Religion in Macedonia throughout the Ages

Religion in Macedonia throughout the Ages © copyright 2005.  All rights Reserved.

 By Marcus A. Templar

 Alexander the Great in the Old Testament

 Macedonia is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament, but rather it is mentioned as Greece[1] or as a region within the Hellenic realm.  Moreover, the highly respected Jewish Historian Josephus[2] does not differentiate the Macedonians among the Greeks[3] unless when he wants to identify the specific origin of a person or persons.  He uses the term Macedonia as a geographical and not as an ethnic term.

 The first historical book of the Maccabees[4] states “After Alexander the Macedonian, Philip’s son, who came from the land of the Kittim[5] (= Greeks), had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece.”  Then, in a few paragraphs later it affirms, “Alexander reigned twelve years when he died.”[6]  And then, a few paragraphs below, it declares “He [Antiochus Epiphanes] became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven of the kingdom of the Greeks.[7]  

 The word Kittim is a term that originally meant the people of the town of Kyttion or Citius, Cyprus and then the meaning expanded to include all Cypriots and finally it incorporated all the Greeks.  The ending -im in Hebrew is used for noun or adjectival endings thus, meaning that the term Kittim refers to a group of people, not a land per se.  The answer to the question “who are the Kittim”, comes to us from Genesis and specifically from the story of Noah and the Flood. 

 Chapter 10 of Genesis is dedicated to the table of Nations, which establishes the genealogy of the descendants of Noah.  Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth[8].  Japheth’s sons were Gomer (Gallatians, Galls), Magog (Scythians), Madai (Madeans, Medes), Yavan (Greeks), Tubal (Iberes), Meshech (Cappadocians), and Tiras (Thracians)[9], [10].  The descendants of Javan were Elishah (Aeolians), Tarshish (Tarsians), the Kittim[11] (Cypriots) and the Dodanim (Dodecanesians).  Yavan (Javan) is no other land, but Greece,[12] which even today is called Yavan in Hebrew.  It is the corrupt word for Ionia[13] since Ionia was the first Hellenic land that the Persians, Jews, etc. had encountered.  The Septuagint translation states Ionan for Yavan, as well as Rodanim for Dodanim.[14]  On the other side of Greece, the Romans came first in contact with the Hellenic tribe of Graeci[15] and they called all Hellenic speakers by the same name, Greeks, and their land Graecia. 

 Thus, the people called Kittim were children of Yavan[16] and since Alexander left “from the land of the Kittim,” he therefore left from the land of the Greeks.  Furthermore, the book of Daniel states, “the he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn at his forehead is the first king [Alexander the Great].  The four horns that rose in its place when it has broken are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength.”[17]  

 As it is known after Alexander’s the Great death the kingdom he had established, lacking his strength resulted in being divided into four smaller kingdoms.  Nevertheless, Alexander’s kingdom was different from all previous kingdoms[18] before his own.  It was after all a kingdom whose organization was based on Greek ideas; it was not a Middle Eastern kingdom.  The Kingdom of Seleucus was the part that both Persians and Jews were more interested.[19]  This particular kingdom survived by ten kings of the Seleucid dynasty.[20]

 Alexander the Great had promised to allow the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans to plunder Jerusalem and torture the high priest to death.  However, when Alexander entered Jerusalem none of what he promised took place.  Alexander upon entering the city, saw a huge crowd of priests in fine garments, which was headed by the High Priest dressed in purple and scarlet clothing, wearing his miter on his head, and having a golden plate with the name of God engraved on it.  Alexander approached the High Priest alone, venerated the name of God, and saluted the High Priest first.  The Jews returned the salute altogether.  Everyone present was surprised of what Alexander did.  Alexander’s General Parmenion asked Alexander why he paid homage to the High Priest, when everyone else venerates him [Alexander].  Alexander replied:

 I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios[21] in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.[22]

 Immediately after, Alexander gave his right hand to the High Priest, and both walked toward the city, the other priests ran along with them, and thus they entered the city.  At the Temple, Alexander offered a sacrifice to God, according to the High Priest’s direction and Alexander treated all priests superbly.  At that time, the priests showed Alexander the text of Daniel’s Prophesy “wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he [Alexander the Great] supposed that himself was the person intended.”[23]  It could not happen otherwise.  After all, he was one of the Greeks and he indeed was the king of the Greeks.

  For the reader's convenience Daniel's test of Prophesy has been offered:

 Daniel 7: 

7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

 Daniel 8: 

3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

 Daniel 8 : 

20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

 

Daniel 11: 

3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

Macedonia in the New Testament

In the New Testament Macedonia appears by its own name, but again as a geographical term, not as a distinct national area inhabited by any ethnic Macedonians.  In the New Testament the only ethnicity the Macedonians have is Greek and that is consistent in Titus Livius’ History of Rome[24] that states:

“General Paulus of Rome surrounded by the ten Commissioners took his official seat surrounded by the whole crowds of Macedonians  Paulus announced in Latin the decisions of the Senate, as well as his own, made by the advice of his council.  This announcement was translated into Greek and repeated by Gnaeus Octavius the Praetor – for he too was present.” 

The above event took place in 168 BC just after the fall of Macedonia into Roman hands. The same statement about the Greekness of Macedonia is affirmed on Fanula Papazoglu’s observations that, “Macedonia was a Greek speaking Province.”[25]

According to the Acts of Apostles[26], the Christian Church of Greece started in Macedonia. St. Paul, during his second trip to the nations, was in the area of Troy, when one night he had a vision.  Whether that vision was a dream or it was an actual vision, the book of Acts makes no mention.  However, by all accounts it was a vision, and not a dream.  The Acts state: 

“And at night, a vision appeared to Paul: There was a Macedonian man standing, kindly requesting of him, and saying, ‘Coming across into Macedonia please help us’.  And when he had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”[27]

The Bible does not state how St. Luke, the author of the homonymous Gospel and the author of the Acts, knew that the man was a Macedonian, since the man did not identify himself as such.  Neither does it mention how St. Paul knew about the man being a Macedonian.  It can be assumed that St. Paul told St. Luke, when he mentioned to him about the vision.  Thus, the only thing that would make St. Paul think that a Macedonian was standing in front of him, was either some distinctive clothing, or a certain accent that would indicate the man’s Macedonian origin. Notwithstanding, let us not forget that by AD 1st Century the Koinē or Common language was already spoken for about 300 years and any distinctive accent would suggest localisms.  The statement, however, is very short and in a very excellent Koinē or Common language “Passing over to Macedonia, please help us.”[28]  Thus, we have to assume that St. Paul identified the man as a Macedonian from either a distinctive piece of clothing he was wearing or simply because St. Paul assumed that the man was Macedonian by his request. 

 For the benefit of the reader, I must explain that in the original Greek «Διαβάς εις Μακεδονίαν βοήθησον υμιν» the word “please” is not explicitly present.  It is, however, implied by the use of the past tense imperative verb “βοηθειν” meaning “to help”, “to assist.”

 A question has been raised as to why St. Paul was implored to pass across “into Macedonia, and not to Greece.”  Something has to be made very clear.  Centuries ago, there was a term which referred to an area as historic, or geographic Macedonia.  However what has to be very unambiguous is the part of Macedonia that belongs to Greece now, was, is, and it will always be part of Greece.[29]

 At this point, one thing has to be evident, that the intention is not to look as if we were second-guessing God.  It must be said, however that the Romans had divided the Helladic area into two Provinces; Achaia incorporating South Greece and Peloponnesus, and Macedonia, which included Thessaly, Epirus, and Macedonia proper.[30]  The request that St. Paul goes to Macedonia makes sense from where he was in a geographic relation to Macedonia.  Troy is much closer to Macedonia than Achaia, so it was easier for St. Paul to cross over to Macedonia first and then proceed to Southern Greece by land.  He probably used the islands of Tenedos, Imbros, and Samothrace as stepping-stones. 

 Nevertheless, even taking a small boat from Troy into the open sea to the island of Samothrace and then passing over to Thrace and Macedonia, was a definite challenge, let alone sailing from Troy to Piraeus, for instance.  Even in modern times and using state of the art vessels, this trip can be grueling.  Sailing in small crafts such as the ones people used during St. Paul’s time, and crossing the Aegean would be a certain death.  We know that the ancient Greeks and all the inhabitants of the Aegean area were traveling on small boats and they always kept a visual contact with the mainland or any kind of land.  It was some sort of life insurance for them. 

 It is certain that this was the case with St. Paul, because it seems that he preferred to travel overland.  This becomes obvious during his second trip,[31] and also on his third trip to Greece; he went to Achaia again through Macedonia and after a three month Ministry, he returned to Troy once more through Macedonia[32]

 As soon as St. Paul saw the vision, he sought information regarding a boat with which he could pass over to Samothrace and then to the mainland.  Luke explains that Paul and Silas decided to take the trip because they took into consideration the vision, as well as the rest of the matters, as the Lord wanted them to preach the gospel to those who inhabited Macedonia.[33]   

 Crossing the open sea from Troy to the island of Samothrace, the next day Paul and Silas arrived in the city of Neapolis,[34] the first city of Europe that accepted Christianity.  Here Apostle Paul baptized Lydia whose name was given to the Church which was built later.  During the Byzantine times, the name of the city was Chrissoupolis and its name was changed again to Kavala, since the city was rebuilt in 1528, after its destruction by the Ottomans.[35] From there they walked to the most important Roman colony, called Philippi, where St. Paul was thrown into prison and escaped through divine intervention. 

 From Philippi they went to Thessaloniki through Amphipolis, a town built and thriving on the banks of the river Strymon and to Apollonia, a town built near the lake Volvi.[36] In Thessaloniki, St. Paul stayed at Jason’s house.  He preached to the Jews of the city in the synagogue, but also to proselytized Greeks who were not exactly a few.[37]  He also proselytized many women of the upper class.  It seems that St. Paul and Silas did not make any friends in Thessaloniki and they were thrown out of the city at night.

 

Veria (Berea), Macedonia

The tribune from where St. Paul taught Christianity to Jews and Pagan Greeks alike.

 With Jason’s help, they left Thessaloniki and went to Veria (a.k.a. Berea).  There the people were more receptive and nicer and so many Greeks (men and women) of the upper class believed in their teachings.  Silas and Timotheos stayed in Veria, but some Christian friends took St. Paul to Athens by land.[38]  According to Code D[39] St. Paul went to Thessaly through Mountain Bermion and according to William Martin Leake[40] he stopped in the city of Servia to teach.  Then St. Paul continued to Thessaly where he stayed to give a testimony on Jesus Christ.  However, it seems that Silas and Luke used Veria as their staging point to visit and teach Christianity and acquired disciples such as Sopatros or Sosipatros, Pyrrhus’ son, who later followed Apostle Paul.[41]

 In Athens he gave his extraordinary sermon at Mar’s Hills (Areios Pagos) across from Acropolis and then went to Corinth were he stayed for 18 months.[42]  St. Paul ended his second Ministry in Greece by returning to Asia through Macedonia.[43]  A few years later Apostle Paul went back to Macedonia and Achaia, visiting the same places, he did in his second journey (Neapolis, Philippi, Apolonia, Thessaloniki, Veria, Athens, and Corinth)[44].

 As the reader can see the Bible does not mention any Macedonians, except when a specific locality[45] is being expressed.  Macedonia is mentioned in the Bible only as a geographical term.[46]  It never mentions a Macedonian ethnicity, or a Macedonian language. 

 The above was the end of the third journey that Apostle Paul and his entourage took in Macedonia in the AD first century.  Although St. Paul did not return to Thessaloniki or to Philippi, he sent a few letters to the Thessalonians, Philippians and to Timothy. 

 Nowadays, there is a dispute between the Church of Serbia and the Church of the FYROM regarding the latter’s demand to be recognized as an Autocephalus Church under the name Archbishopric of Ohrid and All Macedonia.  The creation of the Church of the FYROM took place under Tito’s communist regime and only for political and expansionistic reasons.  What Tito could not achieve during the Civil War of Greece, he tried to achieve indirectly through the creation of the Church of Macedonia.  While Yugoslav citizens were thrown in prison for teaching the Gospel, the Titoic regime was publishing Bibles in the newly discovered “Macedonian” language and promoted the Church of that republic to the level of an independent Church.

 

The creation of that Church in 1967 was anti-canonical and illegal in many ways, but this is not the forum to examine it.  Regarding the name of the FYROM Church, His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece said:

 

“It was requested of us to offer our good services in regard to the name of the, thus far, schismatic Church of Skopje, and we did not refuse [to do it].  They [the Church of Skopje] assured us that the name, which will be used “Archbishopric of Ohrid” will not include the term Macedonia.  It was also said that at various periods in the past that Archbishopric included Greek territories, which could be used for nationalistic and revanchist reasons.  I want to say that in the tradition of the [Orthodox] Church names of old Metropolises or Archbishoprics are used that the present boundaries do not coincide with the old ones.” [47]

 Regardless what the FYROM Church said to the Archbishop of Greece, the official website of the FYROM government gives an extensive coverage of “Biblical Macedonia” and offers the history of Hellenic Macedonia as the FYROM Church’s own history.

 However, even if, during and after negotiations the Archbishopric of Ohrid becomes an Autocephalus Church, it cannot be called “Church of All Macedonia,” not even just “Church of Macedonia.”  Such a name would imply the jurisdiction of the FYROM Church over ALL Macedonia, especially when historically and ecclesiastically the main bulk of Macedonia is in Greece. 

 Macedonia Proper under Hellenic political rule and Hellenic Ecclesiastical spiritual guidance could directly assert that the Archbishopric of Ohrid is trying to gain jurisdiction over the Church of Greece in Greek Macedonia.  Something similar will take place between the Albanian Autocephalus Church and the Bulgarian Patriarchate on one hand and the FYROM Church on the other, since both countries, Albania and Bulgarian, also have parts of Macedonia within their respective territories.

 On the sidelines of St. Paul’s apostolic journeys, we find several people of Macedonian descent to have participated in St. Paul’s journeys.  The Thessalonians Gaius and Aristarchus, were Paul’s companions in travel, and they were in danger because of him during the riot in Ephesus.[48],[49] Secundus is another Macedonian in St. Paul’s service.  Secundus was from Thessaloniki and waited for St. Paul in Troy, when for the last time St. Paul was coming from Philippi on his way to Jerusalem.[50] 

 St. Paul did not visit Strumica or Bitola although the Hellenic population was rather wide spread, and definitely, just like Alexander the Great, he did not visit Veles or Skopje.  Both men probably did not know those two towns existed.  St. Paul visited the cultural centers of Macedonia (Neapolis, Philippi, Apollonia, Thessaloniki, and Veria, which were purely Greek), teaching the Gospel in Greek to the Macedonian Greeks.  Apostle Paul’s journeys to Greece (Macedonia and Achaia) sparked the flame of Christianity in Greece and from there to Europe and from there to the World.  Apostle Paul also sent pastoral letters directed to the Macedonian Greeks through the Thessalonians and the Philippians.  All letters were written in Greek, of course.  Moreover, he visited Athens and Corinth, two very important cultural centers of South Greece.  St. Paul’s visits to these Greek cultural centers in Macedonia and Achaia ascertain that the Hellenic world was the crux of his Ministry to Christianize Europe, as Jesus Christ said a few years before.[51]

 

 

Sts. Cyril and Methodius[52], Equal to the Apostles, Illuminators of the Slavs.

 

Greek Macedonia, or Macedonia Proper was destined to play a very important role in Christianity.  The two Great sons of Macedonia, brothers Constantine (in schema Cyril) and Michael (in schema Methodius), provided education to the ignorant and uncivilized Slavs through religion giving them an alphabet and codified their language, the Old Church Slavonic.  The two Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, were the sons of Leon and Maria.  Leon was a descendant of the Byzantine Empress, Irene the Athenian (797-802), wife of the Emperor Leon IV and was a drougarios, a senior official of the imperial administration equal to a General.  It is clear from Methodius’ biography that the two brothers were fluent Greek-speakers and educated in a Greek environment, and they grasped the Slavonic easily.  Cyril mastered a number of other languages, including Hebrew and Arabic according to his biographer and disciple, Clement.

 There are a series of Papal affirmations regarding the birth and the nationality of the two brothers and their family.  They are:

 1.                  The Encyclical promulgated on 20 November 1901 (On the Foundation of a Seminary in Athens Pope Leo XIII).

2.                  Apostolic Letter Pacis Nuntius(3) of 24 October 1964, proclaimed Saint Benedict Patron        of Europe.

3.                  Egregiae Virtutis, by Pope John Paul II, December 31, 1980.

4.                  (Slavorum Apostoli Pope John Paul II, 2 June 1985).

5.                  Encyclical Epistle Grande Munus (30 September 1880), in Leonis XIII Pont. Max. Acta, II, PP. 125 137; cf. also PIUS XI, Letter Quod S. Cyrillum (13 February 1927) to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes and of the Czechoslovakian Republic: AAS 19 (1927), pp. 93-96; JOHN XXIII, Apostolic Letter Magnifici Eventus (11 May 1963) to the Prelates of the Slav Nations: AAS 55 (1963), pp. 434-439. PAUL VI, Apostolic Epistle Antiquae Nobilitatis (2 February 1969) for the eleventh centenary of the death of Saint Cyril: AAS 61 (1969), pp. 137-149).

6.                  UT UNUM SINT (That They May Be One) Pope John Paul II, 25 May 1995."

 The Bulgarian Government considers the two brothers Greeks.[53]  Professors Ivan Lazaroff, Plamen Pavloff, Ivan Tyutyundzijeff and Milko Palangurski of the Faculty of History of Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Veliko Tŭrnovo, Bulgaria[54], state very explicitly that the two brothers were Greeks from Thessaloniki.  Oscar Halecki,[55] Professor of Eastern European History, agrees with the authors of Kratka istoriya na bŭlgarskiya narod. Moveover, Dr. Petar Djordjic states "Cyril and Methodius were Greeks" and speaking of Cyril he further states, "he studied in his native Thessaloniki."[56]  Bulgarian Professors Vasil Gyuzelev, Konstantine Kosev, and Georgi Georgiev are of the same opinion.[57]

 It is very well known and documented that the father of Sts. Cyril and Methodius was Greek.[58] Nevertheless, there is a plethora of statements found in mostly Slavic websites and books written by Slavs, offering a variety of statements about Maria’s nationality, from "it is said she was a Slav," to "she was probably a Slav," to "she was a Slav."  Such statements are unsubstantiated assertions since none of these publications offer any Byzantine or any other source of that period as their reference.  Perhaps there is a tendency by Slavic interests to somehow connect the ethnicity of the brothers with the Slavs for the sake of Slavic pride and possibly political aims.

 Proper names in the ancient Hellenic times were given based on ethnicity.  Greeks receive Greek names, Thracians receive Thracian names, Illyrians received Illyrian names, etc.  It was very important to people that they have names that meant something in their own language.  In the Roman times, we see the phenomenon that Romans would receive Greek names and Greeks would receive Roman names.  Upon the spread of Christianity, Greek or Hebrew proper names were given to the newly baptized.  Thus the name Maria had to be given to her either at birth, which means she was a Greek, given the fact that the Slavs and the Bulgarians were not Christian yet, or she received her name Maria upon her baptism.  However, there is no such evidence in any of the known creditable sources.  The same is true for Michael and Constantine, later known as Methodius and Cyril respectively.

 In the 1800s, Falmerayer wrote his treatise on the Slavic origin of Modern Greeks.  However, there are also allegations that he was secretly commissioned by the Russian Imperial Court.  The German historian Hopf[59] refuted Falmerayer's theory that Greece was overrun by Slavs during the AD 6th century to the point that they became Slavs themselves, and he proved the uninterrupted presence of the Hellenic nation in its ancestral soil and attested to the origin of the Greeks from their ancient ancestors.[60]  Bartholomaeus Kopitar, a Slavonic historian, and philologist himself agreed with Hopf.

 Because of the above, any assertion about Maria’s nationality becomes suspect in light of the allegations regarding Falmerayer and his interest in converting the Greeks into Slavs.  Regardless of Falmerayer’s assertions, it was very evident that during the Ottoman rule and despite the Turkish suppression of any education in Greek, the Greeks spoke Greek.  After Greece’s independence, the Greek nation emerged Greek speaking, but it needed a betterment of the Greek language, which its first Governor Ioannes Capodistrias sought and he achieved the elevation of the language spoken by an uneducated Greek population to the highest standard possible.  In 1830, at the time of its independence, Greece had a population of 700,000 and its area was only about 65,000 square km.

 Accepting the assumption that Maria was a Slav, we have to presuppose that she was an Orthodox Christian before she married her husband Leon, since the Christian Church, and especially the Greek Orthodox Church, even today, does not permit marriages between Christians and non-Christians. The tradition of civil marriage was not acceptable in the Byzantine society and it was known.  Thus, if Maria became a Christian before her marriage to Leon, she probably was speaking excellent Greek as well, because she had to undergo a certain catechism in Greek before the marriage.  During her time there were no books in the Old Church Slavonic.  Her sons invented the Slavonic Alphabet and translated the Bible and canonical books in the Old Church Slavonic much later.  Nonetheless, there is no evidence pointing to the above assumption.

 Had Maria been the first Slav to accept Christianity with a future husband being a member of prestigious family and a blood relative of the Byzantine Empress Irene the Athenian, the chronographers of that time would have given a lot of publicity to such an event.  Yet, we hardly have anything about her life, not only as a single woman, but also as the mother of two great sons.  The family was well known to the Palace and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and such an event, as the conversion of a Slav girl to Christianity and her imminent marriage to Leon would have been the news of the year in the area, if not in the Empire.  Of course, the Church would have noticed such an event.  Nevertheless, the Church recognizes as the first Slavonic speaking person to become Christian, Czar Boris I of Bulgaria.  Boris I of Bulgaria and his closest associates were baptized in the palace in Pliska in a late autumn night of 864 and so Bulgaria became a Christian state.

 Methodius was the elder brother and his baptismal name was probably Michael.  He was born between 815 and 820.  His younger brother Constantine, who came to be better known by his religious name Cyril, was born in 827 or 828.  Although Methodius was older, Cyril became more eminent, mainly because of his knowledge of the Slavic language, which he had acquired earlier.[61]  

 The two brothers received their advanced education at the Imperial School of Constantinople, like all children of the higher imperial officials.  The family's social position made it possible for the two Brothers to have parallel careers.  Methodius became the governor authority (Gr. Archon or Prefect) of the Strymon District of Macedonia, but more possibly in Bithynia,[62] where large numbers of Slavs had been resettled.  Cyril undertook a mission to the Arabs, and then became a professor of philosophy at the imperial school in Constantinople and librarian at the cathedral of Santa Sophia.  There he received the name "the Philosopher.”  Cyril appears in the Slavic texts to be conscious of belonging to Byzantine society and of his Greek descent.  In his dialogue with the Arab Muslims he points out that "all sciences originated from us" and of course he means the Byzantine and Greek culture.[63]

 

              

 

Original text                                                                                  Copy of the text

 

Tsar Samuil’s column commemorating his parents (AD 993).  It is written in Bulgarian.

 

Despite the fact that Thessaloniki and its immediate vicinity never fell into Slavic hands, its extended proximity maintained settlements of the Draguvitai Slavonic tribe.  Since trade and communication were unimpeded among the Greeks and the Slavs, people were learning each other’s language.  The Slavonic language began breaking down into dialects; nevertheless, the south Slavonic language still maintained its cohesion.  The differences are apparent a few centuries later between Bulgarian and the Old Church Slavonic, as appears from a column commemorating Czar Samuel’s parents.  The column is written in AD 993 in the infantile Bulgarian language, which in some degree is away from the Old Church Slavonic in writing style and language.[64]

 Towards the year 840 Methodius interrupted his career and gave himself to monastic asceticism in one of the monasteries at the foot of Mount Olympus[65] in Bithynia, then known as the Holy Mountain.[66]  Cyril later joined him there.  A few years later, when Kagan, the king of the Khazars, sought preachers of the Christian faith from the Emperor Michael III, the Emperor commanded the two brothers to go to the Khazars.  The Khazars were a Turkic populace who originated in Central Asia.  They had a great history of ethnic independence, extending approximately 800 years from the 5th to the 13th century.  From about 550 to 630, the Khazars were part of the Western Turkish Empire, ruled by the Celestial Blue Turks (Kök Turks).

 The two brothers stopped in Chersonesus to prepare for the upcoming mission.  During their stay in Chersonesus Cyril discovered the relics of Saint Clement, which he would later give as a gift to Pope Adrian II.  In the land of the Khazars, they converted Kagan, king of the Khazars, to Christianity and baptized him, together with several of his people.  Kagan was so grateful that he wanted to reward the two brothers, but they refused all rich presents offered to them and instead Cyril asked Kagan "Give me as many Greek captives as you have here. For me they are worth more than any other present.”  Kagan liberated 200 Greek captives who returned to Constantinople with Cyril and Methodius.

 hen they returned to Constantinople they compiled a Slavic alphabet of 43 letters and began translating the church service books from Greek into Slavonic.  According to the life of Methodius, Prince Rastislav's message was:  "Many Christian missionaries have come to us from the Latins, the Greeks and the Germans, teaching us different things. "  And in the life of Cyril he adds: "we do not have a teacher who can teach us this same faith in our own language."[67]

 At the invitation of Prince Rastislav, they went to Moravia where, with great devotion, they spread and confirmed the Faith, made more copies of the books, brought priests into the area and taught the young.  As it was mentioned previously, after the Khazar mission, there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel.  German missionaries had already labored among them, but without success.  The Moravians requested a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic language.  Since Cyril and Methodius were acquainted with the language, they were chosen to undertake the task. They went to Moravia in 863, and labored for four and a half years.

 Despite their success, the Germans regarded them with distrust, firstly because they had come from Constantinople where a schism was rife, and secondly because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language.  Pope Nicholas I decided to summon the brothers to Rome, but he died before their arrival in Rome.  His successor however, Adrian II, received them kindly.  Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius Bishops. Cyril, however, never returned to Moravia.  He died in Rome, 14 Feb., 869. "Lord, hear my prayer and take care of Your loyal flock which you trusted on me."  According to the biographer of Cyril, these are the words of his last prayer.[68] He is buried in the Church of St. Clement of Rome, Italy.  He changed his name from Constantine to Cyril[69] on his deathbed.

 At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svyatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II, formed the Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, proclaimed it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius as the Archbishop.  In 870, King Louis and the German Bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon, (presently known as Regensburg), Bavaria, where Methodius was deposed and condemned to prison.

 After three years, Methodius was let out of the prison at the command of Pope John VIII and he was reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia.  He zealously endeavored to spread the Faith among the Czechs, and among the Poles in Northern Moravia.  Soon, however, Methodius was called to Rome again because of the allegations by the German priest Wiching, who challenged his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy.  However, Pope John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic liturgy, decreeing however, that during Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic.  

In the meantime, the Pope nominated Wiching one of the suffraganeus[70] Bishops under Methodius. Wiching continued to oppose his Metropolitan (present-day Cardinal), going so far as to produce bogus Papal letters.  The Pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false.  About this time, Methodius decided to go to Constantinople and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of the Maccabees.  He also translated the Greek ecclesiastical-civil law.  The enemies of Methodius however did not cease to be at odds with him. Methodius returned to Moravia and worked at confirming the Faith among the Slavs, but his health deteriorated from the long struggle and he died on April 6, 885, recommending as his successor Horazdus (Gora˛d), a Moravian Slav, one of his disciples the others being Naum, Sabbas, and Angelarius, 

 However, the Carolingian Bishop Wiching succeeded Methodius, suppressed the Slavonic Liturgy, and forced the followers of Methodius into exile.  Many of them found refuge with King Boris of Bulgaria (852-889) and they reorganized a Slavic-speaking Church.  Meanwhile, Pope John's successors adopted a Latin-only policy, which lasted for centuries.

 With Clement as Bishop, Naum, Sabbas, Horazdus (Gora˛d), and Angelarius, crossed the Danube and moved towards the south, to Ohrid, from where they continued the work among the Slavs that Cyril and Methodius had begun in the north.  St. Clement was the first hierarch to serve, preach, and write in the Slavonic language and the first Bulgarian Bishop.[71]

 The posthumous influence of Cyril and Methodius reached distant Kiev in Russia (present-day Ukraine) and left traces among the Slavs of Croatia, Bohemia, and Poland.  They are considered and rightfully so, the elucidators not only of the Slavs, but also of Europe.

 The translation of the Bible by the two Thessalonian Greek brothers into the Slavonic language was a far-reaching one and meant that the message in the Bible is much more important than the sanctity of any language.  After all, the Jews did the same when they translated the Tanakh[72] into Greek 12 centuries before.  It is known as the Septuagint Translation.

 Today Eastern and Western Christians alike honor Cyril and Methodius, and the importance of their work in preaching and worshipping in the language of the people is recognized on all sides.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates their Memory on May 11.[73] 

 Apolytikion:[74]    (Fourth Tone)

Since ye were equal in character to the Apostles, and teachers of the Slavic lands, O divinely-wise Cyril and Methodius, pray to the Lord of all to strengthen all nations in Orthodoxy and unity of thought, to convert and reconcile the world to God, and to save our souls.[75]

 Kontakion:[76]    (Third Tone)

Let us honour our sacred pair of enlighteners, who, by translating the divine writings, have poured forth for us a well-spring of divine knowledge from which we draw abundantly even unto this day: We call you blessed, O Cyril and Methodius, ye that stand before the throne of the Most High and intercede fervently for our souls.

 The alphabets 

Glagolitic – Cyrillic

 The Glagolitic alphabet was devised as the first writing tool for the translation of religious books into Old Church Slavonic.  It included 42 letters and to the untrained eye, the alphabet includes a combination of runic and Armenian letters.  The theories that the Glagolitic was modeled on a cursive form of the Greek Alphabet are far-fetched and unfounded.

 

Glagolitic Alphabet – Glagolitsa (from Slavonic glagol, a word, glagolati, to speak).

 

The Cyrillic alphabet was created based on the uncial Greek alphabet of the AD 9th and 10th centuries.  It underwent further pronunciation modifications of the individual letters and importation of certain Hebrew letters to compensate for sounds that the Greek language lacks and the glottal stops that Greek had long abolished.  Furthermore, letter combinations gave rise to various intricate phonetic details that the first Slavonic dialects employed.  Later, as the need for further adjustments became evident, various languages employed letters suitable to their needs and others alter them.  The original Cyrillic alphabet included 43 letters.

 

The Original Cyrillic Alphabet

 The order of the letters of the alphabet in the Glagolitic and in the Cyrillic is almost the same.  Some scholars such as Jačić support the thesis that St. Cyril himself invented the Glagolitic, but his disciple St. Clement created an alphabet based on the Greek uncial alphabet of his day.  He called the alphabet Cyrillic in honor of his teacher Cyril.  Another theory wants the Dalmatian St. Jerome as the inventor of the Glagolitic and some of the earliest Slavic manuscripts are written in the Glagolitic letters.  Thus far these theories are based not on any sources, but on assumptions driven by nationalistic overtones.  The fact is that the Glagolitic is still used in Dalmatia and especially on the Čakavski speaking islands of the Adriatic Sea.

 At the present, the Cyrillic alphabet is being used in countries of Indo-European (Slavic, Iranian) and Turco-Altaic languages, but also by speakers of other language families in Central and Northern Asia within the Commonwealth of Independent States and Siberian Russia.

 THE CALENDAR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH  (An explanation)

 Orthodox Churches follow two different calendars and it is a rather confusing matter.  Here is an example.  The Orthodox Church established the Celebration of the memory of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, as May 11, and although both sides of the Orthodox Church celebrate the Saints memory at the same date, they do not celebrate it on the same day.  Here is why.

 Eastern European countries of Orthodox tradition changed their calendar from the Julian to Gregorian after WW I.  Nevertheless, the Orthodox Churches of the above countries did follow the calendar change of the respective countries and maintained the tradition of the Julian calendar. 

 On one hand, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Churches of Greece, and Cyprus followed the change of calendar of their countries’ governments.  When these Churches changed their calendar, they also moved the dates as they were before the calendar change.  Thus, May 11 of the Julian calendar remained May 11 in the Gregorian calendar.

 On the other hand, those Churches that kept the Julian calendar adjusted their own calendar to the Gregorian calendar maintaining two calendars.  By doing this, they had maintained two calendars, one Julian calendar, and its equivalent of the Gregorian.  While the Church’s Calendar shows May 11, the Gregorian (government) Calendar shows May 24.  Thus, the people in these countries and the people of Greece and Cyprus differ by 13 days in the 20th century and sometime in the 21st century, they will have to lengthen the difference to 14 days.

 

Thus, for the Orthodox people of Greece and Cyprus May 11 is May 11, but for the Orthodox of the countries that follow the Julian Calendar, May 11 of the Julian calendar is actually May 24 of the Gregorian calendar. 

 

This difference exists only when the days are fixed by calendar, i.e. Christmas.  When the date is not fixed i.e. Easter, both Julian and Gregorian following Churches, have Easter in exactly the same date.  

 


 

 

Alexander the Great in Islam

 

The correspondence of Alexander the Great with Darius became the basis of ample discussions and considerations in the Islamic world.  The exchange of letters between the two men has attracted the attention of the Islamic world and especially of the Persians, since both men had an effect on the history of Persia.  In view of the fact that the subject matter was Alexander the Great, a demigod for some, or a full god for others, there are many legends created around his name.  He has touched the hearts of the Muslims whether artisans or historians, poets or painters.

 

In Radat as-safā (The Garden of Purity) Mir Khvand (or Muhammad ibn Khavandashah, 1433-1498), one of the leading personalities of Islamic Art, offers quasi-apocryphal pieces of correspondence between Darius and Alexander the Great that reminds us of all the legends we probably heard once or twice about the two rivals.

 

These letters[77] are mentioned by historians such as Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius, Justin, etc.  In the Islamic and Indian world the letters were written by Darius  Codomanus, and point toward Zul-Qarnayn which means 'Lord of Two Horns', indicating that Alexander was a living deity while a man.  In Arabic Alexander is called Iskandar and Sikandar; in the pan-Indian context the name Sikandar and the legend that follows the name, are equally associated with Skanda, the pan-Indian war god and god of Kataragama.[78] Early Islamic historians identify Alexander as Zul-qarnain, “The Two-Horned,” who is generally considered to be identical with Alexander the Great of Macedonia and all these historians consider him Greek.

 

For example, Abdallah Ibn Umar al-Baidawi (d. 716 H/AD 1316) says, “He was Sikandar ar-Rumi, King of Persia and Greece.”  Also Al-Qastalani, the commentator on al-Bukhari mentions, “Zul-Qarnain was a king named Sikandar, whose wazir (or chancellor) was Khwaja Khadir (Khizr).”  The word ar-Rumi in Arabic means “the Greek.”[79] The word Rum came about during the time of the Byzantines known also as Romans since Byzantium was the Eastern Roman Empire.[80]

 

The Quran also includes a Surah number XXX called ar-Rum or the Romans meaning the Greeks, while it refers to Heraclius’ temporary territorial loss and predicts future victories and gains.  However, there is no direct reference of Alexander the Great in the Quran.  In Surah XVIII, the Cave[81], the Quran states only the name of Dhul Qarnayn, which reminds us of Darius’ term for Alexander, Zul Qurnayn[82].

 

On the topic of the identification of Dhul Qarnayn there is scholarly disagreement.  M S M Saifullah of Islamic Awareness has prepared a powerful website with arguments of Western scholars that are worth reading.[83] Knowledge of the Quran and Haddith as well as the Talmud is not required, but it helps to understand the concepts better.

Here it is what the Quran says[84]:

 

83.              They will ask you about Dhul Qarnayn.  Say: "I will give you an account of him.

84.              We established him in the land and gave him means to achieve everything. 

85.              He journeyed on a certain course.

86.              Until he reached the place that the sun sets, and realized that the sun was setting in a swamp of black mud.  Thereby he found a certain people.  "Dhul Qarnayn!" We said, "either castigate them or show compassion to them.

87.              He said: “We shall surely castigate the immoral ones.  Then they shall return to their Lord and be severely castigated by Him.

88.              As for those who believe and shows charity, we shall reward lavishly and be nice with them.

89.              He then followed another course

90.              Until he reached the land from where the sun rises, he saw the sun rising upon a people whom We had left them completely without a shelter.

91.              So, he did; We had full knowledge of all of what he did. 

92.              He then followed another course.

93.              Until he reached the Two Mountains and found a people who could hardly understand a word.

94.              “Dhul Qarnayn!" they said " Gog and Magog are plunder this land.  Build us a fortification against them and we will pay you tribute.

95.              He replied: "The power which my Lord has bestowed on me is better than any tribute.  Thus help me with a force of laborers, and I will raise a barricade between you and them. 

96.              Come on, bring me blocks of iron."  Until he raised a barricade between the Two Mountains, and said: "Use your bellows."  And when the iron blocks were red hot, he said: "Bring me molten brass to pour on them. 

97.              They [Gog and Magog] could not climb it, nor could they make a hole through it.

98.              He said: "This is a consecrate from my Lord.  However, when my Lord's promise is fulfilled, He will level it to dust, and the promise of my Lord is always true.

99.              On that day, We will let them come in turbulent horde.  The Trumpet will sound and We will gather them altogether.

100.          On that day, We will bring Hell exposed before the unbelievers,

101.          They who have ignored My admonition and they could not even hear it.

                                                                                    

Page of the Quran, Surah al-kahf (the Cave), para 83 – 96[85]

 

One must have in mind that a horn in the Middle Eastern tradition means power; and a ten-horned person of Daniel’s vision, is the most powerful.  Alexander was considered a god-like person and that is why he appears in coins as wearing a horn on his helmet.  Some scholars are of the opinion that Alexander “earned” his horns while being at the Ammon-Ra’s temple at the oasis Siwah[86].  Such a position is very unconvincing since Darius sent the first letter to Alexander after the Battle at Issus (near present day Kinet Hüyük, Turkey) long before Alexander had arrived at Siwah.  Alexander the Great visited the oracle of Ammon-Ra at Siwah in 331 BC.

 

The oracle of Ammon was said to be infal­lible, and to have been consulted by Perseus, and Heracles (= Hercules).  Alexander sought to rival Perseus and Heracles, as he was descended from them both; and in addition he him­self traced his birth in part to Ammon, just as the legends traced that of Heracles and Perseus to Zeus.  Thus, Alexander decided to visit the Oasis to consult the god, since he set out for Ammon with this idea, hoping to secure more exact knowledge of his affairs, or at least to say he had secured it.[87]  Perseus visited the oracle when he was sent by Polydectes against the Gorgon, and by Heracles when he was on his way into Libya to find Antaeus, and into Egypt to find Busiris.

 

The thesis of this document is that Dhul Qurnayn is Alexander the Great for three reasons.  One is the version of the biblical depiction of Alexander in Daniel and the common indications between the Old Testament and the Quran.  The second reason is the already widespread legends about Alexander that are not only existing in the Middle East, but also in Central Asia, and the Indies, identifying Alexander with Dhul Qarnayn.  The third reason is the narrative of paragraphs 83 – 96 of the Quran where Alexander’s person becomes more evident.  Alexander went west, not in the present-day sense, but West of Jerusalem and Mecca on his way to the Oasis Siwah.  Then he went to the East reaching India.  Another very distinct point is that Alexander met and fought the Scythians just north of Istros[88] River, as well as other nations north of Parthia.[89] Definitely the Scythians[90] who lived in the area of today’s Romania were raiding and plundering their neighboring lands and Alexander was in a position to stop them.  Alexander also went to the area of Bactria - Sogdiana and Marakanda, present day Samarkand, Uzbekistan where he aggressively pursued Darius’ murderer Bessus in 329 BC.  They crossed the Hindu Kush and the ferocious northern Afghanistan desert, and eventually reached the Oxus River (modern Amu Darya).

 

As Alexander continued on to the northernmost reaches of his new empire on the Jaxartes (modern Syr Darya) River in an attempt to secure the border between the settled Sogdians and the nomadic Scythian tribes on the opposite bank, he built a city that became a frontier fortress.  He established a permanent walled city by the riverbanks, called Alexandria-Eschatē, or Alexandria the Farthermost.  It was the beginning of a vicious rebellion of the Sogdians and their compatriot Scythians, which forced Alexander to build more fortresses and at the end he lost thousands of troops to the elements.  That is the place where he killed his trusted commander Cleitus in a drunken frenzy, and that is the place where he married Roxane (Roshanak means 'little star').  Jona Lendering[91] states,

 

The obvious candidate was Barsine, who had been Alexander's concubine since the Battle of Issus in November 333.  Nevertheless, this woman, who had already given birth to a son, was ignored.  It is not known why, but she may have been unacceptable to the Iranian population, because she had spent a great deal of her life in Europe.  Barsine may have been too Greek; an extra argument for this hypothesis is that later, she settled herself in Greece.  Another explanation may be that Alexander had simply fallen in love with Roxane.

 

The marriage was concluded according to the local customs, and Roxane followed her husband when he invaded India (326) and returned to Babylon (325-324).  On 11 June 323, her husband died.  She was pregnant.

 

Some believe the marriage was a marriage of convenience that allowed him to finally leave Sogdiana behind and go to for India, the East.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALEXANDER THE GREAT IN HINDUISM

 

The Etymology of the word Hinduism has its roots in the Persian word for India.  Hinduism does not have a single founder as Western religions usually do, nor it has a religious organization and a single system of morality.  It does not even have a specific theological system.  It possesses roots that go back many millennia before Christianity appeared and according to scholars, it was founded in the area around the River Indus.

 

Various invasions have affected its development resulting in a very slow evolution over the centuries.  The influx of Aryan or Indo-European tribes from Central Asia that invaded the Indian Subcontinent between the middle of the second and the middle of the first millennium BC influenced profoundly the spread, but also the doctrine of Hinduism.  The Holy Books of Hinduism are summarized under the title of Veda, or knowledge, or as it is known otherwise as Sruti, meaning, “that which is heard.”  There are four types of texts under the Veda - Sruti heading: Simhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanisads[92].

 

The Aryans brought to India the religion of knowledge or Vedism incorporating with the indigenous Indian beliefs.  However, in the first few AD centuries, a variety of sects began emerging, each dedicated to a specific deity.  Some of the most famous were the goddesses Shakti and Lakshmi, and gods Skanda (Alexander the Great) and Surya.  Since the name Skanda does not exist in the Vedas, one can conclude that Skanda was added into the Hinduist Pantheon later.  The legends about Skanda, his birth and his achievements, are numerous and surrounded by the supernatural and the impossible, but Skanda is a very worshipped deity in India, especially in South India and Sri Lanka.

 

Skanda is an ancient deity mentioned in stone inscriptions and shown on coins (AD 1st cent. - 5th cent).  The story of Skanda is found among others in the Mahabharatha Siva Purana and is retold in Kalidasa's Kumara Sambhavam.  Chandogya Upanishad identifies Skanda as Sanat Kumara.  In Tamil, Arunagiri's Thiruppugazh, Nakkeerar's Thiru Murugaatrupadai, and scores of other literatures praise the glory of Muruga in devotional poetry.  The Story of Skanda Shasti is the story of the birth of Skanda or Kumara and the attainment of the expectation of his divine incarnation.  The celebrations of Skanda Shasti take place in the month of Aippasi (Oct 15 - Nov 15), in Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu.

 

Of course, there are always skeptics who consider names as Skanda, Khrisna, etc., as simple coincidental cognates and serious thought regarding these coincidental similarities should not given.  On the other hand, there is evidence of great similarities of Shiva and Dionysus[93] worship.  Patrick Harrigan has published a number of articles about the subject.  The cognate of Khrisna and Christ has intrigued scholars from ancient times and a good number of scholars want Jesus in Central Asia and South Asia.  One of these books that encompass Jesus’ life before and after his crucifixion is "Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion."[94]  Briefly put, the co-author of the Jesus conspiracy takes readers on a controversial and compelling guided tour of the historic sites associated with Jesus in the Middle East, Afghanistan, India, and Kashmir, where he purports that Jesus lived to be a highly revered old man.

 

There are two great Epics in India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and also eighteen Puranas.[95] Each of them deals with one aspect of the universal activity that perpetuates in the form of warfare between god and evil.  Lord Skanda is the great War-God of India and “the great hero of this cosmic drama which is described in the Skanda Purana, and in certain other scriptures like the Mahabharata.”[96]

 

Hilda Charlton[97] writes:

 

Bhagavan Sri Skanda is known as Murugan and by numerous other names in different parts of India and Ceylon.  His story dates back centuries before Christ.  The scene of Skanda's birth is set in the Himalayas[98].  His birth and life are written in the Skanda Purana, an epic poem which dates from the fifth century AD.

 

In India, countless shrines are dedicated to Him, but there are six major ones, each with a separate name.  These six as a whole are known by the title Arupaddi Veedu.

 

In Ceylon, in the heart of a forest with roaming elephants, leopards and other beasts, is the Sri Skanda shrine of Katragama, famed for its many healings and miracles.  The fire-walking ceremony is one of the many unexplained phenomena that regularly occur there.  The many forms of Skanda are worshiped in numerous ways. The priests worship Him in elaborate rites and ceremonies.  The aboriginal Vedda invokes Him with dances in the primitive manner of the woods.  The philosopher meditates on Him in silence as the Supreme All-Pervading Spirit of the Universe, the Essence from which all is manifest.

 

Skanda, the war god, Bhaskareshvara temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, [AD] 12th c. [?]

By permission of Dr. Michael D. Rabe, Associate Professor, Art Dept, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL 60655, USA

 

The worship of Skanda or Murugan pre-dates the Christian era and plays a very important part in the religion of the Hindus.  According to Hinduism, Skanda is the second son of Siva and the younger brother of Ganesha, and he is, in fact, an Avatara[99] of Lord Siva.  All incarnations are manifestations of the One Supreme Lord.  Lord Krishna says in the Gita "Senaninam Aharn Skandah, of the Generals, I am Skanda."[100] The Lord manifests Himself from time to time in various names and forms to establish Dharma and punish the wicked.  Skanda became the general of the gods’ army.

 

N. Gopala Pillai, M. A. in his article with the title “Skanda: The Alexander Romance in India[101] states:

 

The marvelous exploits of Alexander the Great startled and thrilled the world. East and West vied with each other in paying him divine honors during his life and after his death.  Myths and legends woven around him, embroidered with all the glowing colors of imagination spread through the Continents.  The lands he conquered and those beyond them told his tales in diverse tongues.  Greek and Latin, Syriac and Arabic,[102] Ethiopic, Hebrew, Samaritan, Armenian, Persian, English and French, German and Italian, and even Scandinavian languages of Europe, Asia, and Africa enshrined in prose and verse the immortal romance of the Macedonian Prince.  Those were the days when religion held sway over the minds of men.  His tolerance of faiths other than his own, his cosmopolitan outlook in matters religious, inspired as it was by a deep vein of mysticism helped him[103] “wherever he went to treat with respect the local religion.”  His attitude towards the religion of the Persians, his greatest adversaries, the destruction of their sacred books at Persepolis is one of the rare exceptions to the rule of his general tolerance.  The Arabs worshipped him as Iskandar[104] Dhul quarnein (two horned Alexander) and even Islam[105] adopted Iskandar among her prophets, and carried his forgotten fame back into India. He was the first Aryan monarch to become a God.[106] …  Alexander was a prince, and Kumāra, which means a prince in Sanskrit, is a synonym of ‘Skanda.’  He was a warlord and leader of an army, and Senānī which means the leader of an army is again a name of Skanda. The lance was Alexander’s favorite weapon, and the weapon of Greek soldiers in general, and Skanda is called ‘Śakti-dhara’ (lance bearer).  These are resemblances, which may gain weight in the light of other evidences.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Whatever the truth is about Alexander the Great, whether people perceive him as a human with qualities and weaknesses, or the manifestation of an Avatar[107] or a deity with divine and perpetual attributes of kindness and benevolence, it does not change the fact that he became a legend in the hearts of millions of people.  Neither does it change the fact that there are people of Greek origin living on the Himalayas as a result of Alexander’s campaign.  His name is identified with a king in the World History, Iskandar Dhul Qarnayn, a divine personality, a prophet perhaps in Islam, a war-god in Hinduism, and a Skanda Occult in India and Sri Lanka.[108]


 

horizontal rule

[1] Zechariah 9:13; Daniel 8:21; 10:20; 11:2

[2] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus the Complete Works, Translated by William Whinston, Thomas Nelson Inc, ISBN: 0785250506

[3] Joel 3:6

[4]  1 Macabees 1, 1  (Septuagint’s Version, Marcus A. Templar’s translation)

[5] Compare with 1 Cronicles 1:5,7.  Also Isaiah 66:19 and Ezekiel 27:13, 19

[6]  1 Macabees 1, 7, Trans. Templar

[7]  1 Macabees 1, 10 Trans. Templar

[8]  Genesis 10, 1. Trans. Templar

Also see Greek Mythology under Iapetus (Deukalion’s and Pyrrha’s grandfather).  Titan Iapetus (=Japheth) was the son of Uranus (=Sky) and Gaea (=Earth) [the result of a flood].  He married the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, either Clymene or Asia.  Iapetus was the father of the Titans (=Giants), Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus (Deukalion’s father) and Epimetheus (Pyrrha’s father).  See Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, renown men.  It is geologically proven that more than one flood has taken place in the general area of the Middle East, Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Helladic in general area.  The last known flood and destruction was around 1500 BC when the Kingdom of Crete (including Thyra) was destroyed.  Probably a part of the Aegean Sea sank.  This is the flood that Deukalion and his wife were saved from.  It is the beginning of the Modern Hellenic Era.

[9]  Genesis 10, 2

[10]  For more details and explanation read Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6.

[11] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6, paragraph 1 (Translated by William Whiston):  

Cethimus possessed the island Cethima: it is now called Cyprus; and from that it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews: and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve its denomination; it has been called Citius by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japhet possessed.  Now when I have premised somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country language does not so pronounce them: but the names in all cases are of one and the same ending; for the name we here pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in every case retains the same termination.[sic]

Note: Compare with Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 23:1; Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6; Daniel 11:30

[12] Compare with 1 Cronicles 1:5,7. Also Isaiah 66:19 and Ezekiel 27:13, 19

[13]  Cf. Arabic Yunan,  Turkish Yunanistan all meaning Greece.

[14]  For more details and explanation read Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6

[15] Graecus, son of Deukalion, brother of Hellen, who was the father of all Hellenes.

[16]  Josephus,  Book I, Chapter 6, 1 “but from Javan, Ionia, and all the Grecians, are derived.”

[17]  Daniel 8:21-22

[18]  Daniel 7: 7 – 8. 

[19] The 10 horns are the kings of the Seleukid kingdom.  The little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, theworst of all kings.

[20] Maccabees Book I, Chapter 1

1 After Alexander the Macedonian, Phil­ip's son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece.  2. He fought many campaigns, captured fortresses, and put kings to death.  3. He advanced to the ends of the earth, gathering plunder from many na­tions; the earth fell silent before him, and his heart became proud and arrogant.  4. He collected a very strong army and conquered provinces, nations, and rulers, and they became his tributaries.  5.  After all this he took to his bed, realizing that he was going to die.  6. He therefore summoned his officers, the nobles, who had been brought up with him from his youth, to divide his kingdom among them while he was still alive.  7. Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died.  8. So his officers took over his kingdom, each in his own territory, 9.  And after his death they all put on royal crowns, and so did their sons after them for many years, causing much distress over the earth.  10. There sprang from these a sinful off­shoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.  He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks. 

[21] See also Dium, Dion.  Macedonian Sacred city on the foothills of Mountain Olympus

[22] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, Chapter 8, paragraph 5

[23] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book XI, Chapter 8, paragraph 5 - The place showed Alexander might be Daniel 7:6; 8:3-8, 20-22; 11:3; some or all of them very plain predictions of Alexander's conquests and successors.

[24] Book XLV:XXIX, 1-7; Translation of Loeb Classics Library.

[25] Papazoglu, Makedonski Gradovi, page 333, ˇiva Antika, Skopje, 1957.

[26] Acts 16: 9, 10, 12; 18:5, 19:21, 22, 29: 20: 1, 3

[27] Acts of the Apostles, 16:9-10.

[28] «Διαβάς εις Μακεδονίαν βοήθησον υμιν».

[29] Strabo, Fragment book VII, Ch 9.  “Macedonia is also Greece.” Eστί μέν ουν Ελλας καί η Μακεδονία.

[30] Romans 15:26 “For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem.”  Also, 1 Thessalonians 7,8;

[31] Acts chapter 19:1 “Paul passed through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus.” 

[32] Acts 20:1-3; I Corinthians 16:5. 

[33] Acts 16: 10

[34] Acts 16:11

[36] Acts 17:1

[37] Acts 17: 4

[38] Acts17: 7-15

[39] Beza, Cambridge Univ. Library

[40] Travels in Northern Greece

[41] Acts 20:4

[42] Acts 18: 11

[43] Details of this missionary journey can be found in Acts, Chapters 16-18

[44] Acts 20:1-3, 1 Corinthians 16:5.

[45] Acts 27:2 “And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.” 

[46] Compare to Strabo, The Geography, Fragments of Book VII: 9. «Εστι μεν ουν Ελλας και η Μακεδονία»

1 Corinthians 16: 5; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 2:13; 7:5; 8:1; 9:2, 4; 11:9; Philippians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; Titus 3:15;  

[47] Interview of the Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to the Newspaper «Ταυτότητα

[48] Acts 14: 29

[49] Acts 20:4

[50] Acts 20:4

[51] Gospel according to John 12:20-23.

[52] The icon is courtesy of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA  http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=486

 

[53] Embassy of Bulgaria May 10, 2004, New Delhi, India. Website:     http://www.bulgariaembindia.com/news_Constantine_methodius.htm

[54] Ivan Lazaroff, Plamen Pavloff, Ivan Tyutyundzijeff and Milko Palangurski of the Faculty of History of Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Veliko Tŭrnovo, Bulgaria in their book, Kratka istoriya na bŭlgarskiya narod (Short History of the Bulgarian Nation, pp 36-38)

[55] Oskar Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization, A History of East Central Europe (chapter Moravian State and the Apostles of the Slavs).

[56] Petar Djordic, Istorjia Srpske Ćirilice, p11,

[57] Istorija za 10th klas, p. 44-48, Prosveta, Sofija, 1991.

[58] The nationality of the Apostles to the Slavs has been treated thoroughly with a quotation from the sources by Prof. Ant.-Aem. Tachiaos, The nationality of Cyril and Methodius according to the Slavic historical sources and evidences, Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume, vol. II, pp. 83-132.  See also D. A. Zakythinos, "Constantine the Philosopher and the Formation of the Slavic languages", Proceedings of the Academy of Athens 45 (1970)], pp. 59-77.  Compare to  I. Karayannopoulos, "The Historical Framework of the Work of the Apostles of the Slavs", Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume, vol.  I, pp. 139-151.

[59] Karl Hopf, The Slavs in Greece, First edition: Koenigsberg, 1870

[60] Karl Hopf, The Slavs in Greece, "Livanis" publications, Athens, 1995.

[61] Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 30 September 1880.

[62] Tachiaos, Antonios-Aemilios. Kyrillos kai Methodius. Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992.

[63] "Constantine's Life."  Greek edition by I. Anastasiou, Scientific Year-book of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki 12 (1968)], pp. 126 and 138.

[64] Marcus Alexander Templar, The Pride of Macedonia, Chapter “The Slavs in Macedonia”, Samuil’s tombstone stele commemorating his parents

[65] Present-day Uludağ near Bursa, Turkey.

[66] Slavorum Apostoli, an Encyclical Epistle Of The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II to the Bishops, Priests And Religious Families and to All The Christian Faithful in Commemoration of the eleventh Centenary of the Evangelizing Work of Saints Constantine and Methodius. June 2, 1980.

[67] Antonios-Aemilios Tachiaos. Kyrillos kai Methodius.  Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992

[68] Antonios-Aemilios Tachiaos. Kyrillos kai Methodius.  Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992

[69] The name Kyrillos in Greek is derivative of Kyrios = Lordly, Masterful; compare to Modern (demotic) Greek kyriliki = a condition of being master, having class

[70] a diocesan Bishop subordinate to a metropolitan.

[71] Orthodox Church of America.

[72] Septuagint means 70 in Latin (sometimes abbreviated LXX or in Greek OB’) is the name given to the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures.  The Septuagint has its origin in Alexandria, Egypt and was translated between 265-200 BC.  According to an ancient document called the Letter of Aristeas, it is believed that 72 Jewish scholars were commissioned during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus to carry out the task of translation.  The 72 Jewish scholars, six of each tribe prepared the translation of Tanakh in the Island of Pharos, Alexandria, Egypt. It is possible that Aristeas the author of the letter was the same man in charge of writing the grammatical and syntactical rules along with the lexicon of the Koinē or Common Greek language (285-265 BC).  Tanakh is an acronym of the Hebrew words Torah (law), Nevi'im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings).

[73] The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates it on May 11, whereas the other Orthodox Churches on May 24 (their own liturgical Calendars show May 11).

[74] Apolytikion is a liturgical hymn referring to the feast celebrated and is sung at the end of the services and before the Apolysis thus actually being the dismissal hymn of the ceremony.  It may refer to a particular event in the life of Christ, to the Mother of God, or to other saints the memory of whom is celebrated by the service.

Apolytikia (plural) are considered to be some of the most ancient liturgical anthems, succinctly referring to the nature of the celebration. Those in particular referring to feasts devoted to Christ, such as the Resurrection anthem Christ is Risen... are the briefest and most ancient. 

[75] Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Apolytikion and Kontakion: courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA  http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=486

[76] Kontakion originally meant a vellum (leather) roll of liturgical prayers wound around a piece of wood (dowel).  Later, a Kontakion came to signify a hymn in several strophes (stanzas) sung at an early point in the Divine Liturgy.  Today, Kontakion is read or sung in practically all the services.  After the Apolytikion, the Kontakion of the feast of the day, whether referring to Christ, the Mother of God or to a saint, is sung.

 

[77] A Treasury of the World’s Great Letters, Simon and Schuster

[79] Compare the Chapter of the Quran “The Romans = Byzantines = Greeks.  Also, compare to Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (in Arabic Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi) the founder of the Dervish order and Sufism.  He was named ar-rumi, the Greek, because he espoused Aristotle’s philosophy and incorporated it into Islam. The notion that the etymology of the Sufism derives from the Arabic word suf  = wool, is plausibly a reference to the woolen garment of early Islamic ascetics.  It is more probable that their name derives from the Greek word sophos = wise in its noun form sophistes.  Greek sophistes means literally expert, wise man, from sophizesthai to become wise, deceive, from sophos clever, wise.

[80] At the present, Τhe Turks call a Greek of Turkey and Cyprus Rum, whereas a Greek of Greece are being called Yunanlı.  The term Rum was the name of a Milliyet, a religious recognition and pertained to all Christians within the Ottoman Empire.  In the Republic of Turkey the term is seen more of an ethnic name of the Turkish citizens of Greek descent, than a religious one.  The Turks call the Cypriots also Rumlar and not Yunanlılar, as indicative that the whole island of Cyprus is Turkish, Dei gratia, inhabited by Rum, a religious Milliyet or group. That is why they treat the Cyprus issue as if the island of Cyprus were an integral part of Turkey.  In their minds it still is.  “The Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek And Turkish Populations, 30 January 1923” treats the population exchange as a religious (Muslim) minority in Western Thrace and the Greek-Orthodox minority in Turkey.  The Muslims in Thrace are of Turkish, Slavic, Pomak (from Greek “apomachos,” a retired soldier), Thracian, Yürük, Greek, Roma, Albanian, etc. descent.

[81] Al-Quran al-Hakim, the Cave, 83, 86, 94.

[82] Grammatically the word Qurnayn and Qarnayn are dual numbers.  Zul Qurnayn and Dhul Qarnayn are language/dialectal differences of the same word.

[84] Translation by Marcus A. Templar

[85] The publisher of this Quran is unknown.  It is in the possession of my family for over 150 years.

[86] The oasis is 82 km long and has a width varying between 2 and 20 km.

[87] Arrian, Book III: 3; Loeb Classics Library

[88] Danube

[89] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Ch 6:1.  Josephus identifies Gomer with the Celts and Magog with the Scythians.  The word Gog seems to mean the King of Lydia Gyges, which the Assyrians called Gu-gu,  Magog however in ancient times had the meaning of any nation living in the north. 

Compare Scythus >  Scutus > Scotts,

[90] Present day  NE Iran, S. Kazanstan, NW Afghanistan. 

[93] Alain Danielou, Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont 1992

[94] Kersten Holger, by Penguin.  The ISBN is 0143028294

[95] Britannica online: Purana, (Sanskrit: “Ancient Lore”), in Hindu sacred literature, any of a number of popular encyclopaedic collections of myth, legend, and genealogy, varying greatly as to date and origin. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9061934

[96] Sri Swami Krishnananda, Lord Skanda,  The Concentrated Divine Energy.

[97] Hilda Charlton, The Origin of  the Legend of Skanda, or Murugan

[98] Compare to the existence of the Kalash in the Himalayas.

[99] Avatara means incarnation

[100] The BHAGAVAD-GITA (the Lord’s song) is contained in Book 6 of the great Hindu epic, MAHABHARATA, probably the longest poem in all of literature.

[102] Hogarth’s Philip and Alexander of Macedon, p. 281.

[103] Wheeler’s Alexander the Great, p. 334.

[104] Hogarth p. 270.

[105] Ib. p. 281.

[106] H. G. Well’s The Outline of History, p. 224.

[107] the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form; "the Buddha is considered an avatar of the god Vishnu" http://www.wordreference.com/definition/avatar

[1] Zechariah 9:13; Daniel 8:21; 10:20; 11:2

[1] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus the Complete Works, Translated by William Whinston, Thomas Nelson Inc, ISBN: 0785250506

[1] Joel 3:6

[1]  1 Macabees 1, 1  (Septuagint’s Version, Marcus A. Templar’s translation)

[1] Compare with 1 Cronicles 1:5,7.  Also Isaiah 66:19 and Ezekiel 27:13, 19

[1]  1 Macabees 1, 7, Trans. Templar

[1]  1 Macabees 1, 10 Trans. Templar

[1]  Genesis 10, 1. Trans. Templar

Also see Greek Mythology under Iapetus (Deukalion’s and Pyrrha’s grandfather).  Titan Iapetus (=Japheth) was the son of Uranus (=Sky) and Gaea (=Earth) [the result of a flood].  He married the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, either Clymene or Asia.  Iapetus was the father of the Titans (=Giants), Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus (Deukalion’s father) and Epimetheus (Pyrrha’s father).  See Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, renown men.  It is geologically proven that more than one flood has taken place in the general area of the Middle East, Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Helladic in general area.  The last known flood and destruction was around 1500 BC when the Kingdom of Crete (including Thyra) was destroyed.  Probably a part of the Aegean Sea sank.  This is the flood that Deukalion and his wife were saved from.  It is the beginning of the Modern Hellenic Era.

[1]  Genesis 10, 2

[1]  For more details and explanation read Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6.

[1] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6, paragraph 1 (Translated by William Whiston):  

Cethimus possessed the island Cethima: it is now called Cyprus; and from that it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews: and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve its denomination; it has been called Citius by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japhet possessed.  Now when I have premised somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country language does not so pronounce them: but the names in all cases are of one and the same ending; for the name we here pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in every case retains the same termination.[sic]

Note: Compare with Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 23:1; Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6; Daniel 11:30

[1] Compare with 1 Cronicles 1:5,7. Also Isaiah 66:19 and Ezekiel 27:13, 19

[1]  Cf. Arabic Yunan,  Turkish Yunanistan all meaning Greece.

[1]  For more details and explanation read Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6

[1] Graecus, son of Deukalion, brother of Hellen, who was the father of all Hellenes.

[1]  Josephus,  Book I, Chapter 6, 1 “but from Javan, Ionia, and all the Grecians, are derived.”

[1]  Daniel 8:21-22

[1]  Daniel 7: 7 – 8. 

[1] The 10 horns are the kings of the Seleukid kingdom.  The little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, theworst of all kings.

[1] Maccabees Book I, Chapter 1

1 After Alexander the Macedonian, Phil­ip's son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece.  2. He fought many campaigns, captured fortresses, and put kings to death.  3. He advanced to the ends of the earth, gathering plunder from many na­tions; the earth fell silent before him, and his heart became proud and arrogant.  4. He collected a very strong army and conquered provinces, nations, and rulers, and they became his tributaries.  5.  After all this he took to his bed, realizing that he was going to die.  6. He therefore summoned his officers, the nobles, who had been brought up with him from his youth, to divide his kingdom among them while he was still alive.  7. Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died.  8. So his officers took over his kingdom, each in his own territory, 9.  And after his death they all put on royal crowns, and so did their sons after them for many years, causing much distress over the earth.  10. There sprang from these a sinful off­shoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.  He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks. 

[1] See also Dium, Dion.  Macedonian Sacred city on the foothills of Mountain Olympus

[1] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, Chapter 8, paragraph 5

[1] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book XI, Chapter 8, paragraph 5 - The place showed Alexander might be Daniel 7:6; 8:3-8, 20-22; 11:3; some or all of them very plain predictions of Alexander's conquests and successors.

[1] Book XLV:XXIX, 1-7; Translation of Loeb Classics Library.

[1] Papazoglu, Makedonski Gradovi, page 333, ˇiva Antika, Skopje, 1957.

[1] Acts 16: 9, 10, 12; 18:5, 19:21, 22, 29: 20: 1, 3

[1] Acts of the Apostles, 16:9-10.

[1] «Διαβάς εις Μακεδονίαν βοήθησον υμιν».

[1] Strabo, Fragment book VII, Ch 9.  “Macedonia is also Greece.” Eστί μέν ουν Ελλας καί η Μακεδονία.

[1] Romans 15:26 “For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem.”  Also, 1 Thessalonians 7,8;

[1] Acts chapter 19:1 “Paul passed through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus.” 

[1] Acts 20:1-3; I Corinthians 16:5. 

[1] Acts 16: 10

[1] Acts 16:11

[1] http://www.kapatel.gr/greece/kavala.html

[1] Acts 17:1

[1] Acts 17: 4

[1] Acts17: 7-15

[1] Beza, Cambridge Univ. Library

[1] Travels in Northern Greece

[1] Acts 20:4

[1] Acts 18: 11

[1] Details of this missionary journey can be found in Acts, Chapters 16-18

[1] Acts 20:1-3, 1 Corinthians 16:5.

[1] Acts 27:2 “And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.” 

[1] Compare to Strabo, The Geography, Fragments of Book VII: 9. «Εστι μεν ουν Ελλας και η Μακεδονία»

1 Corinthians 16: 5; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 2:13; 7:5; 8:1; 9:2, 4; 11:9; Philippians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; Titus 3:15;  

[1] Interview of the Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to the Newspaper «Ταυτότητα

[1] Acts 14: 29

[1] Acts 20:4

[1] Acts 20:4

[1] Gospel according to John 12:20-23.

[1] The icon is courtesy of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA  http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=486

 

[1] Embassy of Bulgaria May 10, 2004, New Delhi, India. Website:     http://www.bulgariaembindia.com/news_Constantine_methodius.htm

[1] Ivan Lazaroff, Plamen Pavloff, Ivan Tyutyundzijeff and Milko Palangurski of the Faculty of History of Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Veliko Tŭrnovo, Bulgaria in their book, Kratka istoriya na bŭlgarskiya narod (Short History of the Bulgarian Nation, pp 36-38)

[1] Oskar Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization, A History of East Central Europe (chapter Moravian State and the Apostles of the Slavs).

[1] Petar Djordic, Istorjia Srpske Ćirilice, p11,

[1] Istorija za 10th klas, p. 44-48, Prosveta, Sofija, 1991.

[1] The nationality of the Apostles to the Slavs has been treated thoroughly with a quotation from the sources by Prof. Ant.-Aem. Tachiaos, The nationality of Cyril and Methodius according to the Slavic historical sources and evidences, Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume, vol. II, pp. 83-132.  See also D. A. Zakythinos, "Constantine the Philosopher and the Formation of the Slavic languages", Proceedings of the Academy of Athens 45 (1970)], pp. 59-77.  Compare to  I. Karayannopoulos, "The Historical Framework of the Work of the Apostles of the Slavs", Cyril and Methodius, Festive Volume, vol.  I, pp. 139-151.

[1] Karl Hopf, The Slavs in Greece, First edition: Koenigsberg, 1870

[1] Karl Hopf, The Slavs in Greece, "Livanis" publications, Athens, 1995.

[1] Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 30 September 1880.

[1] Tachiaos, Antonios-Aemilios. Kyrillos kai Methodius. Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992.

[1] "Constantine's Life."  Greek edition by I. Anastasiou, Scientific Year-book of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki 12 (1968)], pp. 126 and 138.

[1] Marcus Alexander Templar, The Pride of Macedonia, Chapter “The Slavs in Macedonia”, Samuil’s tombstone stele commemorating his parents

[1] Present-day Uludağ near Bursa, Turkey.

[1] Slavorum Apostoli, an Encyclical Epistle Of The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II to the Bishops, Priests And Religious Families and to All The Christian Faithful in Commemoration of the eleventh Centenary of the Evangelizing Work of Saints Constantine and Methodius. June 2, 1980.

[1] Antonios-Aemilios Tachiaos. Kyrillos kai Methodius.  Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992

[1] Antonios-Aemilios Tachiaos. Kyrillos kai Methodius.  Thessaloniki: Kyriakides Publishing, 1992

[1] The name Kyrillos in Greek is derivative of Kyrios = Lordly, Masterful; compare to Modern (demotic) Greek kyriliki = a condition of being master, having class

[1] a diocesan Bishop subordinate to a metropolitan.

[1] Orthodox Church of America.

[1] Septuagint means 70 in Latin (sometimes abbreviated LXX or in Greek OB’) is the name given to the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures.  The Septuagint has its origin in Alexandria, Egypt and was translated between 265-200 BC.  According to an ancient document called the Letter of Aristeas, it is believed that 72 Jewish scholars were commissioned during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus to carry out the task of translation.  The 72 Jewish scholars, six of each tribe prepared the translation of Tanakh in the Island of Pharos, Alexandria, Egypt. It is possible that Aristeas the author of the letter was the same man in charge of writing the grammatical and syntactical rules along with the lexicon of the Koinē or Common Greek language (285-265 BC).  Tanakh is an acronym of the Hebrew words Torah (law), Nevi'im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings).

[1] The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates it on May 11, whereas the other Orthodox Churches on May 24 (their own liturgical Calendars show May 11).

[1] Apolytikion is a liturgical hymn referring to the feast celebrated and is sung at the end of the services and before the Apolysis thus actually being the dismissal hymn of the ceremony.  It may refer to a particular event in the life of Christ, to the Mother of God, or to other saints the memory of whom is celebrated by the service.

Apolytikia (plural) are considered to be some of the most ancient liturgical anthems, succinctly referring to the nature of the celebration. Those in particular referring to feasts devoted to Christ, such as the Resurrection anthem Christ is Risen... are the briefest and most ancient. 

[1] Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Apolytikion and Kontakion: courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA  http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=486

[1] Kontakion originally meant a vellum (leather) roll of liturgical prayers wound around a piece of wood (dowel).  Later, a Kontakion came to signify a hymn in several strophes (stanzas) sung at an early point in the Divine Liturgy.  Today, Kontakion is read or sung in practically all the services.  After the Apolytikion, the Kontakion of the feast of the day, whether referring to Christ, the Mother of God or to a saint, is sung.

 

[1] A Treasury of the World’s Great Letters, Simon and Schuster

[1] Courtesy of  http://kataragama.org/khidr.htm

[1] Compare the Chapter of the Quran “The Romans = Byzantines = Greeks.  Also, compare to Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (in Arabic Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi) the founder of the Dervish order and Sufism.  He was named ar-rumi, the Greek, because he espoused Aristotle’s philosophy and incorporated it into Islam. The notion that the etymology of the Sufism derives from the Arabic word suf  = wool, is plausibly a reference to the woolen garment of early Islamic ascetics.  It is more probable that their name derives from the Greek word sophos = wise in its noun form sophistes.  Greek sophistes means literally expert, wise man, from sophizesthai to become wise, deceive, from sophos clever, wise.

[1] At the present, Τhe Turks call a Greek of Turkey and Cyprus Rum, whereas a Greek of Greece are being called Yunanlı.  The term Rum was the name of a Milliyet, a religious recognition and pertained to all Christians within the Ottoman Empire.  In the Republic of Turkey the term is seen more of an ethnic name of the Turkish citizens of Greek descent, than a religious one.  The Turks call the Cypriots also Rumlar and not Yunanlılar, as indicative that the whole island of Cyprus is Turkish, Dei gratia, inhabited by Rum, a religious Milliyet or group. That is why they treat the Cyprus issue as if the island of Cyprus were an integral part of Turkey.  In their minds it still is.  “The Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek And Turkish Populations, 30 January 1923” treats the population exchange as a religious (Muslim) minority in Western Thrace and the Greek-Orthodox minority in Turkey.  The Muslims in Thrace are of Turkish, Slavic, Pomak (from Greek “apomachos,” a retired soldier), Thracian, Yürük, Greek, Roma, Albanian, etc. descent.

[1] Al-Quran al-Hakim, the Cave, 83, 86, 94.

[1] Grammatically the word Qurnayn and Qarnayn are dual numbers.  Zul Qurnayn and Dhul Qarnayn are language/dialectal differences of the same word.

[1] M S M Saifullah,  http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Sources/BBhorned.html

[1] Translation by Marcus A. Templar

[1] The publisher of this Quran is unknown.  It is in the possession of my family for over 150 years.

[1] The oasis is 82 km long and has a width varying between 2 and 20 km.

[1] Arrian, Book III: 3; Loeb Classics Library

[1] Danube

[1] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Ch 6:1.  Josephus identifies Gomer with the Celts and Magog with the Scythians.  The word Gog seems to mean the King of Lydia Gyges, which the Assyrians called Gu-gu,  Magog however in ancient times had the meaning of any nation living in the north. 

Compare Scythus >  Scutus > Scotts,

[1] Present day  NE Iran, S. Kazanstan, NW Afghanistan. 

[1] Article by Jona Lendering, http://www.livius.org/ro-rz/roxane/roxane.htm

[1] Government of Oregon, http://www.oregon.gov/DOC/TRANS/religious_services/rs_handbook01.shtml#HINDU

[1] Alain Danielou, Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont 1992

[1] Kersten Holger, by Penguin.  The ISBN is 0143028294

[1] Britannica online: Purana, (Sanskrit: “Ancient Lore”), in Hindu sacred literature, any of a number of popular encyclopaedic collections of myth, legend, and genealogy, varying greatly as to date and origin. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9061934

[1] Sri Swami Krishnananda, Lord Skanda,  The Concentrated Divine Energy.

[1] Hilda Charlton, The Origin of  the Legend of Skanda, or Murugan

[1] Compare to the existence of the Kalash in the Himalayas.

[1] Avatara means incarnation

[1] The BHAGAVAD-GITA (the Lord’s song) is contained in Book 6 of the great Hindu epic, MAHABHARATA, probably the longest poem in all of literature.

[1] http://murugan.org/research/gopalapillai.htm  and http://murugan.org/docs/Skanda%20Alexander%20Romance%20in%20India.rtf

[1] Hogarth’s Philip and Alexander of Macedon, p. 281.

[1] Wheeler’s Alexander the Great, p. 334.

[1] Hogarth p. 270.

[1] Ib. p. 281.

[1] H. G. Well’s The Outline of History, p. 224.

[1] the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form; "the Buddha is considered an avatar of the god Vishnu" http://www.wordreference.com/definition/avatar

[1] see http://www.premananda-youth.org/index.php4?ID=75&site=international and http://www.mahendranath.org/~kapil/tantrikguru3.html