossed the Aegean
in search of a new home were a numerically insignificant portion of the
Greek refugees. Despite their spiritual separation from the Orthodox
Church, and the hostility they often encountered as a result, they regarded
themselves as purely Greek, sharing the grave misfortunes of their compa-
triots. They did not think of themselves as followers of an international
Protestant movement and did not seek preferential treatment from the
largely Protestant relief organizations then operating in Greece. Their one
appeal to the Greek authorities was to permit them to be resettled together,
as religious communities, but this was done in very few cases. Beyond the
suburbs of Athens, where many tried to rebuild their lives, others went to
Thessaloniki (where a small Evangelical group had been meeting since
1865), Larissa, Volos, Katerini, Edessa, Veria, Komotini, Ioannina, Alexan-
droupolis; some made it to the islands of Kerkyra, Crete and Andros where
they joined small groups of other Evangelicals. In their new locations they
established self-supporting, self-governing churches where they survive to
this day.
The experiences of the Evangelicals who originated on the Greek
mainland were basically similar, with the notable difference that certain of
their leaders were well-educated and prominent Athenians. The oldest and
best known of the Greek Evangelical churches was established in Athens in
1858 by Mikhalis Kalopothakis, (1825-1911), founder and long-time editor
of Astir tis Anato/is, the leading Evangelical journal which continues to be
published today and is a valuable chronicle of the history of the Greek
Born in Mani in the clan of Petrobeis Mavromikhalis, Kalopothakis
attended elementary school in Areopolis (founded by the American mis-
sionaries G. W. Leyburn and Samuel Houston) and developed a keen inter-
est in the Bible. He graduated from gymnasium in Athens and earned his
medical degree in 1853 at the University of Athens. After brief service as an
army doctor he went to New York, attended Columbia University and grad-
uated from Union Theological Seminary. Back in Athens he decided to
devote himself to Evangelical work. His motto was 'the nation needs spiri-
tual reform and this reform must be based solely on the Bible.
the Cretan revolt of 1869, he travelled to the United States once again to
plead the cause of Hellenism.
While still a medical student Kalopothakis had been drawn to the
ministry by the prosecution in various Greek courts and conviction on
charges of heresy of the prominent American missionary and philhellene
from Massachusetts Jonas King (1792-1869), whom Kalopothakis had
come to know and admire. As he said later, he entered the court as a pious
Orthodox but left it as an Evangelical Protestant. I" At first welcomed
warmly by the Greek authorities in the closing years of the war of inde-
pendence, a friend of Kapodistrias and other Greek leaders, King became for
a time the Greek government's advisor on educational matters. He founded
the Evangelilwl1 Gymnasiol1 (1831), the first secondary school in Athens,
which was attended by the sons of many Greek families. In 1827
he had urged American leaders and philanthropists to create in Mani or
Sparta a college of the quality of his beloved Alma Mater; Amherst College
in Massachusetts, and later wished to open a private university in Athens.
During 1851-58 he was the American consul in the Greek capital.
But, for
all his work in education and philanthropy, King was primarily interested in
spreading the message of the Bible. Before long, his sermons, religious
articles and Bible work attracted the wrath of the Orthodox authorities who
charged him with insulting the Virgin Mary and other offences. In the press
he was accused of presiding over orgies. IS In 1854 he was convicted of
heresy, excommunicated and ordered to be deported, over the strong
protests of the American government. Although the deportation order was
rescinded by King Otto, he went abroad for several years but returned to
Athens where he died two years later. 19
Despite his energetic religious activities, King had not wished formally to
establish a church. However, his sermons and Bible lessons attracted a
number of Athenians, including Kalopothakis, who was a defence witness
at King's trial.
It was Kalopothakis who brought together some of King's
followers and formed the First Evangelical Church of Athens. In J871 the
group built its assembly hall in the (then) open fields across from Hadrian's
Arch, below Plaka, where its rebuilt version stands today. That is the build-
ing from which in November 1895 the word 'Greek' was removed by the
police, to be restored some weeks later by court order/I
Kalopothakis's son, Dimitrios, himself a pillar of the First Evangelical
Church, graduated from Harvard, taught history at the University of Athens
and had a distinguished career as The Times of London's correspondent in
Greece. During the turbulent decade of the 1920s he was the General Direc-
tor of the Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received
many honours and decorations from the Greek and British governments.
When he died in July 1946, To Vima praised him as a distinguished jour-
nalist and government official and an 'outstanding Greek patriot who had
served the interests of Greece'.22 Responding to a newspaper article which
had labelled his faith a 'Protestant error', he wrote:
When all the medieval and Turkish walls and structures were
removed from it, the Acropolis of Athens emerged in all its beauty
and the splendour of its original form. So also with the Orthodox
Church. When all the added-on human decrees and traditions,
which centuries of error and ignorance have piled on that brilliant
edifice erected upon the solid foundation of the Apostles and
Prophets have been removed, it will be revealed in all its original
apostolic magnificence before a joyous Christendom. May it not be
long until that blessed day when the Church of our fathers returns
to the simplicity and purity of the apostolic ages. Then, with pious
joy, we the Greek Evangelicals will return to its fold ... Ll
In short, while benefiting from the work of Western missionaries, the Greek
Evangelicals did not descend upon the Hellenic scene riding the coat-tails of
powerful foreign churches and religious organizations. They represent a very
small but autochthonous movement of genuine Greeks who, through a vari-
ety of personal encounters, came to believe that their spiritual well-being
and salvation could be assured through direct communication with their
Creator, for which the Bible was the only vehicle. However, their reformed
faith clashed with the historical and prevailing concept of Greekness, which
defines ethnic identity in terms of the Orthodox Church. Reflecting this atti-
tude, Stelios Papathemelis, subsequently Minister of Public Order, in Sep-
tember 1992 characterized the work of TV evangelists as 'anti-Orthodox
and therefore anti-Greek propaganda'.24
The Greek Evangelicals today
Today there are twenty-eight congregations across the country (four are in
the Athens-Piraeus metropolitan area) which belong to the General Synod
of the Greek Evangelical Church. There are also three churches in the United
States and one in Germany. In terms of regular membershIp, including chil-
dren, the largest is that of Katerini, with about 1,500 persons. That church
grew out of the 120 Evangelical refugee families from Asia Minor to whom
the authorities grantedl ,650 hectares of land for re-settlement in 1923.2'
Otherwise, the larger churches are in Athens and Thessaloniki. Family-size
groups and lone Evangelicals, for whom no reliable numbers are available,
can be found all across Greece.
Statistics on this religious minority are virtually non-existent. The 1928
state census listed 9,003 as 'Protestants', while in the 1951 census (the last
to specify religious allegiance) the number was down to 6,859, or 0.1 per
cent of the population. A December 1992 Athens press account on religious
groups reported 12,000-15,000 'Protestants' (named as the third officially
recognized Christian dogma), of whom the main group was said to be the
Greek Evangelical Church with 5,000, including children.'" The rest were
presumably Protestants of other denominations, including Pentecostals, with
the more conservative of whom the Evangelicals maintain polite if distant
contact.27 The Pentecostals, among whom beliefs and practices vary widely,
are regarded by the Orthodox authorities as a heresy (as are the Jehovah's
Witnesses and Mormons) and a serious threat to the nation because their
religious activities are viewed as deliberate efforts to undermine national sol-
idarity among Greeks. According to journalistic sources, about twenty Pen-
tecostal Churches are believed to exist in the Athens area alone."
activities are regarded as essentially outside the law. The authors of Greece:
religious into/era/Ice and discril1llllatIO/1, published in 1994 by the Brussels-
based organization I-Iuman Rights Without Frontiers, give the figure of
16,000-18,000 Protestants, making no attempt to distinguish between
Evangelicals and Pentecostals.
Whatever their origins and beliefs, the Jehovah's Witnesses need to be
considered separately from the family of Protestant churches. Their doctrine
and preaching tactics, not to mention their claim that all the dominant
Christian Churches (especially the Catholic) have been expropriated by
Satan, set them apart from the main subject of this article. Nevertheless, they
need to be mentioned here because, as already suggested, in the Greek set-
ting, they are often confused with the Evangelicals who suffer from this
unwelcome association. Moreover, they serve as the lightning rod for the
charge of proselytization, from which the Evangelicals have sought to pro-
tect themselves with only moderate success.
No official figures are available on the Jehovah's Witnesses in Greece but
they are clearly more numerous than all the Greek Protestants, from whom
they are divided by a wall of mutual rejection. The Witnesses' own figure is
about 26,000.",) The status of the Witnesses in Greece is unique because the
authorities have not recognized them as a 'known' religion protected under
the constitution and penal code. This is despite the fact that in 1975 the
Council of State (Symvouiion Epi/nateias) accepted the Jehovah's Witnesses
as followers of a 'known' religion and thus entitled to protection under the
constitution. Howevel; in 1983 the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) declared
them a heresy, which for all practical purposes they remain in the eyes of
church and civil authorities. When questions arise, state authorities defer to
the Orthodox Church which consistently regards the Witnesses as a heresy
with a hostility that has not mellowed over the years. As a result, state
organs serve as instruments of religious intolerance. For example, when in
1989 the Witnesses applied to have their ministers excused from military
service (as are ministers of the 'known' religions) the military authorities
requested a ruling from the Ministry of Education's Directorate of Religions.
The Ministry's response consisted of the deciSIOn of the Holy Synod of the
Church of Greece which declared that the Witnesses are 'neither a known
religion nor in fact a religion but a business with an economic-political
In a court case decided in 1991, in Tripolis, Jehovah's Witnesses brought
charges against certain individuals whom they accused of publicly and ver-
bally assaulting them on account of their religious activities. After listening
to a parade of 'experts' in matters of theology, the court dismissed the
charges ruling that Jehovah's Witnesses 'in no circumstances can be consid-
ered an accepted religion and consequently they do not constitute an object
of verbal assault' .1\
Structure, dogma, activities
The Evangelical Churches of Asia Minor had adopted the 'congregational'
system of self-government under which the entire membership, acting as a
democratically-ruled unit, controlled the affairs of the church and selected
its minister, whose qualifications consisted of personal llltegrity and faith,
and knowledge of the Gospel. The Evangelicals of the Greek state had fol-
lowed the more structured 'Presbyterian' style, which is based on a hierar-
chy of authorities; the council of elders (presbyters) and the ministers of the
district churches, in turn following guidelines established by a geographi-
cally larger general assembly. After the arrival of the refugee churches in
Greece a Panhellenic Evangelical Alliance was established (in 1924) which
over time developed a governing structure that combines elements of both
the Congregational and Presbyterian traditions.]1 In essence, while seeking
spiritual unity and mutual support, the Greek Evangelical Churches are
independent, self-sustaining ancl self-governing entities. They are not
branches of foreign Protestant Churches, they joined the World Council of
Churches at its founding in 1948, and they support the Ecumenical Move-
ment.]1 There are today some eighteen to twenty ordained ministers (many
of whom graduated from theological semmaries in the Ul1lted Kingdom),
scores of lay preachers and evangelists, Bible distributors and some 100
elected elders.l-1
The Greek Evangelicals, who espouse the Nicene Creed (325 AD), cele-
brate two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. They accept as
authentic Gospel only the scriptures of the Old Testament (39 Books) and
the New Testament (27 Books) and believe that the Bible alone is 'the real
and indisputable canon of faith - containing all the material needed by
Christians to form a clear and correct faith'.I' They regard ecclesiastical 'Tra-
dition', including the veneration of rules and ceremonies not traceable to
Christ and his Apostles, and of man-made objects such as Icons, to be prod-
ucts of the human mind influenced by regional, political and social trends,
individual bias and ignorance. In this they differ from both the Orthodox
and Catholic Churches which regard 'Tradition' as divinely inspired and
having the same authority as the Books of the Bible.'"
In practice the Evangelicals believe that the mission of their church is to
propagate and distribute the Gospel as the only vehicle of salvation through
which man discovers and communes with his Creator personally and directly.
They aspire to convey this message to others chiefly through their daily
conduct, by personal example. Great emphasis is placed on teaching the
Gospel and its meaning to the young through Bible school and appropriate
recreation. In this connection, they run several summer camps where some
500 children (and sometimes entire families) combine vacation with religious
education and worship. Since the 1980s growing attention has been paid to
social problems and modest programmes have been started in the large cities
for alcoholics and drug addicts.
The Church in Kerkyra has recently
combined relief work with religious activity in post-communist Albania.
A religious minority: problems and realities
It is not easy to generalize about the experiences of the Evangelicals as a reli-
gious minority in Greece. In part, this is because they do not, as a rule, seek
to bring attention to themselves and any problems that they encounter with
the authorities often go unreported. Conditions have changed over time and
there has been slow but steady improvement in the attitude of secular
authorities, at least in principle. It has always been more difficult to be an
Evangelical in small towns and villages than in the larger urban centres.
Most individual members of the Church, whose social, educational and eco-
nomic status represents an approximate cross-section of the nation as a
whole, are able to lead professional and occupational lives unhindered by
their religious affiliation. Their employers and fellow workers, and (in the
cities) many of their neighbours as well, are not aware of their religion or
are not particularly concerned about it. Parenthetically, the required desig-
nation of one's religious affiliation on identity cards has caused much debate
in recent years and raises fundamental questions of legal principle. The prac-
tice was condemned by the European Parliament as a violation of Article 9
of the European Convention on I-Iuman Rights/" and the issue is likely to
emerge as a point of friction between the European Union and Greece in the
years aheacl:lO Its practical significance for members of the so-called known
religions is probably negligible. However, if as ordinary citizens the Greek
Evangelicals are largely unaffected in their daily lives, as practitioners of
their faith they certainly suffer the consequences.
As already mentioned, the 1975 Constitution (article 13.2) extends pro-
tection of freedom of worship to all 'known' religions. But even though the
Evangelicals, as Protestants, are accepted as a 'known' religion, their minis-
ters and lay evangelists frequently run afoul of the constitutional banning of
'proselytism'. The original prohibition was intended to defend the dominant
Orthodox Church from the loss of its faithful to alien religions. On the other
hand, the 1975 Constitution maintains the prohibition of 'proselytism' as
protection of the individual right of freedom of religious conscience against
attempts at conversion by what the penal code labels 'false means'. This
change implies that the banning of proselytism is directed at all religions,
and thus is fair and impartial. However, since the meaning of 'false means'
is not specified by law, it is left to courts to decide what in fact constitutes
proselytization. Some court deliberations on this issue have been reminiscent
of theological debates of the Dark Ages. Among the practices which the
Greek courts have declared to be 'false means' are the mailing of books, the
'skillful interpretation' of the Gospel, and the disparity in the level of edu-
cation between the person preaching and the one being preached to:
mentioned above, even the promise of paradise may lead to charges of pros-
elytism. Under these peculiar conditions much of the Evangelicals' religious
endeavour can be, and is, challenged as representing attempts at proselyti-
zation. More often than not, the instigators of the charges and legal action
are the local Orthodox authorities and their lay followers.
Under 'compulsory laws' dating back to the Metaxas dictatorship, but
which remain in effect today (especially 1363/38 as amended in 1672/39),
the erection and operation of a Church building of any denomination
require an official licence issued by the 'appropriate recognized authority'
and the Ministry of Education and Religions. The application for such a
licence must be accompanied by detailed information concerning the reli-
gious group involved. The unspecified 'appropriate authority' is in reality
the local police and the local Orthodox Church, which almost routinely seek
to block the granting of the licence. As recently as 1982, the Panhellenic
Evangelical Alliance appealed to the national government to repeal these
laws protesting that 'almost in all cases the Orthodox "ecclesiastical author-
ity" has not allowed the building ... and any licence granted finally by the
State occurred after a recourse of the interested parties I to I the Council of
State' :12 In its reply, issued two years later, the Ministry of Education and
Religions rejected the request arguing that the licensing regulations in ques-
tion did not violate the Constitution and were in fact intended to assist and
protect the non-Orthodox.
Beyond the problem of licensing Church buildings the Ministry of Edu-
cation and Religions regularly requires the Evangelical Churches to submit
detailed accounts of their activities. For example, a July 1979 circular
demanded the following information 'as soon as possible': exact address of
place of worship, telephone 'where we can reach you', full name of current
pastor, titles of periodicals or other literature sponsored, names of other
organizations, clubs or schools operated by the Church. The circular con-
cluded with the reminder that 'any change in your address or your pastor
requires our approval':1-1 On occasion security officials in civilian clothes
arrive unannounced to request information about the Church:
' And in the
autumn of 1993 the Athens press reported the existence of a classified survey
of non-Orthodox Greeks undertaken by the Greek Intelligence Agency
(EYP). This contained the names, addresses, telephone numbers and infor-
mation on personal finances and bank accounts of their pastors, who were
apparently under routine surveillance.oj!.
Periodically, religious minorities, including the Evangelicals, have been
accused of lacking in patriotism. In the 1940s and 1950s one charge fre-
quently made against Evangelicals was that they had not shown sufficient
opposition to 'slavo-communism'. The police authorities in Pieri a once
reported that when the area had been under ELAS control the 'Evangelical'
heretics had been preaching that communism does not persecute the 'Evan-
gelical Church':'7 Given the Evangelicals' total rejection of communist
dogma as an atheist aberration one can only wonder about the motives
behind such a report.
Finally, there is persistent speculation that Evangelicals, as well as
members of other religious minorities including the Catholics, are system-
atically excluded from sensitive government positions. In December 1992,
an Evangelical spokesman in Athens, while denying that serious problems
existed between his church and state authorities, added: 'there is uncon-
firmed information that there continues to remain in force a directive for the
exclusion of Evangelicals from certain sectors of public service: the army,
police, education'. <IN
This is the kind of suspicion which is obviously very difficult to prove or
disprove. However; there is some evidence that such a directive was in fact
issued. In a letter published in the Athens weekly Oilwl1omilws Tal<.hydro-
mos (30 December 1993), a writer revealed that, having completed his mil-
itary service as the doctor of his battalion (but without an officer's
commission, which is standard practice for medicai officers in the Greek
armed forces), his discharge papers listed his conduct as 'fair'. When he
protested, his battalion commander claimed that he had merely complied
with a secret order of the Army General Staff that all Evangelicals, regard-
less of performance, were to receive the conduct designation 'fair'. After
appealing the matter to the Council of State, he was summoned to the local
police station (which handles reservists' call-up papers) and was told that an
order had been received to change his discharge papers, under the heading
conduct, from 'fair' to 'excellent'.
It is difficult to imagine that this was in fact an isolated case and there
are heretofore undocumented reports of similar treatment. However, an
entirely different experience deserves to be mentioned. In 1955, when an
Evangelical draftee requested that the designation 'Christian/Orthodox' on
his army papers be changed to 'Christian/Evangelical' he was refused in
abusive language which, among other matters, questioned his Greekness.
Yet months later, after repeating to the examining board his religious affil-
iation, he was sent to officers' school, as was another Evangelical. Once
commissioned, he received the highest security clearance for Greece and
NATO, and was assigned to the Hellenic National Defence General Staff
where he served as interpreter in highly sensitive conferences with NATO
officials. On his discharge, with highest commendation and conduct 'excel-
lent', he was employed by the press office of the Ministry to the Prime
Minister, where his assignments included service as court interpreter in the
trial of the American airman who had killed General Stefanos Sarafis, the
commander of ELAS, the wartime, communist-controlled resistance army,
in a traffic accident (the government had feared that the communists would
use the trial for propaganda purposes):'"
Greece is today a reasonably stable, democratic society, whose constitution
and legal system, in principle, accord the individual citizen protection against
religious persecution at the hands of the state authorities. As a 'known'
religion, the Greek Evangelicals fare much better than other religious minori-
ties which are not so designated. Yet a fundamental problem persists, symbol-
izing the gap between theory and practice. Although most Greeks think
nothing of it, there is a feature of Greek public life and culture that sets it apart
from all western democratic societies. At every state function the place of
honour is reserved for the Orthodox clergy who are treated as the sacred
symbol of the nation's identity and spirit. At official ceremonies, presidents of
the republic, prime ministers, the cabinet, generals and other representatives
of the state behave as though supreme authority for all things Greek flows
from the institution represented by the person in black robes. The historical
explanation for all this is all too well known, as is the service of the Orthodox
faith to the preservation of the Greek nation. But the symbolism also perpet-
uates the notion that Greekness is synonymous with Orthodoxy and that the
Church stands above civil authority. And as long as the Orthodox Church
continues to regard religious minorities as intruders upon its exclusive
preserve, the status of all such minorities, including the Evangelicals, will
remain precarious. So long as state organs serve as passive - and at times active
- tools of the Orthodox Church, religious minorities in Greece will not receive
a full measure of protection of their religious freedoms. So long as the polit-
ical culture of the country identifies ethnic identity and personal loyalty to the
state with a particular Church, religious minorities will continue to be treated
as less than genuinely Greek. And when the nation feels II1secure or victim-
ized, inflamed nationalism will retard any progress toward genuine religious
As already suggested, this culture, which subjects ethnic identity to criteria
defined by the dominant Church, brings Greece on a collision course with the
European Union. If it genuinely supports the content and implications of the
Maastricht accords, Greece will have to bring itself into line with its partners
on a variety of issues, including freedom of religion. It will have to cultivate a
pluralistic society in all respects, including matters of religious faith, and turn
the myth of the separation of Church and state into reality. For this to happen,
two basic changes are essential. First, the constitutional prohibItion of prose-
lytism must be annulled, making it impossible for the courts to serve as the
tools of the dominant Church. The time must finally come when Orthodox
authorities will tolerate in Greece the full measure of religious freedom from
which they themselves benefit in the western world. Given the situation
described in these pages, it is truly ironic to have Orthodox prelates declare
that their 'task in North America is not limited to serving the immigrant and
ethnic communities, but has as its very heart the missionary tas/? of making
disciples in the nations of Canada and the United States' .'0 Secondly, the
nation's educational curriculum will have to incorporate the simple lesson that
although the overwhelming majority of Greeks are Orthodox, one need not be
Orthodox to be a good Greek. Such changes are possible, if the political will
and leadership exist to bring them about. Howevel; it would be unrealistic to
believe that such will and leadership exist in Greece today.
1 Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur E Smith, Chairman, The Evangelical Alliance, London,
letter of 18 September 1963, to N . .J. A. Cheetham, Southern Department, For-
eign Office. ForeIgn Office Records, 169099, CEl781/6.
2 EHlisiastil<.i Alitheia, VII (No. 168) I October 1983.
3 Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thasos, No. 813, 13 July 1984, report of
Metropolitan Prokopios to the Public Prosecutor of Kavala. .
4 Foreign Office Records, 169099, documents CE 1781/4, CEl78 116,
CEI781/11. In its report the British. Embassy in Athens dismissed as 'complete
rubbish' the claim that the Katerini pastor had received money from the
Consulate and concluded: ' ... almost certainly the crux of the matter is that
Ithe pastor] has been too energetic in attracting support for his flock and that
for this (01; of course, possibly some other reason) he has fallen foul of the local
Orthodox hierarchy ... ' Murray to Dodson, 28 August ]963, CEI781/6.
5 Stephanos Stavros, '0 prosilytismos kai to dikaioma sti thriskeftiki eleftheria',
Poinilw Khrollika, October 1993, 964-77; Stephanos Stavros, 'The Legal Status
of Minorities in Greece Today: The adequacy of their protection in light of cur-
rent human rights perceptions', paper presented at the Modern Greek Studies
Association symposium, San Francisco, .30 October-1 November 199.3.
6 Stavros, '0 prosilytlsmos'. In several cases, followll1g hearings by the European
CommIssIon on !-Iuman RIghts, a 'fnendly settlement' was reached between
Greek Evangelicals as plaintiffs and the Greek state authorities. See, for exam-
ple, the cases of Charilaos Polyzos, No. 13271187, decided by the Commission
on 13 May 1988, and of Argyris Iordanoglou, No. 13270/87, decided by the
CommIssIon on 18 December] 987.
7 M. B. Kyriakakis, Proto/Joreia Iwi proto/Joroi (Athens, 1985), 19.
8 Kyriakakis, .38.
9 Diati IwtafJiezetai i Ellinil<.i Evallgeliki EHlisia (Athens, 1954), 61-2. In Greece,
cemeteries belong to the local civil authorities and are not the property of the
Orthodox Church.
10 Diati IwtafJiezetai, 13-]4, on the Mylotopos case. The official organ of the
Orthodox Church which printed the Archbishop'S circular mentioned above
also expressed profound gratitude to the World Council of Churches for the
'very large sum of money' donated to the Church of Greece. Ekldisiastihi
Alitheia, VII, No. 169, 16 October 198.3.
11 Andreas N,. Loverdos" 'Prosilytismos: mia clliniki apokleistikotita', Eleftherot)'fJia,
20 Decemt1er 1992. See also IllS Prosilytismos. Cia till antisyntagmatilwtita tes
sl,hetikis me ton prosilytismo poillil<.is llo111othcsias (Athens, 1986).
12 Gerasimos Augustinos, "'Enlightened" Christians and the "Oriental" Churches:
Protestant missions to the Greeks in Asia Minor, 1820-Ul60', IOllmal of
Modem Creel" Stlldies, IV (1986) 1.30.
13 Ioannis Agapidis, Ellini/wi eVClngelilwi Iwil10tites tOil POlltOIl (Thessaloniki,
1948), 9-17.
H Agapidis,5.
IS Kyriakakis, 11-15.
16 Summarized History of the Evallgelical Chllrch of Greece (Athens, n.d.), 2.
17 Georgios D. Dragas, IOllas Killg (Athens, 1972), 65, 92.
18 Dragas, 90.
19 Dragas, 86-10J. For an account by an American contemporary highly critical
of King, see Charles K. Tuckerman, The Creel,s of Today (New York, 1878),
20 Dragas, 92.
21 Kyriakakis, 19.
22 Kyriakakis, 29.
23 Kyriakakis, 31.
24 Ei/::(mes,16 September 1992, 18.
25 Creek: Evangelical Chll1'ch of Katerhli (Katerini, n.d.).
26 EleftherotYllia, 20 December 1992.
27 Letter of Revd. Stelios Kaloterakis, 1.3 December 1993, to the author.
28 Kathimerini, 6 November 1991.
29 Creece: Religious Illtolerance and Discrimination, I-Iuman Rights Without
Frontiers, VI (1994) 2.
30 Eleftherotypia, 20 December 1992. On a prominent case of a Jehovah's Witness
decidecl by the European Court of I-Iuman Rights see Case of Kohhillahis v.
Creece (.3/1992/348/421), jlldgeJl/elzt, Strasbourg, 25 May 1993.
31 Eleftherotypia, 20 December 1992.
32 Summarized History, 3; see also Katastatihos Khartis tis F"lhzif;us Evangelihis
EH/isias (Thessaloniki, ! 971).
33 Katastatilws Khartis, Art 30, 24.
34 SlImmarized History, .3.
35 I pistis tOil Ellilloll Eval1gelilwl1 (Athens, n.d.) 21.
36 I Ilistis, 21-2.
37 S;mmzarized History, .3-4.
38 Elliniki Evangeliki Ekklisia Kerkyras, Ehthesi allJanilwlI crgoll gia to etos 1991.
39 Loverdos, 'Prosilytismos' 111 Eleftherot)'flia, 20 December 1992.
40 Katholi!?i, 16 November 199.3.
41 Loverdos, 'Prosilytismos'.
42 Panhellenic Evangelical Alliance, letter of 24 August 1982 to the Prime Minister
and the Ministers of National Education and Religions, Ministry of the Presidency
and Justice, signed by Revd. Stelios Kaloterakis and Revd. Apostolos D. 13liatis.
43 Republic of Greece, Ministry of National Education and Religions,
070.1A.3/110, 11 July 1984.
44 Ministry of National Education and Religions, 070J/A/l637, 9 July 1979,
signed by K. Athanasiadis.
4S Free Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki, complaint by Dr Demosthenis Kat-
sarkas to the Directorate of Security, Thessaloniki, 10 June 1991.
46 Kat/Jolihi, 16 November 199.3.
47 Eleftherotypia, 20 December.1992.
48 Ibid.
49 The case, from the mid-1950s, is the author's.
SO New Yor/.:. Times, 9 December 1994; emphasis added.
There are approximately 5,500 Jews in Greece today.! On the eve of the
Second World War they numbered some 75,000.
This decimation and its
ramifications constitute the single most important factor defining the con-
temporary identity of Greek Jewry. In order to understand their situation,
we have to survey the historical essence of Greek Jews prior to the Second
World War. Another section of the paper will delineate the tragic story of the
war years, while the post-war emigration of Greek Jews will form the his-
transition to the modern period. We shall begin, however, with an
of thecontemporary society to which the following sections will pro-
Vide the requIsite background for its understanding.
In 1941, over 55,000 Jews lived in Thessaloniki; then locally known as
Salonica or Saloniki. Corfu, Ioannina, Luisa, Volos, Tribla and Rhodes
had flourishing communities numbering several thousands each. Athens, on
the other hand, had fewer than 1,000 Jews. Today over 5,000 Jews live in
Athem, a Hellenized community that tries not to acknowledge
the high number of secularized youth and intermarriages with local non-
Jewish women. Perhapsl ,000 Jews live in Thessaloniki amidst the homeless
ghosts of parents and siblings. In central Greece, only Luisa supports
a Viable httle community of some 400 Jews. Jews are only a memory in
Thrace and the Peloponnese. Some Macedonian towns may still have a
family or two. Ioannina is in decline while the humble remnants of Corfu
and Rhodes are ageing with sad dreams, if not nightmares. When I last vis-
ited Euboea some twenty years ago, I was introduced to the baby that
brought .the community's census to 101; today it numbers ninety. Crete has
nearly chsappeared from Jewish memory.
To understand contemporary Greek Jewry one has to comprehend
another legacy of the war. In 1946, the Greek government passed a law
restonng to the Jewish community the heirless properties of those Jews who
had been deported to the death camps of Poland.' That act of a liberated
state was the first of any European country to resolve justly the problem of
Nazi-confiscated Jewish property; a problem about which Jewish organiza-
tions in Britain, the United States and Palestine were much concerned during
the war, and occurred for a number of reasons which we cannot explore
here. Many homes, however, remained in the hands of wartime squatters
and refugees, not to mention collaborators. The surviving remnant of Greek
Jewry, some 10,000 out of the pre-war 75,000, set up the major institution
that has dominated local Jewish politics to this day: the Central Agency for
Relief and Rehabilitation of Greek Jews, known as OPAIE. Its responsibil-
ity is to administer the thousands of homes and businesses, public buildings,
schools, synagogues, hospitals, graveyards, bank accounts, etc. of the
60,000 who had been despoiled, deported and destroyed.
The problems involved in this matter are legion, and the documentation
for it has not been critically examined, although much material is available
in the archives of the World Jewish Congress now housed at Hebrew Union
College in Cincinnati, in the American Joint Distribution Committee
archives in New York City and Jerusalem, and in the Central Zionist
Archives in Jerusalem. Suffice it for our purposes to note that the burden of
administering this property is a heavy one and that the SurVIVorS of the
Second World War still hold a tight rein on this organization. The property
has become a symbol of power and wealth for this small clique. While
undoubtably some good has been done for Greek Jews at large, that is the
smaller and by now satellite communities that are daily declining in number,
tensions have arisen on three fronts:
I. The perceived disenfranchisement of the younger generation which
has, to a great extent, been ignored by the leadership in Athens and
2. The descendants of Greek Jews who immigrated to Palestine in the 1930s
or to Israel after 1948. They rightly claim a share in this property of their
relatives. Yet only recently has the Greek government allowed a
percentage of the realizable Greek assets to be expatriated to Israel.
3. Descendants of Greek Jews in the United States who see the burden and
the power of this administration as a corrupting influence on the future
of Greek Jewry.
The Jewish community has a wide range of social services that sustain its
religious autonomy. These include religious schools in Athens, Thessaloniki
and Larisa with significant components of secular Greek subjects in the cur-
riculum, synagogues (partially supported by the state); several museums
including the internationally known Jewish Museum of Greece located in
Athens, the latter the beneficiary of a government subsidy; a slimmer camp
for children; benevolent societies for oJ'l)hans for marrvin
YOUlln women
t' ./ h t"I ,
for burial in community graveyards, etc. On the local level the University of
Thessaloniki is working with the Jewish community and with a recently
established Society for Greek Jewry consisting of local scholars to explore
the community's history and culture. In addition to Greek government aid,
the American Joint Distribution Committee bas been assisting Greek Jews
since 1917. Other American support groups include the Hebrew Immigrant
Aid Society, the World Jewish Congress and the American Friends of the
Jewish Museum of Greece. Israel sends emissaries (shlihim) to organise its
programmes, teach Hebrew, and promote tours and emigration.
The Central Organization of Jewish communities (KIS) in Athens is the
voice through which contemporary Greek Jewry speaks to the government
of Greece and to concerned Jews in Israel and the western diasporas of
Sephardi and Greek Jews. This facet of the leadership is yet another means
of control by which the older generation excludes the younger from the men-
taring necessary to succeed to leadership in the future. The legacy of the war
which we shall explore later and the age of the leadership together produce
extremely conservative and occasionally jingoistic statements and actions by
this leadership:' One more point needs to be noted. Greece is officially an
Orthodox state which makes Jews and Muslims citizens of a different sort
and that in turn obliges the community to maintain a low public profile. At
the same time, the legacy of wartime German anti-Jewish propaganda cou-
pled with arch conservative ecclesiastics or radical leftists raises the spectre
of antisemitism through an occasional incident.' The obverse of this tension,
of course, is a kind of philosemitism that stems from interest in the Bible,
business partnerships, social relationships and the presumption that Jews
have influence with the media in other countries.
On the eve of the Second World War there were still three distinct worlds
of Greek Jewry, each with its own layer of polyglot culture and historical
experience. These three areas corresponded to 1) the South: the Pelopon-
nese, Attica, and what, in ancient times, was Boeotia; 2) the West: Epiros
and Akarnania; and 3) the North: Thrace and Macedonia stretching south-
ward into Central Greece or Sterea Ellada. The islands of the Ionian and
Aegean Seas were until the post Second World War period heavily influenced
by Italian domination which effectively colonized the urban environment;
Corfu and Rhodes respectively exemplify this tradition and Italian is still
spoken by the older generation. And finally there was Crete. Subject to
Venice and then the Ottomans, it became part of the new kingdom of Greece
in the early twentieth century.
The wealthy Hellenistic cities surrounding the Aegean attracted a large
Jewish diaspora in the Roman period, but Jews may have been living in the
area as early as the last days of the First Temple (sixth century BeE). The
continuity of the Jewish settlement in the Peloponnese and Attica through
the period of Roman domination is certain; however, data from the middle
and late Byzantine periods, though scarce, is still suggestive of this continu-
ity. On the eve of the Ottoman conquest of the Peloponnese or Morea, Jews
were still to be found from Thebes to Mistra, while during the Tourkokra-
tia, or period of Turkish rule, they were located in all the major centres from
Patras to Kalamata and Tripolis to Corinth with smaller settlements in
Thebes and Euboea.c'
The sketchy and still untold story of the Jews in the South came to an end
with the Greek Revolution of the 1820s. Perceived as allies of the Turks,
they fell victim to persecution and massacre by the insurgent Greeks. This is
the only recorded massacre of Jews in Greece by Greeks and seems to be
more a side-effect of the butchering of the Turks of Tripolis, the last
Ottoman stronghold in the South where the Jews had taken refuge from the
fighting, than a specific action against Jews per se. In general, Jews within
the Greek lands and throughout Europe were supporters of the Greek revolt,
using their money and their political and public influence in support of the
Greek cause. In turn, the success of the Greek War of Independence was to
stimulate the incipient stirrings of Jewish nationalism, which later
metamorphosed into Zionism.
The newly established Kingdom of Greece attracted Jews to its capital
Athens both from the Ottoman Empire and from Central Europe, a trend
that was to continue until the middle of the twentieth century: Sephardi mer-
chants from Smyrna (Izmir) on the east coast of the Aegean Sea and Volos
on the north-west coast as well as Romaniotes from Yanina (Ioannina) in the
western Epiros.
An Izmirli Sephardi is even credited with the origins of the
flea market in the Monastiraki section below the Acropolis which sits at the
confluence of the Plaka, the older Byzantine and Ottoman section, and the
modern nineteenth century town that grew up around it. The Greek gov-
ernment gave official recognition to the Jewish community in 1889. By this
time a second generation of Greek Jews was matriculating from the Univer-
sity of Athens and entering professional life, especially law and journalism.
A few Central European Jews came as merchants and professionals to
serve the new German King of Greece, Otto of the Bavarian Wittelsbach
dynasty, alongside their Christian compatriots, such as a Jewish dentist
(Levi) and a Christian brewer (Fuchs = Fix beer). The best known was Max
de Rothschild, a financier who accompanied King Otto. Charles de Roth-
schild became president of the newly recognized community in 1890 and
the leadership henceforth alternated between local Greek Jews and Central
European Jews during the twentieth century. A British subject, David
Pacifico, became the centre of a cause celebre when his house was sacked by
an angry mob in 1847. Britain pressured Greece to compensate him and ulti-
mately sent warships to seize Greek merchant ships 111 Piraeus as indemnity.
German Jewish and Christian scholars migrated to Greece to teach in the
local university and schools and to excavate the antiquities of the new
Kingdom. Perhaps the most famous was Professor Karo whose distinguished
career as the head of the Deutsches Archaologisches Institut spanned some
twenty years (until the mid 1930s). For a variety of political and economic
reasons the years between the two world wars would see an influx of Central
European Jewish scholars, businessmen and technocrats immigrate to
By the First Balkan War a small but wealthy and influential community
of Athenian Jews led by Ashkenazim (Central European Jews),' was well
integrated into the Kingdom of Greece and active in Greek society. Some of
them, moreover, were active supporters of the Cretan politician Eleftherios
Venezelos, whose post-First World War and interwar political career was to
have such a great impact on the Jews of Thessaloniki. He himself maintained
close relations with his Jewish colleagues and was described by Moise Caime
in 1912 as his friend, a man who liked Jews and respected the Jews of Thes-
saloniki for their potential value to Greece, 'a superior man who had no race
or religious prejudice'.10 Though small in number, the voices of Athenian
Jewry were heard as lobbyists for Thessaloniki Jewry in the Greek parlia-
ment during the interwar period.
The Jews of the West, the Epiros ('peninsula'), have a shorter recorded
history than those of either the South or the North. Primarily merchants, they
settled on the two major routes that criss-crossed Epiros, the Via Egnatia,
built by the Romans to connect the Ionian Sea with Byzantium on the
Bosphoros, and the north-south route from Navpaktos (Lepanto), Preveza
and Arta in the south through the metropolis of Ioannina into the villages of
southern Albania and ultimately to Dyrrachium (Durres or Durrazo), the
western emporium of Egnatia. Like the Jews of the South, the Jews of Epiros
and Akarnania were Romaniote, that is, Greek-speaking citizens of the
Byzantine Empire. They had their own synagogue rite and continued to speak
a local patois of Judeo-Greek to the present day. 12 With the collapse of
communism in Albania, several hundreds of these north Epirote Jews, who
had been trapped there since the 1940s, were successfully repatriated to Israel.
The recorded history of Ioannina Jewry begins in the early BOOs (although
local legends place Jews there in the ninth or tenth centuries) with two chryso-
bulla of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II, one of 1319 promising protec-
tion to the Jewish immigrants to the city, and one of 1321 confirming the rights
of the Church over some local Jews.
To these two groups must be added an
unmentioned but implied veteran autonomous community of indeterminate
ancestry. In later years immigrants from Corfu and Italy added their contJ'ibu-
tions to the complexity of loannina's Jewish community. Among the latter
were the extensive Matsas clan which reputedly introducedl<.asl<.aval cheese as
a family monopoly.H Intermarriage with Sephardim from Thessaloniki and
Central Greece and the arrival of a few North African Jews added more tradi-
tions, but soon all spoke and prayed in a seemingly homogeneous community.
The Jewish community lived alongside the Ottoman governors inside the
walled Iwstro, a practice repeated throughout the smaller communities of
Greece during the Tourlwhratia.
By the end of the nineteenth century there were some 1,500 Jews in
Ioannina with an equal number in the other towns of the vilayet of
The main marketplace was burned in 1869, allegedly by the
Turkish governor who wanted to modernize the city.I'TI1lS was a tragedy for
the Jews proportionately as disastrous as the great fire of Thessaloniki in
1917 to their co-religionists in that city. Almost half of the Jewish commu-
nity (840) was left homeless; most of the stores were burned. Three years
later a series of riots against the Jews contributed to the decline of the
community. With the opening of a highway between loan nina and Preveza,
Epirots began to emigrate, including the Jews of ioannina. They left to join
their co-religionists in Alexandria, Egypt and also were drawn to the great
mecca of the fin de siecle - New York City. Despite the emigrations, there
were still some 4,000 Jews in Ioannina according to the bulletins of the
Alliance Israelite Universelle of 1904. In the following year 500 Jews
emigrated to Bucharest, Alexandria, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and New York.
Another 1,000 followed in 1906. The community thus lost its most energetic
reservoir and was left with the more conservative and religious element
which was to predominate through the next generation.
The Jews of western Greece shared with the Jews of southern Greece a
Greek-speaking environment. However, the former was still pre-modern in
that the Ottomans remained in control until the twentieth century. The latter
became a newly established part of a thriving nco-classical civilization
which, despite its German kingling, prided itself as a parliamentary democ-
racy. The Jews of Athens, at least those raised and educated in the new
environment, considered themselves Greeks of the Israelite persuasion and
adopted a secularized veneer in public. Despite the predominance of
Orthodox Christianity in Greek society, they did not feel themselves to be
outsiders, whereas the Jews of western Greece suffered the vicissitudes of
ethnic tensions with the subject Greek Orthodox that occasionally exploded
in blood libels against local Jewish communities. The hysteria of these
canards, which slowly spread west through the Ottoman Empire beginning
with the Damascus Blood Libel of J 840, reached Corfu in 1891, paradoxi-
cally twenty-seven years after the island was annexed by the Athens
monarchy. The Greek government, like the Ottoman regime that preceded
it, extended its formal protection to the Jewish citizens, an attitude and
policy that continued throughout the twentieth century.
The situation in northern Greece was quite different. The Greek-speak-
ing traditions of the Jews of Macedonia, Thrace, and Central Greece, promi-
nent in Hellenistic times and continuing through the Byzantine period,
virtually disappeared with the Ottoman conquests of the fifteenth century.
In 1455 Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Constantinople (istanbul),
ordered the deportation of the Greek-speaking Jewish communities of
Thrace, Macedonia, and Central Greece to help repopulate his new capital.
All of the tiny Jewish communities along the Via Egnatia from Kastoria to
Thessaloniki and east to Constantinople as well as south along the Aegean
coasts were forcibly removed and identified for the next few centuries as
siirgiin, that is, forcibly deported, and hence not free to relocate. In the 1470
census of the capital, the Romaniote Jews numbered some 1,500 families or
nearly 10 per cent of the city's population.
In the decade following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and
during the generation following the forced baptism of the Jews in Portugal in
1498 (many of them Spanish refugees), Sephardim migrated eastwards to the
Ottoman Empire and were encouraged to settle in those areas devoid of Jews.
I-Ience in the northern tier of Greece, in that string of towns along the Via
Egnatia with Thessaloniki as its centre, a transplanted medieval Spal1lsh civi-
lization flourished both commercially and intellectually until the twentieth
century. From the fourteenth century onwards, Ashkenazi refugees from
Central Europe and through the nineteenth century a flood of Jews from
southern Russia, the two major branches of European Jews - Ashkenazim and
Sephardim - intermingled in the homeland of the Greek-speaking Romaniotes
and produced a vibrant renaissance of Jewish creativity that was intimately
linked with the fate and fortune of the Ottoman realm that welcomed them.
From Thessaloniki, Sephardi Jews radiated north to Bulgaria and Romania
and south to the Land of Israel, both frontier provinces of the Ottomans, but
their main settlements ringed the Aegean Sea from Larisa in Central Greece to
Izmir in western Turkey. The islands of the Dodecanese, which stretch like a
string of pearls off the western coast of Turkey, soon supported colonies of
Sephardi Jews; the most important of these was Rhodes.
Thessaloniki, nestled in the north-west corner of the Aegean Sea, enjoyed
her prosperity as the entrepot of the Balkans. Her Jewish population
appeared shortly after the city was founded by Alexander the Great and was
well known by New Testament times. From the twelfth century onwards (if
not the tenth), sources suggest a continuity of settlement until the Ottoman
conquest in 1430 when its Jewish population was deported to Edirne. By the
sixteenth century, however, the community was growing and flourishing
with a new Jewish element. In the sixteenth century Thessaloniki was the
intellectual capital of the Jewish world, while her businessmen and manu-
factories sustained a textile industry that covered the trade routes of the
Ottoman Empire. The Spanish-speaking Jews formed a majority in the city,
outnumbering the Greek Christians and the Turkish Muslims. They were
able to impose the rhythm of their religious calendar on the pulse of the city.
Its scholars and academies supplied leadership to all the Jewish communi-
ties of the Balkans, so much so that Thessaloniki was known as the 'Jewish
metropolis'. The second period was at the end of the nineteenth century
when northern Greece began to westernize. The harbour walls of the new
city were removed and replaced by a wide esplanade that provided a lovely
fJerifJtero for the citizens of the Jewish quarters that bordered the port. The
Jewish population subsequently spread east along the gulf with the older
Roman/Byzantine centre becoming separated from the modern new suburbs
by the huge graveyard that had developed over the centuries east of the
Byzantine walls. In the new suburbs, a rich secular literature in Judaeo-Span-
ish blossomed to compete with the Hebrew and Aramaic classics of the older
centre that stretched within the remaining walls from the port to the Via
Egnatia. At the end of the nineteenth century Jewish Thessaloniki seemed
poised for a brilliant future as the capital city of a newly renascent Balkans.
History would decree otherwise.
Three islands define the borders of the Greek world: Corfu, Crete, and
Rhodes.'" Subject to a congeries of rulers during late Byzantine and Ottoman
times the predominant foreign influence was Venetian. Indeed, the Jews of
Corfu spoke more Italian than Greek; likewise after 1912, the Jews of
Rhodes spoke more Italian than Judaeo-Spanish; and, until the eighteenth
century, the Jews of Crete constituted part of the urban orbit of a coloniz-
ing Venice. The same influence held true for the Jews of Euboea (Negro-
ponte) which was heavily Italianized during the late Byzantine period. This
intimacy of the island Jews with the Italians in the port cities of Corfu, Crete,
and Rhodes would ill prepare them for the harshness of the German occu-
pation that replaced that of the Italians in September 1943.
During the First World War, Venezelos succeeded in making Thessaloniki
the capital of his provisional pro-Allied government in contradistinction to
the king in Athens who sympathized with the Central Powers. I'! Two events
contributed to the crippling of the large and powerful Jewish community of
the city. One was the great fire of 1917 which levelled the central portion of
the city down to the port destroying homes, businesses, centres of learning,
libraries, and commercial institutions. In the wake of this destruction, the
Athens government confiscated much of the area as an archaeological site.
From this blow the community never recovered. On the eve of their depor-
tation in 1943 over half the Jews were indigent and still living in the tem-
porary housing supplied by American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
funds after the First World War. The exodus of prosperous Sephardi mer-
chants, which had begun at the turn of the twentieth century - many to
France - continued and accelerated. The poor remained, subsisting on Greek
government and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee subsidies.
The second blow followed upon the Greek Catastrophe in Asia Minor in
1922. Venizelos directed a large migration of Asia Minor Greeks to Thessa-
loniki, a measure which placed tremendous burdens on the infrastructure of
the city. In addition, the Jewish community was pressured to Hellenize its
school curriculum and to release needed areas to the civil government. In
particular, the city demanded more and more of the huge graveyard located
just east of the Byzantine walls. Part of this graveyard had been given over
to the Ottoman administration for a schoo\. Now the Greeks wished to
expancl this school into a university. The question was resolved during the
Second World War when the city gained total control of the area. Today, the
university - centrally located in its prime real estate - occupies nearly all of
the area of the former graveyard. Visitors can still see fragments of epitaphs
in Hebrew and Judaeo-Spanish built into the walkways and embellishing
the gardens of that prestigious institution.!1
This last observation leads us to the agony of the experience of the
Jews of Greece during the Second World War, a tragedy that brought to
a close 450 years of a glorious Sephardi diaspora and nearly ended 2,500
years of a Jewish presence in Greece. First let me summarize the tragedy
and then outline the Jewish contributions to Greece during the war and
its aftermath.
The outlines of Greece's agony under the Axis are not
widely known. An excellent introduction to this period is now available
in Mark Mazower's inside Hitler's Greece (London, J 993), which
contains, inter alia, the best summary to date of the Jewish fate under
the Axis. More detailed information can be found in the author's articles
in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.
The dearth and death (to paraphrase Thucydides) brought to Greece from
the north affected Jews and non-Jews alike, although the Jews received an
extra measure of suffering due to the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis and
the enslavement of the young men of Thessaloniki who were sent out to
repair the railroads that the British destroyed during their retreat in 1941.
The Bulgarian plot to depopulate Thrace, which it had been allowed to
occupy as war spoils for supporting the Axis, resulted in the eviction of some
30,000 Christians, the killing of thousands of others, and the deportation of
some 4,000 Jews from Serres, Kavala, Komotini, Xanthi and the island of
Thasos. This deportation resulted from a deal made by the Bulgarians with
Adolph Eichmann's emissary. Eichmann received the directive to remove the
Jews from the Balkans now threatened by the expected Soviet advance. Fol-
lowing Rommel's defeat at EI Alamein and the encirclement of the German
army at Stalingrad, Hitler reorganized his defence of the Balkans. It was now
time for the Jews to go. Most of those in Yugoslavia were already gone,
either under Italian protection, butchered in Croatia, or killed by the
Wehrmacht in reprisal executions, or deported to Auschwitz where they
were mostly gassed to death. Theodore Danneker was sent to Sofia to organ-
ize the removal of the Bulgarian Jews. The Bulgarians agreed to the removal
of 20,000 for forced labour in Germany. These would be supplied from
Greek Thrace (4,000), Yugoslav and Greek Macedonia (8,()()(}) and the rest
from the pre-war kingdom of Bulgaria. The latter were never surrendered.
The former, however, were arrested on Passover 1943 and entrained or
barged to Vienna whence they were sent to Treblinka, the killing centre built
for the Warsaw Ghetto. There were no survivors, although the crates of food
they brought for their sustenance alleviated the famine that was decimating
the few slave workers in that camp. The latter soon revolted in a mass escape
which forced the Germans to close down that killing centre in favour of the
megakilling factory in Auschwitz/Birkenau.
Since late autumn of 1941 the order for the deportation of the Salonican
Jewish community was in the Wehrmacht pipeline . .'1 The actual process was
organized by Eichmann's emissary, Dieter Wisliceny. The Chief Rabbi of
Saloniki, Dr Zvi Koretz, who had been hired in the mid 1930s after a rebel-
lion among the younger generation of Jewish leaders who wished to mod-
ernize the rabbinate, had been made President of the .!udenrat in December
of 1942. He was brought back from a prison in Vienna where he had been
interned by the Germans ostensibly for his public support of the Greek gov-
ernment during the Italian bombing attacks on Thessa/oniki.!5 Eichmann's
decrees were handed over by Wisliceny to Dr Max Merten, the German civil-
ian liaison with the Greek communities, who, in turn, delivered them to
Koretz for promulgation and enforcement.
Thus, throughout February] 943, the Niirnburg Laws were introduced
into Thessaloniki. By mid-March the deportations began, despite the
protests of the representative of the International Committee of the Red
Cross and the Greek authorities. (It was not until June that the Germans
were able finally to evict the former from his post)."" Within three months
the Jews of Greek citizenship, numbering some 48,000, were deported to
AuschwitzlBirkenau. In May, another train carried the Jews of Alexan-
droupolis, Didymoteikhon and Nea Soufli to their deaths. They were later
joined by 1,500 Jewish males who had done slave labour near Thebes and
other rail stations. Of these deportees over 80 per cent were gassed to death
on arrival and cremated. The .Iudellrat and many Jews who held Spanish cit-
izenship were deported to Bergen-Belsen in June where they were held for
exchange, either for German detainees from the old German Templar
colonies in Palestine or prisoners of war/
With the surrender of Italy in September 1943 the axe began to fall on
the Jews of that zone of occupation. Previously, the Italians had refused to
co-operate with the demands of the Gestapo and later of Eichmann to per-
secute and deport the Jews of their occupied zone. This complicated story
has been told elsewhere, most recently by Jonathan Steinberg in hiS fasci-
nating study of Italian-German relations entitled All or Nothing (London,
1990). It was not until Passover of 1944 that the Jews of the former Italian
zone were deported to Auschwitz/Birkenau. In June, the Jews of Crete mys-
teriously Recent scholarship suspects their ship which also
included Italian prisoners of war was sunk by a British submarine; the tra-
ditional view is that the Germans were responsible.!" The Jews of Corfu and
Rhodes were deported in June and July/August 1944 respectively.
In all, some 60,000 Greek Jews were deported. Twelve thousand were
selected for slave labour or for usually lethal medical experiments either in
Auschwitz or in other camps such as Majdanek and Dachau and a host of
less well known camps. Of those deported only 2,000 survived the war to
return home to a strife-filled Greece. We will examine the latter's fate after
we rehearse the role of Jews in the Greek struggles against the Axis.
The story of the Jews in Greece during the war years has two aspects: one
is the contribution of Greek Jews to the overall efforts both in military and
civilian support; the other is the role of non-Greek Jews in Greece during the
war years. Greek Jews are extremely proud of their service to Greece during
the Second World War, both on the battlefield and in military and civilian
support services. The nation honoured them during the Italian campaign in
Albania, and Metaxas (dictator of Greece between 1936 and January 1941 )
raised Colonel Frizis of Chalkis to the rank of national hero following his
death in battle. The government later tried to protect Jewish war invalids
from deportation, a group otherwise covered by the Geneva Conventions, but
to no avail. Their prosthetic limbs are prominently displayed in the museum
at Auschwitz. After their demobilization, most of the Greek Jews walked
home from Albania to their families and their pre-war occupations. Some
however went to the mountains along with Cretans and Serbs and others who
could not make it home.
During the rise and organization of the resistance movement under the
aegis of EAM/ELAS (a combined republican, socialist and communist front),
more and more Jews found their way into the mountains.
Few escaped from
the forced labour battalions due to the heavy reprisals against those who
remained. Many of the youth who were led to safety returned later to their
homes out of familial obligations, a strong Sephardi trait - or were called
back by their mothers who went into the hills surrounding Ioannina to
reclaim their children. Throughout 1943 and 1944, a minimum of 600 to a
maximum of 1,000 Greek Jews out of an estimated 30,000 andartes (guer-
rillas) fought with the resistance.
Many thousands were in support facilities,
such as logistics, or acted as translators, nurses, doctors or spies. Others were
recruiters for the mountain fighters, while university students helped organize
agricultural co-operatives in the villages. Others remained in the cities where
they assisted EAM resistance through their educated skills. Too many others
served and died anonymously, as Joseph Matsas has recalled recently in his
stirring memorial. In all, the story of the Jews in the Greek resistance is still
untold, but this is not the forum however to recount many fascinating and
heroic tales. That has been done elsewhere."
To the Greek Jews in the resistance we should add the following: refugees
from Central Europe who were either trapped in Greece or were escaped
prisoners of war from the British Expeditionary Force. Many of the latter
fought in Yugoslavia as well as in Greece. Their contributions and identities
are relatively unknown.
The non-Greek Jewish contribution to the war period is generally
unknown. To begin with, some 2,500 Palestinian Jews (and some Arabs)
were volunteers in the British Expeditionary Force sent to Greece in 1941.
These constituted engineer and sapper units since Palestinian Jews, for polit-
ical reasons, were not allowed in fighting units. Even so a special squad of
highly trained Jews was sent on secret missions to Greece during the war.
The British Government felt that only fighting units, as in the First World
War, were entitled to claim political spoils upon victory. Needless to say,
many of these volunteers during the chaos of the semi-controlled retreat
fought with discarded weapons in hand. About J ,500 of these Palestinians
were abandoned on the beaches of Kalamata and became prisoners of war:
some were sent to Stalags in Germany, others escaped to fight with the
andartes and partisans for the duration of the war.ll
An interesting point that has yet to enter the literature is the role of two
Jewish commanders who fought under the British flag. One was Colonel E.
C. W. Myers who was drafted from the Haifa War College to command the
special mission to blow up the Gorgopotal1los railway viaduct.
' After the
successful completion of this mission, his brief was extended to harness the
resistance to the British war effort. From November 1942 to the summer of
1943 he succeeded in forging a union of the National Bands of the resist-
ance, whereupon he was relieved of his command and replaced by C. M.
Woodhouse, a young Oxford classicist who followed a more political line.
The second was Myers' cousin, General Bernard Freyberg, who
commanded the British defence of Crete during the terrible ten days of May
1941. The tragedy of that debacle was that it was more politically motivated
than militarily controlled. On the very day that Freyberg was given the
command to organize the defence of Crete, he was informed that the Royal
Navy would offlift his fighting army to Egypt. At the same time he was fully
informed through British intelligence that had cracked the German Enigma
Code where and when the Wehrmacht would invade. In hindsight Crete could
have been saved and countless Cretan victims avoided. But history does not
countenance hindsight especially if one is competing uphill. In that situation
only the brave dead are exploited for posterity. This is not the forum to
rehearse the follies of British policies during the war. After all, the Allies won,
and, in the Aegean, Britain fought alone, but less like a lion than a clever
jackal. Nonetheless she fought, occasionally stupidly, to the detriment of her
own subjects as well as to the detriment of the indigenous Christian and
Jewish Greeks, for example in the abortive campaign to capture the Dode-
canese in 1943, and in the process consciously sowed the seeds for the end of
her empire.
) History may well honour her choices more than the survivors.
But the historiography of Greece, at least until Mazower's aforementioned
study, follows a Thucydidean pattern of Right-Left conflict.
, Within this
framework we must conclude our survey with the post-war vicissitudes of the
Greek Jewish community which continue to affect its public posture to the
present day. These follow two different tracks: one is emigration, the other is
The pattern of emigration was established during the war. Too few Jews
escaped from the death warrant issued by Hitler and Himmler and imple-
mented by the Gestapo and the Wehrmacht. Those that did escape were not
drawn from the poor masses of Greek Jewry. Rather most of the escapees
were middle class Jews, many of whom held foreign passports whether
Italian, Spanish or various South American ones.
The story began in Thessa-
loniki with the blanket issue to Sephardi Jews of Spanish passports and
continued with the open-handed aid of the Italian consulate, the last sympa-
thetic non-German authority extant in the city.
Those who made it to the Italian zone succeeded in late 1943 and 1944 in
being rescued through a unique Palestinian Jewish-ELAS agreement which
paid one gold sovereign for each Jew transported from Euboea to in
Turkey. From there they were transported via Syria to Gaza refugee or
to another detention centre in the Sinai desert. From these camps, some were
drafted to British or Greek military service, others deserted or defected to the
Palestinian Jewish community. In other words they returned to their ancestral
homeland for which they later fought and otherwise contributed bravely to its
resurrected independence. Not that the trip was easy; too many were betrayed,
robbed by unscrupulous Greeks, or sunk in their caiques by German patrol
boats. Incidently, a number of Greek politicians, including George Papan-
dreou, and high ranking military officers escaped via this network. According
to sources, ELAS was paid one gold sovereign for these as wel!.IN
When the Germans evacuated Greece, the civil war which had been fes-
tering under the scab of German occupation broke forth in all the fury which
was to tear Greece apart for the next five years and poison its politics for
the next half century. After the Varkiza Agreement, which concluded the
'second round' of internecine conflict, the Jews who were attached to ELAS
units demobilized and returned home along with those who had hid in the
mountains. There they found their homes occupied by Greek squatters while
their wartime records were prosecuted by Rightist authorities. Many Jews
were imprisoned; some others shot. The government recognized the neces-
sity of Jewish participation in ELAS for the express purpose of survival and
so exempted them from involvement in the incipient civil war. Yet local
authorities continued their purge and many young Jews were drafted into
government forces to fight against the Communists.
On a number of accounts, then, Jews welcomed the option to leave Greece.
Many, who recognized the politics of the anti-Communist campaigns of
1946-49 yet loyally served in them, left for Israel where they could realize an
ancestral dream of redemption. Added to these were the handful who returned
from the camps. The first survivors from Auschwitz were deemed crazy on
account of the incomprehensible stories they told. The average Greek exercises
hyperbole as normative discourse. I-Ience the minimal description of the gas
chambers and ovens must have seemed as hyperbole to those who stayed in
Greece and who themselves had suffered tremendously in the resistance or in
hiding. Indeed, the latter even accused the survivors of betraying their families
by abancloning them to go to Germany! Such things happened and I only report
them to the audience. History cannot perfect a reality based on hindsight.
The question is whether the pressure of the civil wal; the psychological loss
of family and home, the hostility of the local population, and the call of the
Zionist effort to establish a haven for survivors were sufficient to set in
motion a mass exodus of Greek Jews to Palestine afterl94S. True, there were
in Greece some LO,OOO Jews, most of whom had come out of hiding or out of
the mountains after the German evacuation of Greece. Others consisted of
survivors who came back, handful by handful, from the German camps, each
with a different set of tragic experiences. But why did half of Greek Jewry
leave Greece to migrate illegally and legally in the decade following the end of
the Second World War?
This brings us to another story of the modern experience of Jews in Israel
before the re-establishment of an independent state after nearly 1,900 years
of minority status among the nations of the world. I refer here to the in-
gathering of the exiles, a biblical vision of redemption that was made con-
crete as a fundamental concept of modern Zionism and has been to the
present day a central policy of the State of Israel as well as a priority agenda
item of world Jewry. The question facing Jews was what to do with the
100,000 concentration camp survivors and the other 150,000 Jews who
came out of hiding among the resistance Of returned from the refuge they
had taken in the Soviet cities of Central Asia? It was clear from post-war
massacres that they were no longer welcome in eastern Europe.
The first stage of the solution was to bring as many Jews as possible to
Palestine both for humanitarian and for practical political reasons. It should
be remembered that the British White Paper which had restricted Jewish immi-
gration to Palestine was still in effect until IS May 1948. Thus the Palestinian
Jews sent in agents to organize the potential illegal immigrants for flight
(brihah as it is called in Hebrew or Aliyah Beth) to Palestine. Groups were
organized and brought to the Mediterranean shores of Italy and Greece via
snow covered mountain passes. From these ports unseaworthy ships over-
crowded with destitute refugees who had suffered both the camps and post-
liberation persecution challenged the Royal Navy in a contest in which the pen
was mightier than the sword.
What is of interest to us here is that as these illegal groups approached
national borders in eastern and central Europe as well as the Balkans, the
participants were told to speak only Hebrew which was subsequently identi-
fied by the guides to the guards as Greek(!), since the latter were entitled to
free transportation and unfettered border crossings in their capacity as repa-
triating forced labourers from the Third Reich. Contrary then to the actual
figures of forced labour from Greece, the number of returnees to Greece and
Italy formally identified as Greeks was clearly beyond any statistical reality.
Paradoxically, there was no diplomatic protest from Greece to speak of, if we
recall, in comparison, the pressures of the British Government on the Metaxas
dictatorship to halt a similar flight of refugees to Palestine via Greece in the
years immecliately prior to the war.19
Hence I would suggest that in addition to the local reasons why Greek Jews
might have been willing to leave Greece after the German evacuation, no less
should be taken into consideration the swelling numbers of Yiddish-speaking
Jews whose exodus via Greece was efficiently organized by the Palestinian
Jewish intelligence services and financed by the American Jewish Joint Distri-
bution Committee:'
The former simply became part of the larger movement
to Palestine. As an aside, these organizers entered Greece under cover of the
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) medical team
which consisted of 34 Palestinian Jewish doctors, nurses, and aids:" The team
was divided into three groups, each under the banner of the Red Star of David
medical symbol (to this day still not formally recognized by the Red Cross):
one circulated through the Peloponnese dispensing medicines and giving
treatment to the local population; a second remained in Athens to help reor-
ganize the Jewish community and recover orphan children as well as treat
medically the local population; and a third established itself at Siderokastro to
treat and direct any refugees returning via Bulgaria.
This brings us to the close of our historical survey of Greek Jewry, the
destruction of the age-old communities, and the exodus of most of the
survivors. We can begin, I hope, to understand the politics and concerns of
those who are in Greece today struggling with the twin burdens of managing
the legacy of the war years and so sustaining an organized community in the
face of declining numbers. It is no wonder that pundits of the past generation
have prophesied the end of Greek Jewry. As an historian, it has been my task
to outline the tremendous changes that have crippled the Greek Jewish
community in the twentieth century. What will be tomorrow I leave to their
successors to effect and to mine to chronicle. Their brief will have to include
the story of Greek-Israeli diplomatic experience and joint economic adven-
tures as well as the ramifications and pressures of the Arab-Israeli dispute on
the Greek Jewish community of Athens. But we have to stop somewhere ...
A list forwarded to me by Dr Michael Matsas, whom r wish to thank here for
his courtesy and assistance, contains the following current figures:
Athens 3,524
Thessaloniki 1,012
Luisa 405
Volos 128
Trikala 80
Khalkis 90
Karditsa 11
Kerkyra 45
Ioannina 92
h o d ~ 35
Total 5,419
I cannot account for the discrepancy of three (5,422 is correct sum).
2 A list of all the demographic information then available from the end of the
19th century to 1980 may be found in my essay '.Jews 111 War-Time Greece',
Jewish Social St"dies (1986), 46-62.
3 This is an intriguing story that involves local post-war Greek politics and nego-
tiations with the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem based on mutual war-time activi-
ties between the Cairo based Greek government-in-exile and the Jewish Agency
in Jerusalem and their respective counterparts 111 London.
4 The leadership emerged out of a strong group of Ziol1lsts who spent the war
years with the Resistance and who almost slllgie-handedly preserved contacts
after the war between Greece and Israel.
5 The Arab-Israeli dispute has been the cause of a number of VIOlent terronst inci-
dents in Athens III the past. On rhe other hand, I recall diSCUSSIOns With Greeks
displaced from Egypt who supported Israel as God's rod against Arab xeno-
phobia. In depth studies of Israeli-Greek relations have been noticeably lacklllg
from the scholarly literature.
6 There is a dearth of material in western languages on Greek Jewry durll1g the
Tourkokratia. The reader of Hebrew is better serVICed. For rhe earlier Byzantine
period, the works of./oshua Starr, The.lews ill the ByzCllItinc Elllpire, 64!-1204
(Athens, 1939), and of the author, The Jetus of Byzantilllll, 1204-1453
(Tuscaloosa, 1985), contain the basic documents and orielHation.
7 Sephardim were descendants of the Iberian exiles of 1492 and later Spanlsh-
speaking migrants to the Ottoman realm. Romaniotes were descendants of the
Greek-speaking citizens of Byzantium.
8 This topic is explored more fully in my 'Germans and .Jews in Interwar Greece'
(sec note 32 below).
9 Ashkenazim refer to Yiddish-speaking .Jews of northern Europe, the bulk of
whom come from Poland. The migration to Greece of Central European Jews
followed in the wake of the general migration mentiolled previously.
10 Alliance Israelite Universelle, Grece, IBI Athenes Ill87/1932: letter Caime to
11 The otherwise excellent study of George Mavrogordatos, Still!Jol'l1 Repllblic:
Social Coalitiolls Cllld Party Strategies in Greece, 1922-1936 (Berkeley, ! 983),
is occasionally misleading about the Jewish story. Joseph Nehama wrote extell-
sive reports on the local situation which are housed in the archive of the Alliance
Israelite Universelle in Paris. A censored summary of these appears 111 his multi-
volume Histoire des ]t/ifs de Saloniqlle. Several of his reports have been pub-
lished by Aron Rodrigue, III/ages of Sephardi alld Eastel'l1]ewries in Ii'allsition:
The Teachers of the Alliance Israelite Ulliverselle, 186()-!939 (Seattle, 1993),
236,241Hf. .
12 Rae Dalven, The Jews of IoanJ1ina, (Philadelphia, 1990), 105-12.
13 Cf. my Jews of Byzantium, 25ff.
14 Family tradition related to me by Dr Michael Matsas.
15 The outline for the following section is indebted to the late Rachel Dalven's The
Jews of lOa/milia.
16 Ibid., 31 f.
17 Cf. Jews of Byzalltiul1l,174ff, Ill4, 193.
18 We exclude Cyprus from this discussion since its connection with Greek and
Palestinian .Jewish history dates from the period after the Second World War.
19 Cf. Rena Molho, 'The Jewish Community of Salonika and its incorporation into
the Greek State 1912-19', Middle Eastern Stlldies, XXIV (1988) 391-403.
20 Cf. author's 'The Great Powers and the Jews: British and French Consuls on
Interwar Greek .Jewry" Proceedings of the Tenth World COllgress of lelVish
Studies, Division B, II (Jerusalem, 1990) 379-86.
2J Cf . .1. Nehama and M. Molho, III Memoriam (Thessaloniki, 1948) and subse-
quent editions in Hebrew and Greek. The curriculum dispute is outlined in
excruciating detail in the Nehama files located in the AIU archives in Pans.
22 A preliminary outline of this tragedy is contained 111 the Ellcyc/o/Jedi<1 o( the
Holocaust, s. v.: Greece, Salonika, Athens, Thrace, etc.
23 The Bulgarian story has been oft told although never in connection with the
total Balkan picture or wirhin the context of the whole eastern front. The most
detailed study in English of the Bulgarian archival matenal is in Frederick B.
Chary, The Blllgarial/ Jews alld the FilIal SOll/tlO1I (Pittsburgh, 1972). The lasr
contribution of ThracianJewry at Treblinka was recorded by Claude Lanzmann
in his film Shoah,
24 Reported to me by Professor Christopher Browning.
25 His son Arie Kot'etz told me that it was because the Germans thought hlIll parr
of the MasoniC conspiracy in Greece.
26 The story, based on documents 111 Geneva, is given in my 'Another righteous
gentile', Cillcinnati JeWish ReView (Spring 1994); Thetis, III (1996). Cf. Jean-
Claude Favez, Une mission impossible? Le CICR, les di/JOrtaliolls et Ics camps
de concelltration nazis (Lausanne, 1988),253-6.
27 Cf. Encyclopedia o( the Holocallst, s.v., Greece, Salonika, Thrace.
28 Judith Humphrey, 'The Jews of Crete under German occupation 1941-44 : I',
BI/lletin o(./Ildaeo-Gree/c Studies, V (1989), 18-26; 'The sinking of the Danae
off Crete 111 June 1944', ibid., IX (1991), 19-34.
29 The story is more fully examined in Michael Matsas, The IlIl/sion o( Sa(ety,
'(New York, 1997).
30 The lower figure IS the cautious estimate of Joseph Matsas, cf. 'The participation
of the Greek Jews in the National Resistance', Iou mal o( the l-Iellelllc Diaspora,
XVII (J 991) 55-68. I-Ie died before publishing more detailed figures. Michael
Matsas has collected considerable oral data in his The IlIl1sion o/Sa(ety.
31 The issues of Chrollika, the organ of KIS III Athens, often have articles on the
Jews in the Resistance. Miriam Novitch collected a number of Resistance mem-
oirs in 19.59, Le passage des barbares, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1967). See previous note.
32 Some of their story from the 1930s is III my 'Germans and Jews in interwar
Greece', 111 I. K. I-Iassiotis, ed., TheJewish COI11J1l1l1litles o(Solltheastem Ellrope
(ro/ll the Fi(teenth Celltllry to the Elld o( World War II (Thessaloniki, 1997),
75-86; further matenal will appear in my book The Agony of Greek .Jewry.
33 Most of the material on these units is in Hebrew III the form of memoirs.
34 See E. C. W. Myers, Greek l:ntanglelllellt, 2nd ed. (Gloucester, 1985).
3.5 Cf. author's 'Could the Dodekanisi Jews I-lave Been Saved?' Newsletter o( the
JeWish Mllseum 0/ Greece, 26 (Winter 1989) 1-2.
36 'Sec Mazower's comments, Inside Hitler's Greece, 427.
37 The Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem contain the lists of Jews escaping
from Greece to Turkey With their passport affiliation.
38 Cf. Zeev Venia l-Iadan, Agaillst All Odds Istanb1l11942-1945 (Israel, Ministry
of Defence, 1992) 63f (in Hebrew). Ehud Avriel, Opell the Gates (New York,
J 975) was the first to relate the Papandreou story.
39 See my 'Germans and Jews in Interwar Greece' and in general Bernard Wasser-
stein, Britain alld the .Jews 0/ Ellro/)c /939-/945 (London,1979).
40 Cf. Szuic, The Secret Alliance: The Ext raordinary Story 0/ the ResClle o( the
Jews since World War II (New York, 1991). Though the book is populat; the
author provides a sweeping overview of material that can be substantiated from
archival sources; cf. Yehudah Bauel; American Jewry and the Ho/ocallst. The
American Jewish Joint Distriblltion COlllmittee, 1939-1945 (Detroit, 1981).
41 The documentation for this story is in the Haganah Archives in Tel Aviv.
For manv Greeks I assume that a workshop on minorities would be a hereti-
cal meeting. For we are dealing with what for n:any years has been a,taboo
subject not only in public, but also in dehate.1I1 Greece. 1, ,as a
voung researcher, remember VIsiting the Greek h)relgn MlI1lstry 111 search of
data on the Muslim minonty in Thrace. The welcome I receIved was
anything but friendly. I remember speaking with someone whom later I
found to be the desk officer for minority affairs. I-Ie flatly reJected the notion
that there are any minorities at all in Greece, and refused to the
existence of even a single one. I must add that this receptIon 111 the h)reign
Ministry served only to excite my curiosity. . , . ,
I must confess that - from a Greek (or even phdhellelllc) angle -: I am 111
a more comfortable position than, for instance, AnastaSia Karakasldou. At
least the minority I will deal with is officially to be one. On ,the
other hand I will elaborate on a subject that from.<1 polltlcaI POll1t of VIew
is extremely sensitive .. The
I c I of the overall Gi'eCI<=1'urkish complex - and we all know that the two
, pal e"", ... '. . ..... I'd cI
' have stood on the brink of war t la11 once 111 recent
i"ItJ1e Greeks (or should I say great maJ?nty of
\ issue mainly as an issue of natIonal secunty, .they pel celve a deal TUl_klsh
\ threat in Western Thrace and fear this area mIght one day become a second
\ Cyprus, subject to invasion, poss,ible .by , _
Greeks have an unusual relatIOnshIp to their MuslIm l11mollty. One fea
ture of this relationship is that they do not easily accept cntlcism from non-
Greeks (let alone Turks!) regarding this issue. On the other I;an,d,
themselves are free to criticize their government makll1g mIstakes
this field. The Greek public (or, I should say, publIc Opl11l0n as reflected 111
the media) is also highly intolerant of criticism from memhers of the ,1111110r-
ity. Critical statements are usually branded 'provocations' 111 the media. And
,( ('
the individuals making the criticism are immediately branded as agents of
Turkey. A further feature which is regrettable in a highly democratic Greek
society is the absence of any form of public dialogue between Christians and
Muslims. It is a common feature to watch TV debates on the problems of
Thrace - recorded in an Athens studio - with politicians from Athens and
not a single Muslim voice.
The structure of my paper is rather simple. I will begin with a short his-
torical background, which is necessary for understanding the present situa-
tion. As a journalist by profession my main interest is the present political
situation - and on this I shall concentrate. One word as to my sources. The
published literature on the Muslim minority in Greece is rather small. Most
of the publications are either apologetic of the situation (in which case they
are Greek), or they attack the Greek side for alleged discrimination of the
minority (in this case they are usually Turkish). Of course I have considered
both kinds of sources and have collected information in the course of sev-
eral trips to Western Thrace, where I had the chance to speak with Greek cit-
izens of Orthodox and Muslim faith.
The historical background of the Greek-Turkish
minority issue
A main task of the Conference (1923) was to settle
Greek-Turkish Greek military defeat in Asia Minor _
known to Greeks as the Mikrasiasti/d /wtastro/J/;i, the Asia Minor disaster.
An important element of the Lausanne settlement is the 'Convention con-
cerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations'.l The aim of this
Convention was what today would be called 'ethnic cleansing': By the com-
pulsory exchange of 'Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion
established in Turkish territory, and of Greek nationals of the Moslem reli-
gion established in Greek territory' the parties aimed at ending the entan-
glement of the two peoples, thus increasing the national homogeneity of
their respective countries. Some 434,000 Moslems, - and some 1,350,000
Greek-Orthodox, mainly from Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor - were
affected by the exchange.
But the Lausanne Peace accord and the ensuing Exchange of Populations
did not lead to a total geographic separation of Greeks and Turks. Although
the Turkish side at Lausanne demanded a complete removal of all Greeks
from Turkey, three groups were excluded from the compulsory exchange. In
Article 2 of the Convention these are mentioned as follows: 'the Greek
inhabitants of Constantinople' and 'the Moslem inhabitants of Western
Thrace'. Furthermore Article 14 of the main treaty stipulates that the Greek
population of the islands Imbros and Tenedos should not be included in the
Thus Istanbul, Western Thrace and Imbros and Tenedos (apart from
Cyprus, which at this stage was not an issue in contention between Greece (,
and Turkey) were after 1923 the only regions in which a.nd political (
boundaries were not Identical.0D three areas became areas of, bilateral con- )
flict at a later stage.J .. c
_ A{!llain point of conflict from the very beginning was the interpretation
of the provisions granting special rights to the respective mlI10nties as
defined in some detail in the Lausanne treaty_ In Articles 37 through 44
Turkey agreed to protect the 'non-Moslem minorities' that were excluded
from the exchange. These Turkish citizens should enjoy the same rights as
the majority. reference is made to religious and educational free-
doms. In the treaty there is no listing of Greece's obligations as to its minor-
ity. The parties agreed in Article 45 that 'the rights conferred by the
provisions of the present section on the non-Moslem mlI10rities in Turkey
will be similarly conferred by Greece on the Moslem minority in her terri-
tory'.2 In spite of the shortness of this paragraph it is of great importance in
the context of Greek-Turkish minority issues, as it sanctions the principle of
equal treatment and is thus the legal basis for the 'policy of reclprociJt, the
details of which we shall discuss j ,- ... .. . ..
The Muslim minorities in Greece: structure and
It will be noticed that in the Treaty of Lausanne mention is not made of
ethnic or national minorities, but of non-Muslim and Muslim minorities.
The Kemalist Turkish government insisted on this wording as it 'did not and
could not cope with the idea of the existence of national minorities'l withll1
its territories.IBut from the very beginning the populations excluded from
the exchange cliHered from the respective majority populations in their 'host-
countries' not only as regards religion. They also differed regarding lan-
guage: the Greek Orthodox population of Turkey converses in Greek and a
majority of the Moslem population of Greece speaks Turkisl:JAt tl1lS point
a clarification is important. A second group in the Moslern population in
Northern Greece speaks as its mother language not Turkish but a Bulgarian
dialect. This 'minority within the minority' are the 'Pomaks', who live on the
Southern slopes of the Rhodopi mountains in the Greek-Bulgarian border
area. According to one theory promoted in Greece, the Pomaks are descen-
dants of the ancient Thracians, who in a later stage of history turned Slav
and then, under Ottoman rule, converted to Islam:
The majority of the
Pomaks live in Bulgaria. The exact number of Pomaks in Greece has offi-
cially not been published. A figure based on estimates often mentioned is
30,000. In some accounts the numerical strength of the Greek Pomak pop-
ulation is said to be higher.' On the basis of these figures we can assume that
approximately one in four Muslim Greeks is a Pomak.
A second 'minority within the minority' are the 'Roma' - or Gypsies.
'\ i'
Whereas the Greek Pomaks are settled mainly in the Xanthi prefecture, the
'Roma' are concentrated in the llamas of Evros, bordering Turkey. Figures
for this group vary from 5,000 to 18,000."
JAlthough a clear majority of the Muslim minority in Greece is Turkish
sJ..J6king (and of Turkish descent) the Inixed nature of the minority, that is the
existence of the Pomak and Roma groupings, leads us to speak not of one
Turkish minority, as does the_Imkishgovernment (and in recent years ever
more frequently does the political leadership of the minority). At the same
time, the official Greek position, which reduces the Greek Muslims to a mere
religious community and, eX/Jressis verbis, does not accept any ethnic char-
similarly out of touch with reality. This even more so, as in the mid-
195Us Greek government 'officially' recognized the ethnic rather than
religious character of the minority, when the governor general' of Thrace
!nstructed the local authorities to substitute the word 'TurkIsh' for 'Muslim'.
In the context of an analysis of the anything but consistent Greek policy
towards the Muslim population we shall explain the reasoning for this
semantic change. Here I want to mention that the Greek government had
already in 1954 referred to the minority as a 'Turkish minority', thus rec-
ognizing - as Alexandris puts it - the 'gradual transformation of a basically
religious to a Turkish national minority in Western Thrace?
Apart from a small group of Turks in the Dodecanese islands
(Rhodes/Kos), estimated at less than 5,000 individuals, Greece's Muslim
population lives mainly in Western TllI'ace where, in the Rodopi andXanthi
nomoi, the Muslims are in the majority. 'Fortunately perhaps for the Greeks
the prefecture bordering on the Turkish frontier is that of Evros which has
the smallest number of Muslims.'H From one of the rare official sources on
this issue we gather that in the Nomos Evros 7 per cent of the population is
presently Muslim."
l}here is no doubt that Western Thrace is among the least developed
regions in Greece. Both the Christian and the Muslim population are
affected by this situation. Traditionally Western Thrace was the area of
tobacco growing, with the Muslims playing a leading role, as 90 per cent of
them are agriculturalists. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Thracian tobacco
industry was affected by a severe crisis and many growers lost their
income. In this situation many Orthodox Thracians left their homes and
emigrated to Western Europe - mainly to Germany, to work there as Gast-
arbeiter. Many members of the Muslim minority joined them. Today, some
12,000 Muslim Greeks from Thrace are estimated to live in Germany. Many
more left Thrace and emi,grated to " ,
A well-founded analysIs of the MuslIm mll10nty Il1 Greece IS complicated
by the lack of official data. In 1951, the Greek government published for the
last time official data indicating the religious affiliation and the mother
tongue of the country's population. In the subsequent censuses of 1961,1971,
1981 and 1991 the respective mother tongue was not registered, but there
was a question pertaining to the religious affiliation of the population. But
these data have not been made public. Therefore regarding the numerical
development of the minority we have to rely mainly on estimates. Only very
rarely is the official secretiveness (the Athenian newspaper Estia mentions in
this regard an official mystiko/Jatheia
) broken. In a letter to the Muslim
publication Im/Jact International, for instance, the Greek press officer in
London in 1982 mentionecl109,000 Muslim Greeks in Thrace.
We owe a more precise account to Giannis Kapsis, former deputy foreign
minister in the PASOK government in the 1980s. In his book on the
Greek-Turkish crisis of March 1987, Kapsis also refers in one chapter to the
minority issue. In a highly informative footnote we are told:
The racial composition of the minority. The Muslims of Thrace are
divided, according to their descent, into three categories: 1.
(Muslims) of Turkish origin (Tourkogel1eis): 51,917 or 49.9% of
the minority. They are settled mainly in the prefecture of Rodopi. 2.
Pomaks: 34,878 or 33.5%. They settled in the prefecture of Xanthi
and in the areas of Kechrou and Organi in the prefecture of Rodopi.
3. Gypsies (Tsinganoi): 17,078 or 16.6'Yo spread over all the three
prefectures of Western Thrace. All in all 241 ,418 Christians (69.9%
of the whole population) and 103,869 Muslims (30.1 %) live in
Western Thrace. Most Muslims live in the prefecture of Rodopi.
This account of the former Greek minister is remarkable for at least two
reasons. The grand total of the respective numbers added amounts to a sum
of 103,873 - that is, four individuals more than Kapsis states. But the table
is interesting not for the mathematical mistake it contains but for other rea-
sons. For it indicates that the government is in possession of highly specific
data as to the population in the area, but simply does not publish these fig-
ures. The data given by Kapsis are confirmed by less specific accounts in
other publications. The Greek 'Minority Rights Group' mentions 110,000
Muslims in Western Thrace. Of these some 30,000 are Pomaks, some
18,000 Gypsies.
" Other sources refer to clearly higher figures for the minor-
ity. It is interesting to note that in the 1990 Human Rights Re!JOrt for Greece
compiled for the State Department by the US Embassy in Athens reference
is made to the 'Muslim Minority in Western Thrace now comprising some
130,000 Turks, Pomaks and Gypsies'.1J Occasionally even higher numbers
are mentioned. In a heated parliamentary debate in January 1991, the then
deputy Prime Minister, Athanasios Kanellopoulos, rejected the reproach by
Muslim MP Ahmet Faikoglou that there was discrimination in Thrace with
the following words:
There is a historical truth which you can not ignore. In Polis
(Istanbul) there were 130-140,000 Greeks and today there are
3,000. How do you explain this phenomenon? On the other hand
in Thrace there were 10,000 Muslims [sic!] and now they have
reached 150,000 and we give them assistance for the augmentation
of the population.
Although these figures for the Muslim minority in the light of published
sources seem distorted, Kanellopoulos rightly refers to the dramatic decline
of the Greek in is no exaggeration, to speak in this
context of a systematic de-helle11lsatH)n of Istanbul and the Islands of Imbros
and and Bozcaada).IBut nO,t the topic of my paper.
) There IS a detailed account of the effe'ttlve hqllldatlOn of the Greek com-
1:1Unity in Turkey by Alexis a development which, is strongly
Imked to the course of the Cyprus Issue; which after 1950 started to over-
shadow the Greek-Turkish relationship. II
The Kanelloupolos statement I quoted is interesting for another reason. rt
reflects the popular belief that, while the Greek minority in Istanbul has effet::" ,
tively been liquidated, the Muslims in Western Thrace are 'growing and f1our-
ishintj (so Andreas Papandreou in 1982).11; This notion is clearly not
confirmed by the existing data. These suggest not a growth in the size of the
minority but rather numerical stagnatio;:JBaskin Oran, a Turkish scholar who
has conducted intensive field research m Western Thrace, concludes that the
birth rate of the Muslim Greeks amounts to 3 per cent annually. Nevertheless,
in absolute numbers, there has not been an increase in population; the existing
evidence even indicates a slight decrease: 'd'aprcs les estimations faites sur base
de ces donnes, Ie nombre de personnes qui auraient emigre en Turquie serait
de l'ordre de 250,000'.17 This assessment is supported by Tozun Bahceli:
'although precise figures are not available, the number of Thracian Turks who
have emigrated to Turkey now far exceed those currently living in Greece'.'H
While the numerical strength of the Muslim minority in Greece in toto
remained more or less stable or declined slightly since 1923 there have
occurred significant changes as to the ethnic and sociological composition
of the said minority. Due to the fact that the emigrants are almost all of
Turkish origin (or Muslim Turks), their proportional share in the overall
minority has decreased constantly. The main 'beneficiaries' of this develop-
ment have been the Pomaks. While in the 1920s only one out of ten Muslim
Greeks was Siav-speaking, today at least one in four members of the minor-
ity is Pomak. In the light of these significant demographic shifts it is under-
standable that the issue of the Pomaks has become a major bone of
contention in the overall minority debate.
Greek government policies towards the minorities
Before the compulsory Exchange of Populations in the 1920s the Muslims
were a clear majority in Western Thrace. This numerical predominance has
been changed by the systematic policy of Greek governments in settling
Christian refugees from Turkey in these areas. [t is recorded that in this
process of resettlement great areas of land occupied by Muslims were squat-
ted upon by the Greek newcomers from Anatolia and Eastern Thrace. This
land question was a significant issue in Greek-Turkish relations at the time.
l In the course of the population exchange and the settlement of Greek
refugees in the area a significant number of Muslims from Western Thrace
left their homes and properties voluntaril),jThat this emigration did not
reach dimensions dangerous to the existence of the minority is due mainly
to the religiollsconservatism of the Thracian Muslims, who were clearly at
odds with what was happening politically and socially in post-Ottoman
Turkey: 'an overwhelmingly agricultural community, the Thracian Muslims
concentrated on the cultivation of theIr estates and generally shied away
from the secular revolution which was taking place, at the time, in
This religious conservatism was supported by the presence of anti-Kemal-
ist-forces, who had found refuge in Western Thrace after 1923. The most
prominent among them was the last Mufti of Constantinople (the Sey-i.i1-
islam), the highest spiritual leader in the Ottoman Empire and an outspo-
ken enemy of the Kemalist reforms. It was only in the 1930s that the Greek
government bowed to Turkish pressure and expelled the Muslim religious
leaders from Western Thrace. This move was of major significance for the
further development of the minority:
the expulsion of the M lIslim religious leaders from Western Thrace
marked the beginning of a gradual transformation of the Muslim
community in Thrace from a religious to a national minority.
Thracian Turks with strong sympathies for the nationalist and
secular regime in Turkey managed to fill the vacuum created by the
' f '\ '0 I" . 20 ,
expu slon 0 some, _, re IglOUS conservatives.
It took some twenty years before the government in Athens officially recog-
nized this evolution. In the spring of 1954 the government decreed, that the
Muslim community henceforth should be called the 'Turkish minority' and
that the word 'Muslim' be dropped: 'according to an order issued by the
Prime Minister we ask you to use in the future the terms Turk, Turkish,
instead of Moslem for every respective case'.21
The Slav-speaking Pomaks were also affected by this official
'Turkification' of the Muslim community. Greek policy as regards this
'minority within the minority' has been everything but stable over the
of time. The Greek treatment of the Pomak minority demonstrates conVlI1C-
ingly that foreign policy considerations tend to determine policy vis-ii-vis
the minorities: For Greece the Second World War brought, among many
other hardships, an oppressive Bulgarian occupation of Western Thrace and
part of Macedonia. After the war and the outbreak of the Cold War, Greece
was to become the arena of civil war in which the communist neighbouring
countries to the north were considered by the conservative establishment in
Athens to be a major security threat. This perception of a communist (cum
Slav) threat from the north was predominant until the nllLl-1950s. From
then onwards the escalation of the Cyprus issue led to a gradual but steady
reorientation of Greek security considerations.
An early victim of official Greek 'anti-Bulgarism' were the Pomaks, who
live in the frontier region on the Sourthern slopes of the Rhodopi moun-
tains. The Pomaks were considered in the late 1940s by the government of
Athens to be potential allies of Sofia (and thus Moscow). The method con-
i, ceived to neutralize this 'threat' inside Greek frontiers was rather simple:
systematic 'Turkification' of the Pomaks. This policy, which was supported
the government of Turkey, by now Greece's ally, has not been without
effect: 'today we have succeeded in making most POl11aks feel themselves
Turks'.12 This account by Magkriotis is clearly supported by numerous more
recent statements by minority leaders. In a speech in the Greek Parliament,
the former independent member of parliament Ahmet Faikoglu declared in
January 1991: 'the Pomaks are pure-blooded Turks. The minority IS Turk-
ish and its religion is Muslim.'l1 Dr Ahmet Sadik, who together with
Faikoglu represented the Muslim minority in Parliament from 1990 to 1993,
said in an interview: 'no politician can say that the Pomaks are not Turks,
because they don't speak Turkish. These people who speak the Pomak lan-
guage are Turks, just as the Greek-speakers from Albania or Greek Ameri-
cans are Greeks.'14
These statements by Greek Muslim minority politicians reflect the feel-
ings of a large segment of the Pomak community. Baskin Oran gives one
possible explanation:
pour plusieurs raisons (les Pomaks et les Gitans n'ont pas d' 'Etat-
parent', ies Turcs sont en majorite ecrasante, Ia Turquie s'occupe
du sort de la minorite, Ie patrimonie culturel des Turcs est incom-
parablement plus riche, etc.) etre Turc en Thrace occidentale est un
element de prestige et appeler un Pomak 'Pomak' et surtout un
Gitan 'Gitan', est ressenti comme une insulte. On raconte meme
que les Gitans sont plus nationalistes que les Pomaks et que ces
derniers sont plus nationalistes que les Turcs.
Of course the Greek authorities are well aware of the Turkish interest and
the advances towards the Pomak community, the basis for which the Athens
government itself had laid in the 1950s as we have seen. They counter this
with what may well be called a revisionist strategy: the strengthening of
Pomak identity becomes in the 1 970s, and especially in the J 980s, a corner-
stone of Greek policy in Western Thrace. One aim of this policy seems to be
to divide the minority, to alienate the Pomaks from the Turks, thus weak-
ening the potential for a united 'front" led or influenced by Ankara. This
strategic aim is clearly expressed in an article by Giannis Kapsis in To ViiI/a:
'after the return of democracy I to Greece in 19741, and especially after 1982,
the racial and culture particularity of the Pomaks was acknowledged and
due to a wide and many-sided programme the development of their language
and their cultural traditions was strengthened'.lh
It is not clear whether the numerous recent publications in Greek on the
Pomaks, publications that aim at exactly what Kapsis mentions, are part of
this gove;'nment strategy. In these books a general Greek audience for the
first time learns about this forgotten minority in the north of the country. It
is indeed remarkable to see that in at least two of these publications the
authors use clearly racial 'arguments' to stress the idea of the singularity of
the Pomaks vis-a-vis the Turks (and their similarities with the Greek people).
Mylonas in The Pomahs of TIJrace (1990) quotes the results of medical
'blood tests' conducted in 1969 in Athens: 'in 508 Pomaks living in Thrace
it was found that there is not the slightest difference between the Pomaks
and the rest of the Greek population'.27 And GianlllS Magkriotis in his book
titled P0111al<s or Rodo/Jialls? The Greel< Muslims (also 1990) lists the
'anthropological characteristics' of the Pomaks, such as colour of the eyes,
of the hair, shape of the head etc. His conclusions: 'these are the anthropo-
logical characteristics of the Indogennanic mountain races, who meet with
Greek mountain races in Evrytania, Pindos and elsewhere'.2H
More important than these semi-academic publications are efforts on
behalf of parts of the Pomak community to set up their own political organ-
izations, apart from the Independents led by Faikoglu and Sadik. But these
efforts which were given some attention in the Greek media in 1991,"" have
not lec! in the camp of the minority., ( I I
Muslim t.he Pomaks) I: by 5 I
1St forces led by SadIiz and brkoglu, as the election I esults of Octobel 1993
once again demonstrated. <-
In our analysis of Greek policies uis-a-vls the Muslim minority we move
back to 1967. In that year the 'Colonels' took over power. Complaints
regarding discrimination and mistreatment of the Muslim minority were
voiced in the years after 1967. It is important to note that these complaints
in general do not refer to the p:rio? 1967. In the period prior to the l
coup in Greece, the Greek mll10nty 111 Turkey suffered severe hardship. (
There no indicatio.ns that the authOrities took 'reLvenge' or
ated agamst the Muslim mll10nty - either 111 1955 or 111 1964, when large
numbers of Greeks were forced to leave Turkey.
L--There is considerable e:idence that demonstrates that, after 1967,
Muslim minority for the fIrst time repression
p:imination. In this respect, the Muslims sharecfrhe fate of all Greeks, whose
I?Qlitical rights and freedoms were curtailed by the Junta.\But beyond ti1lS
suppression of political rights specific to every dictatorship, there
are indications that the military government infringed also on the social and
economic rights of the Muslims as a distinct minority.
One of the major complaints of the minority concerns the shrinking of
ownership:' Several sources reveal efforts by the Greek authorities
aiming at reducing the amount of Muslim-owned land. A variety of meth-
ods are said to have been applied to reach this goal as of the mid-1960s.
Firstly it is reported that the purchase of land by members of the minority
was made difficult - or practically prohibited. On the other hand, Chris-
tiansare said to have been encouraged (with long-term loans) to purchase
land from Muslim farmers. Another complaint heard again and again in this
regard pertains to petty discrimination in many spheres of every day life.
According to these reports, which in recent years have also been publicized
widdy in international I--Iuman Rights reports,'O members of the minority
were only rarely granted permission to build houses or to repair existing
ones. Another point of com plaint pertains to discriminatory practices as
regards the issuing of driving licences, especially for tractors.
These infringements in the economic life of the minority may well be seen
as a reaction to similar deprivations suffered by the Greek minority in
Turkey. It is significant to note that, after 1967, the Greek government for
the first time applied the principal of 'reciprocity' in dealing with the minor-
ity. In other words, the treatment of the Muslim minority in Greece was
dependent on the respective treatment of the Greek minority in Turkey. The
principle of 'reciprocity' is manifestly applied in two areas of special inter-
est to the minority: education and the vakil issue.
The valu)Ulia - to use the Greek word for Islamic religious endowments
- consist mainly of property, endowed to the Muslim community by mem-
bers of the minority. The prominence of this issue is due to the fact that it is
with the income from these properties that many social community pro-
grammes and expenses (such as salaries for hodjas, teachers, renovation of
buildings etc) are covered. Before the 'Coionels' came to power in Greece the
va/<oll{ia were managed by democratically elected trustees. This provision
was abolished in 1967. It is interesting to note that the democratic govern-
ments after 1974 have not reversed the provision. In October of 1980, a
new iaw was passed which, on the contrary, even strengthened state control
of the valwulia. There can be no doubt that law No. 109111980'1 has led to
a serious weakening of the administrative and financial autonomy of the
valwu/ia. This the Greek government has justified with a reference to the
principle of 'reciprocity'. It is important to note that in the text of the law
reference is not oniy made to the Treaty of Lausanne but also to the 'prin-
ciple of reciprocity': 'we believe that this law will benefit the Muslim minor-
ity of Thrace as well as the Greek minority in Constantinople'.'2
A second issue which ever since 1967 has led to tension in Western Thrace
is minority education. The Junta clearly aimed at 'Hellenizing' the educa-
tional system of the niinority. In 1968, the Special Academy for Teachers'
Training was founded in Thessaloniki. From then on the minority's teachers
were not recruited from Turkey, but were trained in Greece by Greek instruc-
tors. The teaching of the Greek language was made compulsory - thus mark-
ing a new situation, as before 1967 in one out of three Muslim schools there
were no Greek language classes at all." To what extent the Hellenization of
minority education - which is a source of much complaint on the part of the
minority - is a Greek reaction to the Turkification of the Greek minority'S
educational system in Turkey is hard to say. But there are several indications
that the military Junta introduced also in the field of education the princi-
ple of reciprocity. In this context mention must be made of the Greek-Turk-
ish protocol on educational matters agreed upon in 1968, in which matters
of the minority education are dealt with in great detail. In this document
there are no less than four references that the respective agreements 'fonc-
tionneront sur une base de reciprocitC' . .14
The text of the above-mentioned agreement is not available in Greek.
This is symptomatic, as issues pertaining to minorities are treated with great
discretion by the Greek government. There are few publications on the issue,
and the publications available in the Greek language are clearly apologetic
in nature. In this context, the leaking of an official policy paper in which
Greek options and policies in Western Thrace are described rather bluntly
can only be called sensational.i,!he document I am to is the policy
paper agreed upon by the-party leaders Kostas Mltsotal<ls (New
Democracy), Andreas Papandreou (PASOK) and Kharilaos Florakis
(Synaspismos) who met on 31 January 1990 in Athens under the chair-
manship of the Prime Minister Xenophon Zolotas and agreed upon a
common strategy for the minority issue. It is worth mentioning that the
meeting took place after serious disturbances in KOl11otini just a few days
The paper begins with a reference of the imminent dangers in Western
1. Demographical development detrimental to the 'Greek element' due to
the high birth-rate of Muslims.
2. Increase in the Muslim population in border area with Turkey (Evros).
It is mentioned here that the Muslim population has already reached 7
per cent. 'In Alexandretta 30
ft, and in Cyprus 18% (of the population)
were enough to produce the conditions for annexation.'
3. Unified control of the Vakif, which could develop into a mighty weapon.
4. Formation of an independent Minority party.
In a second section the Greek party leaders devise policy proposals for
coping with these dangers:
1. Maintenance, if not improvement of present demographic structure.
Economic development of the region to increase living standard of
minority and prevent Greek element from leaving. Settlement of Pontic
Greeks in Evros and Rodopi prefectures.
2. Systematic purchase of Muslim farmland and encouragement of Muslim
urbanization, in other words, by increase in educational standards and
employment in public services and industries outside minority areas.
3. Democratic control of Vakif administration in order to limit influence
of the Turkish Consulate in Komotini.
4. Reduction in judicial powers of the Muftis and transfer of these powers
to Greek courts.
5. Abolition of 'administrative annoyances' as these have produced the
opposite results than those intended and because they are an interna-
tional embarrassment.
6. Strengthening of the presence of the state.
The Conservative government of Kostas Mitsotakis (1990-93) clearly fol-
lowed the suggestions outlined in the policy paper. This Greek strategy could
be described as one of the 'carrot and stick'. On the one hand petty dis-
. crimination, which has caused a lot of embarrassment to Greece, has been
is definitely a success for the Greek government that the recent
report b'ythe frequently critical Human Rights group 'Helsinki Watch' is far
more benevolent than former reports. In this report 'significant steps to
improve conditions for the Turkish minority in Western Thrace' are men-
But problems remained. The government continued, to the dismay
of minority leaders, its policy of limiting the autonomy of important minor-
ity institutions (schools, vakif, muftis). Part and parcel of Greek policy
towards the Muslim minority continues to be the denial of its ethnic char-
acter. Ahmet Sadik was even sentenced by a Greek court to a prison term for
Insisting that he is a Turk.
1 Text in League of Nations Treaty, Series XXXVI (1925) 78-87.
2 League of Nations Treaty Series, XXVIII (1924) 31-7.
3 H. Gockenjan, 'Die Tiirkei und ihre christlichen Minderheiten', Ost/drchliche
Studien, II (1981) 112.
4 F. Ronneberger and G. Mergl, 'Bevolkerungsstruktllr', in K.-D. Grothusen, cd.,
Griechenlalld, Siidosteuropa I-Ianclbuch, Band 3 (Gottingen, 1980),380.
5 S. Grigoriadis, Ellada-Tourhia-KYIJros: 1930-1979. Mia /Jliri them'isis tOil
ellinotourhiholl alltitheseoll: istorihi-ethnihi--stratlOtihi-oi/;:,ollomihi (Athens,
1979),356 mentions 45,000 Pomaks. For further details see also R. Meinarclus,
Die Tiirlwi-Politih Griechenlcmds. Del' Zypem-, Agais- rmd Minderhcitenhon-
fliht aus der Sieht Athens (1967-1982) (Frankfurt, 1985),498.
Five thousand are mentioned by F. Dc .long, 'The Muslim MinOrIty in
Western Thrace', in G. Ashworth, cd., World Minorities il1 the Eighties
(Sudbury, Micldx, 1980),95. The number 18,000 is given in Etaireia gia ta
Dikaiomata ton Meionotiton, Meiollotites still EUada hal 0 lJOliti/:Ws hoSl1lOs
(Athens, 1992),5. . .
/ /.7,-'A. Alexandris, The Greeh Minority of [staldml and Greeh-Tlfr/ush RelatIOns
V 1918-1974 (Athens, 1983), 308.
H. J. Psomiades, The Eastern Question: The Last Phase. A Study in
Greeh-Turbsh DifJlolllacy (Thessaloniki, 1968), 83.
9 EleftherotY!Jia, 2 March 1990.
'lO Estia (Athens), 19 March 1981.. .)
11 G. Kapsis, Oi treis meres tou Marti. Aporritos fahe/los, (Athens, 1990) 298.
12 Etaireia gia ta dikaiomata ton Meionotlton, op. CIt., 4-5. .
13 1990 Human Rrghts Report - Greece (US Embassy Athens) - Release date: 1 st
February 1991. 8.
14 I Kathimeril1l, 18 January 1991.
15 See A. Alexandris passim.
16 Anti, 19 March 1982. ., ,.
17 B. Oran, 'La minorite turco-musulmane de la Thrace OccIdentale (Grece) 111 S.
Vaner cd., Le differend Greco-Ttlrc (Paris, 1988), 145. .
18 T. Bahceli, Greeh-Ttlrhish Relations since 1955 (Boulder, CO, 1990), 177.
19 A. Alexandris, op. cit., 135.
20 Ibid., 188. . ..
General Administration of Thrace. Directory of Intenor, Komotll1l, 28 January
1954, Reg. N. A. 'lO43 cited in K. G. Andreades, The Moslem Millority in West-
em Tln'ace (Thessaloniki, 1956).
22 G. Magkriotis, I Thrahi. I istoria hai ta simerina tis provlimata (Athens, 1980),
23 I Kathimerini, 15 January 1991. .
24 S. Soltaridis, I Dytil<i TIJI"a/d lwi or MOI/SOlllmanor. Ti ahrivos sil111Jainei?
(Athens, 1990), 201.
25 B. Oran, op. cit., 153.
26 To Vima, 7 February 1993.
27 P. Mylonas, Oi POl11a/wr tis Thrahis 1990), 37. .
28 G. Magkriotis, POlllahoi i RodopalOr? Or EUmes MOllsoulmanor (Athens,
1990),12. . . ..
29 'Politiki kinisi Pomakon kontra stis apeiles Sadik', To POlltrb, I January L99 L,
and 'Idrysi kommaton apo Pomakolls kai Athinganous" I Kathi1l1erini, 1 March
For example Helsinki Watch cd., Destroying Ethnic Identrty: The Turhs of
Greece (New York, 1990).
31 Ephimerida tis Kyverniseos (FEK/20 January 1980) 3347-50.
32 Ibid.
33 Psomiades, op. cit., 84.
/..-.34-Protohol Tiirh-unan Kiiltiir KOlllisyol1u Anlwra vc Alllla Toplantilari
(Ankara, 1969), 19.
35 Eleftherotypia, 2 March 1990. ., . )
IJ,G-He!sinki Watch, Greece: Improvement for Turbsh Mlllonty; I rohlems Remalll
I.Y (New York, 1992).
The, modern history of the Armenian presence in various parts of the Greek
penmsula may be divided into two distinct periods. The first is by far the
longer and comprises the first four centuries of Ottoman rule. The second
begins in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and continues to the
present day. Some. aspects of the two periods interweave and overlap, creat-
mg a CO!:tlI111Ity between them. This is attested by recurring, though
sporadIC, histoncal the uninterrupted genealogical history of
some old Armel11an famIlIes; and the fact that the same churches have been
use? for suc,h a long period (the church of the Armenian community of Her-
aklton, for ll1stance, dates from 1669, that of Didymoteichon from 1735
and that of Komotini from 1834).1 All the same, the fragmentary nature of
the information relating to the Ottoman period (even from the late eigh-
teenth an? ear!y nll1eteenth centurIes), and particularly the qualitative and
differences between the two periods, make it impossible to
examll1e them as a single entity; they are so obviously two different histori-
cal categories. In this paper I intend to deal exclusively with the Armenians
of Greece during the second, modern, period.
The arrival of Armenians in modern Greece was due to all sorts of fac-
tors, which were more or less the same as those which led to the creation of
other centres of the Armenian Diaspora elsewhere in the Mediterranean and
Western Europe. First of all, the permanent presence of isolated individuals
in various parts of the Greek world in the late nineteenth and early twenti-
eth centunes was a result of the occasional movement of the traditional
Armenian merchants and craftsmen between the urban and commercial cen-
tres of South-Eastern Europe. But these movements did not lead (at least in
our the development of distinct colonies, still less of organized com-
So,. a.ltl:ough merchants and craftsmen had been living
111 Thessalol11kt smce the eIghteenth century, the city's Armenian community
as such did not come into being until the late 1870s and early 1880s, when
a few dozen Armenian officials in the Ottoman administration and employ-
ees of foreign companies settled with their families in the Macedonian cap-
itaL2 It was then also that another two, more or less permanent, Armenian
centres were created at Aiexandroupolis (Dedeagatch) and Loutraki, by an
unknown number of Armenian seasonal workers, who had come, chiefly
from the area of Mush in Central Asia Minor, to work on the extension of
the Thessaloniki-Constantinople railway and the opening of the Corinth
Canal respectively.' In the early 1890s, after the dramatic events at Kum
Kapi in Constantinople in July 1890, and particularly during and immedi-
ately after the widespread Armenian massacres of 1894-6, hundreds of
Armenian refugees from Sultan Abdul Hamid II flooded into Greece, mainly
to the East Aegean islands. An unknown number of Armenian political fugi-
tives and activists also sought refuge in Athens, Piraeus and Crete during
the first decade of the twenticth century and shortly after the Armenian
Genocide of 1915:
There was likewise a similar wave of immigration to Thessaloniki,
directly after the city's occupation by the Greek army in 1912, when some
Armcnian prisoners, wounded, and deserters from the Bulgarian and
Ottoman armies found, in J 912-13, a temporary (and in some cases a per-
manent) refuge there. After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, Thessaloniki also
became the home of some of the Armenian soldiers from the Russian expe-
ditionary force which had taken part in the Allied operations on the Mace-
donian Front, as also of Russian refugees who fled to Greece in 1920-1.'
However, most of these circumstantial newcomers did not settle penlla-
nently in Greece, but either returned home quite soon or headed for Trans-
caucasia, Western Europe, and the United States. In terms of numbers and
impact, however, the most important wave of Armenian migration to Greece
came at the time of the Greece's Asia Minor adventure and, particularly, in
1920-2/' Finally, in recent years a few thousand Armenians have come to
Greece from Armenia, the Lebanon and, intermittently, other Near-Eastern
countries; but most have been simply passing through, without wishing, or
seeking, to stay permanently.
Bearing this in mind, then, and also certain landmark events which affected
both the demographic development and the general fortunes of the Armenian
element in Greece, the period with which we are dealing can be divided into
three clearly defined stages. The first began, as we have seen, around 1870-80
and ended with the Asia Minor disaster of the early 1920s. During this
period, the first, very small, Armenian communities were formed, though, as
their members were scattered, only the more concentrated colonies (chiefly in
Thessaloniki, Athens, and Crete) avoided being assimilated. The second stage
started with the influx into Greece of tens of thousands of Armenians fleeing
from Turkey, and lasted until 1948, when their mass 'repatriation' to Soviet
Armenia from the Middle East and Western Europe was completed. Needless
to say, this stage is distinguished by an impressive number and density of
Armenian colonies in Greece, as also by the inconsistent nature of these
colonies (which, as we shall see, were simultaneously temporary and perIl1a-
nent). The third and final stage, which essentially began after the end of the
Greek Civil War and is still going on, is characterized by the Greek Armenian
communities' stability in terms of size and, particularly, their soclo-political
relations with their Greek environment.
The demographic growth of Greece's Armenian colonies in the hundred
years of their modern history has frequently experienced major fluctuations.
Between 1880 and J 890, for instance, the two best-known Armenian com-
munities, those of Thessaloniki and Athens, almost doubled in size. There-
after, until the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, their size remained more or less
stable, but then increased fourfold by the end of the First World War. How-
ever, in absolute terms, these increases did not involve large numbers.
Despite the successive waves of Armenian refugees and political fugitives
which found their way to Greece, the total size of the established commu-
nities was no more than 350-400 by the end of the nineteenth century, rising
to 600 at most just after the Balkan Wars,7 and I ,500 by the end of the First
World War."
This skimpy demographic picture suddenly changed just before, during,
and immediately after the Greek debacle in Asia Minor in 1922. During that
dramatic period, together with hundreds of thousands of Greek refugees,
there came to Greece some 80,000 Armenian refugees, flooding into the
country from Eastern Thrace, Cilicia, and above all Ionia." But again, these
numbers remained high only briefly, for some of the refugees and most of
the orphans were channelled through to other countries (thanks to the Lord
Mayor's Fund) almost as soon as they had arrived In Greece. H) So by August
1924, the number of Armenian refugees in the care of the Greek relief serv-
ices was no more than SS,OOO.I)
From 1924 onwards, the reduction of the country's Armenian popula-
tion was also hastened by the efforts of a special League of Nations com-
mittee under Fridtjof Nansen to resettle several thousand Armenian refugees
from their host countries, particularly Greece, to the tiny sovietized Repub-
lic of Armenia in the USSR. Even before this ambitious programme began
(and it was never fully accomplished),'2 the Greek government had made a
bilateral agreement with the Soviet Union for the despatch, at Greece's
expense, of the first group of Armenians who wanted to emigrate to Soviet
Armenia. The agreement was backed by the League of Nations and assisted
by two further factors: the re-establishment of Greek-Soviet relations in
1924 and the Soviet Union's strong pressure on Greece to take in a few thou-
sand at least of its Greek nationals, particu larly those from Abkhazia. So
between the autumn of 1924, when the first exchange began, and Novem-
ber of 1925, when it ended, some 3,000 Armenians from Greece and a sim-
ilar number of Greeks from the USSR were 'repatriated'. This somewhat
unusual repatriation was continued for a number of years, and contributed
to the further shrinking of Greece's Armenian population. By the end of
1932, after renewed approaches by the League of Nations to the Venizelos
government, and a new Greek-Soviet agreement in November 1931, a fur-
ther 8-10,000 Armenians were conveyed on Greek ships from Piraeus to
As a result of these exoduses, which were accompanied by a constant flow
of refugees to the West (chiefly to France), Greece's Armenian population fell
to about half of its 1923 level. In September 1927, according to Nansen, the
number of Armenians in Greece had dropped to 42,000. Almost a year later,
the first census after the Asia Minor disaster recorded only 33,634 individ-
uals whose declared mother tongue was Armenian.
.) Ten years later, in 1938,
the total Armenian population living permanently in Greece was estimated
at 27,080.
This figure did not include some 600 Catholics and 350 Evan-
gelical Protestants, who were not registered because they were not under the
jurisdiction of the Armenian Assembly;I(, but it remained more or less stable
until the outbreak of the Second World War. In the census of 1940, for
instance, 26,827 people declared their mother tongue to be Armenian.'?
During the occupation of Greece (1941-4), Armenians contributed a by
no means insignificant proportion (in relation to their total numbers) of the
victims of the fighting, the privations, and particularly the famine in the
large urban centres. Between 1940 and 19462,000 Armenians are estimated
to have died.IHFurthermore, as we shall see, some of the Armenians in East-
ern Macedonia and Western Thrace collaborated with the Bulgarian and
German authorities, and left Greece as best they could after liberation.
The most dramatic fall in Greece's Armenian population was to occur,
however, in 1946-7, immediately after the end of the Second World War
and just as the Cold War was beginning and the most crucial stage of the
Greek Civil War was under way. It was at this time that there began a broad
pan-Armenian movement for the 'repatriation' of the Armenians of the Dias-
pora to Soviet Armel1la. Known as the nerlwght, this controversial mass
immigration involved 102,277 Armenians (9.2 per cent of the total Dias-
pora) between June 1946 and the end of 1948, and continued sporadically
thereafter as weiLl'! It was connected with enterprising policies and diplo-
matic initiatives on the part of the Soviet Union, which were designed to
force Turkey to accept a revision of the Montreux Convention of 1936 that
would give the USSR improved access through the Straits to the Aegean, and
also to bring about a revision of the Soviet-Kemalist treaties of 192] (signed
in Moscow on 16 March and in Kars onl 0 October), by which Turkey had
achieved the detachment of the provinces of Ardahan and Kars from the
weak Armenian Republic.
It was in this climate (which gave many Anl1e-
nians the illusion that the political map of eastern ASia Minor was soon to
change and their national cause to be re-examined)"1 that a campaign was
launched in Greece to persuade as many Armenians as possible to take part
in the nerlwght. The most willing and responsive hearers tended to be the
Armenian refugees, particularly those who were still
IIvlI1g 111 social and economic insecurity in proletarian and somewhat mar-
ginalized neighbourhoodsY The 'repatriation' of Greece's Armenians was
handled by specially constituted committees which were branches of a
broader pro-Soviet Armenian Aid Committee, the Hal Ognutiall Komite. So
successive shipments from Piraeus and Thessaloniki took some 18000
Armenian emigres to Soviet Armenia, almost two-thirds of Greece's ;otal
Armenian population. Eventually, by the time the 'repatriation' campaign
was over, and also on account of concurrent, smaller-scale, waves of emi-
gration to the West (chiefly to Canada and South America), the Armenian
element in Greece had fallen to about 9,500 souls, if not less.21
This. figure has remained more or less stable, or at least unaffected by fur-
wdd. fluctuatIOns, to the present day. Only since the collapse of the
SOViet Ul1Ion and the emergence of an independent Republic of Armenia has
a wave of Greeks migrating to Greece been followed by
some 2-3,000 Armel1lans, most of them from war-torn parts of Nagorno
Karabagh .. Some of them have come with the intention of settling penna-
nently (mamly because they are related to residents of Greek extraction or
with Greek citizenship). Others are looking for a chance to move on further
West. Several thousand (possibly over 4,000) Armenians from the Lebanon
Iran, and Iraq are also living in Greece today, either with temporary
dence permits or illegally. '
communal organization of the Armenian community on a local and
natIOnal level followed a relatively stable course. This was because, from as
as the mid-nineteenth century (1853-63), the Western Armenians, both
?ttoman state and in the Diaspora, had had their own established
II1stltutlOnal framework within a non-Armenian environment. This was the
Armenian National Constitution (Sahmanadrut'iun).24 The first documented
of Armenians is recorded in the community in Thessa-
londo. It began 111 188.4 with the formation of a 'Local Assembly' (Tagha-
gan Khorhurt), whICh II1 turn elected the first six-member executive council
(AzI?hain Khorhurt).25 In subsequent years, the communities of Athens and
Crete were organized along similar lines. From then onwards, until 1923, all
the Armenian communities and Orthodox Apostolic churches in Greece
came under the jurisdiction of the 'General Assembly' (Temagan Khorhurt)
the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Constantinople respectively,
wlllch was also charged with selecting and appointing the communities'
After the Asia Minor disaster, new circumstances arose, and the
Patnarchate of Constantinople's religious jurisdiction over the Armenian
communities in Greece was called into question.
Confusion followed in
1923, the Patriarchate of Constantinople sent Ebislwpos Karabet
Mazloumwn to oversee the newly established Armenian Archdiocese of
Athens, and the many supporters of the steadfastly anti-Soviet Armenian
party the Dashnal?tsutilt11 (the most powerful in Greece) refused to accept
him. The conflict was repeated, and indeed intensified, later on, in 1956-8,
when Varda/Jet Isaak Gazarian from Jerusalem began to contest the Athen-
ian Archdiocese. Eventually, the community persuaded the Greek authori-
ties to deport him; and, on 30 March :t 958, the newly elected ad hoc
Assembly appointed Sahak Ayvazian as Armenian Metropolitan of Athens
(he still occupies the position today). After a secret vote, the Armenian Greek
General Assembly, or Temagan Khorhurt, proceeded on 5 October to bring
the Armenian Archdiocese of Athens (and all the Armenians in Greece)
under the religious authority of the Patriarch of Cilicia, whose see is in
Antelias in Lebanon.27
This procedure (which was repeated in all the Armenian communities of
the Middle East and Western Europe) was by no means innocent of ulterior
political motives: it was also designed politically to weaken the Armenian
Catholicosate in Etchmiadzin, the oldest Apostolic Patriarchate, which was
based in the religious centre of Etchmiadzin in the then Soviet Republic of
Armenia. It may well be that a further attempt will be made to re-examine
the ecclesiastical regime which still prevails in the Armenian communities of
Greece and the Diaspora in general, because, now that the Republic of
Armenia has gained its independence, the pan-Armenian national role of the
Catholicos of Etchmiadzin will need to be reconsidered.
Less heated and less significant conflict was provoked in Greece's Annen-
ian communities by the sudden and rather unorthodox creation in 1922 of
another Armenian ecclesiastical see, the so-called 'Metropolis of Macedonia
and Thrace'. Its establishment (which arose out of the rather arbitrary
renaming of the former Armenian Archdiocese of Adrianople and Rodosto)
provoked the opposition of some members of the Thessalonian community
and, particularly, of the Armenian Archdiocese of Athens, which regarded
it as a rival. Eventually, after some hesitation, on 2 July 1931, the Greek
authorities ordered the complete dissolution of this singular 'Metropolis'.2H
Despite these frictions, Greece's Armenian communities tended to avoid
internal conflicts (such as those which arose in the communities of the Greek
Diaspora) at least over matters of education and welfare. This may be attrib-
uted to the fact that the Armenian National Constitution had made a fairly
clear distinction between the domains of the secular and religious representa-
tives of the communities, essentially allocating to the former the responsibility
for the running of schools, old people's homes, orphanages and general
organizations for the public benefit. It was in this context that Armenian
schools in Greece operated, first of all in Thessaloniki in 1887, and latel; after
the massive influx of Armenian refugees in 1920-3, in the rest of the country.
Most of them were lamentably underdeveloped and short-lived, chiefly owing
to the first sudden falls in the size of the communities. In the 1920s, there were
at least ten full schools, kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools,
and technical colleges functioning throughout Greece, attended by several
thousand students.
Today there are only one kindergarten, three primary
schools, and one secondary school, all in Attica, and one Saturday school in
Thessaloniki, with a total attendance of scarcely more than 400 children.]O
Apart from the demographic weakness of the communities, the basic reason
for this decline is the financial problems which the Greek authorities cause the
communities by refusing to regard the Armenian schools as 'minority' institu-
tions. There have been occasions, indeed (in 1936, for instance), when the
Armenian schools were in immediate danger of having to close down,
precisely because their official legal status was that of 'private', rather than
'minority' educational establishments.
The economic and social development of Greece's Armenian communi-
ties has fluctuated considerably during various periods of their history. In the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Armenian element in Thes-
saloniki, for instance, belonged mostly to the relatively prosperous social
groups of Christians and Jews who played a leading part in the moderniza-
tion and Westernization of the Ottoman Empire. They were architects and
engineers, senior officials in the railway companies of the East, forest com-
missioners and agronomists, doctors and pharmacists. There were also mer-
chants and craftsmen, devoted to the traditional Armenian occupation of
goldsmithery. The Armenians of Western Thrace, Crete, and Attica were
involved in similar occupations,]2 with the exception of the refugees on the
islands and the seasonal workers whom I have already mentioned. In the
eady twentieth century, the economic and social life of the Armenians of
Athens and Piraeus was more or less on a par with that of the Greek mem-
bers of commercial and business circles, and they controlled a significant
part of the economic activity both on the domestic and, even more so, on
the foreign markets. ' ] A few years later, after the union of Macedonia with
Greece, some of the Thessalonian Armenians who had served in the
Ottoman administration elected to move to other urban centres of the
Empire. But the merchants and craftsmen, together with a few civil servants,
stayed behind to form the original, enduring nucleus of Thessaloniki's
Armenian colony;H
These characteristics changed radically in the second phase of the history
of Greece's Armenians. Whereas the older generations had continued their
traditional professions and occupations, the vast majority of the newcom-
ers in 1920-23 followed the same course, up until the 1950s, as the Greek
refugees who had settled in the cities. The Greek authorities, for their part,
continued for years to regard the Armenian refugees as temporary residents
of the country, and so did not settle them in rural areas, but rather in the
urban refugee encampments as the Greek refugees.]5 There were excep-
tIOns, of course, but these sprang from spontaneous initiatives on the part
of the Armenians themselves. Those who were able to house themselves (no
more than a few hundred families up to the eve of the Second World War)
settled in central and rather expensive districts where the members of the
pre-First WorIdWar Armenian community had also settled in the meantime.
But the majority shared the same difficult living conditions as theIr Greek
counterparts, in special communal barracks and newly built poor
on the outskirts of large towns, such as Larissa, Volos (the Nea loma diS-
trict), Kalamata (the Parapigmata [Barracksl district), and above all in Thes-
saloniki (in the districts of Kalamaria, Harilaou, Kato Toumba, Ayw
Paraskevi, Harmankioi-Eleftheria, and Sykies) and Attica ( in the districts of
Dourgouti, Kaisariani, Peristeri, Kokkinia, Ayios Dionyssios, and Lipasma).
Some of these districts were given characteristic popular nicknames - Sykies
in Thessaloniki was known as 'Armenokhori', for instance, and Dourgouti
in Athens as 'Armeneika' - and certain areas of Attica, such as Kokkinia
and, particularly, Dourgouti, became almost totally Armenian districts,
Armenian churches (Orthodox Apostolic, Roman Catholic, and EvangelI-
cal), schools, markets, coffee-shops, cinemas, sports clubs and political and
cultural associations, all staffed and patronised almost exclusively by Arme-
nians. It was from these decaying refugee districts, then, these 'dark and cold
communities' (tis slwteines Iwi kJyes 'the neighbourhoods of the
poor angels' (tis tOI1 phtol<holl angelo11) with their 'mire-sodden
roads' (tous las/J0111ellOlls dromous), to quote Nikiforos Vretakos's charac-
terisations of 1935,16 that most of the Armenians came who left to seek theIr
fortunes in Soviet Armenia in ! 946-7. This is attested by the fact that their
Armenian population was much lower thereafter: for ll1stance, from the
1950s onwards, there were no Armenian families left 111 Ayia Paraskevi m
Thessaloniki; they were to be found in the streets and marketplaces of
Erevan instead.
These geographical and socio-economical distinctIOns began to fade
rapidly from the mid-1950s onwards. Early in the 1960s, Greece's now
demographically stable Armenian population began to attune Itself to the
generalleve! of Greek bourgeois society, and the old refugee settlemen.ts lost
not only their 'temporary' and proletarian aspect, but also theIr IdIOsyn-
crasies of architectural style and layout and their distinctive ethl1lc features.
So by the mid-1960s, the Armenian district of Dourgouti part of the
Municipality of Neos Kosmos) had almost completely dlsmtegrated, Its
Armenian residents dispersed all over Attica in accordance WIth thell"
incomes and professional occupations. Now free of huts and Neos
Kosmos has no more than 450-460 Armenian residents, compared WIth the
1 800 of 1961, the 4,500 of 1938, and the 7,000 of ] 923. It is only the
of three Armenian churches and two Armenian schools (founded
when the community was flourishing) that periodically brings the rest of the
Armenian element there from other parts of Attica.'7
The ideological and political orientations of the microcosm of the Annen-
ian communities have always moved along axes which are stable and long-
term, on the one hand, and fluctuating and circumstantial, on the other.
first category includes their response to the various phases of the Armel1lan
national movement, their relations with the 'national centre' (whether sovi-
etized or not), and their efforts to preserve their Armenian identity (or
Hayaba!Jbamll/l) in relation to both their Greek environment and the poli-
cies of the Greek state. The second embraces the ideological processes taking
place withill the body of the communities themselves, generated by the eco-
nomic and social development of their members.
During the first period (until the 1920s, that is), Greece's Armenian com-
munities indirectly participated in the initiatives of the two principal Annen-
ian national political organizations, the radical Hincha/;?, to begin with, and
steadfastly since the beginning of the twentieth century the (sometimes
purely nominally) social-democratic Dashnalasutiun. In 1890-6, Athens for
instance was briefly a centre for Hillchai< activists and a temporary refuge
for a few intellectuals and important figures in the Armenian revolutionary
In the early twentieth century, many members of the Armenian
communities in Attica were accused, by both the Turkish and the Greek
authorities, of assisting the traffic of arms and explosives (usually on Greek
ships) from Western Europe to Ottoman territory.l" During the same period,
the Armenian colony in Thessaloniki probably took no part in any political
initiatives, though it was groundlessly accused by The Times of London of
having started the great fire which burnt down much of the city in Septem-
ber 1890:
Nor is there any evidence that it reacted in any way to the Greek-
Bulgarian struggle for Macedonia, despite the indisputable (though
extremely limited) co-operation of a few Armenian patriots in irredentist
initiatives in Sofia and Athens,'''
Again, there is no evidence of the Thessalonian Armenians' attitude to the
Young Turk Revolution of 1908, nor to the activities of the Socialist Work-
ers' Federation (the Pederaci611), despite the presence of representatives of
the Armenian revolutionary parties (albeit of Constantinople) at some of the
PederaC16n's major demonstrations in Thessaloniki in 1909:
It was only
after the Adana massacre in ] 909 and the Balkan Wars that Thessaloniki's
Armenian population sprang into action, and even then it was to help and
succour the victims. After the outbreak of the First World War, all three of
Greece's organized Armenian communities (in Thessaloniki, Athens, and
Crete) began to take serious political initiatives, first in order to publicize the
genocide of 1915 and then, after 1918, to welcome the refugees from
Turkey, recruit volunteers, and send arms and ammunition to the Turco-
Armenian fronts in the Caucasus and Cilicia:
These activities were intensi-
fied, naturally enough, as the Greeks' and the Armenians' confrontation
with their common foe, the Kemalist forces, culminated during the final acts
of the concurrent tragedies in Transcaucasia and Asia Minor:'"
The Asia Minor disaster brought about dramatic changes not only in the
numerical size and social structure of Greece's Armenian colonies, but also,
as a direct consequence, in the context of their ideological outlook. The pre-
war groups of merchants and craftsmen were essentially lost in the mass of
newly arrived, mostly unskilled workers and underemployed artisans. I,n the
end, weighed down by economic and social problems, the vast mal0rIty of
the Armenians in Greece found themselves seeking fresh ideological orien-
tations beyond the irredentist, anti-Russian, well-beaten track of the tradi-
tional nationalist parties - represented fJar excellence by the pro-Western
Dasl111ahtslltiul1. These changes, which were likewise mirrored in the milieu
of the Greek refugees, were apparent not so much in the functioning of the
communities (whose leadership, for that matter, despite some wavering, has
remained to the present day in the hands of the Dasfmah partisans, the
Dashl1ahtsagan), as in other spheres: the amalgamation, for instance, of the
radical Hillchahists with the Armenian Communist Party, and the pro-Soviet
tendencies of the once bourgeois liberal-democratic party Ramgavar Azata-
gan. This was the climate which typified the great majority of the Armenian
and other publications which were circulating in Greece in the
1920s and early 1930s,'11 The same disaffection led many Armenians to form
strong links and collaborate with the Greek Communist Party (KKE) in the
inter-war period and during the German occupation, the Resistance, and the
events of December 1944, and also to join in the 'repatriation' of 1946-7:'"
It is important to note that the Dashnahtsagan, both in Greece and in the
rest of the Diaspora, strongly opposed the 'repatriation' (or neri<aght) ,
claiming that it effectively legitimized the Soviet Republic of Armenia as the
only national centre of the Armenian nation, denied the national rights of
the Western Armenians, consigned the Treaty of Sevres to oblivion, and
accepted the existing Turco-Soviet borders,'''
The departure of almost two-thirds of Greece's total Armenian popula-
tion for the Soviet Union restored the remaining Armenian communities to
their pre-war ideological orientations. This reversion was also bound up
with the prevailing Cold War climate, particularly in post-Civil War Greece.
Consequently, the almost total severing of the Greek Armenian communi-
ties' bonds with the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the
Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin, as mentioned earliel; must to a certain extent
be regarded as a direct result of these ideological changes. So with the
restoration of the old organizational and ideological cohesion during the
1950s the divergent trends were curtailed. For a while, the life of Greece's
Armenian population was characterized internally (within the communities)
by introspection and introversion, and externally (towards the Greek com-
munity) by an effort to catch up with Greece's economic and social devel-
opment. By the mid-1960s, virtually all the Armenians in Greece were more
or less back on their feet economically, socially integrated, anellegally secure
(by 1968 all had been granted Greek citizenship). These developments nat-
urally went hand-in-hand with acculturation - rather tarely in the case of the
older generation - and a marked fall in the younger generation's knowledge
of the Armenian language.
However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s there began a surprisingly
broad revival in the Armenian element's ideological functions. This revealed
itself in two apparently contradictory trends: an emergence on the one hand,
from communal introversion, and a pursuit, on the other, of resurgent
Hayabahbal1um - the Armenian character of the communities. These trends
were not exclusive to the Armenians of Greece; by the mid-1960s they were
clearly apparent in most of the colonies of the Diaspora, even the ideologically
ossified Armenian communities of the Soviet Union. The reasons for this inter-
esting phenomenon (which has not yet been adequately investigated) must be
sought in a number of factors, both social and political: the dynamism, for
instance, and the social self-confidence which the third and fourth generations
of Diaspora Armenians had acquired in the meantime; the need to check their
accelerating assimilation; and the easing, under Khrushchev, of Soviet autoc-
racy, which led to a partial resumption of ideological ties between the
Diaspora and Soviet Armenia and the emergence of the hitherto virtually
banned history of both the Western and the Eastern Armenians from the time
of the First World War (particularly the genocide of 1915 and, to a lesser
extent, the Armenian Republic of 1918-20):'" All this helped to diffuse a
strong sense of Armenianness from one centre of the Diaspora to another and
from one community to another. This is attested by the concurrent, and virtu-
ally identical, ceremonies held to commemorate the genocide - a key event on
a pat; in my opinion, with the Jewish Holocaust:'"
As was to be expected, the active efforts of Greece's Armenians to pro-
mote the Armenian cause and the genocide stirred a particularly sympathetic
response in the hearts of the Greek public. Of course, the response had been
forthcoming on previous occasions and in other circumstances, but chiefly
from the highly sensitized social groups made up of refugees from Asia
Minor and elsewhere. But after the successive Greek-Turkish crises, and
especially after Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Greek-Armenian
ra/J/nochemellt became closer and more enduring.
Ultimately, the rap-
lJrochement had no significant results on a practical political level." But the
Armenian element's moral standing certainly shot up as far as Greek society
was concerned, and the efforts of Armenian community leaders to further
their long-standing demands over the running of the Armenian schools met
with greater understanding from the Greek administration.
The Armenian communities' relations with the Greek authorities during
the hundred years or so of their existence in Greece have depended on polit-
ical factors which were frequently more external than internal. In the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Greek governments were generally
rather wary of the country's Armenians. At first they feared that the Anl1e-
nians' politicai activities (which, as we have seen, were lively in thel890s)
might be a source of dangerous friction with Turkey. Later, from the
Greek-Turkish War of 1897 until the end of the Balkan Wars, Greek suspi-
cions were aroused by the Armenian revolutionary movements' (particularly
the Daslmak:tsutitm's) close ties with the Bulgarians and later with the Young
Turks. It was only lietween the eve of the Balkan Wars (1911) and the end
of the First World War that Greek governments (with Venizelos in the lead)
started to reconsider the Armenian factor as a possible ally III the rivalry
between Turkey and Greece and to look upon the Armenian communities
with greater favour. Their attitude was, of course, strengthened by the preva-
lent notion that the persecution suffered by the Greek element in the
Ottoman Empire, in 1913-14, and in 1916-22, and that inflicted upon the
Armenians in 1915 were, despite their quantitative differences, but two sides
of the same coin.
This pro-Armenian climate persisted even after the influx of Armenian
refugees into Greece in the early 1920s, with regard to relief, shelter, and
questions of isonomy.s2 In 1923 Venizelos offered Hellenic citizenship to all
the Armenian refugees en bloc. They were reluctant to accept the gesture,
however, being under the illusion that if they retained their Turkish citizen-
ship, or simply stateless or refugee status (with laissez-passer), they might be
able one day to recover the property they had left behind in Turkey.51 It was
a fateful decision. Subsequent Greek governments almost into the 1960s
always regarded the Armenians as temporary refugees rather than as a per-
manent national minority in Greece, and, entrenched behind this attitude
(which the League of Nations itself, moreover, shared with regard to the
Armenians), were exceedingly chary of granting citizenship, even to refugees
of Greek descent, including Greek refugees from Istanbul, Imbros, and Tene-
dos in 1955 and 1964. Nonetheless, in 1927, Hellenic citizenship was legally
granted, under certain conditions, to the Greek-born children of Armenian
(and Circassian) refugees, but then restricted again in 1940 to those who
had served in the Greek armed forces.
The idyllic relationship between the Armenian refugees and the Greek
authorities was tainted long before the question of citizenship acquired any
particular importance. The process began as early as 1923 (just before and
just after the arduous Greek-Turkish negotiations at Lausanne), when
Armenian refugees from Eastern Thrace instigated incidents against Moslem
inhabitants of Western Thrace. Clearly fearing dangerous complications in
that sensitive area (and it was especially sensitive just then), at the end of
1924 the Papanastassiou government whisked some 5,000 Armenians from
Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia off to urban centres in the Pelo-
ponnese. The deportation stopped very soon, owing to the reaction of for-
eign philanthropic missions and Greek organizations. But the sense of
insecurity which it aroused henceforth in the Armenians of Thrace and East-
ern Macedonia led them to join in the first Armenian 'repatriations' to Soviet
Armenia in the 1920s and 1930s. However, the 'repatriation' drive was also
boosted by the relatively wiele spread of communism in the poor Armenian
districts during the inter-war period; and this also affected the Greek author-
ities' relations with the Armenian refugee element, particularly under the
Pangalos and Metaxas dictatorships.11
Distrust of the Armenians was rekindled during the Second World War
by the collaboration in 1941-44 of some Armenians with the German and,
even worse, with the Bulgarian occupying forces. Contemporary British
sources lay emphasis on the indisputable support a few Das/mah cadres gave
the Germans through the institutes of the Miinchell A/wdemie in Macedo-
nia and Thrace, though they clearly exaggerate.
" It was not a purely local
phenomenon (despite the traditional bonds between Armenians and Bul-
garians), but a widespread movement in the Armenian Diaspora in occu-
pied Europe, which began with an approach and open military collaboration
by the branch of the ever-powerful Dashl1atsagan with the Germans as thev
towards the Caucasus.
\X'hatever the case may be, after the lil;-
eratlOn of Macedonia and Thrace, the Greek authorities lost no time in send-
ing any Armenians who had taken Bulgarian citizenship during the
OccupatIOn back over the Greek-Bulgarian frontier. Subsequently, while
Greece was caught up in the maelstrom of the Cold War and its own Civil
War, they encouraged the new Armenian 'repatriation' to the Soviet Union
in 1946-47 (urged on also by the Allied missions), in an effort to rid them-
selves of a heavy, chronic burden of non-Greek refugees and specific groups
who had declared either pro-Bulgarian or pro-Communist leanings.'"
The situation began to improve appreciably once the aftermath and the
attitudes characteristic of the Civil War had gradually subsided, and the
<?reek Armenian demographic, social, and ideological profile had crystal-
In the same period, the Armenians became fully integrated
with their social environment. This, howevel; hastened the assimilation of
the younger generations. The process of integration and assimilation has not
yet been systematically scrutinized: apart from anything else, there are no
arch.ival data available for most of the communities, have the necessary
stucl!es been carried out. eJ() the best of my knowledge, only one research
project has reached an advanced stage so far: an investigation of what was
the Armenian district /Jar excellellce, Dourgouti). All the same, as far as one
can gather from a rough estimate of the births, marriages, and deaths in the
relevant registers of Thessaloniki's Armenian community, the community's
numbers are most definitely falling (it has no more than 1,000-1,200 mem-
bers today), and mixed marriages are on the increase. Specifically, between
January 1960 and 28 December 1993, 218 births were recorded, 573
deaths, and J 30 marriages. Although it is affected by the steady passing of
the last aged mmates of the Nansen-Gulbenkian Armenian Old People's
Home, the great disproportion between births and deaths nonetheless attests
that the colony is clearly shrinking. The birthrate has fallen from an aver-
age, of 8.1 per annum in 1960-80 to 4.6 over the last twelve years. Then
agam, the average number of mixed marriages is going up (fifty-five out of
a total of l30): from 1960 to 1980 they were far fewer than Armenian-
Armenian marriages (thirty-eight compared with sixty-four), but over the
last twelve years the figures have been reversed (seventeen mixed to only
eleven unmixed marriages).'')These data certainly cannot be indicative of the
situation in Armenian communities all over Greece. Certainly many more of
the new Armenian refugees head for Athens, for instance, than for Thessa-
loniki. But, as I pointed out earlier, these newcomers are, by and large,
merely passing through, rather than permanent members of the communi-
The falling numbers of Greece's Armenians, allied with the fact that they
had become a permanent part of the population of the country as a whole,
certainly conduced, from the mid-1960s onwards, to the resolution of some
of the legal issues which had been left in abeyance. In 1968, for instance,
Greek citizenship was accorded to all refugees who had lived in Greece for
more than eight years; and the economic (though not the statutory) status
of the Armenian schools was also regularized, so that now, although they are
still not recognized as 'minority' schools, they are financed and staffed by
the Greek Ministry of Education.
The settling of these long-pending questions should not, I think, be linked
with political criteria. Indeed, it must be clearly understood that any Greek
and Armenian co-operation in some of the moves to have the Armenian
genocide recognized has been limited to the academic sphere; and only in the
Diaspora (mainly in the United States) has it culminated in a few significant
political initiatives. So despite Turkey'S accusations of Greek political, or
state, involvement in rallying support for Armenian views, ever since 1974
Greek governments have steadfastly maintained an extremely guarded
stance on the Armenian question. Only the Cypriot Parliament has ventured
to issue a special resolution on the Armenian genocide; while the Greek Par-
liament, in contrast, used its own standing orders as a plausible pretext for
postponing (until April] 996) the Armenian coml11ul1lty's request that it
follow suit. These tactics spring, I think, from the Greek Foreign Ministry'S
chronic phobia of such complex issues as the Armenian, or the Kurdish,
problem; and they did not change even in the summer of 1987, when the
Greek MEPs voted for the famous resolution condemning the Armenian
genocide. All the same, the Strasbourg resolution should not be regarded as
one of the achievements of Greek diplomacy. It was rather the culmination
of long efforts by, chiefly, West European organizations, which, being par-
ticularly sensitive to Turkey's human rights violations and the persistent dis-
tortion of the historical facts of the genocide, have been fighting for decades
for the Armenians' historical and moral vindication, if nothing more.
The declaration of Armenia's independence, on 23 September 1991, cou-
pled with the tremendous problems that burdened that tiny republic after the
collapse of the USSR, presented a new challenge to the patriotic feelings of
the Armenians in Greece, and indeecl in the whole of the Diaspora. The
Greek Armenians were significantly quick to offer help in the aftermath of
the devastating earthquake in Leninakan (or Gumri) of December 1988, in
the continuing war between Armenians and Azeris over the enclave of
Nagorno-Karabakh (or Artsakh), and the conditions of starvation, energy
privation, and the stifling blockade imposed upon the new state by its Trans-
caucasian neighbours and Turkey. Greece's Armenians have also offered
their services in temporarily housing and caring for the hundreds of Anl1en-
ian and Greek-Armenian refugees who have fled to the country in recent
years. Their leaders have also managed to speed up the process of forging
diplomatic links between Athens and Erevan. This process culminated, on
20 January 1992 and 25 May 1993, in the signing of various Greek-Annen-
ian agreements, covering diplomatic, economic, technical, cultural and edu-
cational co-operation. Again on the initiative of the Greek Armenians, this
last agreement included a resolution of the chronic problem of their schools
in Greece, the running of which is an extra burden still partially borne by
the dwindling communities.
Under the new circumstances it is obvious that not only the status of the
Armenian schools is going to change in Greece: the role itself of the com-
munities is already changing. Hitherto, the absence of an independent
national centre has left Greek Armenians free - either through their National
Committees or through their historical political parties (chiefly the Dash-
l1aktsutirm) - to frame their own ideological orientations and their relations
with the Greek authorities. After independence, Armenia's first recourse was
to the human and economic resources of the Armenian communities abroad
to help cover both its financial and many of its current administrative and
diplomatic needs. But this did not prevent it from claiming the role hitherto
played by the traditional political organizations and committees of the Dias-
pora in manipulating the communities. Among the Greek Armenians at
least, the change in the traditional balance of roles has triggered off disputes
over jurisdiction and spheres of competence, which, though low key as yet,
may well portend a similar degree of rivalry to that which raged between the
a(tokhthol1es and the eterol::,hthones (the 'natives' and the 'outsiders') in the
early days of the independent Greek state in the nineteenth century. This is
clearly a transitional phase of developing conditions and circumstances,
which will require that the Armenians' relations with their national centre
and hence with their Greek environment be codified anew. It is thus a period
whose state of flux places it outside the historian's field of research.
'1 A. I-I. Magarian, Husl7ilhirk Tmgio yell Ma/wdol1io Hai /wghlltnem (Thessa-
loniki,I929), 26ff.; 372 ff. d. N. Vafeiadis, ']storia tis Armenilm koinotitos
Didymoteikhou kai 0 Byzantinos naos tOll Agiou Georgiou tou Palaiokastritou',
Thm/<ilUl, VIII (1937) 318-29 and I. K. Hassiotls and G. Kassapian, 'Thc
Armenian Colony in Thcssaloniki', BallwII Studies, XXXI (1990) 213 ff.
2 Magarian, Pl'. 86-7; I-Iassiotis and Kassapian, 'The Armcnian
Colony', 214, 218.
3 R. Khan Azat, 'Hai hcgal'ohagani houserits', Haireni/;, Amsagir, VI (1928), 131;
d. K. H Karpat, Ottomml PO/JlIlatioll, 1830-1914: DemogralJ"iC

Characteristics, (Madison, 1985) 124-44, 152, ISS, 158, 166, tab es. "
(dOll), 1.10, 1.12, 1.16.A. . ' 89(1896)' N 0_
4 I. K. I-lassiotis, 'The Greeks and the Armel1lan Massacres (I c - 1, e
1-ie/lellika, IV (1981) 87-88,92,96-109., " , T 'To
5 HasslOtis and Kassapian, 'The ArmeI11an Colony, 215. Cf. M. Al IanOS,
ergOlI tis ellinikis /Jenthalpseos (Athens, 1921,),62: 83. r,' A' ;_
6 Delegatio11 de la Republiqlle Armerlremle, LArll1ellle e/ la QIILSt/Oi/ '1I11CIlI
ell1le avallt pcndant e/ dcpllis la Guerre (Pans, 1922),49, 70., ('
7 G. Kevorkian, 'Dasn'evyotu dari hunahai het, 1922-1939 , Amelllm
Darekirk,IV(1956) 222-9,VIl (1959)2S5-4)3. '.,
' ,.' I d t d A Beylerian Les Gralldes PIllssallccs, I Empllc
For some numellca a a ., " , '(1914 1918) Recel/il de
Ottoman et les Armeniens dalls les Archwes -,,' , )', .
.'- 713-76 (Thessalol1ll<l: SOO-600, Athcns and Iliacus.
documents ailS, ,J , ) , ,
300 Crete' 100) , (N
9 J. L: Barto;1, Sto;'Y of Near East Relic{ (191 S-1930): An cw
'Y _I 1930) 161-72' d. Kevorkian, Amemm Darektrk, IV _23-4.
10 Record Forcign Office 371/9097/4, No. 534, 5 July
1923, FO 371/10213 No. 775, 8 Julyl924, FO ,?71112324 (1927).
11 I-lassiotis and Kassapian, 'The Armenian ,216. , 52. f F
12 Fridtiof Nansen, Armenia a11d the Near East (London, 1,928), . ,c. .
C C rbyn 'The Present Position of the Armel1lan Nation, Royal Cenual Als{liln
.:0 T' I XIX (1932) 600 J H. Simpson, The Refugee Pro} em
Society _ ollma , . , ,.
(London, 1939),38. " Y _I 198')) l40ff
13 A L Za l'1ntis Greek-SOViet Relatiolls, 1917-1941 (New 01(, --: ' ,:'
1'78ff., '/96-1'97, 269-275; d. I. K. I-Iassiotis, ee\., I E/lmes tiS Rosslas kat tiS
Sovletihis Enosis (Thessaloniki, 199?), 317ff. . " . " L _
14 A. Angclopoulos, 'Population of Greece
guagc, National ConSCiOusness and ReligIOn', Balkan Stu les, , - .
15 Kevorkian, Amenull Darel:trk, VII (1960), 'CI "
16 J. Mcccrian, 'Un tableau de la diaspora armel1lenne, Proche Orient 7retlen,
XI (1961) 163. "", '
17 Angelopoulos, 'Population DlstnbutlOn, 127, n.15. , " IS',
, D . k'f. VII 284-7 Cf K Mcyer LAmle11le et a IIlsse.
18 Kevorkian, Ame/1t/11 me '/1 <, ,. ,.' , , f' I
Histoire du secollrs suisse ell faveur des ArmeJliens. ServIce <1l1fJres ( Ull Jet
chretien (Bcrne, 1974), 190ff. , ' '.. " I. RSS d'A _
19 C. Mouradian, Timmigration des Armel1lens de la a VCI s .l( 7 -11
" '1946 '196')' ('ahters dll111ol1de r,lIsse et sovle,tlqlle, XX (1979) ,9 .
mCl1le, -)-" , '1 T; f M d-
Cf. the same author's 'L'Armcnie sovictique et la Dtaspora em/)s 0
,. I'S XLIII (July-Sept 1988) 264-82. d
20 Tllrhish j;oreign Polic)" 1943-1945: State
Great Power Polittcs (Princeton, 1973),315-18. Cf.::.. G. XYCIS,
Crisis over the Turkish Straits', BallwlI Studies, ] (1960) 65-90. , I C 'I
21 C A'. Vertanes, Armenia Reborn (New York: Armel1lan NatlOn:l .
1947) 1 09ff., 114, 117-18,172-9 and H. ThorossIa,n, de I
du Je:nle arme,liell, depuis les temps les /Jlus recllies IlIsqu a nos lOUIS (Paus,
19l7), '159-60, 162-5. Cf. I-I. J. Touryantz, Search (or a 1-/ome,land (New
1987), 7ff. For the initially positivc attltudc of the Armel1lan co!on
PRO/FO 37lf48795/R 16369, 10 Sept. 1945, where m,l
'Committee for the Vindication of the Armel1Ian Rights to the Blltish pIlme
minister Clement Attlce is to be found. " ')
22 Cf. Mouradian, 'L'immigratlon des Armel1lcns , 81-8. , , T"
23 For various estimates as to their number consult Jacques Vcrnant, The Re(ugee
in the Post-war World (London, 1953), 57-8, 215, Kevorkian, AlIlenuII
Darekirh, VII 288ff., and Mouradian, 'L'immigration des ArmenIens', 87.
24 V. Artinian, The Armenian Constitutiollal System ill the at/oman ElIlpire
(1839-1863): A Study oOts Histoncal Deve!o!JIIlent (Istanbul, n.d.), 75ff.
25 I--Iassiotis and Kassapian, 'The Armenian Colony', 263-4.
26 Hassiotis and Kassapian, 'The Armenian Colony', 263.
27 Kevorkian, Amel//l/1 Dare/uri::., VII 231ff., 293-6.
28 Kevorkian, AlI1ell/lII Dare/drl::., VII 226-7,260. Cf. Hasslotis and Kassapian,
'The Armelllan Colony', 264, 265, 267.
29 Cf. Kevor/oan, AlI1ellllll Dare/?irh, VII 309, 323ff., 393-4. On the Armenian
schools and orphanages of l'vlacedonia and Thrace, see Magarian, Hllsha/,
100ff. For those established 111 Thessaloniki, Hassiotis and Kassa pian, 'The
Armenian Colony', 264-6.
30 According to information provided by the curate of the Armenian Archbish-
opric of Athens, the ReveL Varag Hovsepian, to whom I would like to express
once again my gratitude.
31 Kevorkian, Amenun Darehirh, IV, 261.
32 Beylerian, Les Grandes /JUissallces, 714-15.
33 Cf. Kevorkian, Amel11l11 Dare/, IV, 257.
34 Hassiotls and Kassapian, 'The Armenian Colony', 262-3.
35 Cf. Vernant, The Re/ilgee, 210-11.
36 N. Vretakos, 'Oi grimatses tou anthropou' in A. Tzelalian, Armenihi Alltho/o-
gia (Athens, 1982), 235-6.
37 Mercerian, 'Un tableau', 163. For a literary description of Armenian refugee
society in Greece, particularly in Neos Kosmos, see Serko Pelteyan's romantic
novel Kesai" SOllh: A Historical Narratille (Athens, 1979).
38 Hassiotis, 'The Greeks and the Armenian Massacres', 92-3, 96-109.
39 Kevorkian, Ament/n Dare/dr/::., VII 262-5.
40 Cf. Hassiotis and Kassaplan, 'The Armenian Colony', 268-9, n. 42.
41 Some slight and vague references to the co-operation of Armenians and Bulgar-
ians in Macedonia are to be found 111 Duncan M. Perry, 'The Macedonian Rev-
olutionary Organization's Armenian Connection', Armenian RellieUJ, XLII
(1989) 64-7. For the Armenian connection to the activities of the Greek Eth-
nihi Etaireia in Macedonia and Crete, see Khan Azat, 'Hal hegapohagani house-
rits', J 26-32, and Hassiotis, 'The Greeks and the Armenian Massacres' 98-9,
42 G. K. Kordatos, /storia tOll Ellil1i/::.ou ergatik:.oll hillimatos (Athens, 1972),243,
43 Bcylerian, Les Gralldes PlIissallces, 716. Cf. Hassiotis and Kassapian, 'The
Armenian Colony', 223-4.
44 M. Housepian, Smyrna 1922: The Destmction of a City (Kent, Ohio, 1988),
189ff.; I. K. Hassiotis, 'Shared Illusions. Greek-Armenian co-operatIOn 111 Asia
Minor and the Caucasus, 1917-1922', in Greece and Great Bntaill dltrlllg
World War 1 (Thessaloniki, 1985), 142ff., 162ff., 174-6.
45 Kevorkian, Amell1l11 Darel<.irh, IV 232-44; d. Hassiotis and Kassapian, 'The
Armenian Colony', 226-8.
46 Bedros Kokinos (= Hadjik G. Gogayan), HIII/ahai batrnutlullits,
1918-1927 (Erevan, 1965), 100ff., 171ff., 238ff.
47 Mouradian, 'L'Armcnie sovictique', 264-5.
48 C. Mouradian, 'Les relations sovicto-turques et la Question Armenienne depuis
1945', Esprit, LXXXVIII (1984), 118-27; R. Grigor Suny, LOO/Wlg To/Vard
Ararat: Armenia ill Modern History (Bloomll1gton, 1993), 185-91.
49 Cf. V. N. Dadrian, 'The Convergent Aspects of the Armenian and Jewish Cases
of Genocide. A reinterpretation of the conccpt of holocaust', H%caust alld
Gellocide Studies, III (1988)151-69. . . ' , '
50 Cf. Armellia-CYPl"lls: Test Clses (or the C()1/sciCl1ce of /JIIIIlil!II/)': l\rnlelllCl
191 S, Cyprus 1974 (Nicosia, 1975). . ' . .,
.51 Esat Uras's information on somc Greek-Armel1lan m<1l1lf/es,taO(\)!ls III in
thel960s are groundless, The Armenialls ill History an( t J(' I ""1('111(/11 _.111'5-
lioll (Istanbul, 1988), S8ff. "
52 Cf. Barton's assertions in hiS Story of Near l:ast Relle(, 170:
before the shifting of peoples (Greece) had settled more than 90,000 who
had entered overcrowded Greece. ThiS was !lot from any accldetHal gen-
erosity on the part of the Hellenes or because they too weak to close
the borders against the flood tide of mixed refugees, for a year later, when
the managing director of the Committee was ask?d to supervise the return
of civil prisoners from Turkey, the Minister of hll"Clgn Affairs 111 Athens
gave definitive mstructions to hring any Armenians W]1O Wished to come
and to treat them with the same conSideration as the C.reeks.
53 Some references in Mccerian, 'Un tableau', 163, and Kevorkian, AlI1el1l1l1, VII 266.
54 Vernant, The Refllgee, 21 0-11. , "
55 Kevorkian, A11Ie11l1ll Darehir/" VII, 228; Kokll1os, HIII/ahar t.:ilp,'J/Itl {;a!lIll1l/ll-
111ts,49-63,171-237... ' " ," . ',; ),,1, I',
)6 PRO/FO 371/58735: The Brltlsh consul-generalml hessalol1lkl, L. I cC" to liS
, 1 Embassy in Athens (R 11177),19 July 1946, with an attached report of the
consul in Kavala, Edgar Vedova" dated 18 July. Cf Dyran s
apologetic pamphlet, 01 J\rml'1I101 para to pievr011 tOil Lllll1ol1 (Athens, 194,,).
57 Mounldian 'L'Armcnie sovictique', 279-80. , ' .
8 The Armenians fell also under the suspicion of the I-Iellenlc authOrities because
5 of their significant participation in the lI1surgency of December 1944:
Kevorkian,286-7. . f B
59 According to the DOli/til' 111grdlltian ycl' lIIahral1 () , ap-
tisms, Marriages, Deaths), kept in the Archive of the Armentan (,Oll1ll1Ulllty of
Thessaloniki. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vardapet
Khatcherian, the late superior of Thessaloniki's A,rmenlan Aposroitc Church,
for his assistance in my research in the comlllulllty s archives.
!n writing about the small but interesting groups of Vlachs or Aroumaniansl
III Greece It IS almost impossible to avoid discussing similar communities in
par,ts of the Their past history is almost identical, their pres-
ent very chfferent. Under the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires there
,",,:ere obvIously large numbers of Vlachs living in what is now Greece, Alba-
l1Ia, BulgarIa, and what was once Yugoslavia, but there would
beeI: no POll1t 1I1 dIstinguishing different groups, especially since many
Vlachs eIther as merchants or transhumant shepherds moved from one
country to The growth of nationalism and the establishment of
frontIers made such movement less free, although it must be
I emembered that the Central Balkans, where most Vlachs lived and still live
today, were under Ottoman rule until the First Balkan War of 1912. The
and the First World War were fought over Vlach territory and
much damage to t!1eIr prosperIty, as did the strongly nationalistic poli-
of states after these wars. The Second World War and the Greek
CIvIl War dId more damage, and the erection of the Iron Curtain was even
worse news for the Vlachs. It prevented communication between one coun-
try and anothe.r. COI11,munist regimes, while theoretically prol11oting the
brotherl:oo? of man, Il1 fact, especially in Albania, encouraged a fiercely
natlOnaltst Ideology They also favoll" J , f '
, . . ,,' Leo a movement rom remote VIllages
houslI1g estates, 111 towns, where it was harder to preserve a minor-
Ity culture. The dismantbng of this Iron Curtain has revealed the different
ways wh.Ich the Vlachs have survived in each country and the different
ways 111 whICh they are now being treated.
, It is clear that the nUI:1ber of Vlachs in all countries has decreased. Count-
ll1g Vlachs IS an exercise, as it is hard to know who counts as
Vlach. unreliable, and Greece has long since ceased to
1l1c1ude 11l1gUIStiC m1l10ntles 111 Its census. In contrast the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), both in its past and present state, has
conducted such censuses with surprising regularity, and with equally sur-
prising regularity the Vlachs have been numbered at some figure between
6,000 and I O,OOO." The last Greek figure for 1951 was 39,885; it was prob-
ably not very respectable to count oneself as a Vlach then, but assimilation
has proceeded apace since that time. In the 1970s I visited many Vlach vil-
lages with my children, and found old people talking Vlach, people of my
generation understanding it, and the children prattling Greek or practising
their English. My children are now adults, and gently point that I and the
middle aged understanders of Vlach are not getting any younger.
In The Nomads of the BalhalZs
written on the eve of the First World Wal;
A . .J. B. Wace and M. S. Thompson calculated that there were half a million
Vlachs in total. They based this number on a smaller figure, whIch they had
actually miscalculated, given by the great German scholar; Gustav Weigand
some thirty years before. They correctly increased Weigand's figure to make
allowances for large Vlach families and an improvement in the mortality rates.
Both Weigand and Wace and Thompson missed out some groups of Vlachs in
Albania and Southern Yugoslavia, and after allowing for the miscalculation
500,000 seems a reasonable figure for 1914. In reducing this figure to 50,000
with 30,000 in Greece I undoubtedly erred on the side of cautIon. I had not
visited the surviving communities in Albania where harsh conditions and isola-
tion had oddly helped to preserve Vlach, or Romania, to which many Vlachs
from other parts of the Balkans had emigrated, or Australia, America and
Canada, where there has been similar emigration, although these perhaps
hardly count as Balkan Vlachs. I would now at least double the number of
Vlachs in the Balkans to 1 OO,()OO although reducing those in Greece to 20,O()O.
Numbers are at the moment made more complicated by the presence in Greece
of large numbers of Vlachs from Albania on temporary work permits:'
Almost any Vlach will pour scorn on the calculations above. This scorn
springs partly from pride, partly from confusion as to what constitutes a
Vlach. It seems fairest to accept the regular use of the language at home as
the best criterIon. Many Greeks have one or two phrases of Vlach, others
have one or more Vlach ancestors. The Vlachs are a philoprogenitive race,
and Wace and Thompson's half a million Vlachs must have had more than
a million descendants. Some of these million must have a vague feeling of
Vlach identity in the same way as many Americans and even some English
people feel vaguely and sentimentally attached to Ireland. But we cannot
really use a feeling of identity or ancestry in a precise way. The Vlachs are a
fairly endogamous people, but we all have many ancestors, and, if we
carried to its logical conclusion the theory that an ancestor of a particular
ethnic group qualified us for membership of that group, we would all be
members of a great many groups. In the case of qualifications through a
feeling of identity we are handicapped by the fact that most Greek Vlachs
think of themselves as Greeks first and Vlachs second.
There is a similar confusion with Vlachs in other countries, although to
a lesser extent. Vlachs in Romania tend to be assimilated. The closeness in
language helps blur any distinction. There has been a tendency in the past
to regard Vlachs as Romanian country cousins, although the present govern-
ment does allow Vlach newspapers and radio programmes. There are few
Vlachs left in Bulgaria. I-Ioxha's regime in Albania, though fiercely nation-
alist, allowed some rights to the Greek minority, but none to Vlachs. On its
collapse, many Vlachs saw the adoption of a Greek identity or a Romanian
identity as a means of escaping the country, but there was and is little feeling
of being specifically Vlach. In r:YROM, in spite of their small numbers, the
Vlachs flourish, with their own television and educational programmes.
They have been helped by the presence of other potentially more threat-
ening minorities and by the fact that a so-called Macedonian identity is a
recent and somewhat fragile growth. In Shattered Eagles, I recount the storv
of a family I met originally in Australia and then in Nizepolje near Bitoh;.
Three brothers had emigrated to Australia, all rather oddly bearing differ-
ent names. One was called Babovic, since he had left before the Second
World War when the official language was Serbian. The next was called
Babov as he had escaped during the war when this part of Yugoslavia was
briefly under Bulgarian control. The third was known as Babovski because
by the time of his departure the official language of Nizepolje was Mace-
donian, although just to confuse the picture some of the villagers speak
Albanian. I visited their old mother who had been born under the Ottoman
Empire and spoke to me in Greek.'
This last fact draws attention to the fact that the Vlach identity in Greece
is rather different from that in other countries. Indeed it might seem to lend
support to the view, commonly held in Greece, that all Vlachs are Greek,
though all Greeks are not Vlach. T() answer this view we must look at Vlach
history, although this is shrouded in mystery and clouded by modern politics.
Greek scholars like to think of Vlachs as descendants of Roman legionnaires
sent to guard mountain passes who married Greek girls and sired the ances-
tors of the present bilingual Vlachs. Romanian historians and philologists
suggest that at some time between the sixth and tenth centuries the ancestors
of the Vlachs left their homes north of the Danube and migrated southwards.
There no evidence for either theory and an inherent improbability about
both them. Children learn languages from their mother, not their father,
and, though it would make sense for people north of the Danube to seek
richer pastures further south, and indeed countless invaders did so, the rugged
Pindus mountains hardly count as rich pasture. Both theories seem like many
other theories over disputed lands in the Balkans, Kosovo and Transylvania
being obvious examples, to be dictated by a wish to prove that one nation or
other has a claim to a piece of land because it got there first. Thus, it is argued,
must always have been Greeks in Northern Greece, always Romanians
Il1 Romania and Romanians for a fairly long time in the Central Balkans.
What little evidence there is shows that the original home of the Vlachs
was the Northern Balkans. Inscriptions in Latin as opposed to Greek pre-
dominate in this area, and, so long as the Danube frontier held, quite a few
Latin speakers like the Emperor Justinian could have been found The
so called Jirecek line demarcating the sphere of Latin from Greek influence
lies to the north of most of the areas of Vlach speech today, but when the
Danube frontier broke at the beginning of the seventh century Latin speak-
ers would be pushed or push with the invading Slavs further to the South.
In the year 586 AD the famous 'torna torna' episode seems to point to Latin
speakers in the Byzantine army. The Vlachs then disappear from 11IStory for
nearly 400 years.
There is an obvious reason for this disappearance. Byzantium lost control
of most of the Balkan peninsula, and Byzantine historians were not inter-
ested in events in that area, concentrating instead on the capItal and Asia
Minor. With the loss of their Latin speaking possessions, knowledge of Latin
in the Byzantine Empire vanished, and it is doubtful whether Latin or Vlach
would have been recognised if it had been spoken. On the somewhat dubI-
ous evidence of the sixth century writer Johannes Lydus, Greek historians
like to think that there remained people in the Empire who were able to
speak both Latin and Greek and thus administer the law as magistrat?s, but
the first mention of Vlachs suggest that they tended to be outSIde the EmpIre
and outside the law.
In the year 976, David, the brother of the future Bulgarian Emperor
Samuel, was killed by some Vlach oditai at a place between Kastoria and
Prespa called Kalai Drues or Fair Oak Trees. The country between Kastor!a
and Prespa on the borders of Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece IS today stIll
inhabited by a mixture of Greeks, Albanians, Slavs and Vlachs, WIth none
of the different ethnic groups being confined to their respective borders any
more than the abundant fair oak trees are. The Vlachs are called hoditai
suggesting that they had something to do WIth travelling or guarding the
roads, as they have done through the centuries. 'Highwaymen' IS an alter-
native translation and on this occasion, as later with armato/es and klel
the different roles may have been blurred. As Samuel was later to be a thorn
in the Byzantine side, it might seem that in 976 the Vlachs were fighting for
the Empire, but we must be careful about making too much of this,
cially as there is some doubt about Samuel's origin. It would seem pOSSIble
that though claimed by Bulgarians as a Bulgarian and Macedonians as a
Macedonian, Samuel and his family began life in the Byzantine service, and,
most paradoxically of all, might even have been a Vlach.
Samuel after a titanic struggle was eventually defeated by the even more
formidable Byzantine Emperor Basil II, known as Basil the Bulgarslayer,
although again it is a mistake to see his victory as a victory of Greeks
Bulgars. Almost certainly there were Vlachs among the slayers and the slam.
With Basil's victory, once again Byzantium ruled the whole of the Balkans
up to the Danube, and remained in control apart from a few rebellions for
almost 200 years until just before the Fourth Crusade of 1204. In the next
250 years before the final fall of Constantinople the political map of the
Balkans changed with bewildering variety. In both periods Vlachs are men-
tioned by Greek and Western historians. We cannot be absolutely sure that
all references to Vlachs are to Latin speakers. This is especially true when
we are dealing with the so-called Second Bulgarian Empire of the Asenids,
regularly described as Vlachs in Byzantine sources. Almost certainly the
Asenids ruled over a mixture of Slavs, Vlachs and even Greeks, while among
the Vlachs some were more like Romanians and others more like our Vlachs.
Our confidence in the ethnic purity of any particular race is not increased
by the reference of a Byzantine historian to Bonkoes as a Servalbanitobttl-
garovlachos. As a general rule, however, Vlachs get a bad press from con-
historians, and there seems no reason to support any
IdentifIcatIOn of Vlachs with Greeks.
The Ottoman conquest once again meant that the Balkans were under
the rule of a single power: On the whole Ottoman sources are not very inter-
este? in one kind of subject role from another, although there
are lI1terestmg early records expressly distinguishing Vlachs from Greeks. It
is to the seventeenth century that many mountain Vlach settlements date
their origin. Although we tend to think of the Ottomans as suppressing lib-
erty and creating cultural stagnation, they did initially bring order and sta-
?ility and some degree of prosperity, especially to those Vlachs engaged
m trade. It IS, however, at this point that confusion between Vlachs and
Greeks begins. In the eighteenth century quite a large number of citizens of
the Ottoman Empire spoke Vlach at home, wrote, if they wrote at all, in
Greek, and worshipped, as they certainly all did, in Greek as well. If asked
rather questions 'Who are you?' or 'Where are you from?' they
mIght have gIven the name of their village or area (such as Grammosteani if
they came from Mount Grammos), and some Vlachs still do this. Thev
might have called themselves Turkish subjects or Greeks or Orthodox Chri;-
tians, as again some Vlachs do to this day." They would have been unlikely
to have called themselves Vlachs, and there are few records of them calling
themselves Aroumanians.
The nineteenth century saw the gradual dismemberment of the Ottoman
Empire and the rise of nationalism. Other races in the Balkan peninsula like
the Bulgarians and the Serbs who had originally been in the same position
as the Vlachs, with Greek as the language of the church and education were
fairly quick to throw off this yoke. Separate church organisations' were
established or re-established, schools were organized, and independent states
were set up, although a number of Serbs and Bulgars remained under
OttOl.nan rule, and the Greeks had a head start in schools set up in what
remamed of Ottoman territory:
Late starters in the independence stakes were the Albanians and the
Vlachs. The former lived in a fairly compact area, but were slow to start
schools and even to acquire an alphabet. They were also divided between
two fairly distinct kinds of language and three religions. Most Albanians
were Muslims, and quite keen to remain under Ottoman rule. A backward
feudal structure did not encourage unity or independence. Some revolts
against the Turks arose as a protest against being handed over to some
state. Nevertheless Albania did gain independence, although many Albam-
ans remained outside Albania, and a few Greeks, Vlachs and Slavs were
included in the new state. The Vlachs faced some of these disadvantages and
some others. They were almost all Orthodox Christians, but lived mostly in
scattered pockets/ They were more progressive, but fewer in number.
A joint Vlach-Albanian state was mooted, but not very seriously.R The
Vlachs were clearly too far distant from Romania to aspire to unity with that
state, although the Romanian state did start Romanian schools. These were
never very well-attended and they taught Romanian, not Vlach. Apostol
Margarit tried to establish a Vlach Church, but this was hardly a success,
and its failure was a handicap in education. It was something of an achieve-
ment for the Vlachs to be recognised as a separate millet by the Porte in
1905, although this recognition was probably mainly intended as a divisive
tactic to sow dissension between Vlach and Greek. For there can be little
doubt that the principal reason why any move for Vlach independence never
really got off the ground was that most Vlachs had already cast their lot in
with the Greeks.
Three years before the Vlachs gained this recognition there had been the
Ilinden uprising. It is difficult to find an unbiased account of what happened
in this revolt. Krusevo is the largest Vlach centre in FYROM. It is also a
shrine to Macedonian nationalism, because it is where the revolt started.
Two other places seized by the rebels were Neveska or Nymphaion and
Pisoderi, both Vlach villages now in Greece, but occupied not for this
reason, but because as mountain villages they commanded strategic points.
One of the leaders of the revolt was Pitu Guli, a pure-bred Vlach. Another
was Goce Delcev, after whom streets in Skopje and a town in Bulgaria are
named. He had a Turkish mother and appears to have been a genuine Robin
Hood figure, keen to aid the oppressed of any race against the oppressor.
Slav sources suggest that the Greeks played an insignificant if not treacher-
ous part in this revolt. It seems clear that the Vlachs were the chief losers, as
it was their houses which were destroyed both by the rebels and the venge-
ful Turks. Some Vlachs like Pitu Guli were clearly on the side of the rebels,
some were on the side of the Turks, and some were neutral.
Before and after Ilinden there were a number of different Balkan strug-
gles going on. There were revolts like Ilinden against Ottoman authority in
which Vlachs sometimes joined their co-religionists, usually aiding Greeks.
On the other hand Vlachs as merchants and herdsmen profited from law
and order, and found the boundaries of the newly created independent states
irksome for their travel and trade; we therefore find them sometimes on the
Turkish side. Then there was the struggle between the Bulgarians and the
Greeks, usually seen in ecclesiastical terms as a contest between Exarchists
and Patriarchists, supporters of the Bulgarian Exarchate or the Ecumenical
Patriarchate. Here again the Vlachs generally supported the Greeks,
although there are instances of Vlachs joining Exarchist bands. Then around
Skopje there was rivalry between Serbs and Bulgars, but there were few
Vlachs involved in this struggle. There was also Albania's struggle for inde-
pendence. Vlachs and Albanians were generally in agreement, sharing the
same ambiguous attitude to Turkish civil authority but differently disposed
to Greek ecclesiastical control. Orthodox Albanian speakers were in much
:he same position as Vlachs with many in the early nineteenth century play-
Il1g a prominent part in the struggle for Greek independence, but Albania's
Muslim majority made a difference. Finally, and least importantly there was
a struggle in most Vlach villages between a pro-Romanian and pro-Greek
party, with the latter being almost universally and inevitably the larger and
more powerful.
The Balkan Wars, the First World War and the Greco-Turkish War that
followed solved some problems, but created others. There were minor rec-
tifications of frontiers and major exchanges of populations. The disaster in
Asia Minor meant that Greece lost its long established enclaves of Greek
speakers in Turkey, but gained a much higher proportion of Greeks in
Macedonia and Thrace. Greek settlements in Bulgaria near Burgas on the
coast and in long standing centres of Hellenism like Nevrokop, now Goce
:vere exchanged for some of the Slav speakers with Bulgarian sym-
pathies Il1 Northern Greece, thus ensuring that the proportion of Greeks in
Macedonia and Thrace rose from under 50 per cent to over 90 per cent.
Some Slavs remained in Macedonia and Thrace, some Turks and Pomaks,
Slav-speaking Muslims, in Western Thrace, some Albanians in Epirus. The
Greeks and Vlachs remained in Albania, and the largely Vlachs
near Bitola remained in Yugoslavia. When they did move or were moved,
Vlachs moved in a less regulated way than other ethnic groups. There was
some migration in the inter-war period of Vlachs to Romania from Albania,
Greece, Yugoslavia and even Bulgaria. Romania also extracted from the gov-
ernments of Greece and Yugoslavia a promise to keep Romanian-financed
in their countries. Yugoslavia did not honour this promise, but
amazll1gly such schools survived, albeit with iimited success, in some Greek
Vlach villages up to the beginning of the Second World War and even
beyond the German invasion of Greece. It is still possible to find in the vil-
lage of Ano Grammatikon a few elderly people speaking pure Romanian."
The Second World War was not, howevel; a boon to the Vlachs. Harsh
conditions in it and the Greek Civil War which followed it played havoc
with the vast herds which had once been the staple source of Vlach wealth.
Romania joined the Axis, and there were Italian attempts to court the Vlachs
as their Latin cousins. Few Vlachs in Greece actually collaborated with the
invaders, but to speak a form of Latin did not seem very patriotic. Pro-
Romanian Vlachs continued to emigrate. In Romania, it was unfortunate
that many Vlachs were settled 111 the Dobrudja, and in particular along its
southern frontier. This area returned to Bulgaria in the Second World War
and remained in Bulgarian hands after it with the result that many Vlachs
were forced to move either to Romania or to other parts of Europe or the
United States, the destination of previous generations of Vlachs from Roma-
nia and also pro-Romanian Vlachs in Greece. Albania settled a l1um,ber of
wandering Vlachs in settled homes along its southern at a tIme of
some confusion, with the Vlachs being caught up in the Civil War and m the
expulsion of Muslim Albanians, the so-called Tsams, Greece. .
After the Second World War, Greece faced many polltlcal and economIC
problems, but it might have thought that it had solved the Vlach
Disaffected Vlachs had left the country, the Iron Curta III had cut off Vlachs
in other Balkan countries, and with little encouragement for the language it
could fairly be left to die of its own accord.
There were, of course, villages
where Vlachs conspicuously loyal to the Greek state still spoke the language
among themselves and allowed their children to speak it, but economIC
forces either rendered these villages virtually uninhabitable or brought roads
and Greek speakers to them. It did not seem unreasonable to stop recording
minority language speakers after the census of 1951 if these languages were
so obviously declining. Working in Vlach villages in the 1970s and 1980s, I
recorded this decline.
But in the late 1980s two things started happening. A number of Vlachs of
the pro-Romanian faction had worked their way either directly 01: indirectly
via Romania to Western Europe or to the United States, a country famous for
its interest in roots and rights. A number of Vlach societies sprang up, Vlach
congresses were held, and Vlach periodicals were printed. What was said and
written by these societies was sometimes silly and sometimes fairly Sllllster,
although of course they were in their way doing their bit to preserve Vlach
culture and did provide interesting information about Vlach folklore
recent history. Some speculations about the remote past were fanCIful,
and claims that the Vlachs of Greece were an oppressed nation With few nghts
suffering as badly as the coloured population of South Africa we!'e clearly
absurd. The authors of such claims had little recent knowledge of C,reece.
Simultaneously with this renewed interest the Iron Curtall1 collapsed.
This was not an unmixed blessing. Inter-ethnic tension suppressed by strong
state control and even perha'ps by communist Ideology reared its head all
over the Balkans. Yugoslavs tended quickly to divide themselves mto
Slovenes, Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Muslims, Albanians and others,
while the Hungarian minority in Romania and the Turkish minority in Bul-
garia grew restive. Greeks could and probably did congratulate themselves
on having solved their minority problems, but such congratulations were
premature. Minorities became popular, and scholars and journalists began
probing Vlach issues, not always very tactfully. The theory that all Vlachs
were Greeks took a knock with the arrival of large numbers of Vlachs from
Albania speaking little or no Greek. The privileges awarded to Vlachs in the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia struck a sensitive nerve, made
more sensitive by Greek hostility to the use of the term Macedonian.
The Greek response to this issue was a defiant one. Greek Vlach associa-
tions were formed. They too held congresses. I have attended such a congress,
and, although treated with great courtesy, could not help noticing the phalanx
of bishops and generals sitting in the front row and the way in which speaker
after speaker used dubious arguments from history, folklore and philology to
forge links between Greeks and Vlachs. Historical and linguistic scholarship
in Greek universities follows the same lines. All Greek Vlachs and some non-
Greek Vlachs use a great many Greek words, the former because they are
llsing Greek and Vlach interchangeably, the latter because Greek has been the
language of education for 300 years or more. Thus there are no philological
grounds for linking Greeks with Vlachs from the earliest times any more than
in parallel cases with Greek in Southern Italy and Cypriot in London, where
a mixed language merely reflects a long period of contact.11
Towards their Greekless brethren in other Balkan countries Greek Vlachs
have adopted a missionary attitude of trying to convert them to the idea that
Vlachs are Greeks. In the case of some Albanians they seem to have suc-
ceeded, but this is hardly surprising as it is not only Albanian Vlachs who
want to find work in Greece. At a meeting of Vlach associations from all
over the world in Freiburg during September 1996 the Vlach Greeks were
listened to with respect, although their arguments were not greeted with
such applause as those from Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia). There had been less respect at former congresses. It is possible
that with time and more contacts Vlachs in Greece and Vlachs in other coun-
tries might come to terms with each other, the former accepting that all
Vlachs are not Greeks, the latter that Greek Vlachs are not an oppressed
minority yearning for some independent Ruritanian Vlachistan. Such co-
operation might lead to more impartial historical and linguistic scholarship,
and help the preservation of the Vlach culture and language.
In the United Kingdom after centuries of oppression we are now at great
pains to foster minority languages like Welsh and Gaelic. An independent
Wales and an independent Scotland are of course a possibility, but the
Hebrides are unlikely to emerge as a sovereign Gaelic state any more that
the inhabitants of the Pindus are likely to create a Vlach nation. And yet
throughout the Hebrides and a considerable part of Western Scotland there
are Gaelic road signs and an impressive educational and cultural programme
in Gaelic. There is also a well established tradition of Gaelic scholarship in
Scotland, not designed to prove that the Gaels are really Anglo-Saxons.
The satirical analogy is not of course an exact one. Greece has a long tra-
, "f I 'N .t1 whether the enemy be
clition of fearing an enemy JI1vaSlon rom t 1e 01 1, " ,d IC" T_
Turk, Slav, German or Communist. There IS no threat .to Ul1lte ll1g
c\om from St Kilda or Rockall. Encouraging Vlach cultul alldentIty by
of road signs and education in Vlach might seem to be encouragll1g a 0

horse in sensitive area, although would it. I:ot be more truthfu: 1I1. t le
long run more expedient to act in this conCIlIatory way than
Tifts in the shape of a false view of Vlach history as Identical Wit 1 ,I ee liS
In appealing for a via media between those who
'md those who think Vlachs are somehow Greeker than GI eeks awa
I am likely to offend both parties, but I am not being 0 enslve to
common sense or the truth.
, f' II ' tile B'llbns On the whole the Vlachs call them-
Most n'lmes are mille Ie e Sill, , . I I K t-
Aroumanians, while others call them Vlachs. I ,11;1 SUC 1 an ot 1e,

, I. 'I (Greek) M'lcec!o-Romanian (Romanian) and fSlI1tsar (Yugos ),' I
l I' "V' lac'11 Ins slightly I)e,'iorative connotatIOnS, and I use It Wit 1-
more oca names. , " , I ,
out these connotations, but out )M' J P.,ttifer cd The New Mace-
? I have written an arttcle on Vlachs 111 111. , .,' '" I > f' I'
- , ,'(L I ,'1999) C'ensus figures for Ivlacedonla ,-,111 1e ounc III
dO/llan QllestuJ/1 om on, ." ' I ',1' '
v'lrious although all such figuffe l1111st
" If' 'Y )slw Igu res 1ctween tt ue , "
There was OCC"lSlona con 'uslOn 111 ug(, , , ' , tl
) ,." .' Timok Valley. In Macedonia there was pressure even 111 1e
\.0I11a11l<1ns 111 , f. f lolincal correctness.
1995 census to declare oneself as Maced011lan 01 reasons o/. J '. J\ \., t f
A B W'lce and M S Thompson, The Nomads of Bal <am. II f CWIIII, 0
3 : ,J, . ,;d the Vlachs of Northem Pindus (London, c
W' f.'tl 1"/1e The Hislorv of a Ballwll People (London, 1995),
4 ee 111111 II 1, ' 'I 199 'i) )7 f) these
Shattered Eagles: BalfwlI Fragments (Lone on, ,'-- (I '
sharp bftwf

and Pindustealll. The somewhat iso atec am, e glou .' ,. -i ' ";)l1( uer-
in Albania call themselves ,I. (1060)
ing Balkan Orthodox merchant, Journal of LCOIIOI/1Il 151 "
? 34-113 gives the past picture. I 1,1 ' I' '''-
-A' f' ' VI' -I' " Notia in the Meglcn were convertec l"O s am 111 t le elg 1
7 ew ac 15 neal ., " . 192
teenth century. They left lor Lastern Thrace afteI ,I. " . \11 '. The
8 For the collaboration between VIachs and
Rise of a Kingdo/1/ (London, 19}9), 165- anl ,. , ,ellC I,
National AlUakel1/11g (Pnnceton, 1967), 3 J 5, ,)25'1 j I
9 This was established by field workers in the team led by J. Kramer ane recorc ec
. 13 a \ .. /, 1nc!?(1976 1977)7-78,91-180. ,
1 0 by A. Angelopoulos 'Populat,ion of ;;reece
N t' 111 C'()11SCI'C)llSneSs and Rehglon , Bal/,all ,)tlldlts, XX (. )
')Ccorc mg to a 101, " , ,) d 1" t
'123-32, hopefully reprmted in B. J(ondis eel., ,1 ast all 1 csel1
"fl I '1' J 992) 'lS if it were the last word on the subJect. .
( lessa 0111 d, ' " I 'I I I (' hblTln Greek 111
J 1 There are useful articles 011 Cypriot Cree (111 A)l1e on am;a ',' >1
" Italy by M. Katsoyiannou and P. 111 M. l,arsoYlanllou, e(.,
Plurilillguisll1es (PariS, 1992), 84-11 I, 112-3).
A case study narrative
,,"he ] issue of the conservative Athenian newspaper
Sphazra carned an article describing what it called a 'very peculiar' cere-
1:1Ony tha.t was held in the village of Atrapos (formerly Krapeshtina
) in the
F,lonna dlstnct on to August of that year. In the words of the aCCOunt 'the
sImple populatIOn of the village, in front of God and people, Swore that from
on they will stop using the Slavic idiom in their speech and that they
wdl speak only the Greek Ianguage'.2
, to this article, the had become so encumbered by the
lI1f1uence of repeated SlaVIC II1vaSlOns that they had borrowed from the lan-
guage of the ou:siders and had made their own language, albeit one with a
strong SlavIC IdIOm.' The 'descent' of the Atrapiotes is described as clearly
<?reek. But the so-called 'simple' people of Atrapos now took a heroic deci-
SIon to rid themseives and their language of every Slavic influence. Hence-
would speak o!lly the Greek language, 'clear', the account said,
ltke the Ice cold waters of' their village'. .
Even before dawn. on the Sunday morning of the ceremony, the village
streets were fdled as all the villagers, children included, made their
way to the the VIllage church. This was a historic day in Atrapos. After the
th,e focus of the ceremony turned to the village school yard, filled
a capacIty crowd. On one side of the yard were the Atrapiotes, across
from stood one representatives from other area villages, as
well as Illliitary and polItIcal leaders.
Above the congregation, the Greek flag flew proudly. The militarv band
up anthem. Those among the elderly men who ha'd been
h?hters' (Makedollo111a!;:'/;oi'l) could not constrain their tears.
I he VIllage presIdent spoke, thanking the officials (ejJisil1loi) who had come
to the ceremony. Then he asked his fellow villagers to take the great oath.
Silence fell as the villagers each raised their right hand and repeated after
their president:
I promise in front of God, men, and the official authorities of our
State, that I will stop speaking the Slavic idiom which gives reason
for misunderstanding (/)arexigisi) to the enemies of our country,
the Bulgarians, and that I will speak, everywhere and always, the
official (episimi) language of our country, Greek, in which the Holy
Gospel of Jesus Christ is written.
After the oath, the village teacher addressed the congregation. He was
described by another observer' as a local villager, a 'national worker', a
descendant of a Macedonian fighter priest, and a spiritual guide who had
inspired his co-villagers to take the Greek language oath. Now he told them:
We have decided, with pride, all together, to stop speaking the
foreign idiom which has no relation to our very Greek descent. In
this way, we offer honour and gratitude to those Greek co-patriots
who gave us our freedom with their blood. Long Live the King!
Long Live the Greek State! Long Live our Undefeated Army!
Following this, another villager spoke in his own 'simple' words about the
importance of the oath. A child then recited a poem, and the Prefect
(Nomarch) of Florina closed the ceremony with a patriotic speech and con-
gratulated the people of Atrapos on their decision. After the ceremony, the
heroes' monument of the village was crowned with wreaths, and popular
songs and dances were performed by the Cultural Association 'Aristotle'.r.
Reading this account some thirty years later, the question that has
haunted me the most has been, 'Why?' For what reason did the people of
Atrapos take this oath? What exactly was this 'otherness', the source of all
their 'misunderstandings' with their neighbours? The question of whether
the people of Atrapos were obliged to take this oath or did so voluntarily is
one that I leave to the polemicists.
Transforming identity, constructing consciousness:
nation-building on the Florina frontier
The Greel<s a/J{Joillted me president. I (ooled t/Jell/,
I am a Bulgarian, and I will die a Bulgariall.
(A village /Jresidel1t (rom J(orestia),
At the turn of the century, the Florina area was located in what Evangelos
Kofos has called the central zone of Macedonia.
Your! has argued that this
so-called 'problematic' central zone of Macedonia was inhabited by three
categories of people, classifiable on the basis of their national religious alle-
giance (or a propensity to show such allegiance).9 There were Ellinizondes,
or Orthodox people clearly possessed with Greek leanings; Vou/ganzondes,
or .O,rthodox people who were ostensibly indifferent to Bulgarian Exarchist
religIOus propaganda but who secretly possessed Bulgarian leanings; and
Skhismatikoi, or those with overt Bulgarian leanings who followed the Bul-
garian Exarchate that had been established by the Ottoman authorities in
1872 and openly opposed Hellenism.
The Greek-speaking element in this
zone, was co.ncentrated in urban centres where it participated in the religious,
social, and education sectors of life, thus presenting to the
outsIde world a 'Greek-like' (Ellinophanis) picture of the area."
In 1886, the vast majority (78.4 per cent) of the population of the Florina
(kaza) was aligned with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. By 1900 this
fIgure had dropped to barely half (50.9 per cent; see Table 1), suggesting
perhaps that Bulgarian propaganda had achieved great success in attracting
27.5 per cent of the Florina population. While Bulgarians considered vernac-
ular language or notions of 'racial descent' to be the indices of national
consciousness among the population of this central zone, the Greeks to the
south took religious affiliation, participation in the Greek educational system,
and and use of Greek as a second language to be the defining char-
actenstICS. Greek letters, transmitted through religion, education, and
language, were considered the 'true civilization of the Orient'. 12
Yet such arguments warrant a more in-depth analysis. Existing docu-
mentation, as I will show, makes it apparent that one cannot accept a priori
assumptions about the existence of a Greek national heritage and a Greek
national consciousness in this region prior to its incorporation into the
Greek state. 13 All the more doubtful is the assumption that follows from such
premises, namely that the area's inhabitants accepted such concerns as a
primordial given and simply followed them as a natural course of action.
For example, in his 1925 report on the 'shades' (apokhroseis) of the dis-
trict's the Prefect of Fiorina observed a continuing 'Bulgarian'
presence 111 the area. He concluded that 'the Schismatics have acquired and
retained a Bulgarian consciousness. The Patriarchists [on the other hand]
Table I:. Demographic evolution of the Christian population of the Florina kaza.
Monastrr sancak, 1883-1900 .
Number %
Number % Total
23,730 78.4
6,538 21.6 30,268
17.455 50.9
16,855 49.1 34,310
Source: Vouri (1992) 25
live in a psychic world of timidity, but with the hidden longing and every-
day wish to shal:w off the Greek yolw' (emphasis in original).14 His words
echoed those of his predecessor, written in 1922:
The situation with regard to national sentiments cannot be said to
be pleasant. The population of the Prefecture which is, in its
majority, foreign speaking and from another nation (alloetlmeis;
emphasis added), does not look with delight on any kind of
improvement in our national matters. IS
It is clear that Greek national identity did have a continual presence in Mace-
donia since the turn of the century, due in no small part to the efforts of
Greek educators and priests. But it is equally apparent that Greek national
consciousness (or the hegemony of the nation and its implied legitimization)
took much longer to develop and achieve deep roots. The mere fact that a
portion of the population spoke Greek as a second language at ;he
the century did not not mean that they possessed Greek natIOnal sentIment
(phronima) or consciousness either. Rather, identity and consciousness
changed over time in response to the material circumstances 111 people's
social, economic, and political milieux.
Identity, consciousness, and social collectivities
Human beings engage in social life guided by a particular set of assumptions
concerning the social collectivities of which they are a part. We hold in our
minds certain notions about what those collectivities are, and what our roles
are or should be in such a context. In addressing such issues, a distinction must
be drawn between identity, on the one hand, and consciousness on the other.
Notions of identity (ta{totita) are oriented around normative categories
held in the minds of actors in regard to both themselves and to others. These
are ideal-type constructions, in Weber's sense of the term, as they
certain types of people and the pattern of behaviour one expects such 111dlVld-
uals to exhibit. Identity is therefore subjective and autonomous; It changes
over time, conditioned by the changing perceptions of actors operating in fluid
social fields.
More specifically, when considering issues of ethnic identity, one must
distinguish between its internal and external characteristics. ,The former
include notions of shared descent and a common culture, whIle the latter
entail relationships both with other ethnic groups as well as with the state.'"
Ethnic groups possess a distinct group identification, but this Ol?ly
in conjunction with, and in reaction to, their affiliation with a WIder polIti-
cal field, namely that of the state.
Consciousness (syneidisi), on the other hand, is a phenomenon of qUIte a
different order. It entails a realization of the dominant structures that govern
or frame action in the particular social milieu in which individuals live and
interact. It develops in response to externally imposed material and ideo-
logical conditions. Consciousness does not necessarily mean an under-
standing of the hegemonic dominance of those structures over one's life, but
rather a general awareness of and subscription to imposed definitions of the
world in which one lives.
Consciousness, therefore, includes a set of values and meanings that help
one make sense of and articulate world-views. National consciousness, by
extension, provides a set of signs common to the community of the nation,
according to which the members of that community conceive of themselves
and perceive 'others'. The construction of nations necessarily entails the con-
struction of national consciousness. Both identity and consciousness are con-
structs created through processes of inclusion and exclusion. IH
Since it had been the agents and representatives - both formal and informal
- of the Greek state that had encouraged, organized, and promoted the ritual
ceremony described at the outset of this chaptel; it is important to understand
how such agents perceived the relative degree of 'otherness' manifested by the
area's local inhabitants. Let us therefore pause to examine the diverse compo-
sition of the area's population in the first half of the twentieth century - as
evidenced in the official archives of the Greek state administrators. I'!
The 'national' tapestry of post-i9i3 Florina: a view
from the state
The statistics provided in the Historical Archive of Macedonia/General
Directorate of Macedonia (HAM/GDM) on the national and linguistic com-
position of forty-nine villages in the Florina region
were probably collected
by Greek administrative authorities stationed in Florina immediately after
the area's incorporation into Greece in 1913. In these statistics, villages and
towns were grouped into one of seven categories depending on their per-
ceived national leanings (see Table lI).21 It is significant to note that only
three villages were described as solely Greek, but in two of these three the
local vernacular was listed as Bulgarian, while in the third it was
Only two towns, Florina and Amindeo, the two largest com-
mercial centres in the area, appear to have had a Greek-speaking population,
but even here, these were mixed communities of both Greeks and Bulgari-
ans whose inhabitants spoke both languages.
Factoring out Turks and focusing only on the Christian population, while
38.6 per cent of Christians were described as 'Greek', none were monolin-
gual in Greek (see Table V). Put another way, there were no monolingual
Greek speakers among the Florina population during the period 1911-15.
Of those multilinguals who were described as 'Greek' and could speak
Greek, 52.8 per cent also spoke Bulgarian, 32.5 per cent also spoke
Koutsovlach, and 14.7 per cent also spoke Albanian. On the other hand,
Table II: National groups inhabiting 49 Florina villages, 1914 (by village)
National groups No. of vii/ages %
Greeks, Turks, Bulgarians 4 8.2
Greeks, Bulgarians 11 22.5
Greeks 3 6.1
Greeks, Roumanizondes' 3 6.1
Bulgarians, Turks 3 6.1
Turks 13 26.5
Bulgarians 12 24.5
Total 49 100.0
Source: HAM/OGM, File no. 53
propaganda agents had been active among the Vlach populations of the
Balkans. The term Roumanizondes was used in these archives In reference to those
Vlachs who did not declare themselves 'Greek' (as many tended to do), but were Instead
inclined to Romanian national identity.
the overwhelming majority of Christian population (59.4 per cent) w:re
described as 'Bulgarians', as many as 70 per cent of whom were monolll1-
gual in Bulgarian only. These,. acc?rding t? official
archives, were the political andlmgmstlc that the GI eek faced
when it assumed national control over the Honna regIon 111 191.): " .
Ten years later, on 13 January 1925, the of the Prefect 111 Flonna
sent to the General Directorate of Thessalol1li<I a statistICal report .the
'various shades' of the prefecture's population.
In this document, distlI1c-
tions were drawn on the bases of religious belief (SchismatICs 52.1 per cent
and Patriarchists 23 per cent), linguistic affiliation (Vlachophone Greeks 5.8
per cent and Vlachophone Romanians 0.7 per cent), and the apparently
Table III: National groups inhabiting 49 Florina villages, 1914 (by population)
National group No. of people % of total population
Bulgarian 20,189 42.1
Turk 13,860 29.0
Greeks 13,111 27.4
Roumanizondes 695 1.5
Total 47,855 100.0
Source: HAM/GOM, File no. 53
Table IV: Language spoken in 49 Florina villages, 1914
Language category spoken
No. of people % of total population
Koutsovlach-G reek
Source> HAM/GDM, File no. 53
residual categories of indigenous Greeks (3.4 per cent) and refugees (15 per
cent; see Table VI).
Perhaps more interesting than the numbers provided in this document is
the discussion of the categories of 'Schismatics' (Shhismatilwi) and 'PatI'i-
archists' (Patriarhhilwi). The report's author maintained that the vast major-
ity of the prefecture's population were indeed Slavic speakers. Moreover, he
went on to assert that even 'the Patriarchists' were not a solid group of reli-
able Greek supporters. He claimed that while they had been supporters of
the 'Greek idea' prior to 1912, these Patriarchists did not have a consoli-
dated and unshakeable national consciousness, and that there was a very
real danger that they would move back to the Schismatics and again change
their sentiments.
Table V: Languages spoken by declared Greeks, 1914
Language category spoken
No. of people % of total population
Source: HAM/GDM, File no. 53
1 Concentrated in the mercantile centres of Florina and Amindeo
Table VI: 'Shades' of the Florina population, 1925
Category No. of people % of total population
Schismatics 28,673 52.1
Patriarchists 12,628 23.0
Refugees 8,230 15.0
Vlachophone Greek-leaning 3,176 5.8
Indigenous Greeks 1,862 3.4
Vlachophone Roumanizondes 416 0.7
Total 54,985 100.0
Source: HAM/GMD, File no. 90, Confidential Letter, Protocol no. 6
The same year (1925), Salvanos, Chief of Staff of the Tenth Army Division
of Western Macedonia, wrote a study on the 'ethnological composition' of the
Florina area and the possibilities for resettling refugees there." In it, he recog-
nized that only a minority of the region's population had a pure Greek
consciousness which had been strengthened through Greek propaganda
during the Macedonian Struggle. Salvanos noted that the Slavophone popu-
lation was divided among those with fanatical Greek sentiments
(Ellinophrones), fanatic Bulgarian sentiments (VolIlgaro/)/;rcmes),'" and those
who were indifferent to nationality, being concerned only WIth maintaining
their lives and livelihoodsY The latter, he maintained, call themselves 'Mace-
donians' (Ma/wdones), and constituted the bulk of the region's population
(making up between one-half and three-quarters of any given village's popu-
lation). The Bulgarian fanatics usually constituted one-quarter to one-half of
a village's population, but sometimes made up entire villages. The Greek
fanatics, on the other hand, were widely but thinly dispersed throughout the
region, being represented in each village by only one to five families. Only four
of the thirty communities surveyed were composed entirely of FJlino/J/Jrolles.
Ten years later still, in 1935, on the eve of the Metaxas dictatorship,
Athanasios Souliotis-Nikolaidis, then Prefect of Florina, sent a letter to a
government minister which included a table listing the number of families in
each of ninety-three villages in the F10rina Prefecture, and ascribed to each of
these families certain national sentiments or leanings,"x There were two major
categories in the table: one referring to families with 'foreign morale' (WIth
specific sub-categories of Slav, .Romanian, and Albanian), the other referring
to those families that were 'foreign speakers' (that is, Greeks in national
consciousness but speakers of Slavic, Vlach or Albanian).2" Of the 11,683
families listed, 56.3 per cent were accredited by the Prefect with a Slavic
national consciousness, while 41.3 per cent were 'foreign speakers' with
Greek national consciousness (Table VII). Of the prefecture's ninety-three
villages, sixty-five had mixed Greek-Slav populations, ten were inhabited
entirely by Slavs, eight entirely by Greeks, and four entirely by Vlachs (Table
VIII). Thirty-two per cent of these mixed villages were comprised of 80 per
cent or more Slavs, while only 3 per cent were made up of 80 per cent or more
Several things are clear from these official Greek sources. First, while
there was a Greek presence in the Florina area prior to 1913, it was not as
strong as that of the Slavs. Moreover, to the extent that a Greek national
consciousness existed among Slavic-speakers of the region prior to 1913,
these documents indicate that it was not a solid, unchangeable, immutable
phenomenon. I would like to suggest that the controversies and debates
currently raging along such lines inadvertently misdirect attention from a
n:uch more important historical and political phenomenon: that is, the inor-
dll1ate success of Greek nation-building processes in Macedonia as
compared to similar processes in other nation-states of the Balkans. In Greek
Ma.cedonia, the vast majority of people of Slavic descent eventually came to
defll1e themselves as 'Greek'.
How did this great achievement of nation-building come about? How
were Greek national identity and consciousness constructed and projected
this diverse local population? Through what media did the hege-
111011lC forces of Greek nationalism conquer the hearts and minds of this
diverse local tapestry? It is to these issues that we now turn.
Emigration, deportation, and refugee resettlement
1913-35 '
In the light of the above evidence, the motivations behind the poiicies and
practices of Greek government administrators in the Florina region during
Table VII: National consciousness of the population in 93 villages of the Florina
Prefecture, 1935
No. of famHies
'Foreign sentiment'
'Foreign speakers' with Greek sentiment
Source: Archives of Athanasios Souliotis-Nikolaidis, Prefect of Florina, File
no.2/11, Document no. 51, 6 August 1935 (Lithoksoou 1992)
Table VIII: National groups inhabiting 93 villages of the Florina Prefecture, 1935
(by village)
National category of inhabitants No. of vii/ages %
Greek and Slav 65 69.9
Slav 10 10.8
Greek 8 8.6
Romanian 4 4.3
Greek and Romanian 2 2.2
Albanian, Greek, and Slav 2 2.2
Albanian and Greek 1.0
Albanian, Greek and Romanian 1.0
Albanian 0 0.0
Total 93 100.0
Source: Archives of Athanasios Souliotis-Nikolaidis, Prefect of Florina File no. 2/11,
Document no. 51 , 6 August 1935 (Lithoksoou 1992)
the decades following incorporation become more clear. The J 9205 was a
period marked by out-migration,1O displacement and deportation, as Greek
government policy was geared towards the systematic removal of all Voui-
garophrol1es, coupled with a voluntary exchange of populations between
Greece and Bulgaria.
There are also reports of deportation and internal
exile involving individuals from the districts of Thessaloniki, Serres, Kasto-
ria, Florina, and Grevena. Those targeted for removal from the region were
labelled as dangerous threats to public order, owing to their ll1volvement in
propaganda activities of the Bulgarian 'committee members' (komitad-
jides).12 The preferred places for resettling these displaced persons were in
the island areas of the country and especially on Crete."
By the later 1920s, the Greek authorities had taken steps to curtail vol-
untary emigration to Bulgaria, fearing that these people would migrate and
begin a campaign against the Greek state. The Prefecture of Flonna stopped
issuing passports to local inhabitants wishing to travel abroad. \01 to
Bulgaria or other suspect destinations faced even greater hurdles if they
attempted to return to Greece. State officials instructed local authorities to
investigate the 'sentiment' (phronima) of such individuals, their activities
both before and after emigrating, and the extent of the properties they
owned in Greece.'5 The 1928 cenSllS reported that only 38,562 Slavophones
remained in the Florina Prefecture.
Many of those deported or were replaced (as were the Turks
who left Greece after the Treaty of Lallsanne in 1923) in their local com-
munities by resettled Greek refugees (fJrosphyges) from ASIa Minor and
Thrace. Refugee settlement in the Greek Macedonian countryside was
actively encouraged, for the purpose of strengthening a Greek presence in
the area. Such, apparently, were the concerns of the Prefect of Florina when
in 1925 he asked in a letter to his superiors whether the 'refugee masses'
could 'influence in an assimilationist way the foreign-speaking element?'J6 In
the short term, the strategy had little success. Few refugees spoke metropol-
itan Greek, most communicating with each other in Pontic Greek or in Turk-
ish. Turkish, moreovel; was sometimes used as a common lingua franca for
refugees and local Slavo-Macedonians, many of whom spoke Turkish as well
as Slavic. In 1925, Greek military officials argued that it was imperative to
provide economic incentives to encourage the settlement of Greek-speaking
refugees, especially those arriving from Thrace, in Greek Macedonia
(HAM/GDM (see note 25)). It was hoped that this would help to 'condense'
the area's population, then still largely living in compact Slavo-Macedonian
communities. Resettling Greek-speaking refugees in such villages was seen
as essential.
Nevertheless, it had by then also become clear that wherever refugees
were resettled, intra-community disputes over land ownership were almost
inevitable. Mavrogordatos noted that 'Slavo-Macedonian natives reacted
strongly and often violently to the massive settlement of Greek refugees and
to their occupation of fields they had themselves coveted or even cultivated
in the past' .JH Certainly, Slavo-Macedonians were not the only ones to resent
the arrival of refugees or the loss of long-envied, highly coveted productive
property to the newcomers. Yet by 1928, fourteen of 104 villages in the Fio-
rina Prefecture were dominated by newly arrived refugee settlers; an addi-
tional twenty-one villages had small numbers of refugee families settled
among Slavic-speaking iocals (dopioi).J9 My own survey of the Fiorina Pre-
fecture in 1993 found Slavic speakers (or their descendants) present in well
over half of the area's ninety villages (see Table IX).
Bulgarian propaganda
A leading factor in these involuntary displacements and deportations was
that Bulgarian propaganda in the area apparently continued to gain ground
after the region's incorporation into Greece. As early as 1922, the Greek
military were doing their best to halt the activities of the Bulgarian propa-
gandists and the spread of a Macedonian autonomist movement,'10 Whiie
some reports attribute most incidents to isolated occurrences perpetrated by
bands of Komitadjides;" the fact remains that this autonomist movement
was quite active in the area at the time,"2 It had made significant inroads
among both the Slavic-speaking and Turkish populations of the region by
expanding its political platform to include the question of Thrace;11 and the
Greek authorities were convinced that the group's ultimate goal was even-
tually to partition Macedonia and Thrace between Bulgaria and Turkey,"4
Table IX: Composition of villages, Florina Prefecture, 1993
'Locals' (dopiot)
No. of villages
Slavic speakers
'Refugees' (prosfighes)
Pontic Greek
Slavic-speakers, Pontic Greeks
Slavic-speakers, Arvanites
Slavic-speakers, Vlachs
Slavic-speakers, Gypsies
Slavic Speakers, Pontic Greeks & Arvanites
Slavic-speakers, Pontic Greeks & GypSies
Slavic-speakers, Arvanites, Pontic Greeks
& Thrakiotes
Source: author's survey, 1993
Numbers given do not appear to total 100 due to rounding.
1 ,1
Such conclusions were based on the rhetoric of the Bulgarian Committees
themselves, as evidenced in their propaganda leaflets distributed among the
population of Greek Macedonia. For example, in March 1922 there was
convened in Serres a Congress of the Macedonian Committee which issued
a proclamation to the peoples of Macedonia protesting against what it called
the 'Greek occupation' of Macedonia. It stated that, despite a thirty-year
struggle, they had not yet achieved a victory and that therefore 'one COUll-
try li.e. Macedonia] is still divided and occupied by a regime worse than that
of the Ottomans',''' According to these revolutionaries, the Internal Mace-
donian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was the only force fighting for
the liberation of all the people of Macedonia - Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks,
Jews and Vlachs - without discrimination. Greece was regarded as an enemy
'against which all oppressed peoples should unite in common opposition,"".
Understandably, the Greek authorities went to great lengths to II1vestJ-
gate the activities of suspected Bulgarian sympathizers. Bands frol11 Bulgaria,
Albania, and Serbia (see below) were constantly slipping across the Greek
border to conduct propaganda activities. Only during harsh winters, such as
the one of 1922, did their activities in the Florina area subside,"7 As a result,
the Greek government kept up a constant vigil over its borders, guarding
them with both army regiments and the Gendarmerie. These soldiers were
brought to the area from Southern Greece because recruits native to the area
were considered 'bad guardians' of the borders and very untrustworthy,"H
A major incident that serves to illustrate how extreme outbreaks of vio-
lence occurred in the area relates to the so-called 'Dynamite Attempt' in the
town of Florina on 16 November 1925:'9 The bombing occurred in the
coffee shop Dietlmes in central Florina just after nightfall. Around 6.00 pm,
two otherwise unarmed men entered the door and tossed hand grenades into
the coffee shop, injuring two children in the explosion. The suspects then
fled, allegedly towards the Albanian border, where many Iwmitad;ides found
sanctuary from Greek authorities. The following day, the Gendarmerie of
Florina conducted an investigation. Ten individuals were arrested and sent
to Kozani to be tried by Military Court, while another forty-seven people
were arrested on suspicion of collaborating with the Iwmitad;ides. The
Commission on Public Order judged the latter to be dangerous threats to
society and exiled them to the islands of Skyros and Andros for a period of
six months.'"
At the same time, other propaganda was coming in from Serbia, chan-
nelled through the consulate of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes, as Yugoslavia was then known, in Thessaloniki. These efforts
reflected Serbia's growing interest in the Slavic speakers of Macedonia,
whom they claimed in fact to be Southern Serbs. By 1925, Serbian agents
were reportedly very active in the Florina area, urging the population to reg-
ister themselves as Serbian citizens." The Greek authorities were under-
standably alarmed by these developments. One report claimed that many
Slavic speakers in the area had become hostile towards any 'Greek idea' and
were now 'running' for Serbian protection, hoping to have Serbia act as an
intermediary on their behalf with the Greek authorities."
To counter these foreign efforts to gain control of Greek Macedonia, the
Greek government attempted to present a picture to the outside world that
the region was definitively 'Greek'. One incident in particular serves to illu-
minate the anxiety of the Greek authorities. In 1926, the International Com-
mission for the Study of Minorities in Macedonia toured the area.
Government authorities directed teachers to hold Greek festivities (eIJideix-
eis) in the schools for the benefit of the visiting investigators. Teachers also
told schoolchildren that the Minister of Education would be travelling along
the Edessa-Florina railway, and that in order to please him they were to line
the railroad tracks, holding Greek flags in their hands and singing patriotic
marches. Students were also instructed that if approached by members of the
Commission on the streets or at the railway station and asked if they knew
any language other than Greek, they were to answer no. The event was
reported as a great success.
In conjunction with their attempts to portray the inherent 'Greekness' of
the area to outsiders, the Greek authorities also actively suppressed all
social and political movements aiming at the autonomy of Macedonia.
Despite the fact that the area had been part of Greece for more than a
decade, a large proportion of the local population was still hostile to Greek
sovereignty and conditions in the region were far from tranquil. The Greek
state attempted to consolidate its control over the area through a dual
approach involving surveillance and repression on the part of the military
and the police,'" on the one hand, and institutionalized forums of national
education on the other.
Repression and violence, 1935-49
By the time of the Metaxas dictatorship (1936-41), conditions in the region
apparently justified harsher, more repressive actions on the part of Greek
authorities. It was during this period that prohibitions against the use of
Slavic languages (either in public or private) were first implemented. Viola-
tors were subjected to steep fines/' forced to drink castor oil, or in some
cases even beaten. Night schools were set up in which adult men and women
were taught Greek.\(' Individuals were obliged to change their names from
Slavic forms to Greek ones. There were also stepped-up activities surround-
ing ritual commemorations of Greek national holidays. Local inhabitants
were obliged to display a Greek flag in homes and shops on local and
national holidays. Some even embarked on house-painting campaigns in
which the homes of area residents were white-washed and decorated with
blue trim to resemble the colours of the Greek flag.
In 1941 the Axis forces occupied Greece. While the Germans tended to
concentrate in the towns, their Bulgarian allies, who were allowed to
occupy \X1estern Thrace and part of Macedonia, moved more fluidly
through the countryside, stepping up their nationalist propaganda in the
process. The occupation created a sharp polarization among the area's
inhabitants, some collaborating with the occupiers, others resisting by
allying themselves with either Greek nationalist forces or the communist-led
National Liberation Front (EAM) and its National Popular Liberation
Army (ELAS).5H Slavo-Macedonian participation in the Greek resistance
forces of the ELAS was strong.
Following the Axis occupation, conditions in the Florina countryside
approached a Hobbesian state of nature. Mark Mazower' <) has noted that
Greek national forces persecuted communist partisans more than they did
former collaborators with the Germans. Many Slavo-Macedonians endured
great hardships at this time. As one respondent put it: 'I didn't want to go
with the Bulgarians. I wanted to protect my country and so I jOll1ed ELAS.
What did they want me to do? In return for my patriotism they sent me into
exile'. Many SIavo-Macedonians who were not exiled eventually allied
themselves with the communists, who at one point held out the promise of
a future independent Macedonian state, during the Civil War (1947-49).',0
Armed conflict was particularly fierce in the mountains of western Greek
Macedonia. Combatants on both sides of the civil conflict burned villages,
executed opponents, and abducted children. After the communist defeat,
many Greek communists and Slavo-Macedonians alike fled to Yugoslavia
and beyond, taking with them as many as 28,000 children,'" who were reset-
tled in various parts of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Reconciliation and reconstructing the nation,
The 1950s were a period of reconciliation in the Florina area. The most
fanatic Slavs, so to speak, had left Greece and those who remained had a
vivid memory of the retribution and destruction that had been inflicted upon
them since 1913 and during the Second World War and the Civil War. Their
overt peacefulness reflected their willingness now to integrate themselves
into Greek society.61 As many of those Slavo-Macedonians imprisoned after
the Civil War were then being released and returning to their native com-
munities, the Greek authorities and their local agents once again stepped up
their efforts to promote a Greek national consciousness among the area's
By 1959, the year of the language oaths, the Bulgarian threat had disap-
peared from the political arena. But the principal axis of conflict and con-
test had by then shifted to one involving Greece and Yugoslavia. It is
important, however, to contextualize developments in Greece in the light of
events taking place across the border. The creation of the Yugoslav Social-
ist Republic of Macedonia in 1944 was akin to a nation-building process.
The Slavic vernacular spoken in that southernmost region of Yugoslavia and
in north-western Greece became the standardized Macedonian language for
that new republic. Regional authorities also stepped up their own efforts to
present themselves as a separate 'nation', distinct from neighbouring Serbia
and Bulgaria. A national 'Macedonian' history found its roots in this period,
as scholars attempted to link the ancestry of the region's present population
to the glorious legacy of Alexander the Great, Cyril and Methodius, and
other illustrious historical personages that would help legitimize the exis-
tence of a separate 'Macedonian' nation in the present day."'
However, a lingering consciousness - or perhaps a subconciousness - of
Slavo-Macedonian identity continued to persist among much of the local
population. Consider a story related to me by a Graecoman"\ and former
president of a village in the F10rina area:
One day, while en mute to a nearby village on an administrative
errand in the company of a Greek I i.e. non-local I policeman, the
Graecoman and the Greek encountered a local farmer out
ploughing his fields. Having difficulties with a recalcitrant ox, the
farmer was cursing the beast in Slavic. The Greek policeman
summoned him over to them and began writing a fine. When the
policeman asked the man for his name, the latter, in confusion,
gave him two different names.
The policeman became angry and asked if the man were
making fun of him. He then grabbed the man, forced open his
mouth, and extinguished his burning cigarette on the farmer's
As the man screamed in pain, the Graecoman village president
grabbed the Greek policeman by the throat and lifted him up in the
air. 'Don't you ever let me catch you doing that again', he warned.
'I will beat you to pulp (tha se spaso sto ksilo).'
Such a vignette is revealing in several aspects. First, it demonstrates that as
late as thel950s the Slavic vernacular was still widely used by the local pop-
ulation. Second, it points to the ways in which Greek policemen sometimes
abused their power and terrorized the local Slavic-speakers. Third, and per-
haps most importantly, it is indicative of the mediating role played by inter-
stitial Graecomani as local agents of the Greek state.
While they identified with Hellenism, some Graecomalll at least also
acted as protective patrons for their local neighbours, guarding them against
the abuses of power that occasionally appeared in the course of national
assimilation. These bilingual Greek and Slavic speakers filled positions such
as those of village president, teacher, or priest, or of local officials. Unlike
those of the regional or prefectural administrators, who came to the area
from other parts of Greece, the personal experiences of the Graecomal1i
made them more sensitive to the subtle and delicate nuances involved in the
complex process of national assimilation.
What were those nuances? Given what by all contemporary accounts
was a complex picture of religious and national (not to mention ethnic)
affiliations among the region's population, how was it that the Greek
state was able to construct a national consciousness, or a common
national culture of co-existence if you will, in this area? Through what
means were agents of Greek national identity able to project a hege-
monic Hellenism among the local population, re-orienting their con-
sciousness of existence primarily to a broad field of social interaction
defined as being part of the Greek nation-state? Has this hegemony
been total? Or do competing definitions of identity and contesting
expressions of consciousness still manifest themselves, and if so where,
when, why and how? To understand these issues, let us examine the
role of the agents or 'importers' of national consciousness, and the role
of education in particular.
The importers of national consciousness
Social scientists now widely recognize tint ident't ,I, '
constru't t1, i f I ,< I Y ane conSCIOusness are
, c s; le proc ucts 0 lllman agency. Both are established and dehned
111 OPPOsition to something they are not, an 'other' as it ,., I " '
to understand t1" ,.,', wei e. n <1ttemptll1g
.' f' G le constl uctlon of national c,onsciousness in the FI()I'I'll'l
legIOn 0 reece W' 'II 'I ' '
,f' . , ,I I' e WI exal11l1le t le ,actIvities of those who might be
re el re( to as t Ie 'agents' or '" .. ,.' f' , L
Ai' ,1m pOI tel s 0 national conSCiousness
" ' Illg to Greenfeld,('" ,the adoption of a national or COIl-
by a gIven populatIOn IS linked to the interests of influen-
,it ,a g!ven area promulgate it
t't ' ,,' 'I, y le pi ocess, such agellts often cnange their ielen-
I y: y or not, because their own structural position; within local
Society become transformed as the locale becomes linked witl ' I .. ,'"
nOmIC so' I I r' I 1 a algel eco-
' 'f' Cia" anc po ItlCa arena. By brokering or mediating the iI111)()J"t'l-
IOn 0 a national-level ident't I ' <
d"", . ' ' I Y anc COIlSClousness among an ethnical! T
Ivel se population at the local level, sllch agents invest themselves widl
of social, or political capital, the value of is linked t:)
II1terstI.tIaI (nation) state and locale.
t't t, t e analytIca I chstll1ction that needs to be made
)e ",:elen I
! na, and external' agents of national identity and conscic)lls-
ess n t le Honn'l ' ' :l I ' '
t' ':i ' " '" 1< countryslc e, t le former consisted primarily of school
leI s, arge landowners, and merchants. The prestige th'lt such
I enJoyed, in their social milieux was transformed into< )(;wer
they became meehators of state ancllocal relations In the light !f tI .
to find that it was the teacher son of the
10 pel suac ec t le vdhgers of At I I t
, ,I I ' < " rapos to ta <e t leir language o,1th He
usee t le power vested 111 him b)T t1", f" <.
identity. le state to trans orm local notions of
, At the same ti,l11e, there were also 'external' 'lgellt f " I
SClOl > 'I r l L S 0 natlona con-
"lsness, 11K uc ll1g )ureaucrats, government officials, tax collectors
polIcemen, and army personnel Yet while tl ,', . fl "
fol' 1" ., , lell 111 uence was often pro-
.. une 111 'dc en,sely populated admll1lstrative and commercial centres in tl '
country's! e It W'lS pr' '1 I' , , ' , le
<, Il11all y t le ll1terstItIaI Gl'aecomall loC'I I' ' ,
played the most critical roles. There, the function of eduC'ltion
Importance II1 Hellenizing the region's Slavic-speakers. in all
that have
amll1ed t,here IS one consistent theme: the educatiOll'l1 systell1'
was Il1tenc ee to serve 'I < < ,
, , ' a natlona purpose; it was a focal lIlStitlltl'()11 f
natIOnal conversIOn. 0
The role of education
Vourl,'; II
f' I
, in the 187()s, the promotion of Greek lettel's as a
synno 0 llg 1 cu t .' I . ,< <
1lI e 111 t Ie regIon was very much a policy of the Greek
nation-state to the south."7 Accordingly, the rhetoric they adopted to pro-
mote irredentist policies was disseminated through Greek education and
through allegiance to the Greek Patriarchate, the two defining characteris-
tics of one's 'Greekness'."H The Greek language was a tool of communication
that people from Macedonia learned in order to secure a position in the
structural division of labour."?
But through several generations the acquisition of a Greek education, in
conjunction with the incorporation of the region into Greece in 1913, macle
those with 'Greek letters' the unconscious agents of Hellenism and Greek
national consciousness - an issue to which I shall return below, While the idea
of Hellenism found roots among many Vlachophones and Slavophones in the
area before 1913, it was the subsequent creation of national consciousness -
through education - that eventually made the area unquestionably 'Greek'.
One must distinguish here between two distinct yet interrelated national
collectivities. The first, dominant during the years preceding incorporation
in 1913, relied heavily on the Greek Church and Greek national educational
policies to attract members; the second, which rose to dominance after 1913,
used more overtly and covertly coercive methods of state integration, The
Hellenic community at the turn of the century was territorially poorly
defined. Rather, it was a largely 'imaginary' and ideological coml11ul1lty that
found its definition in the alleged superiority of Greek culture and letters.
The community of the Greek nation-state, on the other hand, was territori-
ally concrete. At the same time, however, the Greek nation-state not only
made allusions to an imaginary community among members of a high cul-
ture, but also (following the region's incorporation) provided the bureau-
crats, army, police, administrative personnel, and 'national' teachers to
disseminate the notion of membership in a national collectivity - and the
inherent superiority of that collectivity - among the local population,
In both cases, however, education was a focal institution of conversion. As
Voud" put it, there existed a 'dialectical relation between the aims of educa-
tion and national goals'. On the level of policy formulation and the subse-
quent creation of ideology, it was believed that when the aims of education
were attained and the population learned Greek language, letters, and civi-
lization, they would eventually come to conceive of themselves as Greeks.
Thus one sees that, at the turn of the century, educational activities were
conditioned by nationalist ideologies. The educational and religious institu-
tions of that time took as their mission the transformation of national con-
sciousness among the Christians of Macedonia. But this enterprise continued
to be most successful only in urban areas, owing mainly to the fact that
formal schooling had little practical utility for Slavic-speaking agricultural-
ists in the central zone, where the region of Flm'ina was situated.
Greek government archives indicate that in 1913 only sixteen out of
forty-nine villages in the Florina district had functioning schools and kinder-
It is significant that in all sixteen villages with Greek schools a
Table X: Schools and kindergartens, Florina District, 1913
School type No. of Total no. Males % Females %
schools of students
High school 5 437 376 86 61 14
Girls' high school 2 141 0 0 141 100
Primary 11 180 119 66 61 34
Kindergarten 16 622 321 52 301 48
Total 34 1,380 816 59 564 41
Source: HAM/GDM, File no. 53, 'Statistics on Greek Schools'
portion of the population did declare themselves to be Greek.7' Not one of
the villages listed as populated by 'Bulgarians' had a school.7" Higher educa-
tional institutions, such as the Astilws Skholes (high schools), existed in only
five towns and villages. With the exception of Florina, all of these commu-
nities were inhabited by Vlachs, the majority of whom declared themselves
to be 'Greeks', while a few identified themselves as Roumanizondes or those
with Romanian national sentiment.
The fact remains, however, that by 1925 the achievements of Greek edu-
cational institutions in the area were mimmal. As the Prefect of Florina
reported to the General Directorate of Macedonia,"" schools did not function
properly for a number of reasons, including a lack of materials, facilities and
capable teachers. Nor did they make efforts to provide a special linguistic
programme for 'foreign speakers'. Instead, children throughout the region
were taught with the same textbooks used in Athenian schools. Moreover,
local authorities often brought charges against parents who neglected to
send their children to school, thus creating an 'aversion to Greek letters
land] impatience and hatred towards the Greek administration'.77 The Greek
schools thus functioned only formally, and children learned to read and
write Greek only with the greatest of difficulties.
The Prefect maintained that teachers in the area were poorly trained and
had no ambitions. Their pedagogy created no 'civilizing influence' and failed
to construct a Greek national consciousness among the students. He sug-
gested that, in order to solve this problem, a new cohort of teachers would
have to be recruited from among the best in southern Greece, those who not
oniy possessed adequate knowledge but would also be capable of fostering
the creation of national sentiment (phronima) among their local students. In
order to attract such teachers, it was suggested that the government offer
moral and financial incentives and arrange for easier promotions. Schools,
the Prefect cautioned, should be real schools, with an authority that would
enable their students to graduate with 'consciousness and pride that they
could not only speak and write the Greek language but [couldl feel and think
like Greeks','H
For villagers living in their own communities where intercourse with the
outside world was limited to personal networks of marriage and economic
exchange, local school-teachers represented the principal civil servants with
whom they would come into regular contact. But many of these teachers
were apparently of low intellectual calibre. Most were mere graduates of
area high schools, although a few had graduated from Educational Acade-
mies (Didaslwleia).7,! Some, in fact, were themselves only fifth- and sixth-
grade graduates appointed to teaching positions under Law 1197, which
enabled many inexperienced, ill-trained, or fraudulent teachers to obtain
positions simply by swearing oaths and signing statements that they had lost
their diplomas.
The books in the schools only served to create 'disap-
pointment' (apogoitefsi) and 'aversion' (apostl'Ophi) towards Greek letters
and Greek education.
These archives readily indicate that by 1925 the Greek educational
system, as established in the newly incorporated areas of Macedonia, was
not attaining the goals for which it was intended. The assimilation of the
local Slavic-speaking population and the creation of a Greek national con-
sciousness among them was still a long way off. Even those Slavic-speakers
who did send their children to school continued to speak 'Bulganan' in their
homes, at their public meetings, in their associations, and at their festivities,
weddings, and holidays. They showed no signs of love towards their new
country - an observation particularly true of the older generation.
the fact that education had been made compulsory through law, many par-
ents were willing to pay fines instead of sending their children to Greek
All these archives consistently recommend several measures to remedy
this discouraging situation: (1) to bring in the best-qualified teachers from
the south and to provide them with incentives, bonuses, and special
promotions until the local Slavic population produced its own indigenous
Greek-trained teachers; (2) to emphasize education among the very young
(that is, kindergarten) and among women (night schools and schools on
Sundays); (3) to provide free higher education for those Siavophone children
who want to go on to the educational academies; (4) to establish night
schools for the elderly in every village; and (5) to make elementary education
By the time of the Metaxas dictatorship, the linguistic situation in the
region remained at crisis proportions. In 1938, an Athenian teacher who
worked in the Edessa area wrote a confidential report evaluating efforts to
Hellenize Western Macedonia and stressed the importance of the recently
enacted language prohibitions.
The importance of these prohibitions, he
argued, lay in the fact that on the surface they provided for a uniform
appearance, so that visitors to the area and local inhabitants alike would see
and feel that it was part of Greece. More importantly, on a deeper level 'the
young children will finally understand that they live in Greece, and that the
Greel< lessons are /tot taught in schools as foreign lessons' (emphasis in
original). H3
His observations grasped the twofold significance of the language prohi-
bitions: on the one hand they contributed to the consolidation of a particu-
lar nexus of external characteristics of (national) group identity; on the
other, they were efforts geared towards the internalization of national con-
cepts and group characteristics, especially in the hearts and minds of the
young and ideologically malleable.
Although reports from the 1920s suggested that schools in the area were
falling short in their national mission because of scarcity of educational
materials, disrepair of facilities, poorly qualified teachers, and irregular
attendance, after the 1950s education came to assume a more prominent
and successful role in influencing the national identity and consciousness of
the region's population. The explanation lies in the fact that by then most
avenues of economic and social mobility had been restricted to education.
Many parents came to realize that their children had little chance of improv-
ing their relative socio-economic position if they continued to learn only
Slavic. A form of linguistic self-censorship came to be imposed in the home,
with many parents discouraging their children from speaking Slavic. To the
extent that the latter continued to learn the language, they did so primarily
through their grandparents, who at the same time learned Greek from their
Clearly, it took several generations for the Greek language and Greek
national consciousness to take hold among the Slavic-speaking population
of Greek Macedonia. By and large, those among the local population who
received Greek schooling did tend to redirect their identity, sympathies, and
loyalties to the Greek nation-state. But the fact remains that such individu-
als were few in number, at least until the 1950s. It was only after the Second
World War - and especially with the advent of free higher education in the
1960s - that education became both more widely available and also an
increasingly important resource through which families and individuals
could pursue concrete economic interests. It was only then that the assimi-
lationist goals of the Greek national educational system came to achieve
their intended results. Yet even these accomplishments were predicated on
the earlier removal of the most 'fanatic Slavs' from the area, leaving few
options to those Slavic-speakers that remained. Today, most of the school
children no longer speak Slavic, and the vast majority of the Slavic-speak-
ing (and formerly Slavic-speaking) population identify themselves with the
Greek national collectivity.
The inordinate success of nation-building in Greek Macedonia (especially
when evaluated against the experience of other Balkan countries) was due
in no small part to the ability of the agents of Hellenism to bring about an
internalization of certain normative frames of reference in the minds of a
population. I-laving identified educators as the agents or importers of Greek
national consciousness in the Florina area, let us pause to consider several
arenas in which such new national concepts, values, and notions of collec-
tive membership took hold among the local population. We must examine
the tools and mechanisms through which such concepts were internalized by
them. This brings us to a discussion of language, holidays, and ntuals.
The internalization of national concepts: language
and ritual
While language is an external marker of identity, it is also a principal
medium through which internal characteristics of identity are framed and
expressed. lingUists have long recognized that language, as a medium of
cultural communication, embodies a structured pattern of concepts that
affect or even determine our interpretation of the world around us. H,I It
enables us to communicate with those who cohabit our social milieux. Its
diversity, its 'borrowed idioms' so to speak, are testimony to the fluid char-
acter of those social fields. With the shift from a Siavo-Macedonian vernac-
ular to a Greek one, a new set of semantic categories was imported into local
culture and internalized in the minds of the local population.
During the late Ottoman period, the Greek language was considered an
expression of 'high culture' in the Balkans. The countryside was a patch-
work of numerous ethnic groups, many with their own vernaculars. Greek-
speakers were concentrated primarily in cities and towns, and Greek was the
lingua franca of administration and commerce regardless of one's ethnic or
national affiliation. Those Christians who aspired to upward mobility
within the Ottoman Empire were obliged to acquire a facility in Greek.
The Sultan's firman, which established the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870,
provided that any Christian community in which two-thirds of the
inhabitants so desired could withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Greek
Patriarchate and place itself under the authority of the Bulgarian
Exarchate. HI In effect, the firmall precipitated a national struggle between
two emergent nation-states over the population and territory of Macedonia.
In the early phases of this struggle the contest was expressed in ecclesiastical
terms, but later this fa<;ade dropped and the mutually opposed interests of
the two secular states clashed together more openly. Yet throughout this
period of contest, language was regarded by the Bulgarians as a - if not the
- principal indicator of national identity, while the Greeks (as noted above)
stressed religion, education, and a knowledge of Greek, although not
necessarily as one's first language or native tongue.
The Slavo-Macedonians were caught in a no-man's-land between the
converging frontiers of Greek and Bulgarian nationalism. Their language is
of the Slavic family, and has a close affinity with Bulgarian. Bulgarian
nationalists, of course, claimed that the Slavo-Macedonian vernacular was
simply a dialect of Bulgarian, an assessment echoed by their Greek counter-
parts, who disparaged it and stigmatized it as a 'non-language', a mere
'idiom' of Bulgarian, or a 'gypsy language' (gyflhtilw).
Beyond the debates that currently rage over the status of the Macedon-
ian language or non-languageS!' lie more fundamental issues. Through the
political positioning of Greek and Bulgarian nationalists at the turn ~ f the
century and Greek and Macedonian nationalists at the present day, Slavo-
Macedonians and their vernacular were relegated to a 'low' cultural status
vis-cl-vis their elite, nationally-based neighbours. Consider a story, proudly
related to me by a Florina man of Arvanitis (Albanian) descent,S7 of how
one day he heard some labourers outside his house speaking in Slavic. Find-
ing this personally irritating, he went outside and asked them, 'Why do you
speak this language? Don't you speak Greek?' Or consider the phrases often
repeated to me during coffee shop and restaurant conversations: 'We give the
wrong impression when speaking that language', or 'it is not proper to speak
that language'. As Tambiah
remarked, language does not only serve as a
mere communicative device, but also has 'implications for educational
advantage, occupation, and historical legitimation of social precedence'.
Whether through self-censorship or externally imposed prohibitions, the
Greek language gradually gained dominance among the Florina region's
population over the generations.
Swearing an oath before God and before the authorities of the State _
God's secular parallel in this symbolic imagery - the people of Atrapos, as I
described at the outset of this chapter, vowed to use a language different
from that to which they had been accustomed. But in so doing, amid all the
elaborate pageantry or decorumS'! of this ritualistic ceremony, the so-called
'simple' people of Atrapos were accepting - or at least recognizing - the
superiority of the Greek language over the daily vernacular they had learned
at home as children and through which they had communicated all their
lives. At the same time, they began to change the linguistic medium through
which they internalized their cultural concepts. By acquiring a 'national'
language, they acquired the means to understand and internalize national
Yet language, as such, is but one of many tools of communication
employed by humankind. We live within a daily poetics of personhood."" As
we strive to present ourselves in everyday life,''! we act in different arenas:
concrete settings in which the contests between influential bearers of com-
peting paradigms are played out.""The power of rituals, as Mary Douglas'll
has noted, lies in the manner in which, as an act of communication, they
express, emphasize, and construct agreement upon that level of social struc-
ture which is relevant to (or, we might say, dominant in) a given social field.
In such contexts, actors are made aware of a greater or lesser range of inclu-
siveness. As highly structured frames of action through which the normative
values of moral facts - as defined by the dominant social structure - are
given voice, internalized, and reinforced among participants, ritual action is
akin to a process of sublimation."' One might also view ritual as a mecha-
nism for hegemony.
Interpreting the ritual language oath
It may be constructive to return, for a moment, to the language oath cere-
mony recounted at the outset of this chapter. I interpret this ritual- and the
narrative accounts of it - as an important moment in Greek nation-building
in the Florina area. A closer look at the setting of the ritual, the structure of
its action, and the symbols employed in it offers a poignant insight into the
processes through which Greek national consciousness was constructed and
internalized among the local population. The Atrapos language oath may be
interpreted as a rite of purification, held under the legitimating efficacy of
both mystical or supernatural power (that is, God) and secular authority
(that is, representatives of the Greek state).
Nation-building often invokes the supernatural in order to legitimize its
secular existence. The oath itself both opened and closed with the invoca-
tion of the Holy Name of the Christian God. While the oath was explicitly
framed in terms of a national mission, the Greek language also became a
source of secular patriotism and supernatural pride, for it was portrayed as
the language of the Holy Gospel, the Greek Church, the Greek state, and the
Greek nation. The 'pure' Greek language and its corresponding 'high cul-
ture' was thus juxtaposed with a 'low culture' Slavic idiom that had been
'borrowed' from an invasive, polluting, foreign force. As the Greek language
is depicted as 'pure', it stands in opposition to a Slavic idiom that is some-
how 'dirty' or 'polluting'. The polluting idiom is dangerous,'" as it causes
misunderstandings that threaten the national social fabric.
It was the teacher, a local symbol of the 'high culture' of the nation, who
proclaimed that the 'foreign idiom' bore no relation to the villagers' 'very
Greek descent'. The invocation of kinship, descent, and reproduction com-
pletes a transformation of Greekness from a 'high' culture to which people
aspire into a natural, inalienable part of these villagers' lives. Whereas the
oath itself culminated with divine references to God, the teacher's homily
concluded with very secular cheers dedicated to the pillars of the Greek
nation: the king, the state, and the army.
The pronouncements of the Prefect at the end of the ceremony conferred
legitimacy upon the proclamation made by the village teacher just moments
before: that the once 'polluted' villagers, now emerging from a state of lil11i-
nality into a newly 'purified' status, were newly affirmed 'Greeks'. The once
culturally anomalous Slavophones are thus converted into patriotic heroes
of the Greek nation-state. As Victor Turner'''' put it: ritual is akin to a process
of 'sublimation', establishing a proper relationship between involuntary
sentiments and the requirements of the social structure in such a way as to
convert that which is socially obligatory to something personally desirable.
Converging frontiers of Greek and Macedonian
State-building, or rather state integration, in northern Greece was a con-
quest of fields: both real estate and those 'abstract cultural domains where
paradigms are formulated, established, and come into conflict',''' The
domain of national consciousness has been one such field of contest. In the
'colonization of consciousness',"" people are re-made 'by redefining the
taken-for-granted surfaces of their everyday worlds'. Yet the normative par-
adigms that compete in this field not only govern behaviour or action; they
also provide an ideational rhetoric with which such action is cloaked in legit-
imacy. National consciousness is created or established through a process of
hegemony, an internalization of the concepts and normative frames of ref-
erence of the nation so that they become accepted without question as a
'natural' state of things.
Issues of identity and consciousness are intimately tied to definitions of a
social collectivity, regardless of its size. In the case of a national collectivity,
the internal characteristics of ethnicity (in other words, a common descent
and culture) are collapsed with those of the nation. Their significance fades
as definitions of one's self become overwhelmingly oriented to notions of
the national collectivity. Descent is no longer traced from a remote ancestor
who settled in the area. Instead, a more grand and more mythical descent is
claimed from figures more remote and yet more concrete: those of the
nation's deities.
The transformation of ethnic identity into national consciousness can
occur at various speeds, depending on the particular social and economic
conditions of the case at hane!. For those individuals tied more closely to the
power structures of the newly dominant state society, such transformations
occur quite rapidly. For others, they happen more slowly, or not at all. Yet
such transformations are always orchestrated through the work of agents.
What really gets extinguished in the process of transforming group iden-
tity into national consciousness is the memory of distinctiveness. As defini-
tions of the relevant collectivity change, so, too, do the memories of kinship
and descent. Through nation-building and national integration, people
acquire a new memory, that of the imagined nation. "" As memory becomes
nationalized, the whole system of what was important in the past is forgot-
ten. With the Slavo-Macedonians, however, we still see today an active
resistance to participation in the Greek national collectivity. Other individ-
uals remain quiet about the whole issue, taking their membership in the
Greek nation-state as a 'matter of fact', but still continuing to talk about
their group's past distinctiveness and differences.
The advent of free education in the 1960s precipitated a sharp rise in the
number of Slavo-Macedonians in Greek secondary schools and universities.
The promise of upward mobility was held out to all, but the discrimination
faced by many Siavo-Macedonians in their quest for employment (especially
in coveted state-sector jobs or in the civil service) left many sharply alien-
ated. National enculturation efforts continued to have a strong conservative
tone, often stressing a love for the monarchy that appealed to many native
Greek-speakers in the Florina region. In fact, when Constantine, the former
King of Greece, returned to the country from exile for a 'personal' visit in
August 1993, his first stop was Florina.
From 1967 to 1974, Greece was under the dictatorship of a military
jU11ta. This was a period marked by harsh suppression of leftists and dis-
crimination against Slavo-Macedonians, and the borders With Yugoslavia
were closed once again. The Church re-emerged as a strong nationalist force,
and a new puritanical bishop, Kandiotis, was appointed Metropolitan of
Fiorina, and began to cultivate Greek Orthodox fundamentalism.
The democratization of the Greek polity following the fall of the junta
brought significant changes to western Greek Macedonia. The borders were
reopened, and seasonal migrant labourers from Yugoslavia helped boost the
economy of north-western Greece, while Yugoslav tourists on day shopping
trips became a common sight in downtown Florina. When PASOK, the
Greek socialist party, came to power in the 1980s, Slavo-Macedonians
began to find jobs in the civil service sector, contributing to the creation of
an elite stratum within their ethnic cohort. Many, however, found their
opportunities for advancement still limited, and new signs of protest and
resistance began to emerge by the late 1980s. Political activists began to
lobby for 'human rights' and the official recognition of a Slavic-speaking
ethnic minority in the region. They called for the teaching of the local Slavic
vernacular in local schools, an end to discrimination in employment and
promotion, and a return of 'political refugees'. The latter consisted of those
Slavic speakers who had fled to Yugoslavia after the civil war which ended
in 1949 to escape repression and subsequently had been forbidden to return.
The break-up of Yugoslavia, however, once again ushered in a period of
mounting tensions and crisis. Border controls have been tightened, much to
the dissatisfaction of many Slavo-Macedonians with relatives on the other
side of the frontier. Human rights activists in the Florina region have stepped
up their organizational and lobbying efforts, while police and security forces
have increased their own vigilance. Protesters against government policy in
Macedonia have been arrested, tried, and imprisoned, and intellectual crit-
ics of Greece's growing nationalistic fervour have faced broad public con-
demnation. Even Greek diaspora groups with strong patriotic sentiments
have entered the fray, taking up the Greek national cause both in Greece
and abroad.
I submit that there are three basic groupings of people among those of
Siavo-Macedonian descent in present-day Florina. First, there are those who
possess an internalized sense of their Greekness and consistently express the
same in their public and private lives. Among such individuals, Greek
nation-building has been most successful and the construction of a national
consciousness is more or less complete. The superscription of a national
identity and its corresponding consciousness has effectively erased memories
or sentiments of those ethnic characteristics that once distinguished them
from their neighbours. 'We have been Greek since the time of our remote
ancestors (anabam babadam)', a Florina man told me. 'The only similarity
we have with the people across the border lies in language. We know what
we are and we don't need any strangers to come and tell us. Macedonian
means Greek.'
Second, there are those who possess a continuing inward sense of their
distinctiveness and more or less openly declare and promulgate their con-
sciousness as such. Many members of this group have been alienated from
the Greek nation-state owing to the harsh assimilationist policies of the past
and continuing economic underdeveiopment.
As one respondent described
them, 'these are marginalized people who had lost members of their fami-
lies during the Civil War and retain the hatred. The word Greek (Elli11as)
means enemy to them. They don't talk about their beliefs, but about their
family histories. That's the kind of dialogue that goes on.'
It has been individuals from among this cohort that have led the high
public profile lobbying efforts for 'Macedonian minority rights' in Greece,
as well as the petitions brought before the European Court and the Council
for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
It was also those among this
group who in January 1993 established the Macedonian Movement for
Balkan Prosperity (Makedonihi Kinisi gia tin Vallwnihi Euimer/a). The overt
agenda of this organization calls for respect for the freedom and human
rights of the indigenous Macedonians in Greece according to the law, the
constitution, and the professed ideals of the EEC, the CSCE, and the UN.
They do, however, have connections with their brother activists across the
border and abroad. They are regarded with great suspicion by both the
Greek authorities and by Slavo-Macedonians with Greek national con-
sciousness, both of whom label them as 'Skopians' or 'agents of Skopje' .11l2
Finally, there are those whose internal sense of distinctiveness is expressed
more independently, though in conjunction with a consciousness of their
conditions of existence within Greek civil society. Their external expressions
of identity are oriented towards the Greek state, but not necessarily towards
the Greek nation or the notion of Hellenism. Such individuals recognize and
accept their differences from the 'Greeks', defending what they regard as a
legitimate cultural distinctiveness. Yet while many - quite unjustly - also
bear the label of subversive and unpatriotic 'Skopian agents', most in fact
also distance themselves from the rhetoric and imagery being promulgated
from across the border, as well as from that of local Macedonian Movement
for Balkan Prosperity activists. Identifying with neither Greek nor Mace-
donian nationalism, those in this group might best be considered the
'national homeless' .IOJ
Such individuals are today caught, as it were, between the converging
frontiers of contesting Greek and Macedonian nationalisms. In public
arenas, from coffee shop conversations to rituals to interaction with others
both inside and outside government administration, they strive to display
their membership of the national collectivity. In more intimate, private set-
tings, however, they express slightly different, more nuanced views.
As one of these 'national homeless' put it, the present controversy over
Macedonia and the Siavo-Macedonians in Greece:
is the fault of the near-sighted politics of Greece. You go to
Australia and nobody harasses you because of your language or
your dances. A Macedonian is somebody who speaks the language
and has the traditions (ithi kai ethima). I respect the Greek consti-
tution, but they don't give me my human rights. I don't want to go
'over there' [i.e. to FYROMj. But we cannot say that there is
homogeneity [here]. I am not the same as the Skopians. But don't
call me a gypsy because I speak that language. In what century do
we live? Do not discriminate against me. They [i.e. the Skopiansj
are worse. They ask for autonomy. I would become a Turk before
I become an autonomist. It is insulting to the name of God to curse
the language of another person. Wherever non-homogeneity IS
recognized, people prosper. Discrimination divides people.
These words, interestingly, come from a man who was once a Graecomal1.
In Greece, growing anxieties over deteriorating political conditions in the
Southern Balkans have fostered growing intolerance towards the perceived
'cultural anomalies' of this group of 'national homeless'. Their expressions
of distinctiveness are often misconstrued as those of national difference. At
the same time, national activists and propagandists on the other side of the
border and farther abroad, HH as well as some of their sympathizers in the
Florina area, play up those distinctions for their own purposes. As pawns in
an escalating contest, this group has become trapped, so to speak, between
a rock and a hard place. Many are proud of their ethnic heritage. But at the
same time their collective sentiments continue to be denied legitimacy by
Greek and Macedonian nationalists, who persist in ascribing to such indi-
viduals views, attitudes, and loyalties that are not their own.
It may be that present-day tensions in Macedonia are, in fact, best inter-
preted from the perspective of continuing national conflict. Yet there has
been little concern or appreciation for how this protracted century-long con-
test over Macedonia has been perceived by local inhabitants caught up in the
struggle, how it has affected them, and how they themselves have reacted to
it. Nation-building begins with a vision, and follows with a programmatic
plan. But even the best-laid plans, it is said, may go awry. Such are the dialec-
tics of social life. Until we can move beyond the level of vulgar polemics, we
will not be able to understand the present conditions of national conscious-
ness in this region, much less formulate effective responses to the dialectical
processes of nation-building.
Fieldwork and archival research for this paper were supported through a
generous grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. I would like
to express my profound gratitude to the trustees and staff of the Foundation
for the financial assistance necessary for this timely research. The present
form of this paper grew from a shorter draft presented at the Modern Greek
Studies Association Symposium at Berkeley, California in October 1993. A
subsequent, full-length draft was presented at the Oxford University Work-
shop on Minorities in Greece, organized by Richard Clogg. I would like to
my gratitude to Richard Clogg for including me in that unforgettable
mlI1l-conference. Other panellists also deserve recognition and thanks for
their valuable comments and support. Philip Cat'abott read an earlier ver-
sion of this manuscript and dedicated his valuable time to pointing out cer-
tain historical considerations that an anthropologist's eye may sometimes
miss. A number of other colleagues and friends have made my life more
interesting and more productive when pressure from nationalist zealots
seemed to grow unbearable. To thank only a few by name, Michael
Herzfeld, Loring Danforth, Adamantia Pollis, Andonis Liakos, Laurie Hart,
and Gregory Ruf come to the forefront of my mind.
(NB: HAM/GDM = Historical Archive of Macedonia/General Directorate of
1 As was common the region, the village name was changed to its
present Greek form 111 the late 1920s; see Dimitris Lithoxoou, Meiollotika ziti-
mata kat ethlliki syne/dist stin Ellada. Atasthalies tis istoriographias
(Athens, 1991),63-4.
2 For account of the same ceremony, see Ellinilws Vonas, 11 August
1959. SimIlar oath ceremOl1les took place 111 the village of Kria Nera near Kas-
tona, Kastol'la, 8 September 1959, and in Kardia near Ptolemaida, Ellinikos
Von'as, 8 July 1959. See also K. Ioannidis, Abollt the Assimilatioll of the Slavo-
!Jhones (Florina, 1960). .
3 Such a scenario poses important historical questions concerning the historical
'Greekness' of Macedonia that have yet to be adequately addressed in Greek his-
toriography. One cannot help but wonder what happened to those invaders.
Apostolos Vacaiopoulos, The Origins of the Greek Nation: The Byzantine
Period, 1204-1461 (New Brunswick, N.J, 1970),2-12 maintained that the Slavs
were 'peaceful' peasants or shepherds who were Hellenized completely by the
time of the Ottoman 'conquest' in the fourteenth century. Assertions of this sort,
howevel; fail to explain the continull1g use of SlaVIC language, along with other
overt characteristics of ethnicity, in Greek Macedonia into the twentIeth century.
These issues will be addressed in detail below.
4 The term 'Macedonian Fighters' refers to the combatants who fought on the
Greek side during the bloody 'Macedonian Struggle' that was waged between
Greece and Bulgaria for control over this predominantly Slavic-speaking region
during the period 1904-8.
5 The account in this paragraph follows that in Ellillilws Vorras, 11 August 1959.
6 According to oral accounts from Florina, the Cultural Association 'Aristotle',
named after the ancient philosophel; was founded in 1941 with the purpose of
promoting to the outside world the Greekness of the area. This took place
during the German occupation when the Bulgarians, allied with the Germans,
were again active in the area, trying to win the hearts of the area's Slavic speak-
ers and presenting a 'Bulganan' picture of the area to the outside world (see
7 HAM/GDM, File no. 90 (Propagandas: 1924-1925), Letter of the Prefect of
Florina to the General Directorate of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Confidential
Protocol no. 6, Florina, 13 January 1925.
8 Evangelos Kofos, 'Dilemmas and OrIentations of Greek policy in Macedonia,
.1878-1886', Bal/wll Stltdies, XXI (1980) 45-55. This 'central zone' of Mace-
donia was defined as a region with a 'polyglot, mixed Christian population,
mostly Slavic-speaking 111 the countryside and Greek- and Vlach-speaking in the
urban and semi-urban centres, with pockets of Albanian-speaking Christians'.
The northern zone of Macedonia was defined as one with a clearly Slavic pop-
ulation who readily allied themselves with the Exarchate. The southern zone
was regarded as a purely Greek one, Sofia Vouri, Ehpaide(si hal etlmikisl110s sta
Val/wllia. I peri/Jtosi tiS Voreiodytilus Ma/;:.edollias 187()-1904 (Athens, \992).
9 Vouri, ibid.
10 Ibid. 52.
11 Ibid. 47.
12 Ibid. 49.
13 in 1913, following the Second Balkan War, the geographic region of Macedo-
nia was divided between neighbouring Greece (51 per cent), Serbia (34 per cent),
and Bulgaria (15 per cent), Konstantinos Vakalopoulos, KathmlcrIIli 17 July
1988. Each of these countries subsequently launched assimilationist campaigns
aimed at incorporating the population of their newly acquired parts of Mace-
donia into their respective nation-states. In this chapter, I address only the poli-
cies of the Greek government and its regional administrators and their cffects
on transformmg the ethnic identity and national consciousness of the local
Slavic-speaking population in what hecame Greek Macedollla.
14 I-IAM/GDM, File no 90 (see Note 7 above) 4.
15 HAM/GDM, File no. 87 (Police Activities - Propagandas: March-December,
1922), Letter from Krionas, Prefect of Florina, to the Leader of the Revolution,
Florina, 16 December 1922, 2.
16 Steven Harrell, 'Ethnicity, local interests, and the state: Yi communities in south-
west China', Comparative Stlldies ill SocIety alld I-l is/ory, XXXII (1990)
17 Morton Fried, The No/ioll of Tribe (Menlo Park, CA, 1975).
18 There are, of course, additional factors to take into consideration 111 any well-
rounded analysis of identity and consciousness. These include, for example, the
notions of 'fake' consciousness or identity (i.e. that which is deliberately con-
trived to achieve some end or purpose) such as that manifest by the 'Bulgarian'
village president quoted at the beginning of this section. There is also the issue
of 'false' consciousness or identity. By thIS we refer to an mcorrect awareness of
one's position in a social collectivity; a condition that develops when one per-
ceives oneself as a memher of a collectivity but lacks an awareness or under-
standing of those traits, conditions, or factors which, objectively speaking, place
that indivIdual outside of, or in oppositIOn to, that collectivity. While I recog-
nize such distinctions, limitations of space and the restrictive nature of the pres-
ent analysis preclude an extended treatment of these issues in this chapter.
19 It is important to note that the data on Ivlacedonia collected by Greek state
administrative personnel that still survive today in government archives do not
refer to the ethnicity of the area '5 inhabitants per se. Rather, the classifications
employed and the social diviSIons made can be more properly termed 'national
categories', as they refer to the perceived Ideological inclinations towards par-
ticular nation-states in the region (such as Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania,
Turkey). Failure to distinglllsh between these 'national' classifications and the
'ethnic' composition of the population has contributed to a conceptual muddle
on the part of many historians dealing with Macedol1la, a topic I have dealt
with elsewhere, Karakasidou, 'Fields of Wheat, Hills of Shrub: Agrarian devel-
opment and the dialectics of ethnicity and nationalism in northern Greece,
1870-1990', PhD, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, 1992
now published as Fields of Wheat, I-fills o( Blood: Passages to Nationhood ill
Greek Macedonia /870-1990 (Chicago 1997), and 'Politicizing Culture: Negat-
ing ethnic identity m Greek Macedonia', JOllmal o( Modem Greeh Stlldies, XI
(\993) 1-27.
20 HAM/GDM File no. 53 (Population Statistics of the Educational Districts of
Vodena, Karatzova, and Gevgeli, 1911 ,1913,1915), A: Florina District:
Ethnological census of the population's inhabitants.
21 According to the same statistics, of the 400 people living in Krapeshtina (that
is, Atrapos) during 1911-15,225 (56 per cent) had been labelled by the author-
ities as 'Bulgarians', and 175 (44 per cent) as Greeks. The village Itself,
was entirely 'BulgarIan-speaking'. As of \935, Krapeshtina had a total of 92
families, of whIch 66 (72 per cent) were of Slavic 'morale' (phrolllll1a), while the
remainmg 26 (28 per cent) were 'foreign-speakers' of Greek 'sentiment' (sec
Dimitris Lithoksoou, 'Two unpublished documems about the history and con-
sciousness of the Slavo-Ivlacedonian minority durmg the pre-Metaxas period',
Elaos Orioll, 6 .June 1992, 36-47 (in Greek)). In a lettcr dated 1934, First Lieu-
tenant Stefanos GrigorIou reported that only one family in the village was
Greek, while all the rest were 'Bulgarians'. The sole family with Greek con-
sciousness was that of the local priest, yet even then the Greekness of this family
was only ranked at 'Grade C' (ibid. : 39).
22 In the three Greek-Romanian villages, the languages spoken were Albanian-
Koutsovlach, Koutsovlach-Greek, and Greek-Albanian. If these statistics are
aggregated by the population of each of the national ethnological categories
employed (Table III), we find that 'Bulgarians' made up the single largest cate-
gory in the region (42.1 per cent), followed by 'Turks' (29 per cent) and 'Greeks'
(27.4 per cent), and finally 'Romanians' (1.5 per cent). In terms of the language
categories spoken in these villages (Table IV), the largest cohort is agam 'Bul-
garian' (49.7 per cent), followed by 'Turiosh' (29 per cent).
23 It should be borne in mind that a large number of Hellenized Vlachs from
Monastiri (Bitola) settled in Florina immediately after the Second Balkan War
in 1913, bringing to the area a large Greek-speaking commercial population.
24 j-IAM/GDM, File no. 90 (Note 7 above), I.
25 HAM/GDM, File no. 108 (Reports of the Third Army DiviSIon), report entitled,
'Study of the ethnological composition of the DIVIsion's area and the possible
settlement of refugees there,' Salvanos, 9 April 1925.
26 It is important to note that Salvanos distinguished several (though slightly con-
fusing and apparently overlapping) sub-categories among those people WIth Bul-
garian leanings. These included: those with Bulgarian sentIments, fanatic
Bulgarians, VOlIlgarophrolles (Slavophones with fanatic Bulgarian 'sentIments'),
Ivery] fanatic VOlIlgarophrol1es, fanatics with Bulgarian feelings, extreme VOIII-
garophnmes, non-dangerous VOlllgarophr(Jlles, and very dangerous fanatic
VOlIlgarophrol1es. .
27 HAM/GDM, File no. lOR (see note 25) 2. Salvanos recommended that It was
the third category that the government should focus its propaganda efforts on,
attempting to win them over by takmg advantage of their llldifferent 'psychiC
leanings'. They were uneducated, he maintained, and Greece must be on guard
to prevent them from bemg mfluenced by the Bulgarian money and propaganda
that was reportedly being sent in from Bulgarian nationalists in the UnIted States
(for Bulgarian propaganda activities m Greek Maccdol1la dUring the I 920s, see
2R Archives of AthanaslOs Souliotis-NikoIaidis, File no. 21II, Document no. 51, 6
August 1935 (cited in D. LIthoksoou, ''Two unpublished documcnts').
29 The (national) category of 'Romanian' referred by thIS rubriC to those ethnic
Vlachs under the influence of Romanian nationalist propaganda. These should
be distinguished from those Vlach-speakers who felt Greek 111 national identity
and were therefore listed under the category of 'foreign speakers IWIth Greek
na tiona I consciousness \'.
30 As early as 1913 there appeared reports in the Archives of the Gcneral Direc-
tonne of Macedonia that Slavic-speakers from Macedol1la were 111lgratmg to
America through the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus. rhe Greek state
regarded this trend with anxiety, particularly because it was leading to a reduc-
tion m conscription quotas (HAM/GDM, File no. 70 (Emigration from Mace-
donia), Telegram from the Prefect of Florina, Agorastos, to the Directorate of
Interior Affairs in Thessaloniki, II November 1913 ). Withll1 a year, however,
the Greek authOrities had begun to take a direct role in overseemg these popu-
lation movements.
31 Barbara Jelavich, History of the Ballwl1s: Twentieth Celllllry (Cambridge,
] 983), 136; S. P. Ladas, The Exchalzge of" Millorities: Blllgana, Greece, Til1hey
(New York, 1932). By ! 919, according to W. H. McNeill (The MetamorphOSiS
of Greece sillce World War II IOxford, 1978 j), 46,000 Greeks from Bulgaria
had resettled in Greek Macedonia, while 92,000 Slavs had moved from Greek
Macedonia to Bulgaria. See also R. Pearson, NatuJl/al Mlllorities /11 Eas/em
Europe, 1848-1945 (London, 19R3).. .
32 By 1925, a major in the Gendarmerie went so tar as to recommend, pendll1g
government approval, the deportation of those families found guilty of such
activities even in preliminary investigations (HAlVI/GDM, File no. 90, Letter
from Major M. Lambrakls, Commander of the Florina Gendarmerie Command,
to the High Gendarmerie Command of Macedonia, ConfidentIal, Secret, and
Personal, Florina, 20 Octo her 1925, Protocol no. 14711774 I Confidential Sec-
33 I-IAM/GDM, File No. 79 (Displacements, deportations: February-May 1914).
Similarly, Mavrogordatos (George Mavrogordatos, Stillfwm [(epI/Mic: Social
Coalitiolls alld Party Strategies ill Greece 1922-/936 (Berkeley, Calif. 1983),
248), and Kargakos (Sarandos Kargakos, From fhe MacedIJII1L1II IsslIe to the
:J(SlwfJie (Athens, 1992), 1(0) also mention that" Slavic speakers from
villages Il1 I hrace ncar the Bulgarian border were exiled to Crete in an effort to
neutralize Bulgarian propaganda in Thrace. Although there is no available con-
crete Il1formatlon on conditions in the Florina region specifically, reports from
Bulgaria mall1talll that, in certain communities of the Kilkis Prefecture in Cen-
tral Greek Ivlacec/ollIa, police gave local inhabitants what amounted to a time
limIt for making the conversion to Hellenization. Those failing to do so faced
deportation WIthin twenty-four hours (HAM/GDM, File no. 79, Letter from
Sofia, Preporets, 2H March 1914). At this tllne, authorities 111 the Prefecture of
Thessaloniki were obliging 'Bulgarian' families to sign declarations that they
recogllIzed j-jellel1lsl1l and 'the sovereignty of the true Christian .religion of the
PatrIarchate and that they would all send their children to Greek schools' (ibid.).
34 HAM/GDM, File no. 70, Letter from the Prefect of Florina to the Prefecture of
Thessaioniki, 25 ./uly 1929, Protocol no. 10915. When applicants attempted to
circumvent such barriers by filing their petitions in Thessaloniki rather than in
Florina, that prefecture adopted a similar policy, claIming that such petitions
motivated by 'familiar national reasons' (HAM/GDM, File No. 70, Con-
fIdential letter from the Prefecture of Thessaloniki to the Prefect of Florina,
dated29 July 1929, Protocol No. 44). It should be pointed out that such actions
were Il1 direct opposition to the poliCIes outlined for directorate, judicial, finan-
CIal, and law enforcement authorities in Macedonia bv the General Director of
Ma.cedonia, Themistoklis Sofoulis. The latter had urged restraint and impar-
tIalIty on the part of admlllIstrators, who were to extend 'fatherly conduct' to
all people 'without regard to religion, race, and language, within the spirit of
equal entitlement to citizenship and the protection of the law, which is the basis
of Greek liberal government' (HAM/GDM, File no. 78 1 Reports on Public SeclI-
rity: February-December 19141, Letter from the General Directorate of Mace-
donia in Thessaloniki to the Directoral, Judicial, Financial, and Police
Authorities of Macedonia, 17 April 1914, Protocol no. 18H 17).
35 If the property of such applicants was found to have been confiscated bv the
Greek government, their applicatIons to return were to be denied. If such
erty were ll1tact, they were still to be denied permission to return for fear that
they would bring information and intelligence to the VOllfgarizol1des in Greece
(HAM/GDM, File no. H5 IBulgarian Immigrants: 1925, 192H, 1929J, Letter
from the Border Sector to the Tenth Army DIvision of Veroia, Florina, 12 Jan-
uary 1929, Protocol no. 27/5). These findings were to be forwarded to the Min-
Istry of the Exterior (HAM/GDM, File no. 841Bulgarian Propaganda - Bands:
December 1921-19221, Confidential letter from the General Directorate of
Kozani and Florina to the Prefectures of the Area, Kozani, August 1922, Pro-
tocol no. 60(5). 'fhe Greek consular authorities in Bulgaria were ordered to
screen applicants for return immigration meticulously. Many, It was reasoned,
only pretended to he Greeks who had been displaced and forcibly expatriated
by the BulgarIans, while in reality they were pure Bulgarians who had been
deported by Greek military authorIties. (HAM/GDM, File no. 85, Letter from
Sofia to the General Directorate of Macedonia, 23 August 1922, Protocol no.
3636. For examples of the type of information collected on individuals who
wished to return to Greece, sec HAM/GDM, File no. H5.)
36 I-IAM/GDM, File no. 90 (see note 7), 7-H, Letter from the Prefect of Florina to
the General Directorate of ThessalonikI,13 January 1925.
37 Ladas, Exchange of MinOrities, 106-7; Salva nos, HAM/GDM, File no. I 08 (see
note 25) 10.
38 Mavrogordatos, Stilfbom Republic, 249.
39 I must hIghlight here a significant distinction in the manner in which the term
'local' (do/Jioi) is applied in western and central Greek Macedonia. In the Flo-
rina area, dopioi is a term used by Greek speakers (refugee or otherWIse) to refer
to the Slavic-speaking populatIOn. In the area of central Greek Macedol1la where
I have also conducted field research, dOfJioi is a term used by all villagers
(refugee and non-refugee alike) to refer to Greek speakers living m the area prior
to, or at the time of, the refugees' arrival.
40 This propaganda was reportedly orchestrated by a sclf-proclalllled 'Bulgarian-
Macedonian CommIttee', said to be centred in Lausanne (Switzerland). The
Committee allegedly controlled an operating budget of ten million gold pieces
collected from contributors in America and Europe (HAM/GDM, File no. 87,
report entitled 'About the General Situation of the Propaganda Movement in
Macedonia', from the Ninth Army Division, signed by D. Dlaletis IColonel of
the InfantryJ, 4 October 1922, Staff Office no. 2, I ConfidentIaIJ Protocol no.
138. Active members of this Committee were referred to m Greece as Komi-
tadiides. 'Bulgarians' in America who had emigrated from the Florma villages
of Layeni (present-day Triandaphyllia), Neret (Polypotamos), Kotori (Kato
Idrousa) and Karapesnitsa (Atrapos) were accused of 'bad-mouthll1g' Greece
and collecting funds for this Macedonian autonomous movement (HAM/GDM,
File no. 88 IPropaganda, December 1923-January 1924J, Letter from the High
Directorate of the Gendarmerie of Macedonia to the General DIrectorate of
Macedonia, 18 April 1924, Protocol no. 6H/2).
41 HAMfGDM, File no. 84, Report from the Higher Military Directorate of Mace-
donia to the General Directorate in Thessalonil<I, Thessaloniki, 23 May 1922,
(Confidential) Protocol no. 1323. Some reports also suggested arms were being
distributed. New recruits were alleged to have been taken by Komitadjides
agents, armed with knives and guns, to secret hIde-outs where they were obliged
to swear an oath never to betray the movement to Greek authOrItIes at any cost
(HAM/GDM, File no. H7, Confidential Letter from the MinIstry of Internal
Affairs to the Gendarmerie Headquarters, Athens, 9 November 1922, Protocol
nos 3338, 3458, 3471). One concrete example of J(omitadjides activItIes in the
Florina region concerns a cavalry ca ptain of the Bulgarian army, OrIginally from
the village of Verbeni (present-day !tia), who controlled a band of forty-five
members from his district. Band members would hide inSIde Serbian territory
and occasionally cross the border to propagandize the area's inhabitants for the
independence of Macedonia, promising them arms for an upriSIng. This band
was reportedly part of a larger band of 1,000 members who were armed and
paid by a Central Committee headquartered in Petntch, Bulgaria. Their
weapons caches were hidden in villages of the Florina area while they them-
selves pretended to be farmers. They restricted their movements to night activ-
ities, but had local guides who helped them move through the area in darkness.
All Voulghal'Ophl'Olles of the area, including those serving in the Greek army,
were reportedly dedicated to the Bulgarian commIttee and followed its ideas.
These soldiers, according to one maiO!; should be replaced 1111lnediately with
troops from Old Greece because they made poor border guards and could not
be trusted (HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Report from the Gendarmerie Directorate
of Florina to the High Gendarmerie Directorate of Macedonia, Florma isigned
by K. Lambrakis, Major CommanderJ, 24 October 1925, Confidential Section,
Protocol no. 154/7/14).
42 Letters addressed to Slavic-speaking villages in the Edessa area did arrIve from
Bulgaria, Romania, and especially America. They were intercepted by the Direc-
tor of the Telegram Office, who forwarded them to other authoritIes to be
opened, read, censored, and rescaled. In this manner, the Greek authorities
attempted to exercise control over the informatIon entering the regIOn as well
as to collect intelligence on the membership and activities of the Bulgarian
bands. Such letters reportedly called on people to disobey government orders so
that anarchy would once again break out in MacedonIa. The Bulgaro-Mace-
donlan Committee of America also sent money to the area through fund-rais-
mg activities. Greek authorIties regarded such strategies as an attempt to poison
the minds of the population - regardless of 'race' or religion - agall1st the Greek
state and eventually evict the latter from Macedonia (HAM/GDM, File no. 87,
Letter from the Prefecture Office of Pella to the General Directorate of Mace-
donia [Confidential], Edessa, 26 November 1922, Protocol no. 5621).
43 After the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Thrace also became a contested
area. Under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest (August 19J 3) following the
Second Balkan War, It was given to Bulgaria (Jelavich, History of the Balkans,
99). The Treaty of Neuilly (November 1919), which concluded the First World
War for Bulgaria, gave Thrace to Greece, stipulating first a brief interim period
of joint Allied administration (ibid., 125). Greek administration finally took full
control in 1920. The Treaty of Lausanne (July 1923), which as noted above set
the terms of a compulsory repatriation of nationals between Greece and Turkey,
stipulated that roughly 124,000 Muslims would remain in situ in Thrace (Town
Bahcheli, 'The Muslim Turkish Community in Greece: Problems and prospects',
Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Aflairs, VIII (1987) 109-20). At
that tlIne, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the region's population were
Muslims. By including the Thracian Question in its political platform, the Com-
mittee sought to work for its independence and eventual incorporation into
Turkey. According to official Greek sources, the Bulgarian Committee to Assist
the Slavs of Macedonia was established in 1918 and staffed by seven of the best-
known K011litadiides leaders. It consisted of two sub-groups, one focusing its
activities on Macedonia, the other on Thrace. The Macedonian group published
two newspapers, Kambana and Pre{Jorets. Their principal goal was to persuade
the European powers that Macedonia should be made an autonomous region
under British protection, since it was neither Greek nor Turkish. Their procla-
mations were wntten in Bulgarian, Turkish, Ladino (the language spokel; by the
Jewish population of the region), and Greek (see HAM/GDM, File no. 82
['Greek Military Mission to Bulgaria: November 1918-August 1919'], Sofia, 23
December 1918).
44 HAM/GDG, File no. 87, Dialetis report (see note 41). In 1922, the then Minis-
ter of the Interiol; Krokidas (who later became Prime Minister), believed that the
propaganda coming out of BulgarIa no longer aimed at 'civilizing' the Siavo-
phones of Macedonia by proselytizing them through education and religion.
The Bulgarians, he concluded, had come to see that their efforts to this end had
made no progress in 'reinforcing the sentiments' of the omo/Jhyloi [those of the
'same race'] in Macedonia and Thrace, I and therefore had [ changed plans and
established a revolutionary organization, directed by a Central Committee in
Sofia, that sought autonomy for Macedonia and ultimately aimed at annexing
It through VIOlence (HAM/GDM, File no. 87, Letter from the Ministry of the
Interior to the General Directorates and the High Gendarmerie Commands in
Macedonia and Thrace, Confidential, Athens, 17 October 1922). Krokrdas
went on to add that the Bulgarians had established a network of agents in Mace-
donia through which they sent in bands to recruit followers from among those
Siavophones who were displeased with the Greek administration.
45 HAM/GDM, File No. 87, Proclamation of the Serres Congress of the Mace-
donian Committee, March 1922.
46 Ibid. For more on the activators of IMRO at the turn of the century, see Evan-
gelos Kofos, Nationalism and Commllnism 111 Macedonia (Thessaloniki, 1964)
and The Macedollian Struggle ill Yugoslav Historiography (in Greek) (Thessa-
loniki, 1987); Duncan M. Perry, The Politics of Terror: The Macedonian Lib-
eI'ation Movements, 1893-1903 (Durham NC, 1988); and S. Pribichevlch,
Macedonia: Its Peo/Jle and History (Philadelphia, 1982).
47 HAM/GDM, File no. 87, Krionas letter (sec note l5).
48 HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Lambrakis letter (see note 32). In order to defeat the
K01l1itad;ides, several extreme measures were adopted, ll1cluding offering up to
5 000 drachmas for the head of a committee member. It was believed that such
~ e t h o s would enable the Greek authOrIties to take advantage of the 'avari-
cious' people living in the SerbIan and Albal1lan frontier areas (I-lAM/GDM,
File no. 90, Strictly Confidential letter from D. Stavrianopoulos of the Tlmd
Army Staff [Second Officer to the Second Army DiVision, Second Office in
Larisa, entitled 'About Komitadji Movements in the Area of Flonna" Veroia, 5
December 1925, Protocol no. 752311974). In addition, a number of agents and
trusted civilians were appointed in certain villages to follow Serbian and Bul-
garian propaganda and to convey that information to the Greek authorities
(HAMlGDM, File no. 90, Lambrakis letter [see note 32]).
49 A Bulgarian cavalry captain (this was the same officer mentioned earlier in note
41 as controlling a band of Bulganan propaganda agents 111 the Flonna area)
and five of his men infiltrated the village of Koutsoveni (present-clay Perasma)
and forcibly took over the house of a local inhabitant. During their stay, they
told a local villager (apparently a police informer) that they were there to create
agitation in Greece, to burn houses and to plant bombs. Their goal, It was said,
was to present Greece to the outside world as a country ruled by anarchy and
oppression. In this way they hoped to prompt the intervention of major Euro-
pean powers and get them to redraw international borders anel to make the
region part of Bulgaria (HAM/GDM, File no. 90 Letter from the Prefecture of
Florina to the General Directorate of Macedonia, Confidential, Protocol no.
266, FlOl'ina, 30 November 1925). The same source maintains that thiS banel
was planning to conduct similar operations in Serbian Macedonia in an attempt
to form a broad-based separatist movement involving people 111 Alhal1la, Greece,
and Serbia. As the Prefect of Florina put it, 'because the Siavophone population
of any district is completely deprived of civilization there is nothing toprevent
them from believing the exaggerated promises of the Komitad;ides [for] auton-
omy of Macedonia' (HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Report co-signed by the Prefect
of Florina and the investigator who eventually presented the bombing case to
the Military Court of Kozani, Confidential Protocol no. 262, Flonna, 25
November 1925, 2).
50 Ibid., 4. The Prefect also maintained that this sentence had a positive effect on
the villagers of the area, for they believed that ten of those arrested were certain
to be executed. He believed that a good way to purge local villages of the most
fanatical Bulgarians was to have them sign a declaration agreell1g to emigrate
voluntarily to Bulgaria (ibid., 7).
51 Serbia also supported the publication of a newspaper in Bitola (Monastirl by
'fanatic Bulgaro-Macedonians' called Yiousna Svesda (Southern State), which
was distributed throughout Macedol1la. The Deputy General Director of Thes-
saloniki, B. Makris, suggested that the Prefects of Pella and FlorIna confiscate
these newspapers at the post offices so that they would not reach what he called
'indigenous Siavophones' in those areas (HAM/GDM, File no. 73 [Greek
Embassies - Consuls: 1924-1929], Letter from the General Directorate of Thes-
salonikilDirectorate of Internal Affairs to the Offices of the Telegraph and Post
and to the Prefects of Pella and Florina, Strictly Confidential, Thessaloniki, 22
June 1925, Protocol no. 742).
52 HAM/GDM, File no. 85, Personal and Confidential Letter from the Third Army
Corps Staff (Second Office) to the Ministry of the Military (General Army Staff),
Thessaloniki, 5 May 1925, Protocol no. 660/637.
53 Metaxas Archive, File no. 36, 'The attempt to Hellel1lze Western Macedonia
and the results achieved during the last two years (Confidential), Yiorgos
Papadopoulos, Elementary School Teacher, 22 July 1938, 7.
54 In 1922 conditions in the Greek Macedonian countryside were chaotic and
anomalous. Refugees from Asia Minor and elsewhere in Turkey began to settle
in the region but had no secure means of making a living. Those Turks who still
remained in the area were subjected to attacks and raids, and their homes and
properties were looted and plundered. Moreover, 'Turco-Albanian bands' were
reportedly active in many parts of the region, one such bandit group even engag-
ing the Greek army in combat east of Aghios Germanos in the Pres pes area on
1st October 1925 (HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Stavrianopoulos letter; see note
48). More bandits roamed the Veroia district, while other criminal elements
were active 111 the Edessa area. Part of thIS general disorder was attributed to the
fact that most police stations were manned by navy scouts who had little knowl-
edge or experience in dealing with such problems. Any Slavophone policemen
whose superiors deemed them 'reactionary' and unfit for local service were
transferred to other parts of the country (HAM/GDM, File no. 87, Confiden-
tialletter from the Ministry of the Interior to the Gendarmerie Command; see
Note 44). In general, the situation was so extreme that the best men from among
the police had to be assigned to the region because the Florina Prefecture was
considered to be inhabited by 'other-speakers' who were vulnerable to anti-
Greek activities (I-IAM/GDM, File no. 87, Krionas letter; see note 15).
Conscription policies were imposed upon the local population of Macedo-
nia immediately after the region was incorporated into the Greek state. Local
conscripts were assigned to other, clearly 'Greek', districts of the country, but
found themselves the objects of derIsion and humiliating taunts from Greek-
speaking soldiers. For this reason, the then Minister of the Exterior, L. Hatzikyr-
iakos, urged in 1925 that the military command post Slavophone conscripts to
theIr home districts. In this manner he hoped to foster a lJhilotll11o and love of
the Greek motherland among the indigenous population of the region. For secu-
rity purposes, however, he also advised that Greek-speaking soldiers should also
be assigned to serve alongside their 'foreign-speaking' counterparts
(HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Letter from Minister of the Exterior L. Hatzikyri-
akou to the General Army Staff, Athens, 31 October 1925).
The proposal was deemed inappropriate by the Sub-Directorate of Edessa,
however, which believed that only by sending 'young Makedones' soldiers to
other parts of Greece would they create a sense of patriotism and would a love
for the country be instilled in their hearts (HAM/GDM, File no. 87, Krionas
letter; see note 15). In addition, such local conSCrIpts were not considered reli-
able guards against Bulgarian propaganda and terrorist attacks. As he put it: 'it
is not possible for Greek civilization to become perceptible in this district of old
Rayah ideology and absolute backwardness' (ibid.). If a conscript were to be
posted to hIS local area, he would be unable to forget 11ls memories of the past
and his antagonism towards Greece. He concluded that only by assigning Slavo-
phone conscripts to other parts of the country would the assimilation of the
area's population be facilitated.
The Greek military presence in the Florina region was also increased during
the 1920s, and it was suggested that Florina be made the base of an infantry
regiment (ibid.). At the same time, the Gendarmerie were reinforced with 1,000
additional men in 1925. The High Gendarmerie Command of Macedonia still
considered the force ll1sufficient, and petitioned their superiors in Athens to
dispatch to the area the best officers 111 the Gendarmerie and to prOVIde them with
monthly allowances. They also requested that cars and telephones be proVIded
for the most important police stations (HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Letter from the
High Gendarmerie Command of Macedonia to Gendarmene Headquarters,
Section B in Athens, Confidential-Personal, Thessaloniki, 18 March 1925,
Protocol no. 180/40, signed by Colonel High Director S. Karambelas). It is inter-
esting to note here that military and Gendarmerie personnel were maklllg policy
suggestions - and eventually shaping government policy - towards the Slavo-
phones of the area. For example, the High Director of the Macedonian
Gendarmerie Command, Colonel S. Karambelas, suggested that vacant teachmg
positions in the region should be filled with teachers and prIests from Old Greece,
if possible. I-Ie also pressed for the immediate replacement of those teachers who
he felt were unfit to serve the purposes of national education. He urged that crop
watchers be replaced with men from Epirus or Old Greece, because theIr mission
was vital to national security concerns (ibid.). Major Lambralos also suggested
that the crop-watching be purged of all people whose [ethnic I descent rendered
them suspect (HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Lambrakis letter; see note 32). Another
example comes from Major D. Stavrianopoulos, who urged that 'outSIders' (i.e.
those from other parts of Greece) should not be brought into the ranks of the
Gendarmerie for fear the local population would begin to complain about pres-
sures from a harsh administration. I-Ie also requested that teachers and priests in
the border region be given additional financial support and that V()lIlgharizol1des
village presidents and village council members should be removed from office and
replaced with others more sympathetic to Greek sovereignty (HAM/GDM, File
no. 90, Stavrianopoulos letter; see note 48).
55 Local respondents maintained that in many cases, the fine amounted to 'half an
ox', obliging local farmers to sell their draft anImals (i.e. theIr means of pro-
duction) in order to pay the fine.
56 Metaxas Archive, File no. 36 (see note 53), 6.
57 Ibid., 4.
58 John IatI'ides ('As others see it: American perceptions of Greece's "Macedonia
problem'''. Paper presented at the Modern Greek Studies SympOSltlll1.'
Calif., 1993) has made the same observation on on the baSIS of US State
Department reports.
59 'The Cold War and the appropriation of memory: Greece after Liberation', East
European Politics and SocietIes, IX (1995) 272-94. .'
60 Under the guidance of Yugoslav Communists, the SIavo-Maceclolllans of Greece
were organized lI1to their own Imgades (NOF) within the Democratic Army (see
Anastasia Karakasidou, 'Fellow Traveller, Separate Roads: The KKE and the
Macedonian Question', East European Quarterly (1993) 453-77; Evangelos
Kofos, The Impact of the Macedol1iml Questiol1 011 Ciuil COIl/lict /II Greece
(1943-1949), Occasional Paper no. 3 (Hellenic Foundation for Ddense and
Foreign Policy, Athens, 1989)). For more on the Greek CommunIst Party and
its position on the Macedonian Controversy, see Alekos Papapanagiotou, To
Ma/wdol1iko zitil11a / to Valkanilw IWI111110lllllstilw I<mill/a 1918-1939
(Athens, 1992).
61 Kharalambos Sotiropoulos, The Anti-National Policy of the KKE ill Macedo-
nia, (Athens, 1964). Interviews conducted in the Florma area suggestthat, con-
trary to public perceptions, many Slavo-Macedonian parents sent their children
voluntarily albeit reluctantly with the retreating communists, rearing reprIsals
on the part of victorious Greek nationalists for their support of the commumsts
during the Civil War.
62 US intelligence reports also draw the same conclusions; sec Iatrides, 'As others
see It', 6.
6::1 One example of these efforts lies in the visit King Paul and Queen Frederika
made to the area in 1962 (d. Thanasis Germanidis, Zoe Kotta, and Litsa
Markou, 'Florilla Chronology: 1962-1992', Etairia: Periodical Publicatioll of
the Society of Letters alld Arts, XI (1992) 63-77 (in Greek), at p. 63. The Queen
baptized mnny village girls in the area, giving them her own name. She also con-
tributed to their future dowries by depositing money in bank accounts opened
in their names.
64 For some examples of Macedonian national historiography sec A History of the
MacedclIIiall People, produced by the InstitLlte of National History III Skopje in
1979 and Dragan Taskorski, Rad;tlIlieto Ila Ma/wdolls/wta Naci;a (SkoPle,
65 GraecolI/all (plural: Graec()/J/(/lIi) was a term used by Slavic speakers in Greek
Macedonia to refer to those of their number who came to identify themselves
as 'Greeks'. The term means one who has a mania for Greece. For present pur-
poses, it IS Important to not"e that those Slavic speakers who identified With
Greece as Graccol11tl11i did not necessarily have an unchanging national con-
66 Greenfeld, 'The Formation of the Russian National Identity: The Role of
Status InseCUrity and Ressel/time/It', Comparatil'c Studies ill Socic/v and His-
tory, XXXII (1990) 549-91.
67 Evidence of this may he found III the establishment of the 'Association for the
Dissemination of Greek Letters' in Athens in 1869, which focused its activities
on the central and the more problematic zone of Macedonia. Its members were
well aware of the weak representation of 'real' Greeks among the population of
Macedol1la. The 'Council for the Reinforcement of Greek Religion and Educa-
tion', established in 18H7, replaced the 'Association for the Dissemination of
Greek Letters', and its personnel were appointed by the Ministry of the Exterior
(Vour!, Edllcatlon alld Nationalis1II, 87). The Council dubbed educators work-
ing in the region 'national en lighteners', particularly those working 111 high
schools, while high school superintendents were referred to as the 'right revo-
lutionaries' (ibid., 164-5).
68 Ihid., 52.
69 Vouri (Edllcatioll and Natiollalislll, 65) maintained, Vlachophones and
SIavophones of" the Monastir (BitoIa) and Florina (Lerin) areas did learn Greek,
but only for purposes of providing a means for their livelihood. Moreover, most
were indifferent to the prospect of Greek national education. Thus in the 1870s
the efforts of Greek nation-state educators in Macedonia focused on the more
developed urban centres of Ottoman Macedonia, where Greek and Greek-
speaking clements were more numerous. By the 1880s, howevel; there came a
realization that Greek schools should be spread throughout the countryside in
order to counter the rapidly growing influence of Bulgarian nationalists, who
were recruiting many local residents to the cause of the Schismatics. At that
an important new factor had entered II1to playas the Greek state began
fmancing schools and Greek education took on an overtly nationalist character
in competition with Bulgarian propaganda (ibid., 71-7). The same policies con-
tinued through the I H90s, but by the turn of the century it had become appar-
ent that Greek education was achievll1g successes only in large urban areas and
the money earmarked for Siavophone communities was largely being wasted as
such locales developed 'neither Greek letters nor Greek sentiment' (ibid., 94).
70 Ibid., 71.
71 Vouri has also emphasized the ramifications of the decision to teach the
lwtharevollsa (or 'purifying' Greek) in Greek schools (ibid., 1(3). After the turn
of the century evidence began to mount that thiS language was incapable of facil-
itating the assimilation of foreign-speaking students or of makll1g rhem more
ideologically inclined towards the Greek nation-state. Instead, a communicatwe
gap was created (ibid., 124). While recommendations had been made to replace
the teaching of classiCizing Greek with the vernacular (dill1oti/:,i), they were not
acted upon. The books used 111 Greek schools were not rewritten to take II1to
consideration the needs or circumstances of the local student population who
were not native Greek speakers. (As I will discuss below, the same recommen-
dations were made by teachers and administrators in Greek Macedonia during
the 1920s.) In contrast to this purist ideology that guided Greek educational
efforts in Macedonia, Bulgarian agents were prOViding more focused, simple
instruction 111 the local vernacular in which studems were indoctrinated politi-
cally and learneclll1 the classroom that being Macedonian meant hell1g a Bul-
garian. Throughout the two decades prior to incorporation, Greek teachers were
predominantly of local ongin (that IS, they were natives of the area). Specifically
designed for the training of teachers, the Didas/wlcio/l (Educational Academy)
opened in Thessaloniki in 1876. Financed by the Greek community of Thessa-
10niki and by the Athens-based 'Association', the Academy enrolled high school
graduates from commlll1!ties throughout Macedonia. Its graduates rook up
teaching positions in Greek schools in the Macedonlan countryside. Later,
between 1883 and 1900, emphasis was placed on the establishment of higher
educational institutions such as the Astihi S/.i/JOli (high school) and l'art!Jcl/-
agogelO (girls' high school) in Florina. As early as the 1890s, for example the
Monastlr (Bitola) High School was obliged to dismiSS a large number of teach-
ers who had a poor level of knowledge (ibid., 128). By the 1920s, the Issue of
the place of origin of appointed teachers began to loom large. On the Icleologi-
cal level it was deemed important for such lI1structors to he natives of the area
in order to foster the development of local agents of national activity through-
out the countryside. Yet this led to major problems of a practical nature. Greek
was not the native language of such teachers, and many in fact taught it poorly.
Many children lost interest in schooling and attendance rosters dropped.
72 HAM/GDM, File no. 53, Table B' (Florina District: Census of Greek Schools).
73 HAM/GDM, File no. 53 (see note 72), Tables A' and B' list three more villages
without schools but with a resident Greek population.
74 A total of thirty-four schools operated in the district, including sixteen kinder-
gartens, eleven elementary, and seven high schools (see Tlble X). By February
1930, some twenty-seven new schools had been established in the educational
district of Flonna. In the entire region of Greek Macedonia, .321 new schools
had been completed by that time, while another 189 were still under construc-
tion (HAM/GDM, File no. 61 'Educational District of Thessalonil(!, /929-1930-
19::11'1, Tables of Completed and Under-Construction School Buildings in
Macedonia and Thrace, February 1930).
75 In addition, two girls' high schools (/Jart!Jcllagogeia) were operatll1g, one III Flo-
rina and one in a Vlach village.
76 HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Letter from the Prefect of Florina, 13 January 1925
(see note 7).
77 Ibid.
78 Ibid.
79 For example, of the twenty-one male elementary school teachers in the District
of Florina, fourteen (66.7 per cent) were high school graduates, while twenty-
one of twenty-six female elementary school teachers (or 80.8 per cem) were high
school graduates (HAM/GDM, File no. 53, Table])' IQualifications and
Salaries of Teaching Personnel!). As Major K. Lambrakis put it in his reports
(HAM/GDM, File no. 90, Letter from Lambrakis) the teachers had no general
knowledge, could not fulfil their education duties, and had no conception of
their national mIssion. They often got involved in township affairs and were not
preachers of 'national grandeur'. According to him, all the teachers of the pre-
fecture should be replaced so that new ones could be hired from the ranks of
excellent instructors with a developed Greek consciousness. Such teachers
would have as their sole mission national progress and the 'qUIckest absorption
of the Slavs by infusing in them the Greek idea by any kind of effort and means
Iso that they would I acquire the complete confidence of this agricultural popu-
lation through proper and well understood propaganda in order to achieve their
attraction to the Greek idea' (ibid., 4).
In 1925, the Inspector of Elementary Schools 111 the Educational District of
Florina filed a report with the General Directorate of Macedonia in Thessaloniki
(I-IAM/GDM, File no. 60 IPublic Education 111 Macedonia: 1922, 1924, 19251,
'The Condition of the Elementary Schools and Kindergartens of the Educational
District of Florina " in response to GDM command no. 20663 of 11 March
1924). The entire district, he maintained, was composed of foreign speakers:
most were speaking the Slavo-Macedonian dialect (Slavo111a/,edolliki). Only
twenty-three (18.5 per cent) of the district's 124 primary school teachers and
two (4.2 per cent) of the forty-eight kindergarten teachers had degrees in edu-
cation, the rest being graduates of high schools or girls' high schools (fJarthell-
80 While the Inspector noted that enrolments were up (in 1924, 6,910 students
were enrolled in area schools and the following year the number had risen to
7,072, with the number of male students roughly double that of females), few
students attended school regularly (I-IAM/GDM, File no. 60: see note 79).
Moreover, there were students in the third and fourth grades who were already
twelve to fourteen years of age and who often went on to graduate without gain-
mg any real education. I-Ie also complained that school buildings were in terri-
ble condition, that the books used were inappropriate because they emphasized
rote memorization, and that there were no supporting materials available to
teachers. Little, he complained, had been accomplished in the realm of 'language
educatIon'. The 'Slavophone dialect' had not receded, and students continued
to converse in their 'mother tongue' while playing at home and in the market-
place. Even teachers, he maintained, speak the 'indigenous dialect" while moth-
ers and young children do not speak Greek at all. Even the settlement of PontIc
Greek refugees in the area had apparently done little to promote the use of
Greek. The inspector complained that the Pontics communicated with the endo-
/Jioi in Turkish rather than in Greek (lind.). Those students who did graduate
remained in a foreign-speaking environment where 'the weakest cannot aSSlIll-
ilate the powerful' (ilnd., 8). In short, the mhabitants of the region had a 'racial
hatred' towards the Greeks that prompted many to avoid Greek schools and
Greek teachers, trying in every conceivable way to rid themselves of them (ibid.).
The Inspector called for the appointment of ten good teachers from 'Old
Greece' (the original core of the Greek kingdom) 111 each school district. He
advised that they should be provided with double salaries in order to foster the
construction of national character. Only in this manner would local children be
provided with a nationally oriented education. He admonished the government
that it would be to Greece's benefit to make such sacrifices until local teachers
began graduating from the educational academies in the next decade. Similar
reports were also filed by education inspectors in the district of Veroia, Edessa,
and Yianitsa (included in HAM/GDM, File no. 60), noting that the influence of
Greek schools in 'foreign-speaking' areas had been minimal, that people con-
tinued to speak 'Bulgarian', and that they were generally indifferent to the Greek
81 In some cases, they were so opposed to the presence of Greek teachers moving
into their communitlCs that they refused to assist in finding them housing. Life
for all but a few local teachers was unbearable, and some were obliged to desert
their postings, thus forcing the schools to close. Only in some villages, claimed
the Inspector in Edessa, were there people who were interested in education,
and even those one could count on one hand (HAM/GDM, File no. 60, Letter
from the Inspector of the Edessa Education District to the General Directorate
of Thessaloniki, Protocol no. 1021, Edessa, 28 December 1924).
82 Metaxas Archives, File no. 36, Papadopoulos letter (see note 53).
83 It was believed that night schools offered the most effective means of achieving
substantive results in Hellenization. Such forums were attended by both women
(between the ages of fifteen and forty) and men (up to age fifty), ibId., 5. Read-
ing, writing, and history were the primary subjects of these schools, while
women were also taught home economics (ibid.).
84 Cf. for example Edward Sapir, 'Conceptual Categories in PrimItive Languages"
Science, LXXIV (1931) 578-84; BenJamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thollght alld
Reality: Selected Writmgs of Be/I/alnill Lee Whorf (Cambridge, Mass., 1956).
85 Charles Jelavich and Barbara Jelavich, The Establishment or the Balkan
National States, 1804-1920 (Seattle, 1993), 134.
86 Cf. Victor A. Friedman, 'Linguistics, Nationalism, and Literary Languages: A
Balkan Perspective', in The Real- World Linguist: LinguistiC ApplicatIOns in the
1980s, eds. Victor Raskin and Peter C. Biarkman (Norwood, NJ, 1986),
87 The term Arvanites refers to Christian Albanian speakers who mIgrated to
Greek lands in the fourteenth century and now reSIde in Greece. Such indiVIdu-
als are distinguished from Albanians proper, the nationals of that state.
88 Stanley J. Tambiah, 'Ethl1lc Conflict in the World l()day', Americall Ethllologist,
XVI (1989) 335-49.
89 See Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self 111 Everyday Lire (New York,
90 See Michael Herzfeld, The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and ldentity in a
Cretan Mountam Village (Princeton, 1985).
91 Goffman, The PresentatIOn of Self
92 Victor Turner, Dramas, Fields and Meta/Jhors: Symbolic ActlOIl /11 H1Iman Soci-
ety (Ithaca, NY, 1974).
93 Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the COllcepts or PollutIOn and Taboo,
(London, 1966).
94 Turner, Dramas, Fields and Metaphors, 56.
95 Cf. Douglas, Purity and Dallger.
96 Dramas, Fields and Metaphors, 56.
97 Ibid. 17.
98 Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, Of Revelatlo/1 alld Revolution: Christian-
ity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in S01lth Arrica, I (Chicago, 1991) 313.
99 Benedict Anderson, lmagmed COlllmunities: ReflectIOns Oil the Origin alld
Spread of Natiollalislll (London, 1983).
.1 00 The Prefecture of Florina remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in
Greece. According to Boeschoten (Riki van Boeschoten, 'MinorIty Languages
in Northern Greece, Report to the European Commission' Imanuscript!), there
is hardly any industry in the prefecture, and 53 per cent of the actIve popula-
tion is employed in what the European Union refers to as the 'primary sector'
(agriculture and husbandry), 20 per cent in the 'secondary sector', and 27 per
cent m the so-called 'tertiary sector'. Unemployment rates are high, peaking
durmg wInter months at up to 30 per cent.
101 Karakasidou, 'Politicizing Culture' (see note 19).
102 Such labels are commonly used by present-day authorities and citizens in Greece
to refer to the people of the Fonner Yugoslav Republic of Macedol1la
103 lowe the original notion of this group to a very special friend in Florina, who
must remalI1 anonymous.
104 Loring M. Danforth, 'National Conflict in a Transnational World: Greeks and
Macedonians at the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe', Paper
presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Associ-
atIon, Washmgton, D.C., 17-21 November 1993, and The Macedonian Conflict:
Ethnic Nationalism ill a TransnatIOnal World (Princeton, 1995). .
The Sarakatsani are Greek-speaking transhumant shepherds. Until the
1970s small groups of circular domed huts of wood and thatched reeds
betrayed their presence to observant travellers in many parts of continental
Greece north of Corinth. From May until November they grazed flocks of
sheep and goats on the higher slopes of the mountains generally between
3,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level; during the remainder of the year they
lived in the coastal plains. Climate and relief, snow on the high ground in
winter, in summer burning heat in the plains, encouraged this transhumance
in wide areas dominated by the Pindus and Rhodope mountains in the Greek
provinces of Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia and Thrace. At the time of my
anthropological fieldwork, in Zagori in 1954-55, the only unofficial survey
(known to me) of the Sarakatsani population suggested a total just over
They were never a category in any official census. The various commu-
nities of Sarai<atsani, generally designated by the geographical districts they
occupied, had no centralizing institutions or authorities. Kinship or fictive
kinship was the only basis on which Sarakatsani could co-operate with con-
fidence and trust. The groups which constituted the community were fami-
lies (which generally assumed an extended form at a certain stage of their
development cycle), and the contractual co-operating groups of families
(fJarees) which, based on ties of kinship and affinity, ran their flocks as a
joint enterprise (fifty to eighty souls at most). There were no co-operating
groups of a higher order than this. And between men who could not trace
any relationship there could only be distrust and potential hostility. At that
time the Sarakatsani were endogamous. If a Sarakatsan man or woman mar-
ried outside the community, an almost unheard of practice in the traditional
community in Zagori for instance, the individual was no longer regarded as
a member of the community. Similarly, the very few cases of men who found
an occupation other than shepherding or muleteering were no longer con-
sidered to be full members of the community. Birth, marriage, and occupa-
tion together regulated membership.
These communities were Greek speaking. They knew no other language.
Their settlements, dress, and customs certainly justify our regarding them as
a distinctive social group. Nevertheless they do not constitute an ethnic
minority. In this respect the Sarakatsani are in a different position from the
and the related Albanian Vlachs, who both speak a romance
language related to Romanian and in many instances live in substantial vil-
lages often with occupations other than shepherding. Koutsovlach values,
institutions and art forms are different from those of the Sarakatsani. The
latter also claim that they have always been in the forefront of those who
fought for Greek national aspirations. In contrast they make much of the
fact that some Koutsovlachs collaborated with the Italian occupation
authorities during the Second World War and in the early part of the cen-
tury had been affected by Romanian nationalist propaganda, conveniently
forgetting, it must be said, the considerable contribution made by many
Koutsovlachs to the development of the modern Greek state. A further and
more substantial cause of competitive dispute between the two groups,
during the time of my own field work among the Sarakatsani in the 1950s,
was the increasing pressure on the limited areas available for winter grazing
in the coastal plains.
Nevertheless, despite these differences and oppositions between
Koutsovlachs and Sarakatsani, they were often confused. Indeed the further
back in time we look, it is less a question of confusion and more a matter of
the Sarakatsani not being recognized at all. Linguistic usage did not help.
The word VlachoslVlachoi has been used since the Byzantine period to
describe transhumant shepherds, but more significantly the word is also used
as an abbreviation to describe Koutsovlachs. In this way Sarakatsani
became, as it were, anonymous, all the more easily because to the uniniti-
ated eye Koutsovlachs dressed like Sarakatsani and, where they were not
living in villages, built apparently similar huts. On the other hand, the dis-
tinctiveness of Koutsovlachs was accentuated because they spoke a different
language, were in some cases prosperous professional men and politicians
and in some instances had made striking public benefactions. Whether the
term Vlach referred to this elevated, and generally in Greek society admired
Koutsovlach elite, or to the despised figure of the transhumant shepherd, in
most cases, unless there were other indications, an audience would assume
they were dealing with Koutsovlachs.
The two authors whose work is largely responsible for rescuing the
Sarakatsani from this relative anonymity are the Danish scholar Carsten
Hoeg,J who in 1925 published a brilliant linguistic study of the Sarakatsan
dialect, alld .'\Ilgeliki Khatzimikhali;' a distinguished Greek folklorist. The
latter's book on the Sarakatsani published in 1957 is particularly concerned
with their folklore and material culture. And it is important for some com-
ments I shall make later to remark here that part of her argument empha-
sised that in their pastoral way of life, social organization and art forms
Sarakatsani give expression to certain prototypical elements of Greek cul-
ture. She points to the similarities between the motifs of Sarakatsan decora-
tive art and the geometrical style of pre-classical Greece. She reminds her
readers that klephtic heroes of the revolutionary period such as Katsando-
nis and Karaiskakis were Sarakatsani, that the Sarakatsani themselves
believed they were Greek patriots whose sense of freedom could suffer no
restraints, that under Turkish occupation they never herded the sheep of
Ottoman officials or estate owners. Compromise was foreign to their nature.
Their lineage was pure, and their actions noble.
What resonance the writings of Khatzimikhali, and indeed those of other
Greek folklorists before and after her, may have had among the educated
Greek middle class, it is certain that they made no impact in the rural moun-
tain villages where the Sarakatsani found their summer grazing. The general
opposition of pastoralists, especially nomadic or transhumant shepherds, to
settled peasant farmers is well known. Since 1936 Sarakatsani had been
compulsorily registered as citizens in villages where grazing for their ani-
mals was available. In 1954 when I began my fieldwork among the Sarakat-
sani shepherds in Zagori (north east of Ioanninal the majority still lived in
their traditional hut encampments outside the villages although some had
already acquired stone houses abandoned by villagers who had migrated to
the towns or abroad, particularly in certain mountainous regions where the
population had been compulsorily evacuated during the civil war of
1946-49. This increasingly close physical relationship only emphasized an
opposition of interests which had always existed between shepherds and vil-
lagers.' Property rights were jealously guarded, and in the absence of fenc-
ing it was inevitable that Sarakatsan sheep, goats and mules were discovered
in the crops and gardens of villagers. They trespassed deliberately on areas
of grassland which were reserved for growing hay on which the villagers'
own domestic livestock relied to survive the winter. This state of affairs was
reflected in the Agricultural Courts which sat every two months under a Jus-
tice of the Peace. Of some eighty defendants in trespass cases at one of the
sessions I attended the overwhelming majority were shepherds who inter-
preted the proceedings as yet another proof of the injustice they suffered.
Those Sarakatsanoi who already owned houses were convinced that they
were systematically cheated in the allotment of watering time for the irriga-
tion of their vegetable gardens. There was also trouble over the watering of
mules and horses and over the use of wells for washing clothes.
Particular occasions each year generated their own confrontations.
During the ten day migrations of a hundred miles or more from summer
pastures in the mountains to the coastal plains in autumn, and the return to
the mountains in spring, there were acute difficulties with the villages which
lay in their path. Crops and grass were eaten by the flocks and local men
often took revenge at night by stealing sheep, sometimes by the cowardly
method (in Sarakatsan judgement) of digging a pit covered by brushwood.
The animal fell into the pit and the villager took his compensation without
personal risk. In the spring when the shepherds arrived at their mountain vil-
lages the livestock were counted by the village President in determining the
grazing dues. These were believed to be excessive and many shepherds
brought in some of their sheep by a circuitous route to avoid the count, a
stratagem which the villagers sometimes discovered, and always suspected.
Even the village festivals which are religious celebrations of unity and good-
will, honouring the village's tutelary saint, underlined these divisions. Not
until the third and final night of the dancing were the Sarakatsani allowed
to lead the ring dance and only then after repeated pressure, reciprocal
abuse, and on occasions physical affrays and the theatrical pulling of knives,
which the villagers at once cited as proof that these unworthy and unwanted
'citizens' were barbarians unused to the institutions of civilized living.
In the fragile economies of transhumant shepherds and mountain vil-
lagers these differing interests, trivial as they sound to us, were matters of
real substance. Related to them (though not entirely determined by them),
there was a profound moral opposition between pastoralists and villagers.
Villagers believed in the process of law which they knew how to manipulate.
Shepherds did not have the same confidence in the courts and in their frus-
tration turned to self-help in the form of trespass and theft and, when driven
by need or honour, to physical violence. Shepherds had been within living
memory in the late 1920s the source from which the last brigand bands had
drawn their recruits. An aura of anarchy and potential physical threat still
surrounded their activities when I first knew the shepherds in the 1950s.
From the viewpoint of villagers not only were they violent, they were also
illiterate and unclean. They seldom washed. When they lived in huts outside
villages Sarakatsani dealt with calls of nature by simply walking outside.
The women because of their code of extreme modesty were sometimes COI11-
pelled to urinate standing up under their long and heavy enveloping skirts.
This was a habit long ago discovered by villagers and described by them as
animal behaviour similar to horses.
The antithetical view of the Sarakatsani was that Zagori villagers were men
without honour. They instanced the case of a villager who, having caught his
neighbour in bed with his wife, mildly expostulated that this was not good
neighbourly practice. The owner of a coffee shop allowed his wife, it was said,
to entertain illicitly the truck drivers who sometimes stayed overnight in the
shop. Village widows were given to unnatural acts with dogs, it was alleged.
When on the final night of the village festival the urban grandees of the village,
those who had become merchants and professionals in the towns and cities
and had returned to their village for this summer festival, were allowed to
indulge themselves with an hour or so of their own kind of sophisticated
dancing, waltzes and fox-trots, the watching Sarakatsani were profoundly
shocked at what they regarded as virtual vertical copulation. But perhaps
worst of all, villagers were seen as mean and inhospitable and like all peasants,
whether or not they were still actively working their fields, they were men who
servilely dug the earth, they were 'ShYI11111CllOl anthrofJoi', men bent over, an
inference of passive homosexuality.
The Sarakatsani saw themselves, in the context of a modern nation state,
as admittedly occupying a marginal social position, a community without
education and with only a limited political influence which was precariously
dependent on non-Sarakatsan patrons. Yet they insisted that this Judgement
of their position was so because the state itself was flawed and corrupt. In
an ultimate sense the Sarakatsani knew they were men of honour, living on
the high ridges literally above the corrupt dealings of villagers and state offi-
cials. Where they went the air was clean and the water pure. Above all they
were free men, that is men not under constraint, since any constraint was
potentially dishonourable. The ideal type they aspired to was the anarchic
klephtic hero, the patriot of the ballads, trussed with bandoleers, physically
hard, morally self-disciplined, without whom, it was claimed, the liberating
revolution of 1821 would never have happened. The kind of man, they said,
who would be too proud to argue his case with villagers in a court of law.
All this is perhaps reflected in the prestige a shepherd commanded from the
possession of a repertoire of wild klephtic songs and the ability to sing them.
What then was the ideal of the Zagori villager? Before the Balkan wars of
:1912 which resulted in northern continental Greece becoming part of the
Greek state, young men travelled widely to Constantinople, Bucharest and
other cities of the Ottoman Empire where they worked in a variety of occu-
pations for a number of years, for instance in bakeries, shops, and as small
merchants, until they had amassed savings which were sufficient to enable
them to set themselves up in their native villages as men of some consequence.
They saw themselves as 'l11or/Jhomcnoi a11thro/Joi', 'shaped men', men
'formed' to live in society. The image was that of the clever, astute, educated
merchant who travelled abroad to make his money by innate cleverness. Yet
he remained a patriot who honoured his native community by his benefac-
tions, 'cvcrgcsics'. Both the process of making money and its disbursement
were highly competitive. Benefactions were visible works of piety which
marked out the virtue of the giver. Schools, fountains, paved areas in the
village square, and especially chapels or particular adornments for the prin-
cipal church were characteristic. Although his cleverness exploited the law
and used its provisions as a weapon against competitors, his activities
required an orderly social environment and respect for law and order. What
he particularly rejected was any resort to physical force. The contrast between
two ideal types is expressed in a popular and often quoted formula. 'Never a
man of Zagori a captain (that is, of Idcphts), never a Souliote a merchant'."
The significance of these two ideal types is not restricted to local relations
between pastoralists and villagers in those areas of Greece where transhu-
mance, although under increasingly difficult conditions, was still to be found
at the time of my fieldwork. They are closely related, also, to the circum-
stances of the emergence of the modern Greek state. The Greek soldiers of
the War of Independence (1821-29) were mainly irregulars. Before the war
many of them had been !?Iephts or armatoles in the mountains of continen-
tal Greece. The former were brigands, generally shepherds or mountain vil-
lagers who through debt, sheep theft, homicide or other troubles had fallen
out with the Ottoman authorities and taken to the hills. They lived by levy-
ing protection money from villagers or by looting their hOllses. Travellers
were also held to ransom and decapitated if the sums demanded for their
release were not paid. Armatoles were similarly irregulars, very often former
l<./elJhts returned to respectability through an amnesty, who were then
recruited by the Turks to counter lawlessness. Klephts and armatoles
together formed a complementary security system which cost the Turks rel-
atively little. A captain of armatoles allowed the l<./elJhts in his district a cer-
tain tolerance since it was their existence that justified his own employment,
and hle!Jhts aimed to cause just sufficient disorder to encourage the Ottoman
authorities to grant them in their turn amnesty and employment as arma-
toles. The victims, of course, were the villagers, taxed by the armatoles and
levied by the Idephts.
K/e/}hts, however, generally protected certain mountain villages and shep-
herd encampments from which their own members were drawn; and a cap-
tain of armatoles had relations of mutual support with chift/il::. owners, men
of some substance with estates in the plains and valleys. There were impor-
tant complementarities in these arrangements just as in those which still
existed in the 1950s between transhumhant shepherds and influential vil-
lagers, subsumed under various forms of political patronage.
In the new state of modern Greece, established by the Powers in 1830
under the Treaty of London, this klephtic tradition had a somewhat
ambiguous fate. It was hardly satisfactory to have to admit that many of the
glorious heroes of the War of Independence had previously been common
brigands and that during the course of that war some Idephts had even re-
entered Turkish service, a course of action which by the rules of the pre-
independence hlefJhtslarl1latoles security system was not in the least
dishonourable, and was even understandable during the war in situations
where a captain's own district, including the villages of his followers, was
retaken by Turkish forces, and among men whose national consciousness in
the modern sense was only partially developed. For the founding myth of the
new state, however, this was not acceptable. The hle/Jhts now had to be por-
trayed as patriots who had bravely resisted Ottoman rule. This indeed in a
sense was tleue, but it was incidental to the main activities of the IdelJhts
which I have indicated. An heroic pastoral existence that included killing
Turks, tossing the boulder and Homeric feasting was, therefore, attributed
to them by folklorists and historians (not always Greek), a romantIC con-
struction far removed from the reality of klephtic life which was generally
brutal and short - both for the life!}ht and his victims.
After the war many of these irregulars found it impossible to turn their
hands to the unrewarding and unprestigious toil of peasant farming on land
which their services would have entitled them to. If they could not find serv-
ice in the new government's own irregular contingents (of national or fron-
tier guards), they either returned to shepherding or became brigands; the
two professions were in any case closely aSSOCIated (many brigands were
shepherds and brigands relied heavily on shepherd encampm,e,nts for proVI-
sions and information). But these men could no longer be othCIally known
as I<./ephts, because that term was now too closely linked to the heroes of the
War of Independence to be sullied by association with common brigandage.
They had now become listes, common thieves and freebooters. ,
From time to time, however, and particularly on some scale III 1847,
1854,1878 and 1897, these men living on the margins of settled society
were re-endowed with the attributes of l<le!}!Jts
and patriots.' This came
about because the frontier of the new state set up by the European Powers
ran between Arta and Volos, excluding from the nation state the modern
provinces of Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. inex-
orably drawn into repeated attempts to liberate Greeks still IIvll1g under
Ottoman rule. Its small regular army, essentially intended for internal secu-
rity and ceremonial, could not hope to match the Turkish forces. NO,r was,
Britain prepared to allow Greece to contribute to any further weakenmg of
the Ottoman Empire. In this pattern of international relations brigands
found their place. Whenever domestic difficulties or irredentist pressures dic-
tated the Greek government encouraged the formation of irregular bands
to the frontier and raise the Christian population in revolt. The oper-
ations of irregulars could not be attributed to the Greek government with
the same certainty as invasion by a regular force: and they had the added
advantage that they exported the depredations of brigands tO,Turkish
tory. These were the policies which promoted the 'Great Idea, the
ambition to unite in a single nation state those areas of the Ottoman EmpIre
where substantial populations of Greek speakers still lived.
The fledgling Greek state, which came into existence In 1830, from the
outset faced a problem of internal order and security. The country was n?w
poor and ravaged by war. It could afford only a small regular army (at first
of foreign Bavarian troops) quite unsuited to maintaining order 11l a remark-
ably rugged mountainous territory virtually without carriage roads. Many
of the captains of irregulars whose bands had formed the greater part of the
Greek insurgent forces in the independence war attempted to keep control
of the areas in which they had operated, or from which they had drawn their
followers. Either they came to terms with the government by accepting posi-
tions as officers in its irregular forces (in a role similar to that of a captain
of armato/es before the War of Independence) or they passed over into forms
of brigandage. After 1843, when representative parliamentary institutions
were introduced, some military captains acted as enforcers of the govern-
ment's vote during elections, others supported opposition politicians by pro-
voking local unrest to prove its inability to govern.
These tensions between
a government hoping to impose centralized authority without always having
the power to compel its observance and local strong men of arbitrary habits
and doubtfui legitimacy, were partly resolved in the growth of various forms
of patronage which were to be characteristic of Greek political life in the
nineteenth century and which even today persist to some degree.
The irregular bands which were important in nineteenth century Greece
either as legitimate enforcers of the policy of the 'Great Idea', or as private
enterprises in brigandage influenced military organization and tactics
throughout the century. Because of the frequent use of irregular bands in
irredentist campaigns little serious attention was given to the efficiency and
effectiveness of the regular forces until their humiliating defeat in the 'Thirty
Days War' against the Turks in 1897. Even during the struggle with the Bul-
garians in Macedonia (at the turn of the century when that ambiguous ter-
ritory was still part of the Ottoman Empire) the Greeks fought their guerrilla
campaigns organized in klephtic style bands, often led by Greek regular offi-
cers. 10 Even the operations of the Greek regular army in the war in Albania
against the Italians in 1940-41 were influenced by klephtic tactics. When-
ever possible they held the high ground and avoided the valleys. II The meth-
ods of the Greek resistance under the German occupation, 1941-44, had an
even more obvious klephtic reference.
The survival of klephtic!armatole institutions after 1830, and the weak
development of a regular army on a modern European model, clearly had
some relation to factors of economy and geography, but there were, addi-
tionally, significant cultural influences. The klephtic band style of irregular
mountain warfare was opposed in most respects to the organization and
spirit of regular European armies. During the War of Independence both
phil hellene volunteers from western Europe and Greek political leaders of
the revolt wished to recruit regular Greek contingents but soon discovered
that shepherds and mountain villagers (the most warlike section of the
Christian population) had no desire to join such units which involved sub-
mitting to discipline, wearing a Frankish European uniform instead of the
mountaineer's traditional fustanella kilt, learning drill, all aspects of west-
ern training which served to deny individual personality and klephtic moun-
tain values, in particular the assertion of self and the avoidance of imposed
Klephtic and regular tactics were entirely different. Most irregular
soldiers had grown up in mountain communities where sheep-stealing was
an important measure of a man's worth. Success in this art depended on
cunning, the effective use of cover, avoiding any confrontation with your
victim, and fleetness of foot. Similarly /(/ephts before the War of Indepen-
dence, and irregular soldiers during it, avoided confrontations with any
stronger force of opponents. Their tactics were the ambush from behind
secure cover, and a rapid retreat whenever a situation turned agamst them.
On the other hand when they were unopposed or in substantially superior
numbers they would parade up and down in front of their enemy with
trumpets sounding and banners waving. To inflict public humiliation when
in strength, or in weakness to avoid it by judicious retreat, were the objec-
tives. It was also a feature of the small-scale battles and skirmishes involving
irregular troops that they were preceded by the prolonged exchange of oaths
and insults, a mode of verbal challenge and response. I" This way of fighting,
or often of avoiding fighting, was inevitably extremely frustrating for those
westernized Greeks among the leaders of the revolution who wanted to
occupy and hold permanently particular territories. It was equally infuri-
ating for the influential phil hellene volunteers and financial backers who
frequently enough accused the Greek irregulars of cowardice. They were not
cowards, of course, by the criteria of their very different social and military
The values and attitudes which underlay klephtic irregular organization
were almost identical with those of Sarakatsan transhumant shepherd
groups as I knew them in the 1950s and 1960s. And in many practical
respects irregular units in the War of Independence were very like enlarged
shepherd encampments. The captain was supported by close kinsmen and
clients. That was the basis of his authority. It did not derive from appoint-
ment to a military rank granted by a higher command in a legitimate hier-
archy. I-Ie continued to hold this position by force of personality 'me to
5!Jathi' (literally 'by the sword') and by his ability to provide bread and
booty for his followers. When he ceased to be able to do this his company
silently deserted him just as the failed leader of a shepherd group would lose
the support of the other families associated under his leadership. The paral-
lel between shepherd groups and irregular bands is seen again in the con-
siderable flocks of sheep and goats which the irregular captains always
maintained in their areas of operation.
Nothing delighted the Sarakatsani men I knew more than the revelation
of their cunning, their evasions, their effective lies, in some affray or brush
with authority. The stratagems they used to approach another flock, cut out
twenty ewes, move them ten miles away by dawn and dispose of them
through intermediary kinsmen gave them immense pleasure in the telling.
The humiliation inflicted on an unrelated family could be renewed every
time the narrative was paraded. These were the same values, the same skills
and the same attitudes needed in klephtic warfare.
I have attempted to draw out this connection between Sarakatsani and
IdelJhts since this so strongly marks the Sarakatsan vision of their past. It
does so partly because the connection did indeed exist and partly because the
Sarakatsani sensed that through it they could claim an identity with the
wider Greek society whose attitudes towards them was at best ambivalent,
often contemptuous. This search for acceptance consistently encouraged a
process of idealizing their role in the emergence of modern Greece, and their
own subsequent history.
Traditional transhumance is now increasingly rare. Those who practise it
move their animals by truck; but most Sarakatsani have abandoned seasonal
migration and live in village houses throughout the year. Those who still
have sheep and goats have reduced the size of their flocks and overwinter
them in barns built with loans from the Agricultural Bank or with European
Union grants. Many have abandoned shepherding entirely and taken to
other occupations, forestry, truck driving, road maintenance, unskilled
labour in tourism. The contraction of transhumant pastoralism which has
been in progress since the First World War was initially caused by the reduc-
tion of available winter grazing, particularly in the 1920s when the great
influx of Greek refugees from Asia Minor led to the distribution of land
from the grasslands of the coastal plains, mainly in northern Greece. This
process has continued in recent decades for reasons which are not essentially
economic, the very low status of the shepherd's way of life, which is evident
to the Sarakatsani themselves, not only from their confrontations with the
villagers but also through the television screens which they, like the rest of
the rural population, cannot avoid. They have learned that almost all alter-
native occupations are socially superior and often materially more reward-
ing and certainly more comfortable. They need no persuasion about the
genuine hardships of the shepherd's life, the 'talaifJories' they have always
complained of. Moreover, since the end of the civil war families have worked
and schemed to get one son, at least, to high school and university and
thence into state employment or a profession. Originally the motive was
family security, the control of a patron tied to a family's interest; but as this
process has developed it has become more directly an exit from a devalued
way of life.
I have explained above that in the 1950s membership of the Sarakatsan
community in Zagori was precisely defined by birth and occupation in a rig-
orously endogamous community. Only after the civil war did the process of
Sarakatsani buying abandoned village houses begin slowly to alter residen-
tial patterns. By occupation, by many aspects of culture, and by residence,
they were relatively isolated from village society. Although they lived along-
side it and thought they understood its moral constitution, they were not of
it. Indeed, it was these circumstances of relative isolation that made it pos-
sible for the Sarakatsani to maintain their allegiance to an ideal type pas-
toral/klephtic society and to condemn the moral inferiority of the village and
urban worlds. The contemporary Sarakatsan world, however, is entirely
Today one is a Sarakatsanos if one claims to be the son or daughter, the
grandson or granddaughter of parents and grandparents who once led that
life. Other occupations, or marriage to a spouse who is not a Sarakatsanos,
no longer debar that claim. Virtually all Sarakatsani now live in stone
houses. As early as 1973 the Sarakatsani of Zagori dressed like villagers in
cheap manufactured clothes, no longer wearing the clothes spun from the
wool of their own animals, in the case of the women with bodices elabo-
rately embroidered during the preparation of girls' dowries. In their houses
thev sit on chairs at tables, like any other villager. In some cases there are
h e ~ t s or sideboards in cheap veneers and at least a radio, perhaps a framed
tapestry of the Grand Canal in Venice. Gone the austere symmetry of the cir-
cular thatched reed hut, the central hearth, the velelltzas and pillows spread
around it on which the members of the family, or extended family, squatted
in the day and slept at night, sharing this small space and the mandatory sol-
idarity that went with it. A married couple now have a room to themselves
with all the consequences that has for relationships between a man and a
woman anel their children.
In brief almost all modern Sarakatsani are assimilated to some measure
of village urbanity. Yet just as villagers who migrate to Athens, or abroad,
feel the need to form associations and hold on to family houses in their vil-
lages of origin, through which they cling to a valued identity, so Sarakatsani
seek some expression of the memory of the austere life their forbears once
led. This they can now more easily do since their adoption of a village
lifestyle entitles them to a recognition of their social respectability, they no
longer face the humiliation of taunts that they live an animal existence. In
recent vears Sarakatsan associations have been established in Epirus, Thes-
saly, Macedonia and Thrace which gather for summer festivals where men,
many of whom must never have shepherded a sheep in their lives, wear the
(ustal1ella (kilt) which even their grandfathers who were shepherds in their
time would never have worn and their wives and daughters put on full tra-
ditional dress but with their hair newly dressed in the latest modish fashion.
In Serres there is a Sarakatsan museum with a full scale traditional hut fur-
nished with the appropriate veientzas, dowry sacks, carved crooks, ceremo-
nial breads, and women's costumes, the full inventory of the Sarakatsan
material culture. These expressions are a certain sign of a society which is
past. The Sarakatsani who cling to this identity decorate it with a partly
imagined and idealized past which links them with important values of the
wider Greek society derived from that equation between the klephtic and the
pastoral life which I have attempted to describe.
This concern with a past which is lost but still treasured was celebrated in
1996 at a conference organized by the national organization of Sarakatsan
regional associations. Held in the spacious auditorium of the Greek War
Museum in Athens, several hundred delegates were addressed by academics,
journalists and politicians (mainly non-Sarakatsani) who discussed a range of
topics concerning the history and culture of the Sarakatsani. It is questionable
whether more than a third of those attending this event had ever owned a
substantial flock of sheep let alone worked as shepherds. In most cases they
had to look back to grandparents to find the original occupational basis of
Sarakatsan communities. What they wished to hear were accounts of the past
Sarakatsan world to remind them of the speculations about their descent from
the ancient Dorians, to assure them that in the years of subjection under the
Ottoman Empire their ancestors had been patriotic hle/Jhts who resisted
oppression, that they should take pride in the richness of their traditional
material culture of woodcarving and embroidery, in short that they came
from an authentic Hellenic lineage which stretched back to the origins of the
Greek race. The fact that representatives of residual communities of Sarakat-
sani still surviving in Southern Albania (northern Epirus), in the new state of
Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria, were present as invited participants
demonstrated that the Sarakatsani, too, were part of the great community
that transcended Greek national boundaries.
The Sarakatsan audience at this conference in its great majority were men
in business, the professions, the gendarmerie, and some farmers and
foresters. There was, of course, a minority of active pastoralists but they
were substantial flock-owners. I met no simple workaday shepherds. There
were two former ministers in the last New Democracy government and the
current vice-presIdent of the parliament (equivalent to the Deputy Speaker
in the I-louse of Commons), all three were Sarakatsani. On the final evening
of this gathering 700 of the participants sat down to a lavish dinner in the
ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens. The transformation of a
homogeneous society of transhumant pastoralists which as an anthropolo-
gist I knew in 1954-55, perhaps at that time the most traditional community
in southern Europe living directly and almost entirely from the produce of
their flock, into a diverse community of men and women in a variety of
occupations and different social classes was simply extraordinary. The
Sarakatsan families in Zagori in J 950s had faced the problems of inade-
quate winter grazing and intrusive bureaucratic harassment of various kinds.
At that time they had made an attempt to co-operate in the formation of a
local association of pastoralists to face these difficultIes. So great, however,
was the mutual distrust of unrelated families that no coherent policy or
action ever emerged from its discussions. In contrast, in J 996, the thirty-
eight local associations of Sarakatsani spread throughout the regions of
continental Greece had relatively little difficulty in co-operating to mount a
national conference which demanded sophisticated administration and
considerable financial resources. In commanding the presence of serious
academics and public men who were not Sarakatsani, and the attention of
the media on television and in the press, this event they believed had
confirmed the honourable acceptance of the Sarakatsani, as they present
themselves today, into Greek society. The title on the cover of the sumptu-
ously produced proceedings of this conference reads Saralwtsalli: Their
Contribution to the Contin1lity of Hellenism.
In the first section of this paper I described the social Isolation of
Sarakatsan shepherds who in the 1950s and 1960s attempted to live by their
traditional values. The Greeks who lived in towns and cities, and in today's
partially urbanized villages, do not tolerate the uncouth social habits of
shepherds, even less their occasional recourse to violence. Yet there is in the
wider Greek society a deep nostalgia for the beauty, strength, and grace, of
the young /Jallilwri'-l hero, who is prepared to die for family and national
honour, and for the idealized klephtic figures, Katsandonis, Karaiskakis, and
Kolokotronis, with whom the historical identity of modern Greece is closely
bound. All these conceptions were taken from the mountain world of
pastoralist villages and shepherd encampments. They are faithfully repro-
duced in the state-selected textbooks of primary schools and in the popular
biographies not only of the heroes of the War of Independence but also of
more recent warriors who fought in klephtic fashion: for instance Pavlos
Melas in Macedonia and the captains of the wartime resistance and the civil
war. The tradition lives on also in the corpus of klephtic songs which express
the values of freedom and pride. Klephtic freedom as expressed in the songs
has to do with an ideal of absolute self-sufficiency and the rejection of
constraint, perhaps reflected in the ability of I:!lefJhts (at least in the songs)
to leap prodigious heights and distances. These values, now abstracted from
the social reality in whICh they were created, have passed into the general
perception which Greeks have of themselves, however inappropriate it may
be in a modern state.
I wish to thank Dr Dimitri Livanios, Pembroke College, CambrIdge, for his
critical comments on this paper.
1 See A. Khatzimikhali, Oi Saralwtsalloi (Athens, J 957).
2 See the article III this volume by T. J. Winnifrith. See also A . .I. B. Wace and M.
S. Thompson, The Nomads o( the Balkalls (London, 19(4), passllII, and .J. K.
Campbell, HOIIOIII; Pamily alld Patrollage: A Study ot" IIIStitlltlOlIS alld Moral
Vailles ill a Cree/:< MOlllllaill C011l11l111llty (Oxford, (964),2-6.
3 Carsten l-Ioeg, Les Saracalsalls: Etllde linguistlqlle, 2 vols (Pans and Copen-
hagen, 192516).
4 Khatzimikhali, op. cit.
5 For relevant material concerning relations between Sarakatsani and villagers,
see Campbell, op. cit., 9, 16,23,28,89-90,213-16.
6 The Souliotes were a warlike Alhal1lan Christian community which resisted Ali
Pasha in Epirus in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Greek
War of Independence in I !i21. In this context the Sarakatsani are identified
with the Souliotes.
7 See John S. Koliopoulos, Brigands with a Calise (Oxford, 1987), /Jassim. This
is the most thorough examination of brigandage in nineteenth ce;ltury Greece,
based on meticulous documentary research. Also John Campbell, The Greek
Hero' in .1. G. Peristiany, and Julian Pitt-Rivers, eds, Honollr and Grace ill
Allthro/Jology (Cambridge, 1992), 138-43.
8 See John S. Koliopoulos, op. cit. ch.5.
9 See Koliopoulos, idem.
10 See Douglas Dakin, The Greeh Struggle ill Macedonia J 897-1913 (Thessa-
lonika, 1966), 175-92.
II See Alexander Papagos, The Hattie of Greece 1940-41 (Athens, 1949),259-72.
12 See I-I. A. Lidderdale, (ed.), Memoirs (London, 1966).
13 See the proceedings of the conference, Oi SaralwtstlllOi, i symvoli tous sti
lou I::llinisllloll, (Athens, 1996). The articles of Vasili Anastasov and
Vasili Molari deal respectively with the Sarakatsani of Bulgaria and the (Former
Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia.
14 Pallilwri is a term used both for young unmarried Sarakatsan shepherds and for
the men in klephtic bands. In both contexts the ideal is a youth who is brave,
tough and agile.
1 0
In all countries there is a clear legal definition of who constitutes a foreigner
or non-national, but this usually differs from the social definition where more
subjective factors such as familiarity, appearance, language and social behav-
iour are more critical. In traditional communities, such as one still finds in
rural Greece, '0 xenos' (the 'foreigner') may be someone from another house-
hold, village, island or from Athens just as much as the person from another
culture. It is often more useful to refer to 'insiders' and 'outsiders' recog-
nizing that the social context and experiences of the participants in social
interaction determine the perspective in which a 'xenos' or foreigner is
defined. While social definitions are relative, nation states are primarily
concerned with legal definitions of who is a foreigner since citizens are
assigned different rights and duties from foreigners or non- citizens. However
the assumption that all citizens within the nation state share a common social
and cultural identity and inheritance is part of the political ideology of
nationalism I and is in marked contrast to states which accept cultural
pluralism. The situation of foreigners who come to reside in nation states
which are based on the principle and ideology of a common culture or race
- 0 etlmos - and their status where they are an element in the multicultural
mix of a pluralist state is inevitably different.
The emergence of modern Greece as a nation state, starting with the 1821
War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, was a gradual and diffi-
cult process involving the incorporation of one and a quarter million Greek
refugees from Asia Minor, Russia and Bulgaria, with its current national
borders being established only in 1948. The perceived need to create a
common national identity has underlined the continuous attempt to 'hell-
enize' all those within its borders2 and considerable ambivalence about those
who remain as minority or atypical non-Greek elements within the national
borders. The preservation and promotion of a unified national identity and
culture has been a concern of Greek governments since the inception of the
Citizenship has tended to be conferred on those who identify them-
selves or are identified by other Greeks as 'belonging' to Greek society and
culture and thus to the nation state. As a corollary people of Greek origins
and descent - ol11ogeneis and part of the diaspora, both ancient and modern
- may claim or be given rights (specifically via the legal mechanism of the
Council of State) to become citizens of Greece however long they and their
ancestors have been living in other countries. Pontians, i.e. Greeks from the
former Soviet Union, approximately a quarter of a million;' are included in
this category as are those from Greek communities in other countries who,
when excluded from the society where they were previously living such as
Turkey, Egypt, Zaire, have come to live in Greece. Those who return from
countries to which they had previously migrated, 'IJalillostotlntes', even if
they or members of their family have foreign nationality, remain in the
category of 'Greek', that is, those of Greek descent. While this may aplJear
straightforward the issue of who or what is a Greek, and, by contrast, a
foreigner or non-Greek, is one fraught with problems.
This attempt to homogenize all those within the state borders and to
include potentially all those without, who are perceived as belonging cul-
turally to the nation state, is by no means a process that is unique to Greece,
though the size of the diaspora and the prolonged period under which the
majority of those sharing a Greek culture lived as a relatively repressed
minority under the rule of the Ottoman Empire perhaps is. Undoubtedly the
latter experiences have helped in the perception of themselves as a people
who have survived through resistance not only against the power of the
Ottoman Empire, the Italians and other emerging nation states in the
Balkans, but also against the Great Powers who, though providing support
for the development of the Greek nation state, imposed their own forms of
hegemony.' Relationships with foreign states and foreigners are inevitably
coloured by the experiences of national dependence. At the same time such
foreign contacts are also the source of advancement, liberation and eco-
nomic well being and survival; this undoubtedly is part of the explanation
for the xenomania that, though altering in form, remains prevalent."
The poverty of the new Greek state and its inhabitants and rising aspira-
tions forced another relationship to foreign states - mass emigration. From the
beginning of the century where a quarter of a million left for the USA up until
the early 1970s when large numbers were still emigrating to the Federal
Republic of Germany, Australia, Africa and for all the decades in between
Greeks experienced themselves as a country sending out migrants to all parts
of the world. Like so many migrants the dream was to earn enough to save
and send home for investment or the maintenance of their family with the
eventual hope of permanent retirement to Greece. While the reality was often
different for many, the relative success of so many migrants, and the remit-
tances which they sent home, has been one important factor in the economic
development of modern Greece. As Greek migrants abroad to an alien culture
where Greek was not widely spoken, to lowly employment and a position
usually near the bottom of the economic and social ladder, and at a period of
time where return visits to the home country were very rare, the majority
experienced their residence abroad as a form of exile - that is, 'xeniteia'
(sojourning in foreign parts), one which makes its mark in Greek literature
and music. The words 'refugee' and 'migrant' are felt to refer by the majority
of Greeks to themselves. The relatively recent arrival of many foreigners as
migrants and refugees in Greece is requiring a perceptual and semantic shift
which is still incomplete. This paper will concentrate primarily on these rela-
tively newly arrived groups of foreign residents rather than examine the
various significant foreign communities that have lived periodically within the
modern Greek state such as Italians, Slavs and Turks.
It will be helpful to provide an overall account of who these foreigners
are, why they are here and where they are within Greece, before going on to
examine their impact and relationship to Greek society. I hope it is clear that
the main focus of this chapter is on those foreigners who stay for extended
periods of time living and, in many cases, working within the Greek national
borders. While it is impossible to ignore the impact of at least 10 million for-
eign tourists a year on Greek society and economy, they are the primary
focus of this chapter.
Who are the foreigners in Greece?
Foreign residents in Greece until the late 1970s and early 1980s were rela-
tively few in number. There have long been established foreign communities,
mainly in Athens, composed primarily of those working temporarily in
Greece on behalf of a foreign government or business and organized around
embassies, various national and foreign churches and other facilities specif-
ically designed to service this elite group such as sports and social clubs.
However, such individuals come on a temporary basis and are mainly
employed from outside the Greek state. While some may decide to remain
in Greece after their tour of duty and a few may marry Greeks, the major-
ity treat it as a temporary posting. The relatively high educational and class
levels of such foreign residents has meant that their links to Greece prima-
rily are with the upper echelons of Greek society. There are no studies of the
significance and implications of these foreign communities within Greece
perhaps because they are perceived as accoutrements of all modern states
and part of the international community of what can be termed 'desirable
migrants', that is, those paid for from outside the state who
carry out work within the Greek national borders in the interests of an exter-
nal government or business organization. The size of each of these 'ex-pat'
foreign communities usually reflects their relative political and commercial
importance in Greece but little is known about their effects on economic,
political and social relationships within the Greek state or on those with
whom they are in business and personal contact. However some sections of
these established, and Establishment, foreign communities affect other for-
eigners who come to live in Greece, in particular some of the foreign
Churches, for example Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican, have extended
their work so as to serve the needs of newly arrived foreign parishioners
who do not belong to the international elite foreign communities.
If the above-mentioned foreign established communities are composed
overwhelmingly of the legally and socially privileged, it is also the case that
all foreign nationals who have come to live in Greece can be assigned to dif-
ferent categories that relate to their legal and social status. However whether
one analyses this in terms of their legal position within the Greek state or in
terms of their social position in Greek society the empirical and research
data on foreigners is very partial and unsatisfactory.s Inevitably the legal
status of a non Greek national in Greece has implications for his/her employ-
ment and social existence yet, as will be argued, this cannot be assumed to
be the only or even the primary social reality for many foreigners. This real-
ity can change radically when other circumstances intervene. A description
of the social and legal situation of each foreign group in Greece takes place
at a particular moment of time and is inevitably tentative because of rapidly
changing political and economic circumstances not only in direct relation to
Greece such as rising unemployment, or the arrival of many Albanians, but
also within the countries of origin of foreigners in Greece such as the end of
the Eritrean civil war, the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and the setting
up of migration agencies in Poland. The substantial increase in the number
of foreigners entering Greece to work, in particular the Albanians, has
affected the perceptions and attitudes of many Greeks towards foreigners,
but by no means only negatively."
Major legal categories of foreign residents in
Those considered to be of Greek origin - omogeneis -
even though not of Greek nationality.
Those from the former USSR (Pontians) and Eastern Europe are being
helped to settle (termed 'repatriation') via special measures by the Greek
state for their training and education, housing, health and child care and
counselling, while a private state and voluntary supported foundation also
gives special support measures to those from Albania.1O Greeks from Turkey,
Cypriots and Greeks from some other countries, though legally non-Greek
nationals, are usually given work and residence permits without difficulties,
and are also accorded most of the same privileges as a Greek citizen, for
example in terms of rights to education, benefits and so on. Political con-
siderations may mean that they do not apply for Greek nationality, but if
they do so they cease to appear as foreign nationals.
Non-Greeks married to Greeks
They are normally given residence and work permits without many diffi-
culties - though there is little data on this. Until the paSSll1g of Law
1438/1984 they were also able to apply for Greek citizenship automatically
on marriage.
Now this is discretionary and necessarily involves a qualify-
ing period of residence. Those who do obtain Greek nationality then legally
cease being foreign nationals.
Nationals of Member States of the European Union
These are entitled to seek residence and work permits while within Greek
national borders and pensioners, students and those seeking work are enti-
tled to enter and live for a period of six months prior to obtaining residence
and work permits.
Work permit holders
Work permits are given on an individual basis to a specific employer when
a Greek national is not available to undertake the specific job, either because
of a lack of appropriate skills or experience, or because Greeks are unwill-
ing to undertake some jobs. Some work permits are given through bilateral
agreements between Greece and other countries, for example Egypt, Russia,
Philippines, for certain categories of work where labour shortages have been
There is a significant difference in the types of work permit issued: in one
category are those issued to foreign or Greek firms for individuals to take
up high level or skilled, salaried employment and in the other are those
issued to employers for jobs which Greeks are not willing to undertake as
currently organized such as domestic and care work, fishing, animal rearing
units, seasonal agriculture and so on which are often associated with poor
conditions of employment such as long hours, low pay and social or physi-
cal isolation. II A further category of work permit holders exists in the ship-
ping industry where both bilateral agreements with the Philippines and
Russia and individual work permits to employers allow the employment of
foreign sailors on Greek boats. Much lower wages are paid to foreign sailors
than to Greek sailors; however the decline in the numbers employed in the
shipping industry has meant that many foreign sailors are left ashore in
Greece for long periods of time without employment.
As might be expected individuals from the more developed countries are
far more likely to be employed in sectors requiring high levels of education
and training as compared with those from the less economically developed
countries, who are more likely to be employed in manual jobs.
Finally there is a growing group of foreigners who have set up their own
forms of business and self employment particularly in services e.g. tourism,
shipping, restaurants. In the Prefecture of Athens in 1988-89, 160 permits
were given to foreign entrepreneurs, mainly from the Middle East. 13
Legal visitors and residents who are working illegally
Individuals may obtain permission to live in Greece for a period on the condi-
tion that they have means to support themselves. Visitors, particularly those
from Europe, often come to Greece during the holiday period and undertake
non-declared work in tourist businesses. Others obtain a residence permit and
work in language teaching, offices and so on; where they are from the EU it is
not difficult simply to 'disappear' from the official records. Another small
category of legal residents are students, many from the Third World, a
proportion of whom may work illegally to support their studies.
Illegal residents who work illegally
There are many different ways in which foreigners may be designated as
illegal. As more restrictions 011 the legal entry of certain nationalities, prima-
rily from the less developed world, have been introduced so there has been a
tendency for the number of foreigners resident and working illegally to
increase. Those with work permits often find themselves at the mercy of a
powerful employer who can threaten them with dismissal and deportation. It
may be in their best economic and personal interests to 'disappear' into the
illegal work force. This has been reported as particularly prevalent amongst
domestic workers. Others enter illegally via agents, particularly from the
Middle East and Indian sub-continent, and are inevitably at the mercy of
those sponsoring or employing them. Finally, there are the many who though
legal on entry into the country, remain illegally and take up work.
Refugees and asylum seekers.
Though Greece is a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention it has almost
never acted as a country of settlement for refugees
with government policy
encouraging the view that it is a country of safe transit. The long and
increasing delays in the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers in third
countries'S and the acknowledgement that it should be feasible for Greece to
find work for the relatively few refugees led to a change in the exemption
clause in the Law 1975/1991 and in theory refugees now have the right to
apply for a work permit from within the country. In reality this has been very
rare and additionally the Greek authorities do not even examine all the cases
of those seeking asylum,'(' concentrating mainly on those from Turkey. The
remaining asylum seekers have their cases examined by the UNHCR and
are issued a Blue Card under the UN Mandate or a document stating that
the individual is 'of concern', usually because he or she has been recognized
as a refugee in Turkey but does not feel it is safe to stay there. The authori-
ties rarely interfere with those granted refugee status under the Mandate but
at the same time do nothing to help them. The proposed centre for refugees
that is to be set up under Law 1 975/l991 has not yet materialised and most
refugees and asylum seekers have to work illegally. Refugees were finally
given work permits after 1993.
The numbers seeking asylum in the early 1990s declined not only because
of the end of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the civil war in
Ethiopia/Eritrea, but also because those seeking asylum are more likely to
be treated as illegal immigrants, particularly those from the Middle East. It
is difficult to substantiate the assertion that the regulations for asylum appli-
cation have become more strict but in this the Greek authorities have been
affected undoubtedly by pressure from the other members states of the
European Union who perceive the southern Mediterranean countries as an
open back door through which illegal migrants seeking entry by false claims
for asylum enter and eventually arrive in the more prosperous Northern
Europe. It is also the case that the unwillingness of the Greek authorities to
grant a work permit means that many refugees and asylum seekers already
in the country who might like to remain in Greece until conditions in their
home country change are in fact 'forced' to contemplate illegal migration to
other countries in Europe. Though refugees and asylum seekers do receive
some financial and social support primarily through UNHCR funded
programmes, it is striking that the Greek state only provides very limited
reception facilities in Lavrion, and mainly for those from Turkey. Despite
Greece's own history involvll1g political persecution and the creation of
refugees, it appears that the Greek authorities have adopted a blanket
approach to all asylum seekers with the exception of those who are politi-
cally and socially understood and acceptable as asylum seekers, mainly those
from Turkey and Iraq.
Thus the legal situations of foreigners alter in reaction to a number of fac-
tors such as changes in government policies resulting in changes in the law;
changes in the interpretation of the law or the exercise of discretion as a
result of political directives; external events such as war; marriage to a Greek
national; the cancelling of an employment contract and so on. However,
knowing their legal position does not explain either the reasons why they are
living in Greece - with the possible exception of refugees and some asylum
seekers - nor their social and employment situation.
Table I provides a very rough estimate of the numbers in various
categories of foreigners in Greece, as of 1993.'7
Table I: Estimated numbers of foreigners in Greece
Legal migrants
1.1 Repatriates
Greeks from former USSR
Greeks Cypriots (most since 1974)
Ethnic Greeks (Albania, Turkey, etc.)
Greeks with foreign nationality taking up 'temporary
1.2 European Union nationals
1.3 Nationals of non-European Union countries
Other European countries
African countries
North American countries
Other countries
2 Non legal migrants
3 Refugees and asylum seekers (estimated)
(Mandate and convention) still in Greece
Total of non Greek origins
Source: Petrinioti (1993)
Why and where are foreigners in Greece?
The Greek economy, though well behind other member states of the Euro-
pean Union with many serious structural problems, still offers a standard of
living for its inhabitants that is considerably better than that of most Third
World countries. Additionally for employed migrants it offers access to hard
currency, to consumer goods and potential further migration on to even
better economic opportunities. None of that is surprising except perhaps to
Greeks themselves who perceive themselves still as a 'poor country'. While
the structure of the economy has been changing, leading to a decline in agri-
cultural and manufacturing employment ancl a growth in service employ-
ment, there remain many problems in the labour market. Seasonality and
underemployment have long been endemic leading to people having more
than one job or type of employment. These problems in employment may
help explain the very high rate of self employment; it is both a cultural pref-
erence and a way out of unemployment or underemployment. Nearly half
(49 per cent) of all those working in the labour market are independently
employecl,IH and while this is clearly affected by the 27 per cent in the agri-
cultural sector who are in the majority self employed, there is still a high
propensity for self employment in both the service and manufacturing sec-
tors. (By 1998 this figure had declined to 22.5 per cent, still double the rate
of other EU member states. By 2000 the proportion in the labour force had
declined to 19 per cent.) This has a number of consequences, not least being
the large scale black economy representing approximately 35 per cent of
GNP,19 and the related fact that many individuals may have undeclared
income which they can pay in unofficial wages. Another characteristic,
related to the amount of self employment, is that many small businesses in
all economic sectors are only marginally profitable, have low levels of cap-
ital investment, are relatively inefficient and find it difficult to modernize.
Many have to face sudden demands for labour which are difficult to meet.
There is thus a tendency for them to prefer ad hoc, labour intensive and low
technology solutions to their problems. While in the modern sectors of the
economy there has been a substitution of capital for labour, this has not been
an alternative available to most small employers. They often prefer to use
family, part time and uninsured workers, whether this be foreign or Greek
labour both because it is cheaper and because it may be more available and
flexible. This trend was particularly noticeable in the two years from 1992
to 1994, with the lifting of restrictions on part time and temporary employ-
An examination of the different sectors of economic activity provides a
clear indication of where foreign labour finds employment.
Increased intensiveness in farming methods, seasonality, the ageing of the
available agricultural labour and the unwillingness of women and young
Greeks to work in agricultural occupations are some of the main reasons
why migrants are able to find work. Work permits tend to be granted for
intensive animal and bird production units since Greek labour is unwilling
to work under the conditions prevailing or is just not available in the remote
units that are set up. It is common to find that only a proportion of the
African and Asian - and now Albanian - migrants are covered by a work
permit. Fruit and olive picking, once carried out by Greek families migrating
to meet the demand for labour, is now undertaken by foreign migrants such
as former Yugoslavs and Albanians in northern Greece, Europeans,
Africans, Kurds and so on. In Crete, Attiki and Argolida, greenhouse
production and market gardening employ substantial numbers of Greek
Muslims but also many migrants of other nationalities.
Throughout Greece work permits have been issued to employers using
Egyptian fishermen under a bilateral labour agreement, on the grounds that
Greek fishermen are less skilled, unavailable or unwilling to work under the
prevailing conditions in the industry. Many more migrants find employment
than are covered by the issued work permits; mostly they are Egyptian co-
villagers whose illegal status is easily concealed.
Building and construction
The downturn in the economy after 1989 led to more unemployment in this
sector but nonetheless many migrants still find work, mainly as unskilled
and temporary help in jobs which are not particularly sought after, or in
areas where they have skills not readily available in the Greek building trade,
for example Syrian and Egyptian carpenters. This testifies to the fact that not
all migrant labour from the Third World countries is unskilled while many
from Eastern Europe are better trained than their Greek equivalents; for
example the technical skills of the Poles who worked illegally but helped
repair and rebuild Kalamata after the earthquake in 1987 are still com-
mented on there. In some areas such as Corfu and Mani, Albanians and East
Europeans work illegally as builders which relates both to the unavailabil-
ity of local labour, unemployment in their own countries and their cheaper
cost to employers, many of whom are other foreigners.
Manufacturing and workshop production
With the exception of foreigners in high skill and high level positions who
have work permits, few other foreigners work in this sector legally. Illegal
foreign labour rarely finds permanent employment in industry since these
are relatively desirable jobs defended by Greek labour. However
portering, night shift work, occasional jobs and dangerous or dirty
labour are areas where illegal foreign workers are most likely to be
found, mainly in the Athens area where manufacturing and workshop
production are concentrated.
Legal employment is common in those areas requiring skills such as the
banking and financial sectors but in most other areas of employment the
majority of foreigners work illegally. Thus typically young Europeans with
a knowledge of languages find work in summer tourism but rarely have
work permits - the exceptions to this are the couriers of international
package holiday companies.
A major area of employment is in domestic labour. Since unpaid domestic
Table II: Employment of foreigners in Greece with work permits by economic sector
1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
no. % no. % no. % no. % no. %
Total 26.328 100.0 24.662 100.0 27.022 100.0 29,439 100.033.891 100.0
Agri. & fish 713 2.7 1,025 4.2 1.631 6.0 1.730 5.9 2.072 6.1
Mining 47 0.2 66 0.3 66 0.2 84 0.3 83 0.3
I ndust.lmfr 5,477 20.8 5.269 21.4 4.457 16.5 3.522 12.0 3.242 9.6
PUb. utilities 190 0.7 231 0.9 235 0.9 328 1.1 311 0.9
Build/pub wk 1.967 7.5 1.812 7.3 1,439 5.3 1.355 4.6 1.890 5.6
Hotels/rest. 7,481 28.4 7.170 29.1 7,451 27.6 7.503 25.4 9.255 27.3
Transp/com 2.849 10.8 3,000 12.2 3.010 11.2 3.819 13 5.329 15.7
Banks/insur 1.257 4.8 1.073 4.3 1.124 4.2 1,402 4.8 1,398 4.1
Services 6.346 24.1 5.016 20.3 6.926 25.6 9.621 32.710,263 30.3
Other sectors
& non declar. 683 2.5 75 0.1 48 0.1
Source: Ministry of Labour 1993
labour - which includes caring - is not counted in the official economy of
countries few people who employ domestic help perceive themselves as
'employers'. In Greece the lack of welfare services and care facilities
children, dependent older people and the handicapped as well as the rapid
increase in the numbers of women entering or remaining in the labour force
has, as a consequence, led to a demand for domestic and nursing help.
has led to the entry of a new word into the Greek vocabulary - the PhtillJ-
ineza, who - even if she is from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka or Santa
Dominica - is associated with domestic work. The Philippines have made it
a policy to export labour as a way of earning hard currency and have b.ilat-
era I agreements with the Greek government for work permits for tramed
nurses. However the numbers of work permits for Philippine nurses -
approximately 4,000 - does not cover the 15,000 who are estimated to be
living in Greece. While Greek women are trying to enter the labour forc: and
experience high levels of unemployment few are lookmg for work as reSident
care or domestic assistants.
Thus despite the rapid increase in unemployment in the Greek popula-
tion (9.5 per cent in 1993, with much higher rates in the major urban
areas) there have been relatively few direct reported conflicts over the
work that foreigners do within Greek society. Most controversy been
over desirable jobs such as language teaching, where European natIOnals
can obtain teaching and work permits to the detriment of Greek language
There is a strong tendency for a majority of foreigners - until the influx
of the Albanians, perhaps over 80 per cent - to be concentrated in the region
of Attica. (Albanians and East Europeans are now distributed throughout
Greece.) As in other countries the greater anonymity and cosmopolitan
nature of the capital allowed foreigners, legally and illegally resident and
working, to find support through their own organizations, embassies and
facilities, e.g. clubs, cafes, churches, as well as networks of fellow nationals
wh? could help them learn of opportunities for employment and housing.
PolIsh newspapers and a school, Ethiopian bars and an employment agency,
Korean restaurants, Egyptian cafes and businesses, English amateur theatre
and opera groups and animal welfare associations, are just examples of what
is available in Athens.
The social status of foreigners
The limited research carried out on foreigners in Greece has concentrated on
their legal and economic position in Greek society while rather little has been
written or researched on how foreigners perceive Greek society and, per-
haps even more importantly, how Greeks perceive the foreigners resident in
midst. This chapter will take the opportunity of exploring and specu-
latmg about some of these latter issues.
The three predominant modes by which a foreigner resident in the coun-
try is accepted by Greek society are:
through their membership of an established high status foreign
community such as the British or French
by their incorporation through marriage
by the bestowal of citizenship on those of Greek descent.
In the first case, residence was treated as temporary even if it lasted a life-
time. Marriage provides the primary method of incorporation for those of
non-Greek origins. The most common form of marriage has been between
G:eek men and foreign women, predominantly those from northern Europe,
wIth the Germans, Dutch and British in the majority. The prevalence of mar-
riages to German women may be partly explained by the large Greek
migrant population resident in Germany. Until the early and mid 1980s a
large number of marriages were contracted between Greek men who were
studying abroad with co-students of that countrv but tourism has seen an
increase in the number of marriages contracted northern European
women and Greeks at all social and educationallevels.
Interestingly even
though Greeks have studied in large numbers in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria
and so on, far fewer marriages have been contracted. This may well be asso-
Table III: Asylum seekers in Greece by region of origin 1987-91
Region 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Eastern Europe 2,447 3,828 689 365 1,508
Middle East 2.815 2,255 2,343 4,598 1,903
Africa 1.440 1,258 971 318 213
Asia 229 589 201 221 184
Total 6,931 7,930 4.215 5,502 3,808
Source: UNHCR 1992, Athens Branch Office
dated in part with the relatively high status of the countries of origin of the
brides; thus men may be practising a form of hypergamyY This makes for a
greater acceptance of the intercultural marriage even if the bride, as is usual
in northern Europe, has no dowry. There appear to be no studies of mar-
riages undertaken with people from non-European backgrounds though
these are by no means uncommon. Based on very slight evidence it seems
that Greek women occasionally also practise hypergamy when marrying an
individual of high educational and professional levels, such as from the
Middle East, Egypt or Africa.
The degree of satisfaction that foreigners who are married to Greeks have
in relationship to their position in Greek society is difficult to measure; how-
ever one study suggested that the most important factor is the degree to
which they also have satisfactory relationships with their country of origin
and their family. Those who have problematic relationships or are marginal
in their own country are likely to continue having difficulties in the country
to which they migrate. While the dominant model of marriage is that of the
incorporation of the stranger into the Greek family, typically that of the hus-
band, it is also the case that foreigners often resist this, for example through
setting up their own schools, associations and support groups."' The changes
that occur within the family because one of the couple is foreign are diffi-
cult to measure and distinguish fr0111 changes that are occurring in entirely
Greek families.
If this has been the prime method of incorporating foreigners into Greek
society, the other method has been that of studiously ignoring them as
groups. Many foreigners were perceived as contributing to the society as
migrants in the same way that Greeks had been migrants in other countries.
Respondents in one research study2S stressed that foreign migrants were
humans who had to support and feed their own families back home in poor
countries and thus should be treated tolerantly. This attitude cooexisted with
that of the exploitation of the same people by Greeks. It can be argued that
though modern Greece was never a colonial power, Greeks have picked up
some of the values of those for whom they worked, both under the Ottoman
Empire and in the former colonies; they have simultaneously been both the
exploited and part of the mechanism of exploiting others as ways of
personal survival, but as a result this has made them more aware of the situ-
ation of 'the other'. This may well be why Greeks demonstrate some values
and patterns of behaviour in relation to foreigners which are different from
those found in northern Europe. While in most countries employers will use
and exploit illegal foreign workers they are more likely to have rather imper-
sonal attitudes to them and be rather more concerned about the
consequences of using them in terms of penalties they will incur from the
state and authorities. The ambivalence of Greeks towards the state/I, the
large informal and black economy, and their own disregard for the law and
legal status means that Greeks are unlikely to be active in exposing illegal
immigrants who are working unless they are perceived as threatening. Many
Greeks have themselves been migrants, legal and illegal, while others took
their entrepreneurial talents all over the world, especially to Africa, and used
them to their own advantage. Thus there is created a moral and personal
perspective on the 'rights' and needs of foreign workers which differs from
that of the official state.
The long-standing and culturally important tradition of 'fi/oxcnia', that
is, hospitality, tolerance and interest in the stranger who is not seen as
threatening, is another major factor promoting good relationships with
foreigners rather than xenophobia. Women migrants, who represent an
increasing percentage of all migrants, are also less likely to be perceived as
threatening as are married men migrants compared with single young men.
The predominant mode by which a foreign resident survives in Greece,
legally or illegally, is through linking with Greeks and finding a patron to
help and support them - this may be done through luck, personal abilities
and background, thus the position of the young male Albal1lan who is
picked up and deported (regularly) from Omonia Square where he waits for
work, is different when he finds a regular or semi-regular employer who will
offer him help with housing and protect him from the authorities; of course
this is more likely when he is of Greek origin, is educated or has a particular
skill or is particularly resourceful and friendly.
But in all these cases the predominant perspective is that of the foreigner
as a temporary resident. As an example, although Egyptians have been in
Greece (25,000) for several decades there are no moves to make it possible
for them to become legal (if illegal) or citizens.!7 While the ostrich-like posi-
tion of the Greek authorities was bearable when the number of foreigners
entering was few, even if though the system was discretionary and unfair, the
incorporation of Greece into the EU, the larger numbers of non-Greek Alba-
nians, particularly unattached young men, and the rise in unemployment are
making a change in both policies and attitudes inevitable. (By 1998, the gov-
ernment had introcluced measures for the legalization of illegal migrants.
373,000 initially registered although not all obtained residence and work
permits. Many migrants could not meet the criteria for legalization.) Some
years ago when the anti-racist organization 'SOS Racism' started meetings
in Greece it was difficult to imagine the position of foreigners in Greece as
a serious problem.!HToday xenophobic remarks are common - 'Watch out
or an Albanian will steal itltake you away,' and so on.
It is unwise to make any predictions on the place that foreigners will have
in Greek society in the future. The Albanian mass emigration is likely to
settle down to more manageable numbers as economic stability and devel-
opment take place, but the instabilities associated with the Balkans and the
Middle East are likely to continue to produce migrants. l'he widespread
unemployment throughout Europe has already affected the numhers seeking
to live in Greece and survive on temporary, illegal work. However, migrant
workers with the help of Greeks, have begun to organize themselves to have
a voice in the Greek state and in Europe and to become officially recognized
with rights.!'!
Flux and change, exploitation and incorporation, friendliness and fear
are all part of current Greek social attitudes towards the foreigners in their
midst. The predominance of national sentiment is likely to mean that the
only model of behaviour for the foreigner will be that of apparent incorpo-
ration into Greek society or marginal participation in foreign communities.
The prospects for a multicultural or pluralist society that readily acknowl-
edges the contributions and worth of other cultures within Greek society are
as yet remote but the debate has now begun.
I N. Svoronos, Ana/e/.;,ta Istol'las /wi Is/nnografias (Athens,I982).
2 Svoronos, Ana/el:.ta; M, Herzfeld, Allthro/1%gy throllgh tl)e Loo/::illg-G/ass:
en/ieal Ethnography hi the Margins of Europe (Cambridge, 19!17),
3 N. Mouzelis, Model'll Greece: facets of Ulldel'del!e/o/JIIlL'llt (London, 197!l),
4 An estimated 50,000 are already in Greece, with 5,000-7,000 arrivll1g every
year, R. Fakiolas, 'Migration From and To Greece', SOPEMI Report, OECD,
Paris, 1992.
5 Mouzelis, Model'll Greece, passllII.
6 In an article Il1 the newspaper [(athimerilli, 2 ./anuaryI994, the author com-
mented that the results of Eurobarometer surveys showing Greeks ro be the most
enthusiastic and optimistic supporters of the European Ul1lon were no doubt
explicable on the hasis that they helieved it to be to their economic advantage.
7 The Catholic Church, while offering services to all nationalities through Cari-
tas and Mother Teresa's miSSion, has a particularly strong orgal1lzation for its
Polish and PhilipPll10 parishioners. The Anglican Church appears to offer con-
siderable support to Sudanese parishIOners, while the ScandinaVian Lutheran
Church 111 Piraeus IS particularly active amongst African seamcn,
!l Even the 1991 Census data underestlm<1tc the numbers of foreigners,
9 E. Kourti, 'I xeni stin Kerkyra', Research Report, University of Corfu, 1994 and
'I xeni stin Ellada', unpublished report, 1994.
lOG. Amitsis, 'Social Assistance Rights of Non-EC Migrants: The Case of Greece',
Report for the EC, DG5 Sub-Group on Non-EC Migrants, Minimum Income
Experts Group, 1993.
11 I. Emke-Poulopoulou, 'Metanastes kai Prosfyges stin Ellada 1970-1990',
E/dogi, no. 85/86 (Athens, 1990).
12 E. Mestheneos, 'The soclo-economic situation of foreigners in Greece', Report
of the Marangopoulos Foundation for the President's Office of the EC, 1991.
13 N. Petropoulos, 'Greece: An Exploratory Note on Migration and Self-Employ-
ment', Working Papers on Migration, OECD, Paris, 1990.
14 Approximately 20() Vietnamese and seventy Kurds were offered rights to settle
in Greece in 1979-80. There are no studies as to what has ha ppened to them.
15 The USA, Canada and Australia are the main receiving countries.
16 E. Mestheneos, 'Refugees and Foreigners in Greece and the EC', Report for the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Athens Branch Office, 1989,
and R. Black, 'Livelihood and Vulnerability of Foreign Refugees in Greece',
King's College, London, Dept of Geography, Occasional Paper no. 33, 1992,5.
17 This table has been adapted from X. Petrinioti, I metallastefsi /HOS thl Eflada
(Athens, 1993).
18 Twenty-nine per cent are self-employed, 6 per cent are employees, and 14 per
cent are in non-remunerated family businesses.
19 P. Pavlopoulos, 'I paraekonomia stin Ellada " lOBE no. 17 (Athens, 1987).
20 OECD Economic Surveys, Greece, OECD (Paris, 1993).
21 Kourti, 'I xeni stin Kerkyra' and 'I xeni stin Ellada'.
22 S. Zinovieff, 'Hunters and Hunted, Kamaki and the AmbigLllties of Sexual Pre-
dation in a Greek Town', in Colltested Idelltitles: Gellder and Killship in
Modem Greece, ed. P. Loizos and E. Papataxiarchis (Princeton, ] 991).
23 Kourti, 'I xeni stin Kerkyra' and 'I xeni stin Ellada'; G. G. Molver, 'Ta psy-
chokoinonika provlimata ton gynaikon. apo tis Germanophones chores pou
emat pantremenes me Ellines kai zoun stll1 Athina', unpublished PhD disserta-
tion, 1989.
24 .J. GeOl'gas, 'Changing Family Values in Greece: From Collectivist to Individu-
alist', Journal of Cross-Cultllral Psychology (March 1989), 80-91.
25 E. Mestheneos, 'The Socio-Economic Situation of Foreigners in Greece', Report
of the Marangopoulos Foundation for the President's Office of the EC, 1991.
26 Mouze\is, Modem Greece.
27 Greece is possibly the only Member State in the European Union as of 1994
that has never granted an amnesty and legal rights to illegal settled immigrants.
One important consequence is that illegal immigrants cannot have Greek bank
accounts, which leads to problems in transferring funds and a high incidence of
robbery among migrants.
28 Public meetings and TV discussions on the situation of migrants and xenopho-
bia in Greece are now more common.
29 The formatlon of a Greek Forum for migrants and migrants' associations that
would be able to represent migrants' interests and also participate in the Euro-
pean Union's Migrants' Forum is now under way.
Given the considerable delay that has attended the publication of this
volume it may be useful to list some of the more significant works on minori-
ties in Greece that have appeared since the conference took place in January
1994. The listing, which is in alphabetical order, makes no claim to be
Constantopoulou, Photini and Veremis, Thanos, eds, Docllments 011 the History of
the Greel< Jews: Records frolll the Historical ArchIVes of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (Athens, 1999).
Danforth, Loring, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic NatIOnalism in a Trans1lational
World (Princeton, 1995).
Daskalovski, Zidas, 'Human Rights 111 the Balkans: Macedonians in Greece after V--
1945', Oxford International Review, X (2000) 44-53.
Divani, Lena, Ellada kat metonotites: to systima diethnotls lJ1"ostasras tis Koinonias
tOI1 Etlmon (Athens, 1995).
Emeis kal oi 'alloi': i diakheirisi tis ethnopolitismikis diaphoretikotitas, SYl1hhrona
Themata, Year 19, Issue 63 (April-June 1997).
Evraioi stin Ellada: prosengiseis se mia istoria ton neoellinikon meionotiton,
Synhhrona Themata, Year 17, Issue 52-53 (July-December 1994).
Gounaris, Vasilis K.; Mikhailidis, Iakovos D.; Angelopoulos, Giorgos V., eds,
Taftotites sti Makedollia (Athens, 1997).
Gounaris, Vasilis K., '01 Slavophonoi tis Makedonias. I poreia tis ensomatosis sto
Elliniko ethniko kratos, 1870-1940', Makedonika, XXIX (1994) 209-36.
i,//Hirschon, Renee, 'Identity and the Greek state: Some conceptual issues and para-
doxes', in Richard Clogg, ed., The Greek Dias/JOra ill the Twentieth Century
(Basingstoke, 1999) 158-80.
~ u m n Rights Watch, Denying Ethnic Identity: The Macedonians of Greece,
k Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (New York, 1994).
Kardaras, Khristos D., I VOlllgarikl /Jropagallda sti Germanokratotlmelli Malwdo-
nia: Voulgariki Leskhi Thessalonikis (1941-1944) (Athens, 1 977).
Kitroeff, Alexandel; War-time Jews; The Case of Athens (Athens, 1995).
Kitsikis, Dimitri, The Old Calendarists alld the Rise of Religious Conservatism in
Greece (Erna, CA, 1995).
Koliopoulos, John, Plundered Loyalties; Axis Occupation and Civil Strife ill Greek
West Macedonia, 1941-1949 (London, 1999).
Kostopoulos, Tasos, I apagorevmeni glossa; kratiki katastoli ton Slavikon dialel<.toll
still Ellinih Mal<.edollia (Athens, 2000).
Lewkowics, Bea, "'Greece is my Home, But ... ": Ethnic Identity of Greek Jews in
Thessaloniki', lormzal of Mediterraneall Studies, IV (1994) 225--40.
l/M'ackridge, Peter and Yannakakis, Eleni, Ourselves and Others; The Development
of a Greel< Macedoniall Cultural Identity slllce 1912 (Oxford, 1997).
vMalcolm, Noel, Macedo1ltall Millorities; The Slav Macedollians of Northern Greece
alld the Treatment of Minorities in the RelJUblic of Macedonia, British Helsinki
I-Iuman Rights Group (Oxford, 1994).
Matsas, Michael, The Illusion of Safety; The Story of the Greel<. Jews during the
Secolld World War (New York, ! 997).
'Minderheiten in Griechenland', Pogrom, Gesellschaft fijr bedrohte Volker, 209
February 2001.
Molho, Rena, Oi Evraioi tis Thessalollil<.is 1856-1919; mia idiaiteri I<.oinotita (Thes-
saloniki, 2(01).
Nar, Albertos, 'Keimeni epi a!,tis thalassis ... '; meletes !wi arthra gia tin Evrai!,i
I<.oillotita tis Thessalollil<.is (Thessaloniki, 1997).
Pierron, Bernard, Iuifs et Clmitiens de la Grece modeme; histoire des relations inter-
C01l11111mautaires de 1821 a 1945 (Paris, 1996).
Plaut, Joshua Eli, Gree!" Jewry ill the Twelltieth Century, 1913-.1983 (London,
Hugh, 'The rest of the Balkans' in Hugh Miall, ed., Minority Rights in
Europe (London, 1994), 66-86.
Hugh, Who are the Macedollians? (London, 1995).
Poulton, Hugh and Pettifer, James, The Southern Ball<.ans. The Slavomacedolliall
Minority ill Greece; A Case Study in Ball<an Nationalism. The Albanians of Mace-
donia. The Greek Minority ill Albania, Minority Rights Group (London, 1994).
Rozakis, Christos L. 'The International Protection of Minorities in Greece', in Kevin
Featherstone and Kostas Ifantis, ed., Greece ;11 a Changing Europe; Between
European Integration and Ball<.an DIsintegration? (Manchester, 1996),95-116.
Soltaridis, Symeon A., I istoria tOil Mouphtelon tis Dytil<;s Tlna!ds (Athens, 1977).
Stephanos, 'The Legal Status of Minorities in Greece Today: The adequacy
of their protectIon in the light of current human rights perceptions', Joumal of
Modern Greek Studies, XIII (1995) 1-32.
Lj,$tavros, Stephanos, 'Citizenship and the Protection of Minorities', in Kevin Feath-
erstone and Kostas Ifantis, ed., Greece ill a Changillg Europe: Between European
Illtegration and Balkan Disintegration? (Manchester, 1996), 117-28.
Tsioumis, Kostis A., Oi POlllal<o; sto ellilliko ""atos (1920-1950); istoriki prosell-
gisi (Thessaloniki, 1997).
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Abkhazia 96
Adventists 48
Africa (also Africans) x, 24,180,187,
Agorastos, Prefect of Florina, 153
Akakios (Pappas), Archimandrite 16-17
Albania (also Albanians) x, xii, xiii, xvi,
xviii, 9, 33, 58, 68, 74, 88, 112-121,
Ali Pasha 178
Alliance Israelite Universelle 69
American Joint Distribution Committee
65-66, 71, 78
AmvroslOs, Bishop 18
Anastasy (Gribanovsky), Archbishop 8,
Andronikos II Palaiologos 1,5,68
Androutsos, Christos 10
Anna Maria Carolina 36
Anthimos of Alexandroupolis, Metro-
politan 2
Antony (Khrapovitsky), Metropolitan 11
Anysius of Thessaloniki 44
Arabs x, 74
Argyros, Isaaldos 5
Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of
Constantinople 98, 103
Armenian Republic 97-98, 104
Armenians ix, xvi, 32-33, 94-98,
Arneth, Andreas 36
Aroumanians 112, 116, 121
Arvanites xvi, xix, 133
Asenids, Dynasty of 116
Asopios, Konstantinos xvii
Assumptionists 39
Athenagoras II (Kokkinakis),
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great
Britain 22
Athos, Mount 9-10,18-19
Avxentios (Pastras), Archbishop 17
Ayvazian, Sahak 99
Azeris 107
Bacon, Roger 5
Baldran, Alessandro 31
Balkan Wars, 1912-13 xvi, xviii, 68,
151-152, 156, 169
Baptists 48
Barbarossa see Khair ad-Din
Barnabas, M. 49
Bartholomaios, Ecumenical Patriarch 42
Basil II 115
Bede, the Venerable 5
Benedictines 39
Bergen-Belsen 73
Blanci, Luigi 36-37
Bonkoes 116
Bucharest, Treaty of 156
Bulgana (also Bulgarians) xi, xiii, 6,
8-9, 19-20,22, 70, 72, 78, 83, 104,
126-127, 132-133, 13S-136, 140,
Bulgarian COl11munist Party xiii
Bulgarian Exarchate 118, 124, 143
Buondelmonti, Cristoforo 45
Byzantium xvii, 18,25,68, 79, 112, 115
Caime, Moise 68
Canada 19,62,98, 113, 194
Capotorti, F. xii
Capuchins 29, 31-32, 39
Carga, Giovanni Andrea 31
Carlini, Angelo Maria 32
Carmelites 39
Catalans 26
Catholics ix-x, xvi, 24, 26-36, 38-39,
Ca ucasus 102, 106
Central Agency for Relief and Rehabili-
tation of Greek Jews (OPAIE) 65
Central Organisation of Jewish
Communities (lOS) 66, 80
Chams xvi, 119
Charles X 35
Chios 27-28, 31-32, 34-35,44
Christians ix-xi, xvi, 2-3, 7, 9,15,18,
85, 90, 100, 117, 121, 126, 139,
143, lSI
Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens
Chrysostomos (Kavouridis), Metropol-
itan of Florina 3, 10-14, 16-17, 22
Chrysostomos I (Papadopoulos), Arch-
bishop of Athens 1-2, 9-12,14-15,
Chrysostol110S of Etna, Archbishop 17
Chrysostomos of Zakynthos,
Metropolitan 11-12
Church of Greece xi, xvii, L 2, 48
Cilicia 96, 99, 102
Clement IV, Pope 5
Communist International (Comintern)
Congregation for the Propagation of
the Faith 29
Coronello, Francesco 28, 30 >
Council for Security and Co-operation
in Europe (CSCE) 148
Croatia (also Croatians) 41, 72, 119,
Cycladic Islands ix, 24, 26-27, 29-30,
Cyprus 8, 19, 79, 81, 83, 86, 88, 91,
104, 182, 186
Dachau 73
Dalmatia 26
Damasus, Pope 44
Dandolo 25
Danneker, Theodore 72
Dashnaktsagan 103, 106
Dashnaktsutiun 99, 102-104, 108
Deangelis, Gaitanos 46
Delenda, Antonios 46
Delcev, Goce 117
Demarchis, Antonio, Bishop 31
Democratic Army of Greece xi, xiii-xiv
Dodecanese xiv, 18, 70, 75, 84
Dominicans 27, 29, 31-32
Duchy of the Archipelago 26-28
Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople xvii, L 3, 7, 9, 11,
17,20,29, 33, 98, 118, 124
European Economic Community (EEC)
see also European Ul1lon 148
Eichmann, Adolph 72-73
Egypt 69, 75, 79, 180, 183, 186,
Epirus xvi, 66-68, 118, 159, 165, 171,
Etchmiadzin, Armenian Catholicos of
99, 103
Euboea (also Negroponte) xiii, 32, 64,
European CommiSSion on Human
Rights 62
European Convention on Human
Rights xviii, 58
European Court of Human Rights 63
European Parliament 50, 58
European Union (EU) XIV, 20, 43, 50,
Evangelicals xvi, 48-50, 52-53,
Faikoglou, Ahmet 85,88-89
Ferdinand I 36
Finland 8-10
Florakis, Kharilaos 9>1
Foreigners x, xvi-xvii, 179, 182, 185,
Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia (FYROM) 113-114,
Foskolos, Nikolaos 41, 46
France x, 26, 35, 45, 51, 97
Franciscans 27, 29, 32
Frederika, Queen 160
Free Evangelical Churches 48
Freyberg, General Bernard 75
Frizis, Col. 74
Gaza 76
Gazarian, Isaak 99
Gedeon, Manouil 11
General Directorate of National
Minorities xiii
George I Gliicksburg 37
Georgia 9, 19-20
Germanos of Dilllitrias, Metropolitan
Germany (also Germans) 55, 72-73,
75-76,80,84,106, 135,151, 180,
Ghisi family 25, 40
Ghisi, Andrea 27
Ghisi, Geremia 27
Ghisi, Giorgio III 27
Giacomo IV Crispo 28
Gianitsa 38, 162
Giovanni II Crispo 28
Gonatas, Stylianos 2
Grammos 51,116
Great Britain 6,19,35,51,57,65,67,
75, 120-121
Greek Civil War, 1946-49 xiii, 96-97,
Greek Communist Party (KKE) xiii, 103
Greek Intelligence Agency (EYP) 59
Gregoras, Nikiphoros 5
Gregorian Calendar (New Style) xi,
1-3,5-9, 13
Gregory XIII, Pope 5-6, 29
Gregory XVI, Pope 36
Grigoriou, Stefanos 152
Guiscard, Robert 44
Guli, Pitu 117
Gypsies xvi, 81, 83, 85, 133
Habsburgs 29
Hai Ognutian Komite (Armenian Aid
Committee) 98
Hamid, Abdul 95
Hare Krishna 49
Hatzikyriakos, L. 158
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society 66
Hebrew Union College 65
HClllrich 75
Hinchak 102-103
Hindu 49
Hitler, Adolf 72, 75
Hovsepian, Va rag Rev. 110
Houston, Samucl 53
Human Rights WatchlI-Ielsinki organi-
sation xviii, 92
Human Rights Without Frontiers 56, 63
Iakovos of America 23
Ieremias II (Tranos), Patriarch of
Constantinople 6
Innoccnt III, Pope 26
Internal Ivlacedolllan Revolutionary
Organization (IMRO) 133, 156
Intcrnational C0l11ll1lssion for the
Study of MinOrities in Macedonia
Intcrnational Committec for the Red
Cross 73
Ioachcim III, Patriarch of
Constantinople 6-7, 21
Ioacheim of Dimitrias, Mctropolitan 22
Ionian Islands 24, 26, 37,40,44,66,68
Iordanoglou, Argyris 62
Iran 98
Iraq 98, 185
Ireland 113
Israel 65-66, 68, 70, 77, 79
Italy (also Italians) x, 25, 28-29, 68,
71,73,77, 120-121,ln, 180-181,
Jchovah's Witnesses 48-50, 56-57, 63
Jesuits 29,31-33,39,45
Jews x-xi, xvi, 42, 48, 64-72, 74,
76-78, 100, 133
Sephardi xviii, 66-67, 70, 72, 74,
76, 79
Jirecek 115
John Paul II, Po pc 40, 42
Julian CalemL}r (Old Style) xi,I-7, 9,
Julius Caesar 4
Justinian x, 115
Kalapothakis, Dimitrios 54
Kalapothakis, Mikhalis SO, 53-54
Kalavassi, Georgc 38
Kandiotis 147
Kanellopoulos, Athanasios 85-86
Kaplan, Robert xv
KapodistrIas, Ioannis 35-36, 54
Kapsis, Ioannis xv
Karaiskakis 167, 177
Karamanli (also karaillaniidika) xi,
Karaillan lis, Konstantinos xiv
Karambelas, S. 159
Karolidis, Pavlosl 0
Katsanclonis 167, 177
Katsarkas, Demosthcnis 63
Kenya 19
Kcphallonia 26
Khair ad-Din Barbarossa 28
Khrushchev 104
King, Jonas 54, 63
KolokotrolllS, 177
Komitadiides 156-157
Koretz, Rabbi Zvi 73
Kosovo 114
Kounclouriotis, Pavlos xvi
Krionas 151, 157-158
Krokidas 156
Kurds 187, ] 94
Kyprianos of Oropos and Fili, Mctro-
politan 3, 17, 22
Kyriakou, Athanasios 51
Lambrakis, K. 157, 159,162
Lausannc, Treaty of x, xii-xiii,
xviii-xix, 82-3, 90, 105,131,
Lazarists 33
League of Nations committee 96-97,
Lebanon 95, 98-99
Lel11onopoulos, Georgios 52
Lco III, Emperor 25
Leonty, Archbishop of Chile and Peru
Lcopold of Saxe-Coburg 35
Leo von Klcnze 36
LcyburI1, G. W. 53
London, Treaty of 170
Louis Philippe 37
Ludwig of Wittelsbach 36
Lydus, Johannes 115
Macedonia (also Maccdonians) xi,
xiii-xiv, xix, 66, 69, 72, 87, 97,
99-100, 102, 105-106, 110,
132-136,139-143,147, 149-158,
Maccdonia, Republic of xii, xiv
Macedonian Movement for Balkan
Prosperity 148
Makriniotis, Markos 46
Makris, B. 157
Malta 30
Marangos, Ioannis 37, 46
Marangos, Ioannis Hyacll1th 38
Margarit, Apostol 117
Marquis de Nointel 45
Matsas, Joseph 68, 74
Matthaios (Karpadakis) 13-14, 16
Mazlo1ll11lan, Kambet 98
Mavrokordatos, Alexandros 34
Mavromikhalis, Petrobcls 50, 53
Mehmecl IV 45,69
Melas, Pavlos 177
Meletios IV (Mctaxakis), Ecumenical
Patnarch 7-9,22
Mell<ltes 33
Merten, Max 73
Metaxas, Ioanl1ls xvii,12-13, 37, 40,
Methodists 48
Michael PalalOlogos 27
Middlc East 95, 99, 184-\ 85, 191, 193
MinOrIty Rights Group xii, 85
Mitsotakis, Konstantinos 41, 91-92
Mormons 56
Murad II 28
Murad III 29
Muslims ix-xiii, xvi, 30, 41,48,51,
66, 70, 81-82, 84-87, 89-90,
117-119, l56
Mussolini, Benito 37
Myers, E. C. W 75
Nansen, Fridtiof 96-97
Napoleon, Louis 37
Nasi, Joseph 28-29, 44
National Liberation Front (EAM) xix,
National Liberation Front (NOF) xix
National People's Liberation Army
(ELAS) xix, 60-61, 74, 76, 135
Neuilly, Treaty of 156
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
(NATO) xiv, 60
Old Calendarists (also Palaioimerolog-
itai) xi-xii, xvi, 1-4, 7, 9-12, 14,
Otto of Wittelsbach, King 36-37, 46,
Ottoman Empire (also Ottomans) xv,
xviii, 28-29, 31-32, 34, 51-52,
66-67, 69-70, 87, 100, 105, 112,
114,116, 133, 143, 156, 169,
Pacifico, David 67
Paisios, Bishop 17
Palestine 65, 73, 77-78
Pangalos, Theodoros 105
Panhellenic Evangelical Alliance 59, 63
Papadopoulos, Isaias 38
Papadopoulos, Yiorgos 158, 163
Papa manolis, Frangiskos 42
Papanastassiou, Alexandros 105
Papandreou, Andreas XIV, xv, 86, 91
Papandreou, George 76, 80
Papandreou, Georgios xv
Paparrigopoulos, Konstantinos xvii
Papathemelis, Stelios 55
PASOK 85, 91, 147
Passarowitz, Treaty of 32
Patriarchate of Jerusalem 9, 22
Patriarchate of Moscow 20
Pattakos, Stylianos 23
Pa ul, King 160
Peloponnese 33, 64, 66-67, 78, 105
Pentecostals 48,55-56
Petit, Louis 46
Philippines 183, 189
Philippinos 39, 186
Phillippousis, Ioannis-Vaptistis 46
Pius VII, Pope 34
Pius IX, Pope 37
Piyali 28
Plastiras, Col. Nikolaos 2
Plethon, GeOl'gios Gemistos 5
Poland (also Poles) 9, 39, 43, 65, 79,
186, 188
Polyzos, Chari laos 62
Pomaks ix, xi, xvi, 81, 83-85, 87-89,
Pontos 51
Portugal 70
Presbyterians 48
Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities, Sub-
Commission on xii
Printezls, Venediktos 46
Prokesch-Osten, Anton 36
ProkoplOs, Metropolitan 62
Protestants x-xi, xvi, 48-49. 55-S6,
Refugees ix, 87, 96, 99-100, 105,129,
Roma (also Gypsies) 83-84
Romania (also Romanians) xiii, 6, 8,
127, 152,15S, 190
Romaniotes 67-68, 70, 79
Rothschild, Max de 67
Routis, Katerina 11
Russia 6, 8-9, 16,19-21, 3S, 70, 95,
Russo-Turkish Wat;1768-1774 33
Sadik, Ahmet 88-89,92
Salvanos 129, 153
Sanudo, Marco 25-26
Sarafis, Gen. Stefanos 60
Sarakatsani (Sarakatsans) ix, xvi,
Serafim , Archbishop 17
Serapheim, of Athens 42,
Serbia (also Serbs) 6, 8-9,22,41, 74,
116, 118-119, 133-134, 136, 157,
Severus, Gabriel 6
Sevres, Treaty of 103
Sigalas, Markos 46
Slav-Macedonian National Liberation
Front (SNOF) xix
Slavs 22,115-117,130,136,142,151,
156, 162
Slovenes I 19, 134
Slavo-Macedonians xiii-xiv, xvi, xix,
132, 13S-136, 143-144, 146-147,
149, 159
Slovakia 9
Socialist Worker's Federation
(Federaci6n) 102
Soufoulis, Themistoklis 154
Souliotes 178
Souliotis-Nikolaidis, Athanasios 129,
131, 153
South Africa 119
Soviet Armenia 95, 97-99, 101,
Soviet Union 96-98, 103-104, 106,
Spain x, xviii, 26, 70
Spyridon, Archbishop of Athens 14
Sremski-Karlovcl 8, 11, 16
Stavrianopoulos, D. 159
Stileyman the Magnificent 28
Syria 25, 76
Teofil (Iollescu), Bishop 17
Teresa, Mother 193
Theoklitos I, Archbishop 2
Theophanes 44
Transcaucasia 95, 102
Transylvania 114
Treblinka 72, 80
Tsaritsa 33
Turkey (also Turks) x, xii-xiii, xv-xvi,
xviii-xix, 26, 32, 34, 38, 48, 67, 70,
Ukraine 42
United Nations xii, 148,185
United Nations High Commission for
Refugees (UNHCR) 185
United Nations Relief and Rehabilita-
tion Agency (UNRRA) 78
United States 17, 19,51,53,55,62,
USSR 96-97, 107, 182, 186
Valavanis, Ioannis 52
Vatican 36, 40-42, 46, 48
Vedova, Edgar 11]
Veggetti, Andreas 34
Venizelos, Eleftherios 12, 50, 68, 71,
97, lOS
Vikentios, Bishop 17
Vlachs (also Kutzovlachs) ix, xvi,
Vlastaris, Matthaios 5
Vretakos, Nikiforos 101
Weigand, Gustav 113
Wisliceny, Dieter 73
Woodhollse, C. M. 75
World War I (also Great War) 6,
World War II xi, xiii-xiv, xvi-xvii,
37-38,64-66, 71-72, 74, 77, 79,
87,97,100,106,112, 114,
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia viii,
Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Mace-
donia 136
Yugoslavia xi, xiii, 22, 72, 74,
Zaire 180
Zaphinos, Joseph 46