Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Greek Independence Day Parade - March 30, 2014
Mar 21, 2014
Greek Independence Day Parade
To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in the tri-state area
In the joy and fellowship of our shared heritage and faith, I invite you to participate in our annual Greek Independence Day Parade. This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, March 30 on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and through a strong and vibrant presence of our Omogeneia, we have a tremendous opportunity to affirm publicly an enduring witness of truth and freedom.
We have this opportunity because the heroic struggle that began in 1821 and led to independence for the people of Greece is linked in a unique way to our celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation, a feast that bears witness to the power of faith and trust in God’s mercy and grace. As affirmed in the inception of that just and noble cause for freedom, faith engendered an awareness that life under oppressive Ottoman rule was not what it should be. In addition to the desire to worship and live freely, our ancestors knew that life as a gift from God was about justice and mercy, free will and kindness, love and hope. With this vision and deep conviction that God would bless their effort, the people of Greece began their fight for independence. Trusting in God, they knew that even if death came before freedom was gained, His divine promises would be fulfilled, and they would be blessed with complete and eternal freedom.
It is in honor of this faith and this love of God and freedom that we march on this day. Our march is an ongoing witness to the world of the sacrifices our forbearers made for freedom, truth and justice. We march to show to all the unique and blessed relationship of our faith and our heritage. Just as this relationship strengthens our identity and faith as both Hellenes and Orthodox Christians, it also offers to the world a true witness of the power and blessings given to those who are faithful to God.
Together may we pray for a blessed day of celebration and fellowship, and may we join our hands and our hearts as we march in honor of those who gave so much and whose witness challenges us to remain firmly committed to freedom, to justice, and ultimately to God.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America