Abstract

On July 31, 1829, the participants of the Fourth National Assembly voted to construct the Church of the Savior to express gratitude for Greek liberation from the Ottoman Empire. Research to date suggests that this initiative was revisited in the 1960s by church officials who engaged in an imaginative reading of the historical record to present this phantasmatic edifice as an unfulfilled national vow. Despite the project’s long and complicated history, the endeavor is largely remembered as a kitsch project of the military regime of 21 April 1967. Why is this the case? How are the stories of our past produced, and what kinds of analytics are utilized to create public narratives? Taking a story of spatial absence as a point of departure, I combine archival material and ethnographic research to consider how silence and the encounter with the unthinkable have shaped public history in Greece.

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