• The crucial contribution of Epirus to the Greek Revolution of 1821
• Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: "We carry a great debt toward all Epirotan national benefactors"
• The exceptional people of Epirus highlight the greatness of the land
During their visit to Giannena (Ioannina), the members of a delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021,", emphasized the crucial contribution of Epirus to the enslaved Greeks' awakening, to the maturing of the idea of the Greek Revolution of 1821 and its ultimate success. The Committee and the officials of the local government, the Church and the productive bodies with whom it met, pointed out that, even though Epirus was officially liberated in 1913, the creation of the great institutes of the Modern Greek Enlightenment that kept alive the Byzantine tradition through difficult times and the generous contribution of the great Epirotan benefactors, before and after the Revolution, contributed decisively to the establishment of the modern Greek State.
The "flame" of Epirus
The Committee delegation met with the Regional Governor of Epirus Alexandros Kahrimanis, who has devoted his efforts to preserving the identity of Epirus and highlighting its most distinguished individuals through the centuries. "We are proud to be Epirotans because we have contributed significantly to the Greek state's establishment. We contributed with the Teachers of the Nation, with the benefactors, with the merchants, with the simple people of Epirus," said Mr. Kahrimanis. "With your work, you reminded us of our obligation toward all the great Epirotan national benefactors and transferred to us the flame that burns in this region," said the President of the Committee, praising the work of the Regional Governor.
A very interesting discussion took place at the cultural complex "Dimitris Hatzis", where the plans of the Municipality of Ioannina for the celebrations of the 200th anniversary were presented in detail. It is noted here that in addition to the two proposals already submitted by the Municipality to the Committee which concern the organizing of conferences on the Ali Pasha era and the role of the Enlightenment in the city of Ioannina, the representatives of the Municipality presented a series of new projects they have on the board, which reflect the extroversion, the upscaled role and the developmental perspective of the region. Many of these projects are expected to be submitted to the Committee's platform.
Celebrating the bicentennial is the least we owe to the Revolution
The Mayor of Ioannina Moses Elisaf gave a particularly emotional speech, when, in his unique way, he presented the prospect of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Revolution. "1821 is the beginning of our autonomy, an autonomy that came after centuries of the deepest darkness. Celebrating the 200 years is self-evident, and the least we owe to the Revolution," he stressed, adding that this celebration must transform into education, and it should also be an opportunity for the confirmation of our national identity, in the context of an unpredictable present and an uncertain future.
The meeting, in addition to the Regional Governor of Epirus and the Mayor of Ioannina, was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishop of Ioannina Maximos, the Member of Parliament of Ioannina Georgios Amyras, the Dean of the University of Ioannina Triantafyllos Albanis, the President of the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Ioannina Eleni Akonidou as well as representatives from the local productive bodies. At the discussion, His Eminence the Metropolitan Bishop stressed that the 200th anniversary of 1821 is an opportunity to demonstrate our national pride and readjust our national powers, while Mr. Amyras elaborated on the need for the celebration to exhibit strength and confidence in the truth. Dean Mr. Albanis noted that the University is collaborating with all organizations involved in the events that will take place for the bicentennial, while Mrs. Akonidou stressed that this was the first time a comprehensive presentation of all the numerous proposed projects took place.
In their statements, the Committee members praised the anniversary events planned by the Municipality of Ioannina. In particular, Mr. Zoumboulakis spoke of a substantial and significant participation in the anniversary, while Mr. Hatzivassiliou spoke about events of high aesthetic quality. Finally, Mrs. Mouzaki stressed that Ioannina is the regional capital that has highlighted the ideals of the Revolution and Hellenism worldwide, while Mr. Kanellopoulos emphasized how important it is to implement projects that open a window into the future. The President of the Committee focused on the elements of collaboration, alliance, and a legacy for the future. "You have a unique way of making the different components of your society work together. Our obligation is not only to celebrate and remember the past but also to describe our future," she said.
"The people who define the places"
The Committee delegation's visit to the Jewish Synagogue was very emotional. The Synagogue was a symbol of Ioannina's Jewish community that paid a heavy death toll in the Holocaust. The members of the Committee were accompanied by the Mayor of Ioannina, Mr. Elisaf.
"I stand at the Temple of the Romaniotes of Giannena, the Synagogue, with respect and awe. The community of the Romaniotes of Giannena experienced prosperity but also great Tragedy. Entire families were exterminated in the Holocaust. It is a monument of endurance, patience, perseverance, and above all remembrance that cannot be erased", commented the President of the Committee on the destruction suffered by this outstanding community during the war.
During the visit to the Silversmithing Museum and the Museum of Ali Pasha on the island of Ioannina, the Committee delegation had the opportunity to meet distinguished people of Ioannina who worked hard, with dedication and tenacity, for the progress of their area. At the Silversmithing Museum, the delegation was offered a tour by the director of the Museum, Agni Drimzia. They admired traditionally crafted jewelry made by famous artists of the local silversmithing traditional art and were introduced to the secrets of this Epirotan art by second-generation silver craftsman, Giannis Mentis.
Another proof that "it is the people who define the places", as the President of the Committee commented, is the Museum of Ali Pasha and Revolutionary Period, the life-work of Mr. Fotis Rapakousis. Mr. Rapakousis, at the age of 17, passionately and with great dedication, began to collect the unique artifacts of enormous historical value on display in this excellent museum that the Committee visited.