The Secret School
by Athanasios Rakovalis

from the introductory pages of
Talks with Father Paisios
by Athanasios Rakovalis

The Hellenic clergymen during the 400 years of Turkish Occupation, endangered their lives, preserved the Hellenic language, the history and the national conscience, founding and maintaining the 'secret school' in countryside chapels, little monasteries, or elsewhere, under conditions of strict illegality. Thus the Hellenic nation escaped from the darkness of illiteracy, into which the conquerors wanted it to sink, so as to keep it enslaved.

We, the contemporary people, to them (the spiritual leadership of our race) and to the heroes of the Revolution of 1821 who shed their blood, owe our existence. Thanks to them we can today speak our language without fear, worship our God, work without paying a "head tax," not fear that they (the children grabbing jannesaries) will steal our children, or that they will dishonor our family. 

We honor and respect our fore-bearers when we attempt to imitate their virtues and to preserve our tradition.