• The Committee "Greece 2021" visits Arta, of the Revolution, of the founder of the Friendly Society Nikolaos Skoufas and of the heroic battle of The Philhellenes
• Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: With its proposals for the 200th anniversary, Arta will highlight her valuable past
• Productive discussion with the Mayors of the Prefecture and local authorities on the need to ensure the historical heritage of the area as well as its future development
A delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021", headed by President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, visited the historic city of Arta, a place rooted in the depths of time, with a heavy imprint of Byzantine culture and essential participation in the Struggle of 1821. Assembly member Professor Nikos Kanellopoulos also participated in the visit.
"Just two months after the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, the Artian people got armed and raised the banner of freedom. A few years earlier, a great Artian from Koboti, Nikolaos Skoufas, with Emmanuel Xanthos and Athanasios Tsakalov, founded in Odessa, the organization whose principles ignited the fuse of the Revolution. In this here place, the revolutionary Greeks accomplished great victories. Victories that brought to light the military merits of the great heroes of the Revolution, Karaiskakis, Botsaris, Makriyiannis. It was here, in the Battle of Peta, where dozens of philhellenes, in an act of unique solidarity, armed themselves and sacrificed their lives for another Nation's Struggle for independence" said the President of the Committee and added: "All this constitutes the "goldmine" of this land, its precious past, which the city attempts to emphasize with the proposals it has submitted to the Committee."
Meeting with the four Mayors of the Prefecture
The Committee delegation was welcomed at the Town Hall by the four Mayors of the Prefecture of Arta, Christos Tsirogiannis (Mayor of Arta), Rozina Vavetsi (Mayor of Nikolaos Skoufas), Christos Hasiakos (Mayor of Central Tzoumerka), and Pericles Migdos (Mayor of Georgios Karaiskakis). At the meeting that followed, the Mayors stated that they were both anxious and eager to celebrate the bicentennial of the Revolution with actions that will highlight their area and contribute to the development of its economy. They presented in detail all 15 of the proposals they have submitted to the Committee's platform.
"We want to highlight the significant history of our homeland and, at the same time, lead Arta to address the new age by drawing experience, ideals, and values from our ancestors," said the Mayor of Arta, Mr. Tsirogiannis. For her part, the Mayor of Nikolaos Skoufas, Mrs. Vavetsi stressed that "one of the things that should emerge from the 200th anniversary is extroversion". "We want to show that this place offered a great deal in the struggle for liberation and that it did not accomplish less than other areas that also fought great battles," said Central Tzoumerka Mayor Mr. Hasiakos. The Mayor of Georgios Karaiskakis, Mr. Migdos, insisted on promoting and supporting areas that do not have the possibility to finance projects with their own resources. This would help the people that keep their communities alive to stay and prosper in the area.
From the great past to the development of the future
The President of the Committee "Greece 2021" insisted in particular on the importance of the pillar of the Committee concerning the window into the future, and commented: "The main stake for the 200 years since the Revolution is to show that in our country, this small but at the same time great Greece, we respect our history and honor our people. We highlight our country and, at the same time, participate in the anniversary with the intention to leave a token to the future generations, to our children: a legacy for the future." She stressed that every effort would be made to implement the largest possible number of the Municipalities' proposals that have a developmental potential: "In 2021 we will send the message that Greece is entering enthusiastically into the third century of its modern and free existence. We will send the message that Greece does not only have a glorious past, but it is a country that will continue to write an impressive history in the future," she concluded.
During his turn, Committee member Nikos Kanellopoulos referred to a different way of connecting the past with the future, by creating genealogical trees. "Through this process, using digital applications, you will find the people who migrated to large cities and step by step help them develop the need to reconnect with their homeland," he said.
It is mentioned that the proposals of the Municipalities of the Prefecture of Arta plan a series of projects that combine the remembrance of the past and the creation of a growing momentum in the future. In particular, these relate to: Workshops on significant events such as the Battle of Arta, its liberation and the revolutionary movements in Radovizi, the publishing of a volume on Arta in 1821, festive events to celebrate the liberation of the city and the Revolution, set to music and circulate the poems of Philhellene poets, digitization of the historical archive of the Friendly Society which is preserved in Odessa, restoration of the old quarry of Peta and construction of a 4,000 spectators open theater, exhibition of the artwork of the great Artian painter Giannis Moralis.
The productive discussion on the proposals and the future of the area continued with the participation of institutional representatives and organizations from the local community, in the presence of Metropolitan Bishop of Arta, Kallinikos. Particular mention was made for the need to safeguard and highlight the extraordinary historical heritage of the area, using as reference points the founder of the Friendly Society, the heroic contribution of the Batallion of The Philhellenes, and the crucial battles fought in the region.
Visit to the Church of Parigoritissa (Our Lady of Comfort) and the Bridge of Arta
The Committee delegation, together with the Mayors of the Prefecture of Arta, visited the Holy Church of Parigoritissa (Our Lady of Comfort,) a 13th-century masterpiece of Byzantine art, which is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. It is one of Arta's most important monuments, a church of a particular type of basilica whose dome rests impressively without any columns in the church's center. The delegation was very impressed by the monument's unique beauty and was briefed on the current construction works.
Next, the Committee delegation and the Mayors of the Prefecture went to the interactive Historical Museum of the Skoufas Association, which, through its exhibits, records the history of Arta from antiquity to the present day. The Committee was guided through the Museum by Professor and Secretary-General of the Board of Directors of the Museum, Konstantinos Kostavasilis, in the presence of the Museum’s President Nikolaos Bantaloukas. Refreshments were offered at the Museum's courtyard, where a statue of the monk Anthimos Argyropoulos, a fundamental member of the Friendly Society, is located.
"When we realize our dense history, the sacrifices of human souls, property, entire communities, through the recordings, the exhibits, the testimonies as we did in this museum, we feel even prouder of our national birthday in 2021," the President of the Committee wrote in the Museum's guest book.
The President and the Committee delegation walked past the building that was once the business location of the founder of the Friendly Society Nikolaos Skoufas and then visited the legendary Bridge of Arta, which, in 1881, when the area was liberated from the Ottoman yoke, became the border of the free section of Greece.
It is mentioned that, during the tour, the Mayors offered to the delegation and the President of the Committee valuable books and commemorative objects relating to the history of their area, such as an important volume on the contribution of the Philhellenes to the Greek Revolution, many of whom gave their lives for the Struggle during the Battle of Peta.