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THE CLERGY DURING THE RESISTANCE
The contribution of the clergy to the cause for freedom during the Battle of Crete and the dark period of German occupation was truly significant. The clergy, irrespective of rank, united with lay people and espoused their cause.
During the period of resistance monasteries functioned as sanctuaries and hide-outs, even as provisional headquarters for allies and Cretans alike.
The monastery of Ayios Ioannis Theologos (St. John the Theologian) in Preveli was distinguished for the flaming spirit of its abbot Agathangelos Lagouvardos and its brotherhood.
The monastery of Toplou maintained a wireless during the entire period of Resistance. When the wireless was discovered by the Germans, the monks paid with their lives.
The monastery of Arkadi also had a leading role thanks to the spirited actions of monk Gabriel Klados and Abbot-Archimandrite Dionysios Psaroudakis.
Also, other monasteries did not fall short of sacrifices and paid their own share in blood. Numerous priests and abbots exhibited astonishing courage, dignity and defiance of death.
One such example was senior Archimandrite, and later Archbishop of Crete Eugenios Psalidakis. He refused to sign a statement that would exonerate the Germans from their heinous reprisals on the inhabitants of Viannos and the area itself. The Germans demanded of him to sign the said statement, however, he removed the cross on his chest saying: «I would rather die than sign a false statement. Because I saw with my own eyes women gutted out».
Another resplendent example was priest Yiannis Skoulas who participated in the Battle of Crete. He was one of the pioneers of National Resistance who, in spite of his age (40 years), he was trained as parachutist and saboteur and became the only priest-parachutist during the Second World War with excellent performance. He was also awarded the rank of captain and the title of the «flying priest».
Last but not least, the ingenious bishop of Cydonia Agathangelos Xyrouchakis who mediated by his own way the release of a large number of people.