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Aris Karatzas: A great loss for Hellenism

Hellenism lost one of its precious children, as Aris Karatzas lost the battle with cancer on Thursday, to be received by the hallowed Attic earth, as he considered it, on Friday afternoon.

 

Whether you agreed with him, or not, You could not but respect him, and ultimately love him. A man of infinite jest, a limerick aficionado, a polymath, an academic, a teacher, but most of all a friend. But for Hellas, a passionate lover!

One never tired of the company of a man who showed nothing, but his true face, wore his heart on his sleeve, and practiced the Christian and Hellenic values. It was very difficult to not like this man.

I'm not going to relate all the things that took place in his life and how I am so grateful to have been included, to the extent I was. One of his dear friends, a man of position, told me today, “I always, wanted his bearings, whenever, something was troubling me”. And I could not agree more. He gave his wise advice freely, and as often happens in such cases, although solicited, the advice was often ignored.

His outspokenness bequeathed many enemies, enemies he vanquished through justice, and enemies that despite all, respected him and admired him, and were often won over.

He was a very brave and brazen soul, with flaws and faults, like all of us, yet he leaves us with a huge gap.

He lived in a spartan manner, and leaves his mourning family, his intrepid wife Kristiana and his devastated daughter Anastasia, with grief, but also a spiritual legacy, that I hope the rest of us recognize.

Ari in recent years lived mostly in Athens. He was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in August last year. He put a very brave face, although suffering numerous medical “indignities”.

Aristides Karatzas was an editor, as a job, with a publishing house in New York, but also in Greece. In the early 70s, he was already a lecturer in History at the University of Los Angeles and University of Maryland. However, his doctoral dissertation took a back seat, when Turey invaded of Cyprus.

His publishing house «Melissa International Ltd» was based in Scarsdale, NY and Athens. The books published he looked to be academic content, mainly historical, political and religious and focusing on Greece, Cyprus, Russia and Turkey. He gained numerous distinctions for the books he published. Others, of extreme academical importance went unnoticed by the broader public. His last great publication was “The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks”.

Efforts to besmirch his name, as an Israeli, or US agent, “ fell to naught.” He died vindicated, but not honored as deserved. As we say “May the soil that covers you be light”!

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