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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at

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07 October 2012


Jason Teleras

Bravo Stavro. Well said. I sometimes despair at the casual indifference shown by many educated people in the West at the growing threat posed to all non moslem peoples by radical islam.

Many of our Greek brothers and sisters have also succombed to this indifference and insouciance. They believe, like their european cousins, that multiculturism and uncritical tolerance of barbarous practices and religious intolerance is the way to deal with radical islam and its many adherents.They foolishly believe that Islam can be coopted and muslims that can be convinced to pursue a path of democrtaic tolerance and pluralisim. This ofcourse is a huge mistake. The Koran demands of its adherents nothing less than the establishment of Sharia Law-a medieval and barbaric code of intolerance and misogyny-which is anathema to all the civilised values and institutions we inherited from our ancients.


Agreed Jason. Countries like Australia, Canada and the United States have always welcomed immigrants and we are beneficiaries of that welcome. With the opportunities granted to us also come responsibilities and the requirements of citizenship. We must conform to that country's legal system and cannot bring our own set of laws with us as in sharia. Tolerance doesn't mean that religious practices totally incompatible with that country's culture like female circumcision or polygamy can be condoned.

Increasingly we accommodate one religion's customs while denying another. For example, we allow muslim students to pray at school while we deny the right to Christian students. We allow muslim women to wear a head covering while we prohibit the wearing of a crucifix. I could go on and on.

I fear that Islam will never reform itself. The so-called Arab Spring will usher in more of the same corruption and authoritarianism except that these new governments will be much less tolerant their Christian citizens than strongmen like Assad and Mubarak.

Whether we like it or not we are in the midst of a clash of civilizations and Western civilization is not fully committed to its own survival.



I agree with everything you have written. I am shocked and appalled by how various Christian countries continue to appease the Islam world and turn a blind eye to the real danger it poses to the rest of civilized society. If Muslims don’t like the Western world and its values then they should stay out of it. If they chose to live in it, then they should respect it and tolerate it. Islam is a barbaric religion whose adherents are backward, poses minimal rational thinking and are violent...after all these are the same people who won’t hesitate to kill their own daughters at the smallest perceived insult.

It is time the Western world takes it head out of the sand and realizes that it cannot hold hands and sing Kumbaya with these people.


I used to think that we could encourage the growth of democracy and modernity in these countries, now I'm not so sure their people are ready to change for the better. Perhaps some time under the yoke of their more radical brethren will open their eyes.

Jason Teleras

Yes Stavro, I sometimes think that if Muslims were given sharia for a time they may be cured of their zealotry but the cure is working very slowly in Iran and not at all in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other sharia nations.

You really know you are living in a crazy world when people in the west are watching Al Jazeera and our kinsmen in Greece are watching Turkish soap operas whilst Turkey remains in occupation of north eastern cyprus and Greece's territorial waters and air space are being violated on almost a daily basis.


These nations are powder kegs. Don't be deceived, their people are restive. Religious extremism will only hasten things.

As for the Turks, there isn't a bit of difference between Kemalists and Islamists, scratch the surface and you 'll find rabid nationalists who have an inflated view of themselves. They are the new Ottomans and unfortunately Greece is in no position to defend itself. The Europeans long ago lost the will to survive, in another fifty years, demographically, they will be strangers in their own land. Sad but true.

We are in retreat. May St George protect us from the barbarians because we won't protect ourselves.

Sorry to be so pessimistic.

Jason Teleras

Only a re-discovery of our faith and our lost sense of patriotic sacrifice can save us. It is 5 minutes to midnight, but we live in hope.



It is very frustrating and sad to see this hatred. I would hope that the common believes and moral among different religions would bring people together, instead they tore them apart.
In my opinion, Orthodox Christianity is an open minded and people loving religion. I hope its followers will get the right honor they deserve.


A wise old Geronta (elder) once told me that God will judge us all to the same standard regardless of who or what we are.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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