Iconography and Hand painted icons

The Myth of the Octopus: Smiling Enemies. Photios Kontoglou

Photios Kontoglou, the greatest icon painter of modern Greece and one of her most important literary writers, died in Athens on July 13, 1965.

The Myth of the Octopus: Smiling Enemies.
By Photios Kontoglou

Παναγια_Virgin_Sweetkissing_Icon_Φώτης Κόντογλου_Photis Kontoglou_Кондоглу, Фотис_Fotis Kontoğlu_…The current enemies of our religion and our nation are more dangerous than the old ones, because they deceive us with their peaceful manner and therefore they seem to us as being innocent, unable to do us any harm. This is how the so called “goods of modern civilization” are, the facilities which make life easy are poisoned traps, the spectacles, the forms of entertainment, tourism and c.t.r. These enemies seem innocent and unable to harm us, because they are not savages and do not reveal their intentions but are surreptitious and do their harm without being noticed. From the first enemies you can protect yourself but from the latter you can not, as it can be indicated by a sea legend which I will tell you:
There was a mother octopus resting with her little child octopus at the bottom of the sea. There, the little octopus is being caught with a fishing spear and is being taken up. Τhe little octopus calls out to his mother mother: “They have caught me mother!” She relies to him: “Do not be afraid my child!”. The little octopus calls out again: “They are taking me out from water mother!” “Do not be afraid my child!”–“They are frizzling me mother!”–“Do not be afraid my child!”– “They are cutting me with a knife!”–“Don’t be afraid!”–“They are boiling me in a pot!”–“Don’t be afraid!”–“They are eating me, they are chewing me!”– ”Do not be afraid my child!”–“They are swallowing me!”–“Do not be afraid!”–“They are drinking wine, mother!” –” Oh! I lost you my child! ”
The myth wants to say that all the hard ordeals which were inflicted on the octopus, did not cause death: neither the catching, neither the frizzling, neither the cooking, neither the chewing. But when his mother heard that the people who caught and ate him were drinking wine in order to digest him, she called out: “I lost you, my child!” The wine, which seems to be the most tame thing in front of the knife and the chewing, in reality is the biggest enemy for the octopus.
This is also how things are for us Greeks. Many devastating whirlwinds have passed from our land, all sorts of savages, hard killers with swords, spears and every kind of weapons. Persians, Germans, Franks, Arabs, Turks and others. They slaughtered us, they cut us in pieces, they hanged us, they have put us on the stake, but we did not die because our struggle made us solid as steel, we gave fire to fire, we had to do with savage enemies which could be seen. But now, in today’s world, the enemies have changed appearance, they have become surreptitious, with a smile on their lips, deceiving friends, they seem harmless, and even benefactors and with good indentions. These are the goods that come with machinery and other facilities, electric washers, airplanes, cinema, radio, nakedness and bain-mix, and others which will paralyze us and leave us without religion, without tradition, without family, without anything of ours.
One of these surreptitious goods is tourism, which is the innocent wine that kills the octopus, while neither the knife, neither the teeth have managed to kill him.

By Photis Kontoglou
Translated from Greek by NOCTOC

Comments are closed.