FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 1/21/2012
(New York, New York) -The exhibition at the Onasis Cultural Center of New York entitled “Transition to Christianity” held no surprises for all those who are well aware of the influence the christian church has over the Greek state and its cultural organizations. The exhibition although hosted by an independent cultural organization, was organized by the Christian and Byzantine Museum of Athens, which is a state controlled cultural entity. So there were no surprises when we witnessed in the published catalog and on the display signs of the exhibit, the usual fairy tales of the victorious christians about the supposed smooth transition from the “idolatry” of the Hellenes to the “divinely revealed wisdom” of the east.
Everywhere in the catalog Hellenic Civilization is characterized as “pagan”. The wholesale destruction of statues and Temples is dismissed as the work of a “few fanatics”. The centuries long disdain for Hellenic philosophy and science which resulted in a decline in almost every aspect of human life is presented as a passage to a new world that simply changed interests. The same lie is disseminated since the creation of the modern Greek state. This is why we initially thought that there was no reason to answer these ludicrous and frequently circulated tales of the modern admirers of Byzantium. But when we became aware of the statements made by some of the organizers in the Greek media both in Greece and in the United States we understood that we could no longer remain silent. We could not, in good conscience, leave unanswered the ridiculous claims some of them made, nor could we let them think that everyone is stupid enough to swallow their propaganda without voicing any objection.
In the pages of the catalog the pre-christian Hellenic world is characterized as “pagan”. A term that although used frequently even by scholars of antiquity, is nevertheless insulting for our ancestors. The term comes from the Latin word “paganus” which means the country dweller or in a more derogative way the uncouth illiterate villager. It was used by the Latin speaking christians of the 5th century to demean the people of the countryside that still held on to their ancestral forms of worship. Later it was used to characterize the entire pre-christian civilization of Europe in order to degrade it. This term is used repeatedly from the authors of the catalog of the exhibition to characterize the civilization of Hellas. So we ask them are Plato and Socrates, Aristotle and Epicurus, Heraclitus and Eratosthenes “uncouth villagers”? What about our great tragedians? What about the builders of the Parthenon and so many others that created the miracle of Hellenic civilization were they also “uncouth villagers”? The organizers of the exhibit owe us an explanation for this misnomer.
After they demean Hellenic civilization, they go on to present us with a ridiculous propaganda that attempts to hide the crimes that the christians committed when they got into a position of power. The destruction of so many monuments and the massacre of the last defenders of Hellenism are all presented as rare incidents instigated by a few fanatics.
A brief recounting of the destroyed Temples both in mainland Greece, and in the wider Mediterranean area, proves beyond any doubt that these were not rare incidents. Delphi, Olympia, Eleusis, and even the Parthenon bear the scars of the intolerance exhibited by the christian zealots, in the name of their religion of “love”. But were these destructions the work of a few fanatics? Certainly not, unless in those few we include christian “paragons” like John Chrysostom, who according to the christian author Theodoret of Cyrus, was collecting money from wealthy christian women, and using it to hire fanatical monks to destroy the so called “temples of the idols”.
Should we include into those few, Theophilus bishop of Alexandria who destroyed the Temple of Serapis and its adjoining library? Or maybe Porphyry bishop of Gaza, who with the financial and military support of the emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia, destroyed all the temples in his area including the great temple of Zeus Marnas, as we are told by his student and eyewitness Marcus the Deacon who wrote the “Life of Porphyry”. Should we consider rare occasions, the many imperial edicts from the reign of the sons of Constantine and afterwards, that ordered the closing at first and later the complete destruction of all Hellenic temples, which have not been converted yet to churches?
We can fill bookshelves with the works of zealous prowess exhibited by the christians during this so-called time of transition, by relying only on their own writings, in where they brag about their “pious fervor”. So it is hypocritical to talk about rare occasions instigated by a few fanatics as the organizers of this exhibition try to portray, when all the evidence points to a large scale, well organized and guided attack against Hellenism.
The other furtive conclusion that the organizers are trying to pass through the essays of the catalog is that the era following the domination of Christianity was not one of backwardness and decline (the worst in know history) but rather an era of “change” not necessarily worse than the ones preceding it. They also tell us that the christian domination came about because the other religions of the time were morally and spiritually bankrupt and did not satisfy the interests of the people of the period. They equate a world that was open to new ideas, and could boast achievements in Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics and so many sciences, to the Byzantine darkness that followed. A Byzantine civilization that for a thousand years did not produce a single work that contributed to the betterment of Humanity. Unless of course we consider as such the endless arguments if Yahweh the father and Joshua the son are of the same substance or of like substance, an argument for which they wrote endless volumes and spilled the blood of thousands on both sides until the so-called “orthodox” managed to dominate thanks to imperial intervention.
For all of us that for years now defend our right to consider ourselves the continuators of our Ethnic tradition, that is the tradition of our Hellenic ancestors, and see clearly the christian intolerance against anything Hellenic that they can not appropriate, the exhibition at the Onasis Center and its message is neither new, nor strange. It is something that we experience on a daily basis through the continuing efforts of the theocratic institutions of the christian church to propagate the lies about the so-called transition as a natural social evolution.
When we were assuring ourselves that the modern byzantines could not sink any lower, we witnessed the statements of the directors of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens Nikos Kaltsas and the Benaki Museum Aggelos Delivorias in the Athenian newspaper “Ta Nea” but also those of the executive director of the Onasis Center Loukas Tzilas in the internet edition of the Greek American paper “Greek News”. They all made statements concerning the head of the statue of the Goddess Aphrodite that is part of the exhibit at the Onasis Center. The statue has a cross carved on its forehead, its nose is broken and there are signs of blows to its mouth and eyes. All three shamelessly stated that the christians carved the cross in order to sanctify it, and make it a part of their reality. Tzilas went as far as to say that “now Aphrodite is in the service of the church”. We wonder if following their thinking, they should thank the Turks for “sanctifying” the church of Hagia Sofia in Constantinople by turning it to a mosque after whitewashing the icons. Or even the Taliban in Afghanistan that “sanctified” the giant statues of Buddha with the cannons of their tanks.
The preposterousness of these people that hold positions of influence in modern Greek society, (Tzilas was the ambassador of Greece to Washington) has surpassed all limits since they try to present a criminal act of monotheistic intolerance as a work of virtue. In their zeal to satisfy the christian establishment they serve, they have became dangerous, and they should be made aware that there are people out there that will not sit silently when their history is being distorted intentionally.
The organizers and authors of the exhibition chose to open the introduction of the catalog with a poem of the Alexandrian poet Constantine Cavafy entitled “Priest of Serapion”. They obviously missed the target of the poet’s irony. We, in order not to confuse them with difficult Cavafian ironies, we are closing with a poem by another Alexandrian, the poet Palladas who wrote during the late 4th and early 5th centuries CE and experienced this so called “transition” first hand.
Άρα μή θανόντες τώ δοκείν ζώμεν μόνον,
Έλληνες άνδρες, συμφορά πεπτωκότες,
Όνειρον εικάζοντες είναι τόν βίον;
ή ζώμεν ημείς, τού βίου τεθνηκότος;
Translated in English:
Are we dead and only seem to live,
My fellow Hellenes, fallen in misfortune,
Taking life for a dream?
Or is it that we live when life is dead?
Hellenic Council YSEE of America
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