The lighting of the Olympic Flame, 1936

By Manolis Mavromatis

 

I am hosting this article in my website (www.cdrm.org) not because I agree or endorse what is described here

I regret, repent, reject, resent and oppose such pagan-worship events and manifestations and

I want to warn the readers of the true religious essence of the Olympic Games

 

In May 1934, Greece had the great honor to host the International Olympic Committee conference. The meeting, held in Athens, was considered as one of the greatest events in the Olympic history. Back then, during the afternoon hours in Tegea, among century-old trees and gargling brooks close to the Byzantine Bisphoric, the President of the German Olympic Committee Dr. Lewald and the Secretary General Carl Diem, delighted and enchanted by the beauty of the scenery, "had a vision", as journalists covering the event at that time had reported.

Far away, you could see the Ionian Sea, while a peaceful, pine valley unfolded before your eyes. In a stadium, crammed with spectators, athletes contested following the ancient Greek sports: Pangration, discus throwing, wrestling, track race...

The two Germans, stunned by the charm of the landscape, could not resist the temptation of suggesting to the rest of the I.O.C. Members. "We should connect the two places", they said. "Greece with Germany, Berlin in particular, where the Olympic Games will take place in two years ". The others wondered: "How can this be achieved?" "Through the Olympic torch race." The journalists then wrote: "A divine inspiration. A hymn to Olympia, where the verses are the 3.000 torchbearers. The refrain will be heard in Berlin."

These facts are written in the history of the institution of the torch bearing. But the story continues and it is very interesting. The inspiration of the great Olympic torch race, through which the Olympic tradition emerges and is kept alive from one generation to another, is now common among all nations worldwide.

Who was the man who had the idea of using the rays of the sun to light the flame in Olympia? According to the documents, the Greek Rotarian Alexander Philadelpheos was the first to make the suggestion. "Youth of the world, focus! The sunrays emitted by the golden chariot of Phoebus Apollo lit the Olympic Flame at the Sacred Haltis. Think that when the priests of Elis lit the fire at the Sacred Haltis, people all over Greece stopped fighting and forgot their differences and the hatred between them. They made truce in order to observe and to admire the vigour and the beauty of the youth; to give impetuous youths the chance to show their abilities at a noble contest." These are written in the memoirs of the historians of those days.

 

Olympic Flame's debut

 

 It is necessary that we referred to the stages from which the Idea of the Olympic Flame passed through until it was realized. The lighting of the Flame on July 20 in 1936 took on historical importance, mainly because it turned out to be a great celebration for the citizens of the Peloponnesos island.

This feast spread to the whole world and became an institution which keeps going nowdays too. Thousands of people from Patras, Pyrgos and the neighboring villages stood along the roads that led to Olympia from the early hours. A number of approximately 7.000 people among them boys and girls, women and men, middle age and elderly people were looking forward to attending the ceremony of the sacred Olympic flame lighting.

Newspapers wrote: "Never up to now has such a large number of cars and people been seen in this little village called Olympia. People who wanted to join the feast. The officials put up at the hotel of the Hellenic Railways." Officials walked into the ancient Olympia stadium at 11a.m. Some time later, young white-dressed maidens from Pyrgos and students of Koula Pratsika in ancient chlamyses, known as "Hestiades", stepped towards the Sacred Haltis.

The moment the sunrays fell on the concave mirror, the sacred flame flared up and Koula Paratsika, the High Priestess lit the torch. The crowd held its breath. Nothing could be heard but "a slight breeze blowing at the time."

After the flame was lit, a chorus of priestesses walked from the Sacred Haltis to the altar of kronios, in front of which the official ceremony took place. Thirty youths, led by Kostas Kondylis (who became later a diplomatic corps officer), took position around the chorus of the priestesses (among which one could see Maria Hors and Aleka Katseli).

 

The youngsters along with 3.840 torchbearers were ready to carry the torch to Athens, and from there to Berlin in Germany via Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. The Hellenic Olympic Committee Vice-President Nikolaos Athanassiades read the message of Pierre de Coubertin, the man who revived the Olympic Games:

"Athletes! As the founder and honorary President of the modern Olympic Games, I would like to be the first one to address you; you who are to carry in your strong hands the symbolic flame from Olympia to Berlin, and tell you how my thought is following you and how much importance I give to your efforts." Apart from the first lighting of the Olympic flame and the first torch-race in the long history of the Games up to now, there are extended reports about the carrying of the flame and bringing it to Athens.

 

To the Acropolis via Iera odos (the sacred road)

 

The torchbearers reached Elefsis via Corinth at 6.30 p.m. where the flame was handed to the Athenian torchbearers. The Athenian torch-bearers carried the Olympia light up to the Acropolis hill and from there to the Panathenean Stadium. The man who held and carried the torch to the Acropolis gate was Andreas Paouris, a track and field champion.

Nobody else was allowed to enter the Acropolis before the flame arrived and the ceremony started. A great Greek, actor Nikos Rozan played the part of an ancient priest who waited at the Acropolis gate. The priest holding the torch with the Olympic flame walked on the Sacred Acropolis hill to light the altar, which was surrounded by 30 priestesses - Greek high school girls. There were also 52 King's guards, called "evzones", holding the flag of the countries to take part in the Berlin Olympic Games.

It was athlete's Theodorakopoulos turn to take the torch and hand it over to Alexis Kranis, one of the greatest and most remarkable athletes of the Marathon race. Kranis arrived at the Panathenian Stadium at 7.20p.m. and handed the torch over to the King of Greece Constantinos.

The King lit the altar and let the festivities began, with the participation of Greek high school girls. The Olympic anthem and Lorenzos Mavilis poem Kallipateira were recited. Our Olympic Marathon run winner Spyros Louis was given a standing ovation while carrying the flame from the altar in Lustgarten to the Stadium of Berlin, in the afternoon on August 1, 1936. Although it was raining, "the rain stopped by a miracle as soon as the Olympic flame arrived", Greek newspapers reported at the time. The German 1.500-meter runner Fritz Schilgen was remembered as the last torchbearer.

 

WHAT IS THE CONCLUSION FROM THIS REPORT:

The Olympic Games is not merely athletic competition, it is a religious pagan ceremony that calls upon spiritual powers

The issue is not to oppose the Olympic Games, the issue is to remove the worship of the pagan gods from them

For Christian prayer warriors, this is a call for prayer and intercession to remove the evil from the Games