• The Committee "Greece 2021" visits Syros, shelter for the persecuted and funder of the Struggle
• Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: In Ermoupolis, an economic miracle took place that paved the path for the reconstruction of Greece
• Syros participates in the 200th anniversary of the Revolution with proposals focused on development
A delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021" visited Syros, the "noble lady of the Cyclades" with its impressive history, profoundly liberal spirit, and cosmopolitan allure. During the Revolution of 1821, the island became the shelter for the Struggle's persecuted and financed the revolutionaries.
"The Syrian people carried the heavy load of hosting and caring for all the people that became uprooted during the Struggle. After the Revolution's eruption, refugees from Psara, Chios, Samos, Crete, Kasos, Izmir settled here. Refugees who had lived through the horror of persecution, the holocaust, the atrocities inflicted by the invader. And together with the Syrian people, they managed to create a brilliant model Greek city, a modern Greek miracle. A unique economic, commercial, industrial center that paved the path for the reconstruction of Greece," said Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. The Committee delegation also included the Members of the Committee's Assembly, Professors Panagiotis Roilos, and Despoina Mouzaki.
The "miracle" of Syros during the Revolution
"Our island thrived. In challenging times, our people managed impressive achievements. Our society was the first urban society created in modern Greece," said Cyclades Regional Vice Governor Giorgos Leontaritis, during the meeting with the Committee delegation at the offices of the Southern Aegean Region.
During the discussion, special reference was made to the "firsts" of Syros, since, the first organized hospital of revolting and liberated Greece, the first commercial court, the first Greek High School with Neophytos Vamvas (one of the Teachers of the Nation) as the principal, the first modern shipping company, they were all established on the island. The first iron-hulled Greek steamship was also built on the island.
"The involvement of Ermoupolis in the Greek "miracle" that occurred through economic and commercial growth is emblematic. But the city also became the leading intellectual center of Greece at the time. It was the place where the Greeks came systematically in contact for the first time with the music of Western Europe and European culture," said Mr. Roilos, mentioning some prominent scholars from the city, such as Emmanuel Roidis and Dimitrios Vikelas.
Eleftherios Venizelos, seven-times Greek Prime Minister, graduated from the famous High School of Ermoupolis. When he recounted Syros's advancement, he pointed out that "Greece was reborn" in Ermoupolis. At the end of the meeting, the Regional Vice Governor presented the Committee delegation with a unique gift, a copy of the diploma that Eleftherios Venizelos received form the high school of Ermoupolis.
The importance of the 200th anniversary
The Committee delegation also met with the Mayor of Syros-Ermoupolis Nikolaos Livadaras, in the impressive neoclassical Town Hall building, the work of German architect Ernst Ziller, which they toured. A discussion with local community bodies followed regarding the Municipality proposals to the Committee's platform for the 200th anniversary of the Revolution. The discussion took place in the historical theater "Apollo", with its remarkable architecture, a smaller-scaled model of Milan's famous La Scala. Among others, the Mayor, the Regional Vice Governor, and the representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches of the island, His Eminence Metropolitan Bishop Dorotheos II and His Eminence Bishop Petros Stefanou participated in the discussion.
In his statements, the Mayor referred to the need to highlight the vital role Syros played by contributing money to the Struggle and becoming the "steam engine" of the Greek post-Revolution economy. And also, the need to implement projects aimed at future growth. "Today, we had the opportunity to discuss and analyze the proposals that we have submitted to the Committee. Through them, we want to promote our island's history, especially the part that has not been adequately explored. But it's not just the past. We also want to show the way our island has progressed towards the future," the Mayor of Syros-Ermoupolis said in his statements.
Underlining that the proposals of the Municipality of Ermoupolis-Syros are compatible with the philosophy and strategy of the celebration of the anniversary, the President of the Committee said: "In 2021, we have a twofold debt. On the one hand, to make known everything this place has endured, the sacrifices our ancestors made so we can be free today. On the other hand, if we want to be worthy of this history, we must look forward. To reanimate the demands of our ancestors, which continue to affect and inspire today. To respond to modern challenges, to take new leaps forward, to leave a legacy of vitality, prosperity, and growth for the future generations."
Syros looks at the future with its proposals
It is noted that the proposals submitted by Syros concern: the creation of a Geological Museum and geopaths aiming at developing geotourism, the creation of a university campus at the site of the military campground "Captain Zafeiris Apostolos," the restoration of the great Funerary Monuments of Aghios Georgios, the reinforcement and expansion of the Industrial Museum, cultural events and documentaries targeting the promotion of the history and prospect of Ermoupolis, and, lastly, organizing an exhibition and publication of an album on one of the most important families of the island, the family of Athanasios Ladopoulos and Olga Vafeiadaki.
"It is very significant that we received proposals from Syros. These proposals reflect this island's multicultural identity, the depth of its history, and through this history the proposals are addressing the future", stressed Committee Member Despoina Mouzaki. She made particular reference to the substantial cultural energy that the island maintains nowadays, through the major festivals it organizes.
The island of cultural diversity and famous monuments
During the discussion, a memorable moment was the interventions of the representatives of the island's two Christian dogmas, the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, which coexist amicably for many years. In particular, His Eminence Bishop Petros Stefanou stated his support to the Committee's work and granted access to valuable archives and documents that the Church holds from the period of the Revolution. For his part, His Eminence Metropolitan Bishop Dorotheos II underlined that, just as the heroes of the Revolution fought not only for 1821 but also for 1921 and 2021, in the same way, on the bicentennial of the Revolution, we must leave a legacy that will benefit the future generations.
The Committee delegation also toured the cemetery of Aghios Georgios, with its great funerary monuments and sculptures that Greek and foreign artists designed. In the cemetery, which has been designated as one of Europe's greatest cemeteries, are located the tombs of many prominent personalities and influential families who contributed to Greece's liberation and the reconstruction of the modern Greek State.