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The Unknown Story of Joe Biden’s Greek Ancestor Who Fought for Greece’s Independence

joe biden greek war of independence
Credit: Greek Reporter illustration

At this point, President Biden’s love for Greece and Greek culture is widely known, but the President’s connection to the Mediterranean country runs deeper than almost anyone has expected until now.

When expressing his love for the Greek community, Biden is known to call himself “Joe Bidenopoulos.” While many Greek-Americans embraced the President’s “Bidenopoulos” joke, it turns out that there is some truth to the name.

According to recently released historical data, a Greek man by the name of Markos Bidenopoulos, a Biden ancestor, actually existed — and even fought in the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

Man named Markos Bidenopoulos among fighters at Agia Lavra Monastery in 1821

Giannis Konstantinidis, an historian and expert on the Greek Revolution, confirmed that Markos Bidenopoulos, whose name was found on a list of Greek revolutionary fighters, was one of the nearly 600 upstart Greeks who gathered at the Agia Lavra monastery in Kalavryta on March 21, 1821.

“We have uncovered records that contain the names of of all the men present at the Agia Lavra monastery in 1821, and we were amazed to discover a man named Markos Bidenopoulos was among them,” Konstantinidis stated to Greek Reporter.

That momentous occasion marks the start of the Greek War of Independence, as Bishop Palaion Patron Germanos, surrounded by revolutionary fighters, called on his fellow countrymen to revolt and raise the flag of the revolution at the monastery.

The Greek chieftains and their forces — among them Markos Bidenopoulos — took a small cannon from the Monastery of Agia Lavra and besieged the city fortress.

The Turks barricaded themselves in three towers, expecting military help from Tripolitsa. Four days later, the Ottomans succumbed and surrendered to the Greek fighters.

On March 25, Kalavryta was free. Every year Kalavryta celebrates the liberation of the city with festivities around the Agia Lavra monastery.

Biden’s ancestor moved to Ireland after Greek War of Independence

Konstantinidis, tracking the path of Markos Bidenopoulos, noted that he, like many other fighters, moved abroad after the War of Independence.

“After discovering his existence, I made it my mission to track down any link between Bidenopoulos and the current US President Joe Biden,” Konstantinidis stated.

After extensive research, Konstantinides learned that Bidenopoulos made his way to Ballina, Ireland, to become a salmon fisherman after the war concluded.

The town, known as the “salmon fishing capital of Ireland,” also happens to be President Biden’s ancestral village.

While in Ireland, Bidenopoulos shortened his name to Biden and married an Irish woman, according to marriage records.

Documents indicate that the couple had multiple children, one of which could likely be Biden’s great-grandparent.

“Many Greeks who left the country during that period made major efforts to assimilate, often by shortening their names and marrying local people from their new country,” Konstantinidis noted.

While Biden has stated that there’s never been a Greek in the White House, that may no longer be the case.

It hasn’t been confirmed if President Biden has ever done a DNA test to uncover his Greek ancestry, but he may want to consider it now.

And if the above lines sound too good to be true, it is because this story is one of our two April Fool’s jokes. Happy April 1st!

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