Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crumbling stone and economic hardship

I don't write about modern Greece much--if at all--because it has little to do with my faith. Greece is a mostly Orthodox Christian country; the forefathers of modern day Greeks created my faith, but these are not the same people. Still, we all know that Greece is not doing well, economically. Especially here in Europe, Greece's struggle to stay in the EU and the resistance of the inhabitants of the country is common knowledge.

USA Today recently wrote about the impact the massive budget cuts are having on the state of the ancient Greek (and Roman) monuments. According to Despina Koutsoumba, head of the Association of Greek Archaeologists, the budget cuts have caused the government to forego the annual restorative efforts on several monuments.

"Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus are in danger of falling down"

Please read the entire article here. It's a good read and it also highlights that the 50 percent budget cuts--and the possible future 50 percent budget cuts--for the Ministry of Culture was expected; the care for the monuments won't cease, although it may slow a bit.

It pains me to read that the monuments to my Gods, which have survived for so many years--despite it all--now run the risk of corroding into nothingness. Because Greece hasn't even hit economic rock bottom yet. A new round of budget cuts is on the horizon. If they drop out of the EU, the Greek economy will suffer even more. It will take decades before the Greek economy recovers from this economic blow--and by then, irreparable damage may have been done to these beautiful structures.

I visited the Temple of Zeus once. It's huge. It's inspiring. For the twelve year old me, it was something straight out of a fantasy land I wished I could go to. To this day, the effort that went into building these monuments is awe inspiring to me. The pure devotion that speaks from these stones should--and must--be preserved.

Yet, I have no solution to their decline. It is the reality of a money-driven age. What I encourage is the building of new temples and monuments: temples and monuments not polluted by tourists. Monuments built out of piety, out of love for the Gods. Stones may crumble, but the Theoi remain. They will survive this age of hardship, even if Their old temples do not. I am afraid that the potential loss of these monuments is completely ours to deal with...

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