Greece – Greek Philanthropy

It is not only a Greek word, but is finding practical exposition in Greek life. An excel-lent institution is the Parnassus Club, which has now been in existence for thirty years. It is an important social, educational, and philanthropic society, whose influence is not only felt in Athens but in other cities of Greece. Its fine building in Athens, costing one hundred and eighty-five thousand drachmas, is fitted up with club-rooms, reading-room, and library for members, with a large hall for lectures and concerts, and on the lower floors class-rooms for the poor boys who are educated by the Society. Night schools are maintained for newsboys and bootblacks, and others who work during the day. Over twelve hundred boys are thus provided for yearly. Courses of lectures of popular interest are held. The club with its wide membership is a social as well as an educative influence.

Then there are hospitals for the insane, for the incurable, and for general invalids. A society of Friends of the Poor retains ten doctors, who visit the poor when sick. The Friends of the People engage in the work of popular instruction. The Asylum of St. Catharine shelters orphan girls. Another society, organized by Madame Parren, furnishes instruction and help to working-girls. Under the presidency of Mademoiselle Kehaya a prisoner’s aid association conducts schools in the prison near Athens, and distributes literature. This and other societies are under the patronage of the queen, who is active in all benevolent work. The recent war with Turkey laid an immense task on the women of Athens, which they fulfilled with remarkable energy and devotion. They forwarded medical supplies to the field, established a hospital with trained nurses for the wounded, sheltered the refugees, and are now seeking to educate the children made orphans through the war. There are various other educational and philanthropic movements. I do not undertake to catalogue them here, but simply to show that the Greeks are fulfilling the second commandment as well as the first.