An alternative title of our paper could be: “Christian Education in Turkish-occupied Crete during the decade 1858-1868 … according to the standards of education of the Greek state”.
Catholic propaganda and the attempt to convert the Cretans during the period of Ottoman reforms disturbed a number of elements: Massic Christian bodies, Christian Cretans, Cretan Greeks, Dynamic Greeks, the Orthodox Patriarchate, even the Ottoman Government. The interest in neglected education and training in Crete was thus revived.
The founding of the Educational Association of Cretan Syros was an important event (1860). Its members, in concert with Cretan expatriates in Athens, contributed to Hellenism, for the improvement of the conditions and the reconstruction of the tortuous educational fabric of Crete. It therefore proceeded to:
- send shipments of books, educational material and printed matter to the island.
- educate and train teachers to teach in Crete.
- advocate to Christian inhabitants for the establishment and operation, in addition to those already extant in cities and monasteries, of new schools in the provinces of the island.
Christian education in Turkish-occupied Crete at the time was the responsibility of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (headed by the Metropolitan and dependent on Constantinople). With the measures taken, however, external influences began to appear on the island. The pedagogical tendencies that emerged had orientations from Athens and influences “… in Greece”.
Greek teachers were recruited for high-level duties, next to the Council of Elders. They laid the foundations and organized the previously neglected education of Crete (1863). They transfigured the standards, the philosophy of education and the practices of the educational system, the structure, the constitution, the methodology and the educational material of the free Greek Kingdom.
They created the conditions, after the three-year Rising of 1866, for Christian education to be organized and function more fully in the next period, under the Cretan State.