Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 14th July - 3pm Great Vespers, 4pm Divine Liturgy for Sunday

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Cargese - The Greek Village of Corsica

From Light of the East, May-June 2010, Newsletter of SSJC Youngstown Ohio Chapter, from a contact in Greece

In 1673, 800 residents of the town of Itilos of the Mani district of the Peloponese, in order to save their lives, decided to leave their motherland after an unsuccessful revolt against the Ottomans who ruled Greece during that period. The Genoa administration offered to give them land in Corsica, under the condition they would accept the full recognition of the power of the Pope of Rome but keep their Orthodox traditions. The committee headed by the Stefanopoulos family clan approved the conditions and in 1675, the 800 Maniots boarded the ship "Sotiras" started the voyage. It took them two months to reach their final destination and of the 800 emigrants 120 died during the trip.

Thus the Maniots settled in Paomia, Corsica. In a year the Greeks founded several small villages and due to the diligence of the Maniots very soon Paomia turned into one of the richest and best agriculturally developed areas of Corsica.

In 1729, the Corsicans revolted against the Genoans, but the Greeks refused to take arms up against their benefactors and refused to support the Corsicans. As a result the Corsicans began to destroy and plunder the property of the Maniots. Soon after, the Corsicans attacked them and, even though the Greeks showed heroic resistance for one year, at then end they decided to leave their lands, since they had no support or assistance. Once again, they became refugees, and for the next 44 years the Greeks stayed in Aiaccio (the capital of Corsica).

In I768, the French took over Corsica and in compensation for the Greeks, who helped by arranging one regiment and joining the French army against the Corsicans, in 1804 a new village was built for them by the government of France called Cargese. In 1852 the Maniots began the construction of a large Greek church dedicated to St.Spiridonas in their new village. The church was finished in 20 years and was consecrated in1872.

Cargese Today

Cargese is a Maniot village that everywhere, on Corsica, in France, in the whole world is always called Greek Cargese. Every publication of a local tourist company, of any local office and society bears a sign: "Cargese la Grecque"! The main occupation of the villagers, local Corsicans as well as Maniot descendants, is tourism. They try hard to increase not only the number of tourists, but to reach the highest possible level of tourism. They try to achieve this by a good technical support, a well organised sanitary service, politeness, hospitality and restrained but sincere smiles. The names of hotels and restaurants are characteristically Greek: Residence Ellada, Motel Ta Kladia, Residence D'Itylon, Hotel-Motel Helios, Residence Maina, Hotel-Restaurant Thalassa, etc. Just imagine, 800 people and their descendants who now live in a far away place in a hostile surrounding could manage to keep their Greek spirit and strongly impose their presence every where around. The present Greek tourists who visit Cargese with big excitement and pride walk along the streets that bear Greek names: Greece (Rue de Grece), Mani (Rue de Magne), Itylos (Rue de Vitylon).
The descendants of the first colonists stick to their Maniot names:Stefanopoulos, Trimigokis, Tzanetakis, Drakakis, Volimakis, Koritis,Vlahodimakis, Koronas, Kotsifakis, Papadakis, Mavroidakis, etc. Quite a number of Maniots try to study and speak Greek. Unfortunately only a few old women still remember and use the Maniot idioms that they have learned from their great-grandfathers. Without close and constant contacts with Greece in general and Mani in particular gradually these idioms would be completely forgotten. It is very remarkable that the descendants of the first Maniot colonists managed to keep their Greek spirit, to stay proud of their Greek origin and to believe that Greek blood flows in their veins. Thus the services in the local cathedral of St.Spiridonas are held in Greek. The religious holidays follow the Orthodox-Byzantine ceremonies including those of baptizing, wedding and burial. Greek Cargese occupies a steady position and sticks to the traditions of its ancestors. It is especially important nowadays when impersonal Western culture threatens to equalize everything and everyone in this world. We who live in Greece should strengthen our contacts with this remote Greek place for the sake of preserving our Greek consciousness and presence in the wider world.
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