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The Greek President of Athens Medical Association George Patoulis who leads Greece’s Initiative on Medical Tourism, has sought support from the corners of earth where the Greek Diaspora is found. In Montreal Canada, where a two days conference takes place on the Prospects of Medical Tourism in Greece, Patoulis asked personally from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his support…
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Greece is one of the few countries in the world, along with Morocco and India, to be gifted with natural resources such as plants and herbs that cure. Kozani, in North of Greece, is known for saffron cultivation, the only such place in all of Europe. Greece is the country of olive oil, of wheat and wine, the Mediterranean trilogy, each of them with a tremendous lot of applications in cosmetics. Greece is the country where chamomile, sage, lavender, and mint grow in abundance.
Among all the wonders of Greek nature are the springs, thermal waters and the sea itself, the Mediterranean. Euripides once wrote a piece about the curing virtues of thermal and sea waters. Spring waters in Greece have been around since highest antiquity and many were considered sacred and gave way to construction of temples, like in Delphi, the Castalia spring and in Vravrona. Since the spa is the temple of the 21st century, it is only natural that thalassotherapy complexes and thermal spas are built today in exceptionally gifted places.
Hot bathing was considered an extremely healthy and refreshing experience antiquity. Athenaeus wrote at the end of the 2nd century, reports with admiration that Homer’s Heroes were all familiar with bathing, as well as with the use of olive oil for the treatment of their body. The history of bathing in ancient Greece begins from the place of the so called Gymnasium. By incorporating full washing bathing facilities into its regular program, Gymnasium created the social and architectural context for one of the earliest forms of communal bathing in ancient society and exerted a formative influence in the subsequent development of baths.
It was the Greeks, attracted by the strange phenomena of thermal springs that attempted to classify them and study their properties and effects on man. Herodotus was the first to establish the precise methods of balneotherapeutic practices, but it was Hippocrates, the most celebrated physician of antiquity, who dedicated a large section to the therapeutic properties of thermal water in his work “De aere, aquis at loci”.
He analysed its chemical and organoleptic features, described the hygienic problems of using baths in various diseases and, in general, the effects of hot and cold baths on the human body.
It is widely known that as early as the 5th century BC the beneficial properties of the sulphurous springs were already known, especially for healing skin diseases and for relieving muscular and joint pain. In the Homeric poems and in Hesiod continuous references are made to the use of baths. After the difficulties encountered in battle or long journeys, heroes welcomed the coolness or wellness of a long restorative bath. Early Greek baths were constructed near naturally occurring hot springs or volcanoes, dating back to 500 B.C.
Either the bath or simple anointing of the body generally formed part of the business of dressing for dinner. It was generally taken shortly before the δεῖπνον, or principal meal of the day. Epictetus (Diss. i. 1, 29) mentions noon as the hour, while voluptuaries bathed repeatedly.
It was the practice to take first a warm or vapour, and afterwards a cold bath, though in the time of Homer the cold bath appears to have been taken first and the warm afterwards.
The persons who bathed probably brought with them strigils, oil, and towels, or had them carried by a slave. The strigil, which was called by the Greeks στλεγγίς or ξύστρα, was usually made of iron, but sometimes also of other materials.
Ancient Greeks were some of the first to make bathing not only essential for good hygiene, but also the epitome of public life. The average routine when someone attended a bathhouse in Ancient Greece involved rubbing one’s whole body with olive oil, working out in the gym until they were sweating profusely, then scraping the sweat and oil off the body. From there, Greeks would hop in the healing water and alternate between the warm pools, sauna, and cold plunge. Then, some would indulge in a massage or even a prostitute.
The Greeks kept things pretty basic—you could work out, bathe, and have a slave watch over your things until you were done. The Romans took things to the next level by adding on services for haircuts, shaves, bloodletting, surgeries, and of course, decadent food and wine. Ancient people often hung out in bathhouses for hours at a time.
Most Greek baths were filled with very healing water; the mineral water included detoxifying clay and Epsom salt.
Additionally, the Greeks infused their water with bay laurel leaves to increase circulation and reduce pain in the body. They also added lavender oil to the tubs for a relaxing, calming effect. The Greeks were also some of the first to use hot-air baths, or steam showers. The Spartans were known for loving a good-old steam bath; the rooms would be enhanced with bay laurel, fir, pine, and juniper branches for aromatherapy.
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Sources: thermalsprings.wordpress.com, allday.com
It was President’s Obama wish to visit the Acropolis, as he stated, among first things as he stepped in Athens, on his final presidential tour . And it was meant to be private…
.. so private , the Acropolis has never been again
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Vladimir Putin’s visit coincides with a period during which “Greece has turned a page and looks to the future with optimism”, said Greek Prime Minister .
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On this transitional critical moment, our strategic cooperation with Russia is of extremely importance, said Alexis Tsipras , on historical meeting with President Putin
On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece Friday to visit a secluded Christian Orthodox monastic sanctuary and eye energy and privatization deals in the cash-strapped country.
Putin has made only a handful of visits to EU countries since sanctions were imposed on Moscow two years ago in response to the Ukraine crisis.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Greek government headquarters in the Maximos Mansion at 18:25 on Friday, after a short walk from the presidential palace, where he was met by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the steps leading up to the building. Putin was accompanied by the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia and the rest of the Russian delegation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion on Friday, immediately after his arrival in Greece, beginning the first of a series of meetings with Greek officials during his two-day visit.
“You visit to Greece comes at a crucial time, not only for our region but for all of Europe,” Pavlopoulos said as he met the Russian president on his arrival.
“Close cooperation between Russia, the United States and the European Union to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important for our time,” the Greek president added.
Responding, Putin said it was time to “proceed with specific steps in order to exploit the opportunities that exist for strengthening bilateral relations,” while noting an impressive increase in Russian tourists visiting Greece.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center, arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece, Friday, May 27, 2016, a day ahead of Russia’s President Putin’s visit. Russia’s president is due in financially struggling Greece Friday for a state visit that will include a trip to a 1,000-year-old, all-male Orthodox Christian sanctuary in the north of the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived on Friday at 10:45 at Macedonia airport of Thessaloniki and left straight for his pilgrimage visit to Mount Athos.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and Deputy Interior Minister Maria Kollia-Tsarouha welcomed the Patriarch with whom they had a brief meeting before his departure for Ouranoupolis and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.
Metropolitan of Kassandria Nikodimos and the Consulate General of Russia in Thessaloniki Alexey Popov were also present at the reception ceremony.
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will visit Thessaloniki on Sunday and will make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios and afterwards will attend the liturgy at the Aghios Grigorios of Palamas Cathedral.
In his statement Amanatidis pointed out the relations that bind the Greek and the Russian people adding that “we all expect with hope the message that will send the Holy and Great Synod and the heads of the Orthodox Churches that will be held on Crete in June in a world that is plagued by huge social problems underling the role of the Patriarch as a factor of the Orthodoxy’s stability.
This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the first recorded settlement there by Russian monks, in 1016. While most of Mount Athos’ 1,500 monks are Greek-born, male Orthodox Christians are allowed to live on the peninsula as monks, which male followers of other religions can visit but not live on. The 20 monasteries on the peninsula include one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian, while Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians and Georgians also live there.
Mount Athos occupies almost the whole of the Athos Peninsula and is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unusual places in the world and the only self-governing part of the Greek State, governed by the “Holly Community”. It is a community of priests based in Karyes that follows the Julian Calendar, along with other Byzantine edicts and mores. The Holy Mountain (as it is in Greek) consists of 20 monasteries, 12 sketes and about 700 houses, cells of hermitages.
The monasteries themselves are true masterpieces of traditional Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Inside there is an unimaginable wealth of unique treasures, religious frescoes, rare mosaics and libraries full of arte facts including miniatures, books, codices and manuscripts.
Only men are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and all are required to obtain a special entrance valid for a limited period. Women can view the monasteries from a cruise along the west coast of Mount Athos.
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…. But life kept flourishing on this blessed land always, despite the difficulties and the agony of the neighboring wars . Pain was transformed to hope in this place, loss was soothed by the solidarity of the society’s heart, and survival struggle was empowered by the inspiration the nature of this isle evokes, day and night by its unprecedented beauty, to common people, as well as artist, philosophers, religious persons and philanthropists throughout the years .
And , truly , this is what the aim of a European Capital of Culture is supposed to be .
“ Do you plan to assimilate the refugees that are going to stay in the island …..”
From Vrisa, Lesvos to the “top” of Harvard
Three of his innovative methods do rank the 74 year old Ophtalmology Professor from Vrisa among the top 100 opthalmologists worldwide, and the Harvard Unversity in Massachussets has given his name to the specialised Chair of Studies while hunging his portrait in the auditorium of the Clinic Eye and Ear Massachusetts and while his bust graces the Harvard Campus courtyard .
Evangelos Gragoudas is recently awarded by the Champalimaud Vision Award 2014 which is considered scientifically close to a Nobel Prize on Vision and Ophtalmology research , and is a proud Lesvian abroad, who as he says, saw with the eyes of Literature and Philosophy the world when he was studying at the High school of Polychnitos, and that’s how, he says, he did it to “save the world” in his own way.
Hailing from Vrisa, a small, picturesque village of 1,000 inhabitants in the south of Lesvos, the leading Greek scientist excels the last 46 years in America, where he teaches ophthalmology, but also … Cavafy.
The Alexandrian poet, Cavafy, has a prominent place in his office at Harvard, where there is a large photo of the lyrics from “Ithaca”:
“the Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,the angry Poseidon do not fear, such ones in your way you will never find “.
In the age of 74 years, Evangelos Gragoudas is still working feverishly, operating surgeries three times a week on complicated ophthalmological cases while training new scientists. Due to his immense love for Greece, he always greets with joy and pride young doctors from home, while the «Gragoudas Chair» of Harvard is funded with 3.5 million Dollars.
On Friday, December 4, 2015, Evangelos Gragoudas received an honorary doctorate of the Department of Medicine, by Aristoteleion University of Thessaloniki where he spoke with tears to the press for the love for his country.
“All of us who live for years abroad, and have learned to another way of progress and and evaluation, we are saddened when we realize that our homeland , our country, Greece, is moving back or stays stagnant.”
“Even now, we must change our culture, by trying to adapt the structures of the system to the new circumstances. The crisis in the economy should make us wiser, more mature and more fair. “
On the age of 15 years Evangelos Gragoudas, while still studying in the high school Polichnitos, he had read all the books of the small library of his village.
On his 20’s,being a medical student at the University of Athens Medical School, he translated with a classmate notes from foreign scientifical loterature and together they distributed to their fellow students an ophthalmology manual, which was a pleasant surprise for their professors.
In 1969 he left Greece for Boston and and soon he won a scholarship to Harvard Medical School, where he studied and afterwards taught for many years “It was like living in a dream. I always had in mind the verse of Ithaca … … …” hope the voyage to be a long one …” I really wanted to traverse distant streets literally and figuratively, I realize now ” he says.
The 74 year old professor comes 2-3 times a year in Greece, in his residence he reserves in Athens, but also in his hometown’s one in Vrisa of Lesvos.
“I miss Greece. It is the most beautiful country in the world, because it is always sunny, surrounded by the sea, people are joyous and welcoming, has a rich history. It is a place to live, ” he says, but he thinks long enough before answering the question if you he would like to return back from the States .
“Having read quite a lot of philosophy, actually since my young age, I have overcome my fears. I know I am temporary, I know what I want, I know every moment what to do … but I have no answer still. We will see….”
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