In his speech, Archbishop Makarios of Australia underlined the value of preserving the history and the need to strengthen our faith and love for Christ, on the occasion of the Holocaust of the Arkadi Monastery, a leading act of resistance during the Cretan resistance of Ottoman rule during the Cretan revolt of 1866.
At the initiative of the Cretan Association of Sydney and New South Wales and on the 154th anniversary of the Holocaust of Arkadi Monastery, as reported by vema.com.au, a memorial service for 864 Cretans who were sacrificed was held at the Cathedral of the Annunciation on the morning of Sunday, November 15, while wreaths were laid at the monument located in the courtyard of the Cathedral.
In the speech delivered at the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Archbishop first described the historical events that took place at the Arkadi Monastery in November 1866, noting that it was the heroic sacrifice that shocked Greece, demonstrating that, on the one hand, the Cretans they could no longer withstand the Turkish rule and slavery, and, on the other hand, this sacrfice shocked the countries abroad and especially the great powers of the time, strengthening the philhellenic movement.
The Archbishop’s message to modern Greeks, who were fortunate to be born and live in a free homeland, is that they should not forget their history, but set the struggles of their ancestors as an example. “We must not forget where we started from and we must not forget the courage of our ancestors,” he stressed. “Also, we must not forget where these people found the strength to sacrifice,” he added, “Christ and faith were their strength and their courage.”
Finally, the Archbishop acknowledged that the current conditions do not require similar sacrifices, such as that of the 864 Cretans in the Monastery of Arkadi, however, he urged them “to imitate their example in terms of faith and love for Christ and the Church.” “I personally do not believe that there is a Greek Orthodox, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, who does not have even a flame of faith and love for Christ in him,” he noted, pointing out that “today’s commemoration is both the stimulus and the challenge to turn this flame into fire.”