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Greek President visits Elassona and Xanthi October 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture Heritage, Religion & Faith.
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President Karolos Papoulias was proclaimed an honourary citizen of the city of Elassona, in central Greece, on Saturday where he arrived to attend events commemorating the 95th anniversary of the liberation of both the city and the wider region of Elassona from Turkish occupation in 1912.

President Papoulias said that the achievements of those warriors must create feelings of honour and pride and strengthen our determination to achieve the peaceful goals set before us today: progress, development, social justice and respect for the environment.

Referring in particular to the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars, President Papoulias stressed that the combination of courage, vision, faith in one’s goal and methodical movement constitute an example for every era, as well as for the current one.

President Papoulias also attended the official Church service at Saint Demetrius Cathedral in Elassona, officiated over by Metropolitan Vassilios, and reviewed a big parade together with the local authorities.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias urged Turkey to ensure the rights of ethnic Greeks living there and to reopen the Orthodox theological seminary on Halki. Papoulias spoke Thursday in Xanthi in Thrace, marking the 88th anniversary of the city’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire. Papoulias also reviewed a military parade.

In his speech, Papoulias also looked forward, suggesting that Thrace, traditionally a remote and poor part of Greece, may have a brighter future. “The geographical position of Thrace, a factor that in the past contributed to its isolation and marginalization, is today a factor that can be used to upgrade the area,” Papoulias said, saying that Thrace is now a bridge between Europe and Asia.

Turkey closed the Orthodox Christian seminary on Halki, an island in the Sea of Marmara, in 1971 on the grounds that it violated a law against private universities. The seminary was founded in the mid-19th century on the site of a monastery founded 1,000 years earlier. The seminary is operated by the Orthodox Christian Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinopole, based in today’s Istanbul.

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