Metropolitan Methodios Leads New Englanders in Boston Parade
Thousands from throughout New England marched in and watched the celebratory Commemorative Greek Independence Day Parade in Boston on Sunday, April 25 which marked the 189th Anniversary of Greek Independence. Metropolitan Methodios, Consul General of Greece in Boston, Constantinos Orphanides, the phil-Hellene Mayoir of the Athens of America, Thomas Menino, and the President of the Greek American Societies of New England (Omospondeia), Eleni Vidali, welcomed to Boston the marchers and watchers of the 2010 Parade. Pride in heritage was unquestionable, shown enthusiastically on the faces of all--children, young adults, adults and senior citizens.
The celebration of Greek Independence Day in Boston began on Friday, April 23 at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State House. In the House Chamber, Metropolitan Methodios, Consul General Orphanides, former Governor Michael Dukakis, representatives from Greece and many Greek Americans from the Boston area were welcomed by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and the Greek American lawmakers who serve in the State House and who organized the event. Representing Greece were the Lieutenant Commander of the Hellenic Navy, Anastasios Garantziotis; Takis Skandalakis, representing the President of Greece's Nea Democratia, Antonis Samaras; Greek Parliament members Ioannis Vlatis and Evangelos Antonaros; Professor Demetrios Pandermalis, Director of the New Acropolis Museum. Dr. Theoharis Theoharides delivered the keynote address. Christina Katsiolis, a six grade student at the Hellenic American Academy in Lowell, MA read her winning essay on the significance of the 2500 anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.
Metropolitan Methodios offered the following remarks:
"Today, we commemorate the declaration Greece’s Independence following 400 years of Ottoman rule.
"We commemorate the legacy of Greece and its people who preserved their cultural identity during that bleak period.
"We commemorate the importance of the Orthodox Church’s role in preserving and teaching our cultural heritage as it did in the Divine Services and in the “Kryfo Sholio”, “secret school”, for 400 years. During that time, the Church was the impetus of Greece’s preserving religion, culture, language, education, and history.
"Today, we remember all the fallen heroes (both Greek and non-Greek) who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for the Independence of Greece. Today, we also pray for the men and women of the armed forces of America and their safe return as they promote freedom and democracy throughout the world.
"Our celebration of Greek Independence today carries a special meaning. It manifests the fact that we are faithful in our tradition of commemorating those who sacrificed to preserve Freedom and Democracy. Today’s celebration is a tribute to those who are committed to our shared tradition, and to all who exude the energy and passion to preserve, protect, and promote the important lessons of the uprising in 1821 to the entire world.
"We salute the Stewards of Hellenism as we pass on our Hellenic legacy to our children---its future guarantors. We feel it is of paramount importance to encourage our youth to aspire to assume leadership roles to further these ideals, traditions and heritage.
"Today, as we celebrate the 189th declaration of Greek Independence, let us never forget the sacrifices and foresight of the Founders of America whose adherence to the Hellenic principles of Freedom and Democracy made America the great Nation it is.
"On this special celebration of Greek Independence Day, as Greek Americans and Orthodox faithful, we are thankfully aware that we have been blessed to live in America, a country that fights for freedom, human rights and dignity of all peoples throughout the world.
"It is an honor for us Americans of Greek descent who live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to celebrate this historic day in this beautiful State House. A warm word of thanks to Senators Steve Panagiotakos and Bruce Tarr and all their wonderful colleagues for hosting today’s celebration. A special word of thanks to Mano Flaris administrative aide to Senator Panagiotakos for coordinating today’s program. And a sincere word of gratitude to Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray for being present."
The Celebration continued on Saturday evening with the Annual Dinner sponsored by the Omospondeia. A Doxology followed the Archieratical Divine Liturgy at the historic St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Boston on Sunday, April 25. And then it was on to the Parade and the wonderful festivities which followed it on Boston Common. A day which will stay in the memory of all who participated.