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History of the Greek Vegetarian Societies


The following item was contributed by the Soyfoods Center:

Athena Hygeia Humane Diet Society. 1906. New vegetarian society. Greece.
Summary: Source: Hompes, Mathilde. 1909. "Foreign notes: Progress of Food Reform in Greece." Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review (Manchester, England). March. p. 114. "Dr. Platon E. Drakoules loses no opportunity whenever visiting his native country, of gaining converts to the cause of humane food reform.... The Food Reform Society at Athens, called Athena Hygiea [sic], which was inaugurated as a result of the banquet promoted by the doctor in 1906, on Easter Sunday gave a reformed diet dinner in his honour." While the Food Reform Society is not explicitly vegetarian, it is most likely that, following the teachings of Dr. Drakoules, it promoted vegetarianism as part of its program of food reform

The following is an extract from the report on 1910 IVU Congress, held in Brussels, Belgium:

Mme. Drakoules, who, along with her husband, have done so much for the spread of our cause in Greece and elsewhere, spoke for Greece. This Society has only been in existence four years, and rests chiefly on hygiene.

In the August, 1910, issue of the Vegetarian Messenger (VSUK magazine) this was referred toas the 'Athena Hygeia Humane Diet Society'. There was an extensive article about vegetarianism in Greece which should be added here in due course. At present we do now know what happened to this society or whether the one mentioned below was the same group re-formed after the war, or whether they were separate..

- extracts from the report on the 1926 Congress, held in London England:

... the delegates were introduced to the assembly, and the following is the order in which they responded to the roll call ... Dr. Damoglou (Greece), ...

... There had been, however, an addition of three societies - Esthonia, the Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club (England), and Greece. ...

... Dr. STAVROS DAMOGLOU (Greece), in an address entitled "What is True Vegetarianism?" remarked that in Greece they did not describe themselves as ''vegetarians," but simply called themselves "non-meat-eaters." The Greek society had only been in existence three years, but already there were three hundred members, and these included sixty-five fully qualified medical men. During twelve years' practice in London he had also advised his patients to abstain from dairy produce, and he had not seen a single case that had not benefited by such abstention. The consistent practice of vegetarian principles was the only hope for a better world of concord, contentment, efficiency and prosperity. The speaker also advocated that animal manures should not be used in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. ...

We don't know what happened to this society either. The reports for the IVU Congresses in 1929 to 1950 make no mention of Greece.

The only other reference we have to Greece is from the minutes of the Business Meeting at the 1965 Congress, held in Swanwick, England:

... A suggestion that a Congress should be held in Greece to help form a vegetarian Society there was not accepted for the time being though it was agreed that it would be a good thing to start a national society in the homeland of Pythagoras. ...

We are currently unaware of any vegetarian society in Greece.

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