Friday, April 2, 2021

How the Greeks Outsmarted the British Missionaries During the Greek Revolution

 
London Greek Committee

Without the Philhellenes of the West, it would have been much more difficult for the Greeks to have gained their independence, some would say even impossible. And though the Greeks were very grateful for their contribution in helping them gain their freedom, they also knew from experience to not trust them completely. They looked upon the French and even more so the English as either being mad or very very devious.

The London Greek Committee (1823–1826) was a Philhellenic group established to support the Greek War of Independence from Ottoman rule by raising funds by subscription for military supplies to Greece and by raising a major loan to stabilize the fledgling Greek government. Its first meeting was held on 28 February 1823 in the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand. The committee was established by John Bowring and Edward Blaquiere. Its early members included the reformer Jeremy Bentham and Lord Byron. Colonel Leicester Stanhope, a soldier with experience in India and an enthusiast for liberty of the press, established printing presses throughout Greece.

The London  Greek  Committee  had  a  distinctly  Christian  bias.  Greece  was  not  only  to  be  regenerated  in  terms  of  English  utilitarianism  but  converted  to  English  Christianity  as  well.  As  Stanhope  himself  declared  when  the  first  consignment  of  Bibles  arrived:  "They  will  save  the  priests  the  trouble  of  enlightening the darkness of their flocks. Flocks indeed! With the press and the Bibles, the whole mind of Greece may be put in labour." An alliance was formed   between   the   London   Greek   Committee   and   various   Christian   groups,  principally  the  missionary  societies,  to  propagate  in  Greece  the  eternal truths of Christianity as understood in contemporary England.

The  dispatch  of  missionaries  to  the  technologically  more  backward  areas  of  the  world  was  one  of  the  symptoms  of  the  increasing  power  and  arrogance of Western Europe in the nineteenth century. Earlier centuries had been  unashamed  of  simple  military  conquest  and  economic  exploitation.  Now,  it  was  felt,  some  higher  justification  was  required.  Cultural  imperialism  became  the  fashion,  and  the  missionaries  were  its  storm  troopers.    Soon  these  narrow  intolerant  men  were to play a part in extinguishing primitive  societies  all  over  the  world.  In  Greece,  as  ever,  things  were  different.

Before  the  outbreak  of  the  Greek  Revolution  the  Levant  was  perhaps  the  most intractable area of the world with which the missionary societies had to deal.  The  few  missionaries  who  ventured  into  the  Ottoman  Empire  had  scant success. Since under the Ottoman system a man’s religion determined his  place  in  the  world,  and  it  was  their  religion  which  gave  the  various  national  groups  their  identity,  a  change  of  religion  was  regarded  by  the  authorities as a serious matter. Conversion to Islam was not discouraged for the  able  and  ambitious,  but  attempts  to  convert  Turks  to  Christianity  could  rightly  be  regarded  as  attempts  to  disrupt  the  social  structure  and  were  forbidden.  For  a  Turk  to  renounce  Islam  was  a  capital  offence.  Jews  were  regarded  by  the  Ottoman  authorities  as  fair  game  and  no  impediment  was  put in the way of missions to them. But Jews proved to be almost impossible to   convert.   The   Levant   was   sadly   barren   ground.   The   dozen   or   so   authenticated examples of conversion all seem to have had unusual features and some were obtained by outright bribery.

With  the  establishment  of  British  rule  in  Malta  and  the  Ionian  Islands,  secure    bases    were    available    for    missionary    forays    and    gradually    missionaries  ventured  further  afield.  Two  Americans  visited  Asia  Minor,  Egypt, and Palestine in the early 1820s. The Germans penetrated to Georgia, and  a  Scottish  expedition  tried  its  luck  in  the  Caucasus.  The  Rev.  Joseph  Wolff made numerous dangerous journeys all over the Levant in an attempt to  convert  the  Jews.  In  spite  of  his  repeated  warnings  that  the  Messiah  was  due  to  return  in  1847—he  and  his  wife  intended  to  go  to  Jerusalem  for  the  occasion—the  various  Jewish  communities  invariably  greeted  him  with  hostility and even from time to time tried to kill him. Wolff admitted that his immense  efforts  had  resulted  in  almost  total  failure.  From  Malta  the  Rev.  William  Jowett  made  several  visits  to  Greece  and  the  Ionian  Islands  before  the  Revolution,  but  again  with  little  success.  In  his  book  he  examines  the  reasons for his failure and discusses ways in which missionary performance might    be    improved.    Extirpation    of    the    Moslems,    he    concluded    magnanimously, was not the answer to the problem.

When  philhellenism  was  at  its  height  in  England  in  1824,  the  men  of  the  London   Missionary   Society   decided   to   turn   their   attention   to   Greece. When  it  was  pointed  out  that  the  Greeks  were  already  Christians,  it  was  ruled that nevertheless they were eligible for conversion. The constitution of the  Society,  it  was  noticed,  allowed  it  to  help  ‘heathen  and  other  unenlightened  countries’.  Other  British  missionary  groups  soon  joined  in  and  a  few  American  Christians  made  a  contribution,  but  none  of  any  other  nationality.  Sending  missionaries,  like  sending  newspaper  printing  presses,  was an elaboration of philhellenism unthought of elsewhere in Europe.

The  British  Christians  surveyed  the  plight  of  their  Greek  brethren  with  sadness  tinged  with  disgust.  All  observers  were  of  the  opinion  that  the  Greek   Church   was   ignorant,   superstitious,   and   corrupt.   Although   the   Church  still  contained  honest  and  educated  men  among  its  leaders,  these  were  few  and  far  between.  And  the  gap  between  the  educated  few  and  the  generality of bishops and parish priests in Greece was immense. The Greek Church like the Greek people was degenerate and in need of regeneration.

The  connection  between  Modern  Greece  and  Ancient  Hellas,  which  was  the  inspiration  of  so  much  philhellenic  activity,  evoked  no  sympathetic  response  from  the  British  Christians.  Pre-Christian  civilization  was  of  no  interest.  They  were  so  determined  to  avoid  saying  a  good  word  about  paganism  that  they  practised  a  kind  of  anti-philhellenism.  One  missionary  coming  across  the  magnificent  standing  columns  of  the  Temple  of  Apollo  in  Aegina  dismissed  it  as  ‘an  abominable  fane’.  To  him  all  the  Ancient  Greeks  were  ‘sunk  to  the  lowest  grade  of  vice  and  woe’.  Another  claimed  that the sight of Mount Parnassus left him cold until he recollected that the eye of St. Paul had rested on it and  he  could  ‘hold  a  species  of  distant  communion  with  him  by  means  of  this  classical  mountain’.  The  same  missionary  declared  his  faith  that  the  honours  of  those  who  served  God  (meaning  men  like  himself)  would  endure  and  increase  in  splendour  when  Classical  Greece  ‘will  have  sunk  in  eternal  oblivion  or  be  consigned  to  merited  insignificance’.  Another  admitted  sheepishly  that,  when  he  came  upon  a  famous  place,  ‘it  must  not  be  denied  that  we  stopped  to  gaze  a  moment....  But  rarely  did  we  go  out  of  our  way  to  gratify  our  classical  curiosity’.

In matters of religious controversy, the more trivial the point of difference and the more   unascertainable   the   answer   to   the   question,   the   more   uncontrolled  the  passions  and  the  more  puffed-up  the  indignation.  The  British  Christians  followed  the  usual  pattern  in  their  differences  with  the  Greeks.  One  of  the  missionaries,  after  detailing  lovingly  the  full  horrors  of the  errors  of  the  Greek  Church  and  clergy  which  he  had  discovered,  summed  up  his  conclusions,  conclusions  with  which  most  of  his  colleagues  would have agreed:

There is an Infernal originality in apostate Christianity; it is the master effort of the Prince  of  Darkness.  The  Church  of  Christ  becomes  the  synagogue  of  Satan.  An  attempt  is  made  to  combine  light  and  darkness;  to  bring  Heaven  and  Hell  into  monstrous  and  impossible  coalition;  to  mingle  the  Hallelujahs  of  Paradise  with  the  shrieks  of  the  lost  world;  to  place  God  and  Satan  conjointly  on  the  throne  of  the  universe.

The  prime  method  chosen  for  bringing  about  the  regeneration  of  the  Greek Church was to distribute the Bible. The Greeks who could read, it was noticed,  had  little  difficulty  in  obtaining  translations  of  ‘the  ravings  and  poisonous  productions’  of  Rousseau  and  Voltaire.  Since  the  Church  in  Greece  was  ‘impious,  ignorant,  lifeless’,  one  of  the  shocked  missionaries  asked, ‘Is it at all surprising that young Greeks educated in Italy, Germany, France,  or  England,  should  return  to  the  classic  land  disciples  of  Alfieri,  of  Schiller,  of  Voltaire,  of  Lord  Shaftesbury?’  The  Bible  was  to  be  the  chief  weapon against these hateful influences.

In addition to the cannon, tools, and printing presses sent by the London Greek  Committee  in  the  Ann there  was  a  consignment  of  320  Greek  Bibles  and  tracts. When  the  artificers,  including  Brownbill,  decamped to the Ionian Islands, the books were left on Lord Byron’s hands. He had them piled up outside his room at Missolonghi and offered copies to his numerous visitors. But Byron was too intelligent and too tolerant a man to make a good missionary.

The  missionary  societies  donated  bundles  of  Bibles  to  the  captains  of  British warships bound for Greek waters and urged them to distribute them. The  chaplain  of  H.M.S.  Cambrian, who  was  in  Greece  in  1825,  found  that  it  was almost impossible to find anyone who would accept a Bible as a gift. A British  merchant  in  Salonika  explained  that  he  had  disposed  of  only  three  out  of  a  consignment  of  forty  in  four  years.  At  Nauplia  the  chaplain  discovered  that  there  were  already  many  more  Bibles  than  anyone  wanted and  new  consignments  were  still  arriving.  The  Greek  priests  refused  his  offers by showing him the heaps they already possessed.

But  the  work  of  religious  regeneration  needed  more  direct  methods.  It  was Colonel Stanhope who first suggested that missionaries should be sent. He named as his first choice the Reverend Sheridan Wilson who was already engaged  on  the  futile  task  of  trying  to  convert  the  Maltese  from  Roman  Catholicism.  Wilson  is  described  by  one  of  his  English  fellow  priests  as  a  Methodist  and  ‘the  most  liberal  of  the  sect  I  have  met  with’.  Liberalism  is  in the eye of the beholder.

Wilson was the first missionary to be employed full-time in Revolutionary Greece. When the directors of the London Missionary Society ‘first turned a pitying   eye   on   Greece’—as   he   explained—they   began   by   establishing   missionaries on the Ionian Islands. Already several missionaries had worked there  and  schools  were  established  under  their  auspices  in  almost  every  town. The life was hard, two of the missionary wives died at their duty, but the  missionary  work  had  the  full  support  of  the  British  authorities  in  the  islands.

It  was  quite  another  matter  to  venture  alone  into  the  anarchic  conditions  of  Greece.  Wilson  himself  was  never  lacking  in  courage.  He  was  landed  at  Spetsae  with  his  boxes  of  books  just  as  night  was  falling  on  Christmas  eve  1824.  A  Turkish  fleet  was  in  the  offing  and  a  stranger  laden  with  unknown  packages  was  bound  to  cause  suspicion.  ‘I  was  in  the  utmost  danger  of  assassination  the  moment  I  set  foot  ashore’,  Wilson  explained  later.  ‘Three  hundred  eyes  and  three  hundred  more  flashed  fire  upon  me.  But  when  I  pointed  to  my  boxes  and  stated  the  benevolent  object  I  had  in  view,  their  hands let go the grasped yatagan’.

Wilson  spent  the  first  night  ashore  terrified  that  he  was  about  to  be  murdered  since  his  host  pointedly  kept  his  long  knife  by  his  hand  as  he  slept.  But  the  Albanians  and  Greeks  of  the  island,  whatever  else  they  may  have  thought  about  this  strange  beardless  English  priest,  concluded  that  he  was  harmless.  Soon  Wilson  was  up  and  about  round  the  island.  In  each  of  the island’s forty warships he left two Bibles, one for the captain and one for the crew.

After  a  short  stay  he  set  off  for  the  mainland  and  spent  the  next  few  months travelling all over Southern Greece. Often, as he reached a place that had  been  visited  by  St.  Paul,  he  recalled  that  he  too  was  an  apostle  to  the  gentiles. The church which St. Paul had planted still existed; it had ‘retained its  apostolic  purity  till  carnal  ascetics,  light-headed  monastics,  lucre-loving  hierophants,  lordly  prelates,  and  scripture-neglecting  professors  obscured  the glory of the temple’.

Soon  Wilson  was  giving  his  hosts  practical  advice  on  how  the  apostolic  purity  could  be  restored.  The  monasteries,  he  declared,  should  be  swept  away; they were ‘hives of sanctimonious   drones’.   But   most   of   his   suggestions  had  more  limited  aims.  At  Spetsae  he  finally  induced  an  old  Greek to take a glass of wine during Lent after giving him a sermon on the theory  of  fasting.  The  old  man  drank  the  wine  out  of  a  mixture  of  respect  and  fear  of  Wilson.  Obviously  the  missionary  was  not  getting  his  point  across.  ‘This  very  man’  he  commented  indignantly  later,  ‘who  durst  not  drink  a  glass  of  wine  on  Saturday  night,  I  saw  next morning  playing  at  cards!’

Wilson  regularly  insisted  on  the  need  to  say  grace  at  meals.  The  Greeks  who were used to making the sign of  the  cross  on  these  occasions  were  solemnly  warned  about  the  iniquity  of  this  superstition.  Profanation  of  the  Sabbath, one need hardly add, was also a topic that caused great concern.

‘“Captain  Anthreas”  said  I,  “you  should  not  sing  songs  on  Sunday”—  “Why afendi?”—“It is wicked”—“But what must I do?”—”Sing psalms.”’

The  music  of  the  Greek  Church,  he  found,  was  ‘intolerably nasal, full of most unmeaning and unedifying repetitions’. He discussed how it could be reformed with one of the bishops and the bishop promised that it would be done. But when the bishop demonstrated the new system, Wilson could only comment,  ‘Though  I  felt  the  condescension  of  this  simple  bishop,  yet  I  honestly  expressed  to  him  my  painful  impression  that  his  country  had  changed  rather  the  character  than  the  airs’.  To  explain  what  sacred  music  should really be like he sang him a little hymn:

Gentle stranger, fare you well!  
Heavenly blessings with you dwell!
Blessings such as you impart,  
To the orphan’s bleeding heart.  
Gentle stranger, fare you well!  
Heavenly blessings with you dwell!

Sometimes  Wilson’s  bland  narrative  unconsciously  gives  a  glimpse  of  a  more  robust  response  to  the  missionary’s  self-assured  advice.  ‘The  Greeks ... are  ungallant  enough  to  salute  gentlemen  before  ladies.  “We  English,”  said  I,  “always  take  the  ladies  first.”  “Well,”  replied  one  of  the  party,  “we  never do.”’ Such wilful unapologetic ignorance was difficult to condone.

It  never  occurred  to  Wilson  to  doubt  that  the  ideas  and  customs  current  among his small English Christian sect in 1825 represented eternal truth and perfect  morality.  A  man  who  brought  such  gifts  to  the  Greeks  need  not  underestimate  himself.  At  one  of  his  Sunday  schools  two  Greek  brothers  presented  themselves  and  gave  their  names  as  Leonidas  and  Lycurgus.  ‘Only  imagine,’  Wilson  remarked,  ‘Leonidas  and  Lycurgus  in  a  Sunday  school!  ...  Ah!  I  have  said  as  I  thought  on  those  two  dear  boys,  if  your  celebrated namesakes had enjoyed your privileges—had they sat at the feet of Jesus, what a happy land Lacedaemon might have been!’ By sending him to  Spetsae,  he  declared  on  another  occasion,  the  British  Churches  had conferred  ‘grace’  on  the  island.  ‘Yet  by  me  you  only  paid  your  debts.  From  the learned ancestors of the modern Greeks, Britain received the writings of a  Homer,  a  Plato,  a  Basil,  and  is  repaying  in  these  latter  days  her  ancient  obligations’. There can have been few besides himself who thought that the Rev.  Sheridan  Wilson  was  a  fair  exchange  for  Homer  or  Plato  or  even  for  Basil.

Wilson  was  the  first  missionary  in  Greece,  but  he  was  soon  followed  by  other  clergymen  of  other  denominations  sent  by  other  missionary  societies.  Whatever  the  differences  in  dogma  and  doctrine  that  separated  these  men,  they   all   seem   to   exhibit,   in   varying   proportions,   self-righteousness,   insensitivity,   intolerance,   pomposity,   and   stolidity.   Nothing   they   saw   pleased  them—perhaps  occasionally  the  weather  or  the  scenery  but  never  the  people  and  certainly  not  the  classical  remains.  Even  the  colourful  little  jackets  of  the  Greek  women,  one  clergyman  expostulated,  were  ‘Staysless’  and   ‘positively   indecent   and   disgusting’.15 Sometimes   one   gets   the   impression  that  the  missionaries  were  competing  with  one  another  to  see  who could compile the longest list of Greek superstitions or who could find the  grossest  example.  For  all  their  talk  of  Christianity  and  for  all  their  hard  work in establishing mission schools, they showed hardly a spark of charity. Even  their  fellow  countrymen  felt  that  the  ‘utter  unprofitableness  of  these  gentlemen  cannot  be  sufficiently  pointed  out’  and  the  Rev.  Joseph  Wolff,  the missionary to the Jews, felt obliged to pass some criticisms on his fellow missionaries.  It  was  said  that  they  would  arrive  in  the  Levant  knowing  no  language but English and that they seldom got beyond the stage of language training.  One  who  was  learning  Greek  at  Tenos,  gave  up  his  missionary  work to marry a local girl; another, who was intended for the interior of Asia Minor,  decided  instead  to  settle  in  the  more  congenial  atmosphere  of  Smyrna;  a  third  quietly  pursued  his  own  studies  in  order  to  equip  himself  for a post on his return to England.

The  Rev.  John  Hartley,  who  was  in  Greece  from  1826,  was  said  to  be  an  exception  and  there  is  no  doubt  of  his  vigour.  But  Hartley  was  a  man  who  was  more  happy  in  being  anti-Turk  than pro-Christian. Like the Rev. Thomas Hughes, the philhellenic pamphleteer, Hartley was a survival of an earlier age when the Christian/Moslem confrontation seemed to be the most important international question of the day and when religious hatred was a respectable  policy.  Hartley  was  disposed  to  argue  that  the  cruelties  which  the Turks had undergone at the hands of the Greeks and the bloody internal dissensions of the Ottoman Empire were the just retribution exacted by God for their failure to become Christians.

By  the  late  1820s  there  were  a  dozen  or  so  missionaries,  English  and  American, operating in and around Greece. All the main denominations had their man to condemn and confuse the Greeks in accordance with their own especial  doctrines.  Virtually  every  town  of  Revolutionary  Greece  and  every  island  in  the  Aegean  was  visited  and  numerous  Lancastrian  schools  were  established.

But   the   most   important   method   of   regenerating   the   Greek   Church   remained  the  distribution  of  books,  1  June  1825  was,  according  to  the  Rev.  Sheridan  Wilson,  ‘a  memorable  day,  a  happy  one  for  poor  Greece’.  On  that  day, after his visit to Greece, Wilson set to work a Greek press at Malta and it  ran  almost  continuously  until  1834,  printing  nothing  else  but  improving  works  in  Greek.  Apart  from  the  Bible,  the  Mission  Press  published  no  less  than thirty-six titles. The   Pilgrim’s  Progress  was  said  to  be  a  great  favourite.

It   was   an   impressive   accomplishment.   In   addition,   books   in   Greek, mainly  Bibles  and  tracts,  continued  to  arrive  in  ships  direct  from  England  and from the United States. The Americans also established their own press at  Malta  ‘which  never  sleeps’.  The  Missionary  Societies  in  England  were  delighted.  As  one  of  the  reports  stated  explicitly,  the  number  of  copies  of  the Bible distributed was the best measure of the success of their missionary efforts.

But something strange was occurring which the Societies had not noticed. In  early  1825—that  is  before the  mission  press  at  Malta  began  printing—it  had  been  difficult  to  find  anyone  willing  to  accept  a  Greek  Bible  as  a  gift.  The  market  was  already  glutted.  Now  a  remarkable  change  had  occurred.  There  seemed  suddenly  to  be  no  limit  to  the  number  of  volumes  that  the  Greeks would take. Not only would they accept them, they would even pay for them. One missionary sold four hundred copies of the New Testament in Aegina in four days and five hundred in Hydra in the same space of time. Others described how people came on immense journeys to buy from them and how they were surrounded by children begging for books. The number of Greek books distributed in Greece and the Aegean area was immense.

The total Greek population in the  areas  visited  was  probably  not  more  than  about  a  million  and  a  half.  There  was  thus  probably  at  least  one  Greek  book  distributed  for  every  two  adult males and, of course, only a small fraction of Greeks were literate. It is clear  that  the  missionaries,  by  their  distribution  of  religious  books,  were  practising cultural saturation bombing.

None  of  the  missionaries  found  it  surprising  that  there  should  be  this  sudden and apparently insatiable Greek demand for religious books. It was simply  noted  that,  in  1826,  ‘Greece  began  to  show  an  ardent  thirst  for  missionary  co-operation’.  Perhaps,  but  it  might  have  occurred  to  even  the  most optimistic that this was not a complete explanation. Travellers visiting Greece  before  the  Revolution  had  traversed  the  length  of  the  country  without seeing more than a few dozen printed books in the whole course of their  travels.  It  was  prima  facie  unlikely,  to  say  the  least,  that  thousands  of  wild  Greeks  and  Albanians  should  now  find  a  sudden  interest  in  the  Life  of  Robert  Raikes,  let  alone  evince  an  eager  desire  to  purchase  a  small  library  of  similar works.

The  explanation  was  simple.  Anyone  who  had  any  real  interest  in  the  manners of the country could have discovered the answer if it had occurred to  him  to  ask  the  question.  Paper  was  a  rare  commodity  in  Greece  and  a  valuable one. A twist of paper making a cartridge for the coarse gunpowder could improve the safety and perhaps the accuracy of the primitive muskets used  by  most  of  the  Greeks.  Among  the  stores  sent  with  Parry  in  the  Ann were forty reams of fine paper and thirty reams of coarse paper specifically intended for making cartridges for small arms and cannon. There can be no doubt  that  the  vast  majority  of  Greek  books  sent  by  the  missionaries  went  straight into personal armouries. The fact was specifically noticed by at least one traveller.

It  was  explained  regretfully  to  the  Reverend  Sheridan  Wilson  when  he  inspected  the  paltry  school  library  at  Tripolitsa  that  many  of  the  books  had  been  torn  up  to  provide  cartridges,  but  it  never  seems  to  have  occurred  to  him—or to any of his fellow missionaries—that their own productions were destined  for  a  similar  fate.  A  charitable  observer  might  conjecture  that  the  missionaries knowingly accepted a high wastage rate on the theory that the effort would be worthwhile if only a few shots of the barrage hit their target.

But all the evidence suggests that the missionaries sincerely believed that the crowds of despised Greeks   who   showed   such   interest   in   their   books   genuinely wanted to read them (or to have them read aloud to them). If the missionaries  did  have  their  suspicions,  they  did  not  report  them  to  the  sponsoring  societies  in  England  who  continued  to  measure  their  success  by  the numbers of books distributed.

Insensitivity   to   one’s   surroundings,   however,   is   not   necessarily   a   disadvantage  to  a  missionary.  Like  Colonel  Stanhope  before  them,  the  missionaries by their single-mindedness, their energy, and their absolute lack of doubt in the value of their activities, could not fail to accomplish something. There  is  no  record  of  their  having  made  converts.  They  had  no  success  in  substituting  English  customs  and  superstitions  for  the  indigenous  varieties  which  they  found  so  appalling,  but,  with  a  few  exceptions,  they  worked  hard.  Many  Greeks  did  undoubtedly  gain  the  rudiments  of  an  education  from   schools   established   by   the   missionaries.   As   the   numbers   of   the   missionaries  built  up  during  the  late  1820s  and  as  more  and  more  mission  schools were established, it was natural that their influence should grow. For some  years  after  the  end  of  the  war  a  few  of  the  best  men  enjoyed  a  high  reputation in Greece as teachers and genuine philanthropists, but the period was  short-lived.  As  soon  as  the  Greek  clergy  realized  that  the  mission  schools might prove a threat to their own authority, they were doomed. The famous  school  in  Athens  run  by  the  Rev.  John  Hill,  an  American,  survived  for  many  years  but  only  on  the  condition  that  religious  subjects  were  not  taught,  and  most  missionaries  felt  that  they  could  not  help  Greece  on  such  terms.  Later,  the  new  state  enacted  that  children  of  Greek  orthodox  parents  could only be educated in schools controlled by the Greek priesthood. Soon the  mission  schools  were  closed  or  compelled  to  confine  themselves  to  educating   foreigners.   And   so   the   old-fashioned   customs   of   the   Greek   Church—even   including   the   survivals   from   pre-Christian   times—were   woven  into  the  fabric  of  regenerated  Greece.  The  influence  of  the  new  apostles,  for  all  their  high  hopes  and  professions  of  faith,  proved  to  be  as  ephemeral as the efforts of the other friends of the Greeks.

- Excerpts taken from chapter 21 of the book That Greece Might Still Be Free by William St Clair.
 
 
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