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Greek Seaman and Christianity
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Greek Seaman and Christianity

Greece's destiny has always been linked to the sea, its private domain but also an open window to the world. For the Greeks the sea represents their shield, a means both of peaceful conquest and the defense of their freedom.

Greeks have retained many syndromes of modern times, but one that stands out is the one that many Greeks proudly boast about: the' Odysseus Syndrome'. Inside every Greek there is another who reigns and drives him forward. The stimulation of this alter ego is a powerful domination that moves him towards adventure, imagination, self-revelation and freedom -- all part of the experience of the sea. The Greeks of all epochs have been determined to live their own odyssey, both in spirit and deed.

Greece has the longest littoral of all European countries: more than 13,000km in a straight line. Thus, the conquest of the sea was a vital necessity. From the dawn of history, Greeks were compelled to navigate, to break the liquid barrier, in search of their livelihood and fortune. Of all the battles that the Greeks had to fight for their survival, the one against Poseidon was the most implacable. And they emerged victorious.

The Greeks also connect the sea with their religion, we find evidence in this in the usage of the Vasiliko .  Vasilikos ( Basil)  has been the official flower of the Orthodox Christian Church since 1600 years ago and itís evident when Clergymen engage in the age-old tradition of blessing homes or the waters on which seamen ply their trade.

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος , Agios Nikolaos, "victory of the people") is the common name for Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (in modern day Antalya province, Turkey), who had a reputation for secret gift-giving, but is now commonly identified with Santa Claus. In 1087 his remains were abducted and removed to Bari in southern Italy, so that he is also Saint Nicholas of Bari. Among Orthodox Christians, the historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Barranquilla (Colombia), Bari (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Beit Jala in the West Bank of Palestine and Russia.

As the patron saint of sailors, Nicholas is claimed to have been a sailor or fisherman himself. More likely, however, is that one of his family businesses involved managing a fishing fleet. When his parents died, Nicholas still received his inheritance but is said to have given it away to charity. So was St Nicholas a working, albeit wealthy, man who complemented his day job with caring for his congregation, or was he a full-time bishop? The impressive list of deeds of Nicholas seems to point to the latter. This does not mean, however, that his appointment to priest or bishop meant a complete rupture with his former life. More likely this was a gradual process.


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