The historic Greek city of Missolonghi on Sunday marked the 193rd anniversary of the Exodus of 1826 with a parade and church liturgy in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The siege of the town by Ottoman Turkish forces lasted one entire year. The surviving 10,500 inhabitants of the city eventually made the heroic “Exodus of Missolonghi” on April 10, 1826, adding another dramatic chapter to the history of the Greek War of Independence.
It is estimated that 3,000 Greek men were killed during the Exodus of Missolonghi. The 6,000 women and children of the city were taken as slaves and sold in the slave markets of Constantinople and Alexandria. The Ottoman-Egyptian casualties amounted to 5,000 men.
However, the Ottoman victory actually proved to be a Pyrrhic one, as the barbarity of Ibrahim’s troops, contrasted with the great heroism of the Greek people, generated a new wave of philhellenism throughout Europe.
Missolonghi was finally liberated from Ottoman rule on May 11, 1829. In 1937, it was recognized as a “Holy City” due to the mass slaughter and martyrdom of its citizens, and Palm Sunday was designated as the anniversary of the Exodus.
“Our heroic ancestors teach and inspire us, the Greeks throughout the world, to defend, together and on terms of unbroken unity, our country, our freedom, our national issues and our nation’s rights,” declared Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.
Referring to the message of the beseiged Greeks who had died in the city while defending their freedom, Pavlopoulos stressed that it still demonstrates the need for all people to unite in the defense of humanity, democracy and justice, especially social justice, on the basis of the complete body of international law.
He stated that this is true especially during crisis-ridden, turbulent times for humanity.
“Furthermore, particularly during this time when the future of our great European family is at stake, they teach and inspire every thinking European regarding the need to defend the European edifice against those that seek to do it harm, openly and without concealment, while at the same time seeking to undermine European democracy and European culture,” the President added.