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St. Photios National Shrine Annual Greek Landing Day Celebration

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May 19, 2004

St. Augustine, FL - The St. Photios National Shrine Annual Greek Landing Day Celebration commemorates that historic occasion when the first colony of Hellenes landed in the New World. Greek Landing Day Celebration 2004 is June 26 and 27 in historic downtown Saint Augustine, Florida.

The annual Celebration includes Church Services at the magnificent St. Photios Chapel and a festival celebration. Following Divine Liturgy and Memorial Services on Saturday, June 26, the Opening Ceremony will get underway in the St. Photios Shrine's Constantine Sisters Courtyard. The Celebration, sponsored by area Ladies Philoptochos Societies, will continue with Greek food, refreshments, gifts items, and live music. Greek dancers from throughout the area will be performing folk dances. Ceremonies and services will be presided over by V. Rev. Fr. Nicholas T. Graff, St. Photios Shrine Executive Director.

The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is dedicated to the first colony of Greek people who came to America looking for a better life for themselves and their descendants. The historic journey of the New Smyrna colony is commemorated at the annual Greek Landing Day Celebration. On June 26, 1768, over 1,200 Greeks, Italians, and Minorcans arrived in Florida to help establish a new colony in New Smyrna. Following nine years of harsh treatment, the remaining colonists fled on foot to St. Augustine, where they were received and where they found justice and refuge. The colonists gathered at the Avero House for solace, fellowship and worship.

The Avero House was purchased by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and restored to establish the National Greek Orthodox Shrine. Currently, renovations are underway with the St. Photios Shrine Archbishop Iakovos Enhancement Project. The Enhancement project will improve the decor of the Shrine, as well as the presentations shown within the exhibit rooms. Phase One of the project has been completed with the installation of new coquina tile flooring. Phase II is now underway with improvements including the faux painting of interior walls, new display cases, and updating the video, "Our Plymouth Rock," which tells the story of Greek immigrants finding themselves in a an unknown land and their struggle to become part of the fabric of America.

All are encouraged to experience the religious, cultural, and historical significance of St. Augustine. All are welcomed to attend the 236th Greek Landing Day Celebration commemorating the landing of the first Greek colony to the New World.

The National Shrine, a self-supportive institution of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, is located at 41 St. George Street, in St. Augustine, Florida, the nation's oldest city. Called "The Jewel of St. George Street," a pilgrimage to St. Photios Shrine is a way to honor the memory of the New Smyrna Colony.

St. Photios Foundation Trustee, Ms. Maria Carantzas of Jacksonville, FL, will chair Greek Landing Day Celebration 2004. Celebration information is available at the St. Photios Shrine (P.O. Box 1960 , St. Augustine, FL 32085), telephone, (904) 829-8205; e-mail, info@StPhotios.com.

Contact:

Andrew J. Lekos
St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine
The Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine
P.O. Box 4319 , St. Augustine, Florida 32085
Tel (904) 829-8205
Fax (904) 829-8707
Web www.StPhotios.com
E-mail AJLekos@stphotios.com

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