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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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18 May 2006



We have similar concerns in Australia, unfortunately the correct ground work was not done by the first generation. Who were relatively uneduacted and focused promarily on making money. As a consequence most 2nd generation Greeks became very anglicised, with a superficial understanding of their Greek culture. Therefore we have a minority of Greeks showing an interest in passing on the culture and the language to the 3rd and 4th generation. The church is our only big hope.


The Church has always been an important part of our Greek identity, it too faces many challenges in the Diaspora if it is to grow and ultimately fulfill its evangelistic mission. Actually I think that Australians of Greek descent are much closer to their roots than Greek Americans, many of whom have been here for much longer. Immigration from Greece is almost non-existent so that the link to the Patrida becomes more tenuous.

The key is always education however we Greek Americans have never forged much of an educational system to preserve our cultural links. Perhaps things are different in Australia.

In my experience I find a real thirst to reconnect among young people to reconnect with their Greekness. The hard part is ensuring that they do so with the worthwhile aspects of our culture, language and religion rather than just food and music.

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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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