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© George D. Metallinos
The elements, which compose a culture, are not simply the folkloric ones that can be brought to the surface in certain cases (festival, celebration, etc.), or dealt with in the artistic field. The issue is not to recall elements of our culture (as peculiarities), that can, for instance, be easily found in other languages. The problem of identifying ourselves with our culture is when we cannot live without these elements. Someone participates in his culture, by experiencing these particular elements as something inseparable from his own existence.
Culture is the imprint, within historic reality, of the consciousness, the expression and realization of the world of the soul. The formation of the environment within these conscious limits, outlines a specific culture. The conscience of a group is the same as its culture
Our culture, our historical existence and continuity, our Hellenic identity and our Orthodox faith is at stake inside the European Union. Our a-priori identification with Europe is a mistake. It is a mistake to believe that European culture and our culture are identical and equal. It is not an alliance, a simple sociopolitical connection with mutual relations. It is a total induction to a new framework of living. "Europe" means the transfer of our interests into another area.
The established mentality of Europe is constantly anti-Hellenic. The Culture and the Educational System of Europe appear to have an ostensible slant towards ancient Greece, but an obvious countereaction, resistance and hostility towards the new face of Hellenism.
Modern Europe is a product of Charlemagne, the greatest enemy of Hellenism in history. It is founded on Charlemagne. It is not a product of Helleno-Christian composition, but of Franko-Germanity. The various Frankish groups (Franks, Teutons, Normands, Lombards, Burgundians, etc) are still at the leadership levels of the European Union. Greece's Hellenic presence is a foreign element among them.
The essence of the Western theological alienation is its entrapment within ancient Greek thought, by philosophizing, legalizing and rationalizing faith. They maintained this trend and turned it into their own theology and faith. It is the legalistic approach to matters of Faith .
European Man also misinterprets Hellenism. Europe took ancient Hellenism and altered it within its own standards. Ancient Hellenism is not even preserved within European Culture. The Renaissance managed to attain to neither the Hellenic, nor even the Roman era, because there was no continuity. The Renaissance was not created by the Romaic people of the West, but by the Franko-German conquerors. European Man bears no relation whatsoever to ancient man; he has nothing of the relations preserved by the Holy Fathers and Mothers of our Church.
We have a culture that creates saints, holy people. Our people's ideal is not to create wisemen. Nor was this the ideal of ancient Hellenic culture and civilization. Hellenic anthropocentric (human-centered) Humanism is transformed into Theanthropism (God-humanism) and its ideal is now the creation of Saints, Holy people who have reached the state of theosis (deification).
The Empire of New Rome (Romania or "Byzantium" as it was to be called later by scolars), with Constantinopole as the New Rome (11/5/330 A.D.) was the new post Roman world. It was based on the triptych: 1)Roman state structure, 2) Hellenic Education and 3) Christianity, which was gradually shaped into Orthodoxy.
The entire Empire functioned, in the minds of its citizens, as the "Church" (ekklesia), that is a gathering of believers in Christ, with Orthodoxy serving as the common link betweenthem. Orthodoxy determined their nationality, so that the civil title Romaios meant "citizen of the New Rome: Orthodox".
The religious feeling of ancient Greeks continues through Orthodoxy. For instance, instead of Poseidon (god of the sea), who is a non existent or even demonic entity, we have St. Nicholas with proof of his historical existence, his miraculous activity and of his deified state. It is not "another type of idolatry", since all Holy people are of the "Body of Jesus Christ" and the honor attributed to them, is always focused on Christ.
The Orthodox conscience is defined by three points: the first one is faith that the best and most authentic expression of our culture is the life of our Holy Fathers and Mothers, our Saints. The second is to be conscious of the superiority of the Orthodox culture, as opposed to ancient Hellenic culture; ancient Hellenic culture is baptized and reborn. The third point is to be conscious of the superiority of Orthodox culture, compared to the European culture.
After the Frankish alteration of Western Europe its social development was carried out on a racial basis. The rights of the conquerors were imposed through the feudal system, which however was not based on land-owwnership as in the East, but of racial character. A class of nobility was created and was considered "nobles by nature". The barbaric conquerors declared themselves "nobles". The other class was that of the subjects, those enslaved to the nobles. This very small minority conquers the entire West and transforms the Romaic people into slaves in their own land.
Another impact, apart from serfdom, is colonialism. Colonialism is the extension of the internal structure of slavery to foreign parts. Western individualism (individual domination at the expense of others) is completely different from that of the East, which has a socio-communal character. Western man says "Why don't they make me Prime Minister to solve all our problems ?.Western Man lives within an environment which motivates him to sacrifice others for his own benefit, not to sacrifice himself for others.
Europe used to have a civilization and culture the same as ours, but after the barbaric invasions of the Franks Romaic Western Europe was enslaved and lost this tradition. Thus, God apppointed us to be its guardians.
The cooperation between France and Germany (the two main Frankish branches) in many fields, evident in our days, prooves that there is an attempt underway to return to the unified European center of time of Charlemagne.
English language editing by Marina M. Robb
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