by His Excellency the Former Minister of the Hellenic Republic Nicholas Martis
Translated in English from Greek by Nina Gatzoulis
Supreme Secretary of the Pan-Macedonian Association, USA
Alexander the Great placed his stamp onto the history of nations as the
precursor of Christ, since he:
brought the Hellenic civilization to the East,
established the Greek language as the only common tongue of communication
amongst all the nations of the then known world, which was used as a
vehicle to promulgate Christianity, that addressed peace and love between
condemned racial discrimination and declared religious freedom.
The above theory can be further reinforced by the following arguments:
a) The Prophets of Israel not only portended about Alexander the Great, but
Alexander's arrival to Jerusalem signified the encounter of Hellenism with
Judaism and the meeting of monotheism with the pagan religion of the ancient
world, which in reality prepared the world's transition to Christianity.
b) Plutarch considered Alexander the Great as a philosopher, "from the deeds of
Alexander, from what Alexander taught and what he said".
c) Alexander's achievements had great influence on other religions and other
ALEXANDER AND THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL
Let us now review briefly the prophecies about Alexander the Great:
The Prophet Isaiah (8th century B.C.), in Chapter 18, paragraph 20 of his
Prophecies, pronounced that "When (the people of Egypt) exclaim to the Lord,
then the Lord will send them a man to save them. He will rule them and will save
them from dangers". According to Professor Panagiotis Trempelas (Note about the
Prophet Isaiah, page 232) Alexander is the liberator of the Egyptians, who were
under the Persian dominion and he was considered the incarnation of the expected
Messiah. The proclamation of Alexander the Great as Pharaoh by the Egyptian
Hierarchy, as soon as they met him, is a further proof of Isaiah's prophecies.
The same Prophet of Israel lauds (Ch. 10, par. 23) the years "that was a happy
period of free exchange between the Assyrians and Egyptians, that helped
establish Judaism easier". According to Professor Trempelas (p. 234) this time
is Alexander's period in Egypt. In the 6th Chapter (par. 18) Prophet Isaiah
states, "I come to unite all the nations". Professor Trempelas clearly asserts
that Alexander "did not only save the Jews, but rescued all the nations".
Plutarch on the other hand writes that, during Alexander's speech at Opis, in
front of 9,000 Greek and Asian officials and others, he pointed out among other
manifestations, that "now all people everywhere, will enjoy concord, peace and a
common society ".
Prophet Daniel, (6th c. BC) in Ch. B, par. 39 of his Prophesies, foresaw the
reign of Alexander the Great, occupying the throne of Solomon. It is known that
the Assyrian King Navuhudonosor had a terrifying dream, which was so terrible,
to the point that the King was left without any memory of it. Daniel asked God
about the Assyrian King's dream and the following prophecy was revealed through
Daniel to the King: "King, you are the golden head and after you a smaller
kingdom will emerge. Following this, a third kingdom will appear, which will be
symbolized by bronze and this kingdom will dominate all Earth. After that a
fourth kingdom will come and this kingdom will be as strong as iron". All
experts agree that the second kingdom was that of the Persians and King Medes,
the third was Alexander the Great’s and the reign of the Hellenes, while the
fourth one was the Roman dominion. In addition, Prophet Daniel (Ch. 7, lines
1-22) prophesized that this Hellene King will conquer the Persian King and also
this Greek King will be succeeded by four Kings of the same nation. Certainly
the experts agree that the King Daniel refers to, is Alexander and the other
four Kings of the same nationality are his Successors.
Prophet Joel (5th century BC) prophesized about the Macedonian Greeks (Chap. D,
par. 6): "Children of Juda and Jerusalem you have been attracted to the
Hellenes". He also portended that in subsequent times (during the period of
Alexander's successors) distinguished Jewish individuals would receive Greek
names and the Jews would adopt many Greek traditions.
ALEXANDER THE HEBREW ARCHPRIESTS
Around 70 A.D. the Hebrew historian Josepus Flavious (Hebrew Archeology, Ch. A
329) states that after the conquest of Tyre and the siege of Gaza, Alexander the
Great visited Jerusalem, where right at the entrance of the city he was greeted
by the Hebrew Archpriest, Simon the Just, accompanied by other Jewish priests
and a multitude of people. Alexander descended his horse and went to greet the
Jewish Archpriest. Parmenion, Alexander's General, approached him and advised
Alexander that his soldiers are displeased that he rushed first to greet the
Jewish Priest. Alexander however, answered, "I did not greet the Archpriest, but
the God he represents". Following the Archpriest's indication, Alexander carried
out a religious sacrifice at the Temple of Solomon and allowed the Hebrews of
Jerusalem and other Jewish states to use their paternal religious rites.
Alexander's act set an original pattern of respect for religious freedom, in an
era that such a behavior was totally unprecedented.
However, when Alexander asked the Archpriest for his statue or his portrait to
be placed at Solomon's Temple, the Archpriest responded that the God of the
Jewish has ordered them that no statues or any other icons should be placed in
the Temple. Nonetheless he assured Alexander, "We will do something that will
remain in eternity. All the male children that will be born this year to priests
and the descendants of the Levi clan, will receive your name, they will be named
Alexander". According to the Talmud (the Jewish religious text of the Rabbis and
the religious Rabbi schools) "this is how the name "Alexander" entered the
Hebrew society in commemoration of the Great Greek General and it continues to
be used for generation after generation". Let it be noted that many Hebrew
individuals bear even to these days the name Alexander. The admission of
Alexander's name into the genealogy of the Jewish community gave Alexander a
divine quality and thus the Hellenic intellect and knowledge in close contact
with the world of Revelation, prepared the ground for the expansion of
An additional event that verifies the close ties of the Macedonian Greeks with
the Jews is the following: When the three Wise Men, while going to Bethlehem,
arrived in Jerusalem, they exchanged the currency of their fatherland with local
cash. Most of the local money that they used was coins with Greek writings and
on one side. They depicted Hercules' head (forefather of the Macedonian kings)
and on the other side an eagle, symbol of the Selefkid Greeks of Syria. This was
the official currency in Judaia until Christ's years and this kind of currency
was also accepted in the Jewish temples.
According to Constantine Paparrigopoulos, the word Synagogue, which is Greek,
dates back, probably to the command that Alexander gave, relating to freedom of
various Jewish gatherings. Also the annual Hebrew Convention that used to take
place in Jerusalem was called "Synitrins", from the Greek word Συνέδριο.
ALEXANDER AND ANCIENT SOURCES
As the ancient geographer, Strabo mentions, Alexander was constantly informed by
the scientists who followed him about all the ethnographic, geographic,
zoological and botanical new encounters they came upon, during the expedition to
the East. He internationalized commerce, because he believed that commerce
unites people and for this reason he used common currency in his Commonwealth.
The Attic drachma became the means of commercial exchange amongst nations and
Diodorus in his writings mentions that the "conqueror (Alexander) coerced the
enemies to be happy". If we take under consideration that during Alexander's era
the word and meaning of the word "philanthropy" could not be comprehended, then
we can conclude that Alexander the Great can be called the "national precursor
of Christ". Alexander never followed his teacher's, Aristotle's, advice, who
suggested to him to treat the Greeks well and to behave toward his subservient
non-Greeks as the conqueror King. Alexander's aim was to elevate the conquered
and to make them equal to the Greeks. Apostle Paul was the first one to utter
such a phrase as, "there is no Jew or Greek", but Alexander the Great way before
the Apostle's era, practiced it throughout his life and therefore he did
establish himself as the first advocator against racial discrimination.
As Arrian mentions, liberating the Greek cities of Asia Minor from the Persians
he "ordered the oligarchies everywhere to be dissipated and democratic laws to
be established for each one of them".
Alexander was a compassionate man, especially to those that were not so
fortunate; for this reason he exempted his Macedonian soldiers from their debts.
At the same time however he showed great respect for public money. Arrian
writes, "About the money that came through contributions he was very frugal, but
about money for philanthropy he was very generous". The Greek scholar and
politician Panagiotis Kanellopoulos mentions that Alexander severely punished
the administrative personnel, when they exploited public funds and they
mistreated citizens of his Commonwealth.
Holtzer in his book, “Paul” writes, "For a time came from Macedonia the young
hero (Alexander) and along with his 22 years of youth, he brought with him the
gifts of the West to the East, the Greek language and the Greek philosophy. Now
the West is asking for the most beautiful gift that exists in the East, the
teachings of the Man of Nazareth".
ALEXANDER AND CHRISTIANITY
Before Apostle Paul declared the equality of man and woman (letter to the
Galatans, C28), Alexander always displayed chivalry toward women. Arrian was
impressed with Alexander's attitude and Plutarch in his writings, mentions about
Alexander that “conquering one's own passions seem more royal than to conquer
his enemies”. Alexander never touched a woman until he was married. As soon as
he saw Roxanne among the women that he captured in Petra of Sogdiani, he fell in
love with her. He however did not disgrace her, but married her. The respect he
showed to Darious' III mother, when he captured her resulted in the great
maternal love she felt for Alexander. When Mazaios, one of Darious' men, tried
to liberate her she refused to go and when she heard that Alexander was dead she
went on a hunger strike for five days and finally she committed suicide.
Saint Vasilios the Great, addressing the youth, presents Alexander as the role
model of self-discipline.
One outcome and result of Alexander's vision and achievements, is the fact that
during the year 285 BC, the Old Testament was translated in Greek. This Greek
translation is the formal text used in East and West. The New Testament was also
written in Greek. This kind of scholarship, which was spread in the East, had
its origins in Macedonia. It is also through Macedonia that Christianity was
carried to Europe and to the rest of the then known world. Apostle Paul,
influenced by the endeavors of Alexander the Great and his Successors, accepted
the Greek intellect and teachings and he began spreading Christianity first in
the city of Philippi, in Macedonia (Acts of the Apostles, chap. 6, par. 9, 10).
The historical significance of the Greek intellect, which during the Hellenistic
years was epitomized by the Macedonians, it is crystallized in Chap. 12th, par.
20-23 of the Gospel, According to John, when Philip and Andrew, Christ's
Disciples, said to the Lord that the Greeks came to see Him; Jesus answered
them: "The time has come, for the Son of Man to be glorified". Christ's
statement in reference to the events that would follow about His Own
glorification and the glorification of Christianity, clearly prescribed the
historical significance and the role that Hellenism played in conveying
Christianity to the world.
ALEXANDER AND RELIGIONS
Now we can examine the influence and effects Alexander's deeds had on other
religions and nations during that time. Up to his era Hindu Gods, especially
Buddha, were not permitted to be depicted in any form or shape. However, since
the Indians came in close contact with the Greek world, their Gods were
portrayed full-bodied. The first statues of Buddha resembled ancient Greek Gods
(especially Apollo) and they were wearing the Greek “chiton” and also their
facial features carried the Greek art (art of Kantara in today's Pakistan and
Afghanistan). Also the effect of the Hellenistic world, from the Selefkids era,
can also be verified in the coins of Baktria and today's Pakistan area, where
during the Hellenistic years thirty kings of Greek descend reigned, without an
In the West the Romans deified Alexander. The Romans were the first to name
Alexander "Great". The Roman Senate and the Emperors of Rome were proud to be
heirs of Alexander's Empire.
Prophet Mohamed in the Koran mentions Alexander (with the name Zaul Karnein)
among the prophets who wished to lead the world in the practice of charitable
ALEXANDER AND SUCCESSORS
After Alexander's death, his Generals [“Diadohi” – Successors], who divided his
vast empire, were able individuals to follow his plan, at least in the political
field, since they succeeded to make his visions come true. The Ptolemies
concentrated their energies in Alexandria, while the Selefkids' center was
Antioch. Ptolemy A', who attended Aristotle's school the same years as
Alexander, founded the legendary Library of Alexandria, which up till Ptolemy's
VI era continued to be enriched with books (about 700,000 books). It should be
mentioned that the first library of Rome was the one that was seized from the
last King of Macedonia, Perseus, by the Roman government official, Emilius
Alexandrian scholars, having the support of the Ptolemies, worked on the
classical documents, they classified them, translated them and sent copies to
Rome's, Athens' and Constantinople's libraries. With these documents and
readings, as intellectual and spiritual base, the Fathers of the Church,
outlined and frameworked the teachings of the first centuries of Christianity.
The work of the Alexandrian scholars was used in Europe during the Renaissance
era and thus the culture of the ancient Greeks became property of today's
societies of the world. Also Islam was influenced by the Greek way of thinking,
when Islam reached such areas as Syria and Alexandia.
Alexandria was Alexander's and his Successors' creation and played an important
role in passing on the bright lights of Christianity. During the flourishing of
the Neo-Platonic theories from 160 to 405 AC, the first theological school
thrived there. The Greek language was used as a vehicle to fulfill its mission
toward the world, the spread of Christianity to the world. As it was mentioned
prior, the Fathers of the Church, who were the first heralds of Christianity,
became known mainly in Alexandria, due to the Greek culture and the Greek
The husbandry between Christendom and Greek intellect was accomplished in
Alexandria due to the efforts in particular of Hierarchs Klemis and Origenis.
The Fathers of the Church, especially the Three Hierarchs possessed theological
knowledge and had a great Greek education. "Alexander's and his Successors'
great achievement, the Hellenistic era and its culture, which later was
inherited by the Romans, Byzantium and by the peoples of the Near East, had
significant influence in the development of nations later", said Abraham
Christianizing the Slavs by the Greek Thessalonikian brothers and monks,
Methodius and Cyril, was such a milestone in European and international history
and this was a consequence of Byzantium's glory and in reality the outcome, the
end result of the Hellenistic period. Pop John Paul VIII, delivering a speech on
April 22, 1990, in Czechoslovakia said: "…that we the Slavs are Christians
today, we owe it to the Macedonian Greek brothers who were born in Thessaloniki,
Methodius and Cyril. They are the ones who carried the Byzantine tradition in
Europe". The cultural infrastructure of the Hellenistic period and especially
the great monetary contributions and the interest of the Byzantine Emperors
became the cause of establishing and creating the monastic city of Hagion Oros
(Holy Mountain), the only monastic city that exists in the world. This city can
be characterized as the Arc of Orthodoxy in its more that a millennium
THE VISION AND DEEDS OF ALEXANDER
The vision and the achievements of Alexander the Great in the political,
financial and cultural development of nations, resulted in a brilliant model, as
mankind advances onto the third millennium. Launched from Macedonia with the
aspiration to unite nations with peaceful ties, ties of cooperation and social
intermingling, his intent was neither to conquer riches, nor to satisfy
passions. Alexander expressed this aspiration when he met with the philosopher
Diogenis in Corinth. His ideas about respecting the traditions of conquered
peoples, their participation in governing themselves, the eventual elimination
of discrimination between conquered and conquerors and finally the program of
decentralization of the governing agencies, taught many nations in the
international arena how to govern themselves. Also the social achievements of
Alexander and his Successors are more significant than the battles that took
place during his campaign. Nothing can surpass the social welfare, the public
education and the justice for the weak during that era.
Alexander with his deeds transformed the shape of global history. He conceived
the idea of humanism in government and he boldly made it happen. With the
propagation of the Greek language as the official language of his Asiatic and
African Commonwealth, Greek became the formal tongue of communication between
the multiethnic peoples of the East. Alexander and his Successors became not
only the bearers of the Greek tongue, but they also offered to the world the
Greek culture and knowledge, elements that further prepared nations to accept
the teachings of the Savior of Nazareth on the Holy Mountain.
Alexander’s own marriages to Roxanne, Oxiartis’ daughter from Vactria, as well
as the massive marriage of his one hundred officers to Persian women, his trust
to include non-Greeks in his government’s administrative positions, further
validate his beliefs against inequity.
Now we have come to the conclusion that Alexander the Great, through his deeds
and achievements, became "the vehicle of God". "Not even to me does it seem
possible that he turned out to be unlike any other human being, without divine
intervention," wrote the historian Arrian, as he completed his book, Alexandri
anabasis [Expedition of Alexander].
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